Health

PM urged to commit to action on air pollution in upcoming Queen’s Speech

T

he mother of a schoolgirl who died after exposure to air pollution has written to Boris Johnson urging him to commit to action on toxic air in next week’s Queen’s Speech.

Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah’s daughter Ella was nine-years-old when she suffered a fatal asthma attack in 2013, and a second inquest last year ruled that exposure to excessive air pollution had contributed to her death.

Ella lived 25 metres from the busy South Circular in Lewisham London and was exposed to illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter above World Health Organisation guidelines, mostly due to traffic fumes.

Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah / PA Wire

Last month, the coroner in her inquest published a prevention of future deaths report calling for legally binding targets for particulate matter in line with the WHO guidelines, to reduce deaths from air pollution.

Assistant coroner Philip Barlow also recommended improvements in public information on air pollution levels so people could reduce their exposure, and education and training for medical and nursing staff on the issue.

Ms Adoo-Kissi-Debrah has written to the Prime Minister urging him to meet with her before the Queen’s Speech – which will set out the Government’s new legislative agenda – to discuss the lessons to be learned from Ella’s death.

She also called on him to commit to adopt the coroner’s recommendations to prevent future deaths, and ensure next Tuesday’s speech contained a commitment to do so.

And she urged Mr Johnson to work with her on improvements in the Environment Bill to better focus on protecting public health.

I am adamant that lessons will be learned from Ella’s death and that other families are spared the heartache that my family and I have suffered. This is a life and death issue

She wrote: “The inquest demonstrated to me that successive governments have not prioritised health in terms of policies to tackle air pollution.

“Insufficient regard has been given to the public health emergency and this continues to cost lives.

“I am adamant that lessons will be learned from Ella’s death and that other families are spared the heartache that my family and I have suffered. This is a life and death issue.”

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