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Why it's time for MPs to act on air pollution

Tessa, who lives with COPD, has written an open letter to MPs and members of the House of Lords asking them to improve air quality targets in the Environment Bill.

Picture of big ben at night

Dear parliamentarians,

I'm aware that my progressive, incurable lung condition is partially caused by spending 8 years working for with a charity sending volunteers overseas, next to a window opening onto 3-lane traffic.

I now need ambulatory oxygen just to walk a small distance, which means that living on the third floor of my building, without access to a lift, is very challenging. Mind you, the oxygen does now get me a seat on the underground!

It is vital that the Environment Bill is strengthened to set stronger targets to reduce air pollution. 

It is vital that the Environment Bill is strengthened to set stronger targets to reduce air pollution. Lower levels of air pollution will mean that people with lung conditions can increase their mobility. It has been proved without a doubt that exercise and walking increase life expectancy for people like me who live with a lung condition. 

It is not good enough to recommend that people like me just avoid air pollution. Living in central London, not only will that restrict my ability to exercise but the idea of recommending people avoid air pollution is as impractical as it is impossible. 

The solution is obvious: we need to tackle air pollution, and for that to happen we need strong, legally-binding targets. 

Action is vital

I call on all MPs to push for improvements to the Environment Bill for the sake of the millions of people in the UK living with lung disease, as well as the millions more who are yet to be diagnosed. 

We need to see a new, legally-binding target for PM2.5 (a type of dangerous air pollution) that is in line with the World Health Organization's guideline. Unless something is done, there will be even more of us who are impacted every day, requiring more expensive medication at increasing cost to the NHS.

We need all parliamentarians to speak up on behalf of improving the quality of our air. 

We need all parliamentarians to speak up on behalf of improving the quality of our air. 

They need to do this not just to improve the quality of life for existing lung patients, but also for all those whose lungs will continue to be damaged while we wait for change. 

Action to tackle the public health crisis of air pollution is vital, now more than ever. 



Breathe Easy Westminster 

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Many thanks for your efforts on my behalf and for all lung condition patients. I have spoken personally with my MP Geoffrey Cox MP QC and he is most supportive of the fight for clean air.
Tessa, I am with you 100%. Thank you for your action. We need more to join in now. My own serious respiratory problem (have never smoked cigs) stems from living in a street full of wood burners for several years and inhaling their smoke. This was some time ago now but has left me in bad shape. I haved to stay away from many places and, sadly, many people. I couldn't live in a town now because of the poor air quality. So I know you must be struggling daily. I wish you every success and I admire your effort. Yes, our Government needs to do more, this is urgent now. Not just for those of us who are getting older (and wheezier etc), bad as that is, but for the rising generation. The air we have now cannot be doing their health any good. Children are my main concern now and by the time our Government acts they will be adults with weakened lungs and weakened hearts, which will shorten their lives, affect their wellbeing & happiness, and restrict everything they might want to do, every contribution they might otherwise make to society - plus even more burden on the NHS and families. I want Britian to do better. Thank you again.
I keep saying tumble dryers venting conditioner fragrance to atmosphere is not helping people with lung issues, I can walk my estate for a distance of about half a mile and be hit with 4 different sources. This stuff also hangs low in the air and spreads some distance
Air pollution is a health emergency it’s creating misery for those that have lung conditions , And damaging the health of our children creating the potential of future lung conditions for them. Please treat air pollution with the same urgency as Coronavirus before it’s to late 
This can cause a number of serious conditions, probably including lung cancer, and maybe other cancers as well. As a cancer survivor myself, it is very important to me that all avoidable cancer causes are eliminated with immediate effect (or as soon as possible)
Like Tessa I suffer from COPD ] fortunately not to the same degree (not yet on Oxygen). In addition I suffer from Asbestosis also affecting the lungs. Unfortunately now unable to drive due to a Diabetic condition and have to suffer walking along our roads suffering pollution from traffic particularly diesel. At the age of 73 I dont expect I will see my 80th

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4 March 2020