Monday 24th October 2016                 Change text size:

Unprecedented pollution, fines and wind farms

coal power plant by Emilian Robert Vicol via flickr

Just as the UK is hit by unprecedented smog and a £300m fine for not meeting air pollution targets, it is leaked that the Conservatives are thinking about weakening their commitment to onshore wind farms. This is a prime example of shortsightedness.

For all the arguments about manmade climate change, the fundamental problem of more general pollution is often forgotten. While climate change will inevitably lead to significant economic and social disruption and hundreds of thousands of deaths, pollution harms and kills people today (estimates are as high as nearly 20,000 per day).

Anyone who has suffered an asthma attack knows the terror of not being able to breathe. Air pollution from the use of fossil fuels exacerbates the risk of an attack for the majority of asthma sufferers. Air pollution also increases the risk of heart and skin disease.

Whatever you believe about climate change, air pollution from burning fossil fuels threatens our wellbeing, especially the health of the young, ill and old whose respiratory systems are either undeveloped or fragile.

Any political leader who thinks it sensible to reduce our commitment to build clean and abundant renewable energy capacity, by attacking wind farms, isn’t fit for government.

Photo: Emilian Robert Vicol via Flickr

Further reading:

Government and BBC failing to communicate climate change, say MPs

Spring weather to bring high levels of air pollution to UK

What is causing the high levels of air pollution in the UK?

Conservatives could curb wind farms in 2015 manifesto

EU launches legal fight against UK air pollution levels

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