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Pollution contributed to more than 60 Telford deaths in one year, new data suggests

By Rory Smith | Telford | Environment | Published:

Pollution contributed to the deaths of more than 60 people in Telford during one year, new research shows.

An annual study of urban areas released today by Centre for Cities estimates the number of deaths related to the toxin Particulate Matter (PM), a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets in the air.

In Telford, the toxin was linked to 62 deaths in people aged 25 and over in 2017, equalling 4.1 per cent of all deaths for the year.

The Cities Outlook 2020 report highlights that transport is a significant contributor to air pollution as well as the burning of fuels in wood burning stoves and coal fires.

The study also shows that more than one in 19 deaths in West Midlands' largest cities and towns are related to long-term exposure to air pollution.

In Birmingham, 1,182 deaths were linked to PM2.5, equal to 5.4 per cent of all deaths.

This compares to 154 cases or 4.2 per cent of all deaths in Stoke.

Coventry had the highest proportion related to pollution, with 5.5 per cent of all deaths being linked – 156 in total.

Andrew Carter, chief executive of Centre for Cities, said drastic changes need to be made.

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He said: "More than half of people in the UK live in cities and large towns and while they offer people good employment and lifestyle opportunities, Cities Outlook 2020 shows that they also have a damaging effect on health – with air pollution killing thousands of people living in cities every year.

"People in the West Midlands should be at the centre of the fight against its toxic air and councils should take the steps needed, including charging people to drive in city centres and banning wood burning stoves.

"To help, the Government needs to provide the West Midlands' councils with extra money and introduce stricter guidelines.

"The deadly levels of polluted air in the West Midlands are entirely legal. This needs to change.

"As a matter of urgency the government should adopt the World Health Organisation's stricter guidelines about emissions. Failure to act now will lead to more deaths in the West Midlands."

PM can be either man-made or naturally occurring. Examples include dust, ash and sea spray. PM2.5 means the mass per cubic metre of air of particles with a diameter generally less than 2.5 micrometres.

Rory Smith

By Rory Smith
Reporter - @rorysmith_star

Senior reporter based at the Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley, Telford.

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