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Air Pollution in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan

Air pollution in parts of Cardiff is modelled to exceed EU legal limits, increasing the risk to health. Most people will not experience short-term ill-health effects from exposure to the concentrations of air pollution typically measured in Cardiff, but susceptible individuals and population groups may be affected on occasions when air pollution is elevated.

The main air pollutants of concern to human health are nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM). Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a major greenhouse gas which contributes to climate change.  Road transport is responsible for around 80% of the NO2 measured at the roadside.

Short-term health effects of air pollution include exacerbating existing heart and lung conditions, such as asthma and bronchitis. More vulnerable population groups include those with existing lung or heart conditions; and children and older people.

Long-term health effects of air pollution include increased rates of lung disease and cardiovascular disease (including heart disease and stroke) and cancer.

Average life expectancy in the UK estimated to be reduced by 7-8 months overall due to air pollution. Air pollution caused by fine particles (PM2.5) is estimated to cause an equivalent of around 140 deaths each year in Cardiff

There is no known safe level of exposure to particulate matter air pollution, or for short term exposure to NO2. The effects of exposure increase the longer someone is exposed.

Health problems from air pollution in the UK have been estimated to cost society, businesses and the NHS over £20bn per year.

Cardiff Council and partner organisations are looking at how levels of pollution can be reduced in the City.

As part of this approach, to help improve air quality, reduce carbon emissions and improve people’s physical and mental well-being, Cardiff and Vale UHB have committed to taking action after signing the Healthy Travel Charters in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan.

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Cardiff & Vale University Health Board is an active entity continually improving. As a health board, we aim to exceed our responsibilities by delivering more than healthcare.  We are always striving to be better. By continuing to make a difference not just for today, we hope to leave a lasting example for future generations to follow.

If you wish to contact the Sustainability Team, please email news@wales.nhs.uk

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