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Health and environmental damage from industrial pollution costs billions

Health and environmental damage from industrial pollution costs billions

The European environment agency says that industrial air pollution costs billions, in the first attempt to link financial costs to emissions from power stations. Charlotte Reid has more.

Air pollution cost Europeans between €102 billion and €169 billion in 2009, according to a report from the European Environment Agency (EAA). In Britain alone, health and environmental damage from air pollution cost the country between £3.4 billion and £9.5 billion.

The report, called Revealing the costs of air pollution from industrial facilities in Europe, lists the individual facilities that cause the most harm. The study shows that only a small number of facilities cause the majority of damages. Between €51 billion and €85 billion worth of damage was caused by just 191 facilities.

Britain is the third biggest industrial polluter in Europe, behind Germany and Poland. The UK’s biggest polluter is Drax power station based in Selby, Yorkshire. The EEA report says that it emits 2.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year making it the fifth most polluting plant in Europe.

Professor Jacqueline McGlade, EEA executive director said, “Our analysis reveals the high cost caused by pollution from power stations and other large industrial plants.

“The estimated costs are calculated using the emissions reported by the facilities themselves. By using existing tools employed by policy makers to estimate harm to health and the environment, we revealed some of the hidden costs of pollution. We cannot afford to ignore these issues.”

This comes after a report from the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) which said that the UK was already failing to meet European air pollution targets.

The study found that nearly 200,000 people’s lives are being shortened by an average of two years. It called for the Government to “not continue to put the health of the nation at risk”.

If you would like to find out more about investing in companies that strive to reduce their pollution, ask your financial adviser, if you have one, or complete our form and we’ll connect you with a specialist ethical adviser.

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