Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights places an obligation on the Government to protect the right of life. According to Public Health England estimates, 29,000 early deaths a year in the UK are caused by inhaling tiny particles of unburnt soot known as particulate matter. The UK has recently estimated that a further 23,500 deaths are caused by the other key dangerous pollutant, nitrogen dioxide.
“Air pollution is a public health emergency which prematurely kills far more people than alcohol, obesity and road traffic accidents combined, and is second only to smoking as a cause of death in the UK. The fact that the Government has got away with failing to protect the public for so long is a scandal.” says Jocelyn Cockburn.
Jocelyn is focusing on how the law can be used to require the Government to protect people from the insidious effects of air pollution. She believes that for too long the impact of diesel emissions and other pollutants has been sidelined, and sees this having a disproportionate impact on vulnerable groups such as children, the elderly and those with a pre-existing respiratory condition like asthma or COPD.
The advice currently given by the Government is for adults and children with lung or heart problems to stay indoors and avoid physical exertion.
Jocelyn is a leading human rights lawyer, working within a London based team, who is examining the possibility of bringing a “right to life” challenge arising from the health impacts of air pollution.
If you, or a member of your family, have been affected by air pollution and your health has suffered, call 0800 437 0322 for a confidential discussion. The failure to address the long-known risk of poor health and death resulting from living and working in areas with toxic air needs to be challenged.
Jocelyn believes that the Government owes us all a legal duty to provide protection from the known risks associated with air pollution and they are failing to do so.
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