§ Viscount Simon
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What health benefits they estimate will accrue over the next five and 10 years due to improved exhaust emissions from road transport. [HL480]
§ Baroness Jay of Paddington
The Government have successfully pressed for tighter standards on fuel and vehicle emissions in Europe for the year 2000 in the Auto-Oil programme and have started to look at further measures for 2005 to ensure that improvements in air quality are sustained well into the next millennium. The recent report by the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants estimated that the deaths of between 12,000 and 24,000 vulnerable people may be brought forward, and between 14,000 and 24,000 hospital admissions and readmissions may be associated with short term air pollution each year.
While a reduction in air pollution would be expected to lead to a reduction in deaths and hospital admissions for cardiovascular and respiratory illness, unfortunately, at present, we are unable to estimate the extent of the health gains projected from reductions in air pollution from particular sources, as the science is not yet developed sufficiently to quantify this effect. As the science develops, we will be able to make better estimates of the impact of our policies.