HC Deb 25 October 1994 vol 248 cc592-3W
Mr. William O'Brien

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will publish details of the effects of air pollution from road transport on the health of people(a) in towns and cities and (b) in rural areas.

Mr. Sackville

Road transport generates a range of air pollutants including oxides of nitrogen, volatile organic compounds and particulate material. The Department of Health advisory group on the medical aspects of air pollution episodes—MAAPE—has considered the effects on health of certain traffic-related pollutants and the Department has published its reports. Those are on ozone, 1991, sulphur dioxide, acid aerosols and particulates, 1992, and oxides of nitrogen, 1993. Copies of the reports are available in the Library.

MAAPE is currently considering the health effects of combination of air pollutants. Its report is expected in the first quarter of 1995. The Department of Health expert committee on the medical effects of air pollutants is keeping the health effects of air pollutants under review, and will report on the findings of its two sub-groups, on asthma and particles respectively, in late 1994 and early 1995.

In rural areas, the air pollutant of most concern is ozone; levels in summer sometimes exceeding those at which effects upon health would be expected in some individuals.

The Transport Select Committee is publishing today its report on transport-related air pollution in London, to which the Government will respond in due course.

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