Dirty air killing thousands prematurely

9/7/03     Queueing traffic  on the M1 motorway leaving Leeds in the rush hour last night (wed)

9/7/03 Queueing traffic on the M1 motorway leaving Leeds in the rush hour last night (wed)

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MOTORISTS ARE being urged to cut down on needless road journeys to reduce the thousands of premature deaths linked to air pollution each year in Yorkshire alone.

A new campaign, ‘Drive Less, Live More’, launched by road safety charity Brake and partners at the start of Road Safety Week today in York, highlights the human cost of both the region’s and the country’s heavy reliance on cars.

Some 2,567 deaths of people aged 25 and over in the region were attributable to “human-caused particulate matter air pollution” in 2010, the charity’s research shows.

Commuters contribute greatly to the problem, the campaign’s research suggests - more than a third of the region’s workforce (36 per cent) drives to work.

In total, the use of motor vehicles in Yorkshire contributed almost a quarter - 23 per cent - of carbon dioxide emissions produced in the region in 2012.

Nationally, air pollution is estimated to kill 52,500 people each year, while five people die and 64 people are seriously injured on UK roads on average every day - a rise of four per cent on the previous year.

Gary Rae, director of communications and campaigns at Brake, acknowledged that not everyone has freedom of choice in the way they travel but that there were huge benefits of driving less.

“Our main aim is to help people consider the options open to them, and better understand the benefits of driving less, to road safety, health, personal finances, communities and the planet,” Mr Rae said.

People around the world are marking Earth Hour this evening. People in Britain are expected to join in at 8.30pm... and then they will switch their clocks forward tonight as British Summer Time begins.

Get ready to turn your clocks forward... but before that expect things to get much darker