The death of a nine year-old child has been directly linked to air pollution, the first to be attributed to illegal levels of air pollution in the UK.
Ella Roberta Kissi-Debrah died in 2013 after regularly visiting hospitals due to asthma attacks in the years leading up to her death.
She lived just 25m from London’s South Circular Road, which is a notorious pollution hotspot and regularly exceeds the EU’s legal limits for pollution.
According to a report by Prof Stephen Holgate, one of the UK’s leading experts on asthma and air pollution, there was a “striking association” between Ella’s hospital treatments and spikes in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and PM10s.
He said that there is a “real prospect that without unlawful levels of air pollution, Ella would not have died”.
The evidence will be submitted in an appeal to the attorney general to re-open an inquest in to Ella’s death.
According to a government report, poor air quality is the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK.
The EU has specific limits on air pollution, which are set out in Article 13 of the European Directive of 2008, despite the World Health Organisation indicating that levels much lower than these could affect health.