Children growing up in Birmingham could have half-a-year chopped off their life expectancy due to levels of air pollution, a report has warned.
The study, funded by clean air campaign group UK:100, said changes to tackle fumes could add 440,000 years of life expectancy to the city’s population.
Kings College London experts said predicted improvements to air pollution levels could deliver an improved life expectancy.
CBI regional director Richard Butler warned that the issue of air quality was having a real effect on the region
“This report paints a stark picture requiring urgent improvement, with the health impact of air pollution in Birmingham is costing up to a colossal £470million a year,” he said.
“Better air quality across the West Midlands will bring direct health benefits to millions of people, reduce direct and indirect economic costs and enhance quality of life.
“Businesses across the UK are committed to doing their bit to reduce emissions by investing in the cleanest of transport technologies, with many having already taken action.
“Yet embedding air quality as a consideration across local and regional decision-making needs improved coordination across areas like transport, housing and planning.”
Cllr Waseem Zaffar, Cabinet member for transport and environment at Birmingham City Council, said it was crucial that measures to tackle the problem were introduced.
“As a father of young children myself, these findings are absolutely shocking,” he said.
“They demonstrate the sheer scale of the major public health crisis we are dealing with in Birmingham today.
“One life cut short by poor air quality is one too many, so this is exactly why the city is taking forward measures such as the Clean Air Zone and why we continue to work with other cities across the country to tackle this problem together.
“But we also need strong leadership on this issue at a national government level.”