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UK Air Pollution Continues To Fall

June 7, 2018

By Paul Homewood




DEFRA have now published the latest annual report on air pollutants, with data now up to 2016.

Here are the key charts:






Apart from ammonia, which has increased because of agriculture, all other categories show continuing decline.

In particular, NOx emissions are now well below the Gothenberg 2010-19 target, and only slightly above the target for 2020.

The situation is similar for PMs.

  1. June 7, 2018 4:22 pm

    So if air pollution was a major health problem, then Great Britain should be showing very dramatic signs of improvement in the area of health, such as decrease in asthma, autism and immune system disorders. But generally, those improvements have not been observed. Therefore the theory that air pollution is the primary health concern does not appear to be well grounded.

    • Adam permalink
      June 7, 2018 4:28 pm

      And Westminster and Chelsea would have lower life expectancy and the Scottish highlands and islands much higher.

      Rather than the other way round.

      But never let reality get in the way of a green campaign.

      • George Lawson permalink
        June 7, 2018 6:29 pm

        Absolutely. I have always argued that diesel fumes cannot be as dangerous as the ‘experts’ are saying. Diesel fumes have been growing in volume since the first diesel vehicles were on the road circa 75 years ago. If it was a problem then we would all be dead by now with the massive increase in diesel vehicles on the roads today. Alongside this we have the government saying that we are all growing older and longer through better living conditions, so they cannot both be right. The disgrace is that we have now almost ruined the diesel vehicle industry through accepting ‘research’ from which the boffins have, as in many other occasions, drawn the wrong conclusions.

    • Mike Jackson permalink
      June 7, 2018 9:29 pm

      There is a well-established correlation between decreased air pollution and increased childhood asthma over the last 60 years. Not that I would draw any firm conclusions. Just sayin’.

      Where the eco-activists score is in being able to employ the “stands to reason” argument. I mean, dirty air just has to be causing all them ‘orrid diseases, innit.

      • Phoenix44 permalink
        June 8, 2018 8:22 am

        Until you factor in the perhaps 50% over diagnosis of childhood asthma that research shows occurs.

        As with so many health scares, the underlying data is simply useless.

      • June 8, 2018 9:00 am

        I suffered from asthma as a kid. My mum said I nearly died as a baby in the London smog of 1953.

        But I doubt I ever appeared as a “statistic” as I douht anybody bothered counting

  2. lloydr56 permalink
    June 7, 2018 4:30 pm

    Just keep those German diesels off the road and you’ll be fine.

    • BLACK PEARL permalink
      June 7, 2018 4:36 pm

      I’ve got Italian diesel in an american vehicle but obviously (looking at the sky high road tax) with no ‘cheat chip’ 😦

  3. Stonyground permalink
    June 7, 2018 5:14 pm

    I think that there may be some evidence that air pollution causes harm to politician’s brains.

    • Bitter@twisted permalink
      June 7, 2018 5:56 pm

      How true.

  4. Bitter@twisted permalink
    June 7, 2018 5:47 pm

    So the internal combustion engine is not the problem that the sciactivists and climastrologists keep telling us.
    Glad I bought a nearly new Diesel, on the cheap.
    These morons did me a favour for a change.

  5. June 7, 2018 5:48 pm

    Absence of NOX and SOX gases is not a universal good. Agriculture needs both. If they are not coming down in the rain then farmers must spread them vias nitrates and sulphates on the land.

    • paul weldon permalink
      June 8, 2018 7:33 am

      How true! When I lived in Bavaria in the 1990s the environmental topic was acid rain. Most of the SO2 was supposed to have come from Eastern Europe, but after the wall fell and reductions dropped, the farmers were complaining of having to introduce sulphur to the land. What I actually found was that the problem with forestry and soil acidification was more from the intensity of planting rather than atmospheric pollution. Of course, no one wanted to hear that….

  6. MrGrimNasty permalink
    June 7, 2018 6:04 pm

    And yet only now are all the House Sparrows and tree root fungi dying because of diesel cars in cities!

    In reality the air has probably not been cleaner in towns since before the Middle Ages.

    BTW, in my area, House Sparrows started to reappear a couple of years ago and are back in massive flocks this year – so much for diesels killing them all, clearly it was a natural boom and bust, or some disease ravaged them. They are most numerous in the vegetation alongside the main roads of all places And yes they are definitely house, not hedge, sparrows.

    Of course this is a propaganda war, not one based in fact or science. Another crazy claim here – why the DM publishes this garbage – who knows?

    • Gamecock permalink
      June 9, 2018 11:02 pm

      ‘Air pollution is linked to about 40,000 premature deaths a year in the UK’

      Can they show us some death certificates for it?

      Didn’t think so.

      They are lying.

  7. Jack Broughton permalink
    June 7, 2018 7:24 pm

    If 40,000 lives could be saved at present level of pollution, how many hundred thousand have been saved by the reductions over the last 20 years??? and why has the death rate not reduced? That political-science (fiction) now dominates over real science must be the conclusion.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      June 8, 2018 8:25 am

      Exactly. It should be far easier to show the lives save from reductions since 1970 than the lives being lost now. And that would be convincing. Why then is that not done?

  8. Richard Woollaston permalink
    June 7, 2018 10:09 pm

    So, let’s say we’ve spent 20% of the money achieving close to 80% of the result, are we about to spend the remaining 80% on the final 20%? Barmy.

  9. markl permalink
    June 7, 2018 10:11 pm

    I’ve read that with modern ICE engines the exhaust gas has less pollutants than the air going in. With current technology I believe it.

    • George Lawson permalink
      June 10, 2018 8:32 am

      Can you tell that to Michael Gove, the British Environment Minister, who seems to take every bit of silly research as fact, and does not care about the damage he does to British industry through his silly outpouring of press releases explaining the next industry which he intends to kill ‘to change the situation’.

  10. June 8, 2018 3:08 am

    Air pollution due to vehicles is a problem to be addressed at faster rate by encouraging electric vehicles but somehow, it is getting delayed by the governments all over the world.

    • A C Osborn permalink
      June 8, 2018 1:31 pm

      Because they can’t do the same job for the same outlay.
      Unless you only ever do low mileage.

  11. paul weldon permalink
    June 8, 2018 7:28 am

    I am curious how much of the reduction is down to the reduction in emissions from coal power stations? Does the area in the proximity of Drax show and increase or decrease in pollution?

    • A C Osborn permalink
      June 8, 2018 1:32 pm

      It has increased since they started burning wood chips.

  12. Ian Wilson permalink
    June 8, 2018 7:46 am

    The politicians, abetted by Greenpeace et al will continue to demonise diesel, diverting most sales to petrol. As the latter is a more explosive fuel the appalling result will be more people burned to death in road accidents – remember the Hagley School minibus tragedy – those children might well have been alive today had the vehicle used diesel rather than petrol.
    When the first jet airliners appeared most airlines used kerosene but a few insisted on more dangerous gasoline. A campaign by Lord Brabazon and needless loss of life when a Boeing 707 attempted take-off on a wrong runway, hit machinery and exploded lost the gasoline airlines so many passengers they belatedly switched to kerosene. It is most regrettable our politicians and the Green Blob promote the exact opposite on the roads.

  13. June 8, 2018 11:59 am

    Having been born in late 1944, I grew up in Morgantown, WV, surrounded by beehive coke ovens on the periphery and other mining-related business. DuPont had the “ordinance works” across the Monongahela River. Then there was Pittsburgh ca. 70 miles due north with steel mills.

    A shopping trip to Pittsburgh in those days meant coming home a bit grimy. My mother would note the difficulty of getting the shirt collars for daddy and my 2 brothers clean.

    We never put out porch furniture here as it would soon be covered with soot. Nylon fabrics would change color–daddy had a gray shirt which ended up pinkish. A little white plastic purse given to me ended up another color.

    This is to say that from personal experience I can note the following things. I do not recall anyone in my grade school or later having asthma. There were not peanut allergies, either. No ADHD–we had recess where the boys (and girls too) ran themselves silly on the playground with dodge ball and red rover, swings, seesaws and jungle gyms.

    No one in my family has suffered from any lung problems. None of us smoked, either.

    • A C Osborn permalink
      June 8, 2018 1:40 pm

      I was born in 1947 and lived through the London Smogs.
      We had one boy in school with Asthma, but it was nothing like the ones today, he would turn blue during an attack, it was not just an irritated sort of cough, he literally could not breath.
      We also had one boy who appeared in retrospect to have ADHD, he was never still and always in trouble.
      The Clean Air Act in the UK really did clean up the air and was primarily due to the banning of burning Coal and Wood in open fires.
      We went over from coal to Coke, it provided a lot heat and was much cleaner to burn.
      Those graphs above would look even more impressive if they went back to the 1950s.

      • June 9, 2018 1:22 pm

        Studies of Black Lung among coal miners some years ago found that they were also cigarette smokers. I have noticed that fact has disappeared from recent writings or news broadcasts. Hmmmm.

      • George Lawson permalink
        June 10, 2018 8:51 am

        What the Greens, ignorant Ministers and some in the medical profession overlook is that children are born with Asthma, it is not contracted through environmental conditions. Attacks are not necessarily associated with polluted air and can be brought on from quite obscure reasons. Attacks can happen even in the cleanest air. Many asthma deaths therefore are unavoidable through the sufferer having been born with this unfortunate affliction.

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