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Air pollution doubles causing up to 800 extra deaths - Baker

April 28, 2004 12:00 AM

Industrial chimney pollution (smoke).Incidents of air pollution more then doubled between 2002 and 2003, according to new Government figures, released today.

The figures also reveal there were up to 800 additional deaths related to ozone and PM10s (inhaled particles) in August 2003, compared to August 2002.

DEFRA has tried to play down the significance of these statistics, saying 'fluctuations can occur, as in 2003, because of differences in weather conditions'.

Norman Baker MP, Liberal Democrat Shadow Environment Secretary, has warned that these fluctuations will become more frequent as climate change continues to affect the weather.

Commenting, Mr Baker said:

"Unless the Government gets a grip on climate change, incidents of high air pollution are set to become the norm, not the exception. These figures cannot be explained away as a blip.

"The shocking increase in air pollution-related deaths must send a strong message to the Government that it is not doing enough.

"Blair's 10 minute 'speech' on climate change earlier this week may have acknowledged the issue, but has down nothing to drive down emissions."