According to a study published by the EPHA (European Public Health Alliance), London spends the most money in relation to air pollution health costs compared to all other European cities. In a year, the city’s expenses for toxic air damage equate to more or less £10.3 billion or a little over £1,000 per resident.
Data used in the study was lifted from 2018 demographic figures from the European Union statistical office Eurostat, as well as recommendations from the World Health Organization or WHO. The focus was on the health costs of nitrogen dioxide, ozone, and particulate matter (PM). It also measured the gradual destruction of public welfare (i.e. living healthy and long lives in clean environments) and quantified the costs of lost working days, hospital treatment and premature death, among other health-related expenses.
The study indicated that 82.5% of the costs are for issues caused by excessive particulate matter, 15% for nitrogen dioxide from traffic emissions, and 2.5% for ozone due to combustion. Proportions are different from one city to another. When it comes to death caused by air pollution, the highest numbers are in Eastern and Central Europe while chronic illnesses are more common in Southern Europe.
In London, air pollution-related early deaths number to almost 9,500 every year while the UK premature deaths total to approximately 400,000 a year.
According to World Health Organization standards, despite a significant decrease in the number of residents living in nitrogen dioxide-exposed areas, almost 100% of the city still has illegal and dangerous air pollution levels.
Other European countries with high air pollution damage costs are Bucharest (Romania), Berlin (Germany), Warsaw (Poland), Rome (Italy), Metropolia Silesia (Poland), Paris (France), Milan (Italy), Madrid (Spain), and Budapest (Hungary).
EPHA’s Sascha Marschang believes that toxic air damage costs in London and Europe can be reduced with strict transport policies and encouraging the shift to zero emissions. Marschang acknowledges poor air quality as a contributor to health inequalities and poor human health within European countries.
With diesel vehicles identified as one of the major causes of air damage, this brings to mind the Dieselgate scandal of 2015 where Volkswagen was caught using defeat devices for cheating emissions tests. The diesel emission scandal now involves not only the German automaker but other car brands with diesel engines: Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Porsche, Nissan, Ford, Alfa Romeo, Vauxhall, Renault, BMW, Suzuki, Jeep, Citroen, Peugeot, and Fiat. The VW case started in the U.S. and gradually moved to the UK and the rest of Europe in a matter of months.
Diesel vehicle emissions are nitrogen oxides (NOx), which are reactive poisonous gases. It is a combination of nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). They are responsible for the formation of acid rain, smog, and ground level ozone. NOx also causes health problems such as respiratory and cardiovascular diseases and mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
The vehicles involved in the emissions scandal used their defeat devices to reflect lower and safer emissions levels during test conditions. In real world driving conditions, however, the vehicles emit NOx at dangerous levels.
Since 2015, affected car manufacturers have been paying out through fines and diesel compensation claims. The manufacturers have also been recalling diesel vehicles allegedly installed with the cheat software so their engines can be updated to the newer and safer model. Many reports suggest cars have a worse fuel economy after this fix, however.
Aside from correcting the dangerous effects of the emission scandal, authorities are also encouraging governments to come up with policies and laws that require the use of sustainable, environmentally friendly, and health-safe alternatives. Costs for these solutions must be shouldered by the European Union and the governments.
Additionally, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Germany have made it their goal to ban the use of petrol and diesel cars by the year 2030. France vows to achieve the same goal by 2040, while the UK targets zero petrol and diesel engine cars by 2035.
Other possible solutions include embracing alternative transportation modes like cycling and walking, and choosing public transport.
If you own any of the cars that are implicated in the Dieselgate scandal, including Mercedes vehicles, you have to verify if it is affected and included in the list of vehicles for recall. To do this, simply visit your manufacturer’s website and find the page or link that contains the list. If your car is affected, the best thing to do is file a diesel compensation claim.
By filing a claim, you are also helping reduce air pollution, health costs and environmental effects. Find experienced emission compensation experts to help you with the requirements and process. It can be a complicated procedure, but if you have the right team working with you, filing a successful emissions claim will be easier than usual.
If you want the best service, get in touch with the emission experts at Emissions.co.uk. They know what you need and how to give it to you. Their panel of diesel emissions solicitors can guide you through any sort of claim.