Diesel emissions are a major issue in London. It is one of the places in the UK where air pollution health costs are higher than in other European cities. It ranks high in the list of 432 cities, along with the West Midlands (19th) and Manchester (15th) according to a study that measures emissions social costs at the local level throughout 30 countries, including the UK, the EU27, Switzerland, and Norway.

Conducted by the researchers at the Dutch consultancy company CE Delft, the research studied Eurostat and World Health Organization (WHO) data showing London’s social cost at around £10.3 billion. This is more than double the figures of Germany’s Berlin (£4.75 billion) and Romania’s Bucharest (£5.75 billion), which also happens to be ranked the 2nd and 3rd worst cities for health costs. 

A European residing in the city would have to spend £1,160 every year while a Londoner has a slightly higher average cost of £1,175 per year.

The dangers of air pollution

Air pollution has become the primary cause of early deaths in Europe. The EEA or European Environment Agency estimates that around 400,000 people die every year for reasons caused by air pollution. There are reports, though, that air pollution causes more premature deaths than reported. 

Air pollution has become more life-threatening than smoking as more people die from it. Additionally, the State of Global Air 2020 report recorded approximately 500,000 infant deaths within the first month of their lives. Their deaths were due to toxic air.

In 2013, Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah died after a severe asthma attack. She had been in and out of the hospital for months due to various respiratory issues. She lived near South Circular Road, one of the most polluted areas in south London. An inquest on her death was ordered and in December 2020, the coroner officially confirmed that Ella died because of air pollution. She was only nine years old.

Around 9,500 premature deaths in London per year are caused by dirty air. A Royal College of Physicians report reveals this as well as the fact that the UK records at least 40,000 early deaths every year. 

Based on WHO standards, it is safe to say that 99% of London has levels of toxic air that exceed safe limits. This is despite the number of residents in areas with higher-than-usual levels of nitrogen dioxide has fallen since Sadiq Khan assumed his role as mayor of London.

Exposure to air pollution has various negative impacts on a person’s health, especially if nitrogen oxide (NOx) levels are high.

What is NOx?

NOx or nitrogen oxide is a category of gases with nitrogen dioxide and nitric oxide as the most problematic of these. It has adverse effects on both the environment and human health. 

Nitrogen oxide reacts with other chemicals to form acid rain and smog. It is also responsible for producing ground-level ozone, a pollutant that can weaken and damage plants, crops, and other forms of vegetation.

Studies have shown evidence that exposure to NOx emissions can increase risks to mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety. Additionally, it can affect a person’s cognitive skills, making them more vulnerable to dementia.

The most dangerous impacts of nitrogen oxide emissions, however, are their negative effects on your health. You can experience several health conditions even if you’ve only been exposed for a brief time. These impacts include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fluid can enter the lungs
  • Emphysema, bronchitis, and other respiratory illnesses
  • More frequent episodes of asthma
  • Laryngospasm or spasm of the vocal cords
  • Cancer
  • Asphyxiation
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Premature death

Nitrogen oxide is typically released as diesel emissions from road transport.

Diesel emissions scandal

Road transport, specifically diesel-powered vehicles, has been the centre of attention for years. This became even more evident after the Dieselgate diesel emissions erupted in September 2015. 

US authorities discovered defeat devices installed in Volkswagen and Audi diesel vehicles sold to consumers in America. They sent a Notice of Violation to the Volkswagen Group for violating emission regulations.

A defeat device senses when a vehicle is in regulatory testing and immediately reduces emissions levels artificially so they would stay within WHO-mandated limits. Thus, during testing, the vehicle appears fuel-efficient, high-performing, and emissions-compliant. However, once it is driven in real-world road conditions, the vehicle releases massive volumes of nitrogen oxides, making it an inefficient heavy pollutant.

The VW Group deceived their customers when they sold VW and Audi vehicles with defeat devices as high-performing and environmentally friendly. In reality, the drivers were unknowingly driving around emitting toxic air that can damage the environment and destroy lives.

Other vehicle manufacturers, such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Vauxhall, are also involved in the diesel emissions scandal.

These manufacturers should be held responsible for their actions. Bringing forward an emissions claim against them is the right thing to do.

I want to start my diesel claim, but how?

Filing a diesel claim can be a long and tiring process but working with emissions experts can help. However, your first step should be to verify your eligibility to make a claim as not all carmakers or car models are affected by defeat devices.

To verify your qualification, visit ClaimExperts.co.uk the soonest as you can as they have all the relevant information you need to take your claim in the right direction. Visit their website here for more information.