Life Expectancy Data Says There Is No Air Pollution Health Crisis

There have been many scare stories published about how air pollution in London and other major cities is shortening lives. London Mayor Sadiq Khan certainly believes there is a major public health crisis that he needs to tackle by aggressive measures against vehicle owners. But data published by the Office of National Statistics simply contradicts these claims.

If such claims were true, one would expect to see shorter life spans for people living in those parts of the country where air pollution was known to be bad. For example some of the central London boroughs such as Camden, Westminster and Kensington & Fulham. But in fact the opposite is true. Residents of those boroughs have longer life expectancies than most of the rest of London, or the rest of the country. The Daily Mail has published an article that covers this subject in depth and even suggests that rather than retiring to the country, you can live longer if you move to central London – see link below.

Women born in the London Borough of Camden have the highest life expectancy overall at 86.5 years, with Kensington & Chelsea at 86.2 years. That’s longer than women who live in the outer London borough of Bromley at 85.3 years. Males live somewhat shorter lives but there is a similar advantage to living in the more polluted boroughs.

London as a whole has a life expectancy of 84.3 years for women and 80.5 years for men and expectancy has been rising until very recently – see ONS statistics link below. That compares with 84.0 years and 80.6 years for the wider south-east of the country. Both London and the wider south-east are much better than all other UK regions apart from the south-west. For example, in the north-east the figures are only 81.6 years for women and 77.9 years for men, perhaps negatively affected by working in former heavy industries in that region.

The Daily Mail article contains a useful interactive map so you can see what the figures are for where you live.

Now there are clearly other influences at work on life expectancy such as the quality of local healthcare and the wealth of the local population (wealthier people are known to live longer) but this data demonstrates that air pollution has no measurable impact on life expectancy at current levels even in the most polluted London boroughs. If it did one would expect to see this revealed in the data recently published by the ONS.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s Ultra Low Emission Zone is more about raising taxes on long-suffering vehicle owners than improving the life expectancy of the population.

Daily Mail article:

Office of National Statistics Life Expectancy Data:


2 thoughts on “Life Expectancy Data Says There Is No Air Pollution Health Crisis”

  1. It’s pretty clear from all data that wealth is the primary factor in life expectancy, not pollution. So how is making people poorer by making them pay a charge or sell their now valueless car and buy a far more expensive one going to help? Only a fool would think it would. That says a lot about our politicians

  2. In every instance the masses will always be taxed more, as that is the most effective form of raising the greatest amount of money and keeping it incoming for the long term – Income Tax was a temporary measure when first introduced.

    Further, London’s claimed air pollution has to be taken into context with history, as well as comparing it to other towns World wide:

    The website Numbeo gives a comparison of towns and cities World wide, but be aware, their indices are gleaned from individuals from unknown walks of life, and amounts to the collective experiences or opinions of just under 32,000 people globally – who are they, and how do they measure ‘pollution’?:

    Our own Government website from DEFRA, and showing the information supplied by the Met Office as a forecast, may be of more accuracy:

    You can enter any post code for a local forecast.

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