Brexit: What does it mean for air quality? is part of a series of briefings produced by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) outlining key statistics on topics surrounding Brexit negotiations and beyond.
The UK is at significant risk from poor air quality. London exceeded the total annual limit for air pollution just five days into 2017, according to data from the capital’s main monitoring system.
Air pollution is an international problem, as no individual nation is in complete control of their air quality. For example, 48% of the equivalent deaths in London associated with air pollution are caused by sources outside the city, including sources from Europe.
The EU has played a significant role in implementing safeguards that control levels of harmful air pollutants. For example, when fully implemented; the new National Emissions Ceilings Directive will reduce the negative health impacts of air pollution, such as respiratory diseases and premature death, by almost 50% by 2030.
Brexit must not be used as an opportunity to weaken laws and regulations relating to air pollution. We believe the government should:
 Royal College of Physicians. Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution. [Accessed 18 April 2017]
 Spiegelhalter, D. Does air pollution kill 40,000 people each year in the UK? [Accessed 18 April 2017]
 Greater London Assembly. London's Global & European Future. [Accessed 18 April 2017]
 European Commission. Air Quality – Existing Legislation. [Accessed 18 April 2017]