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Air pollution and the campaign for clean air

You often can’t see it, or smell it, but air pollution kills. 40,000 people in the UK die early each year as a result of dirty air.

Air pollution is linked to lung cancer, heart disease, asthma and diabetes. Many places, up and down the country, regularly exceed legal limits for air pollution.

Too many of our children are growing up breathing dirty air, often leading to impaired lung development for life.

In the UK, road traffic is the biggest problem for air pollution and diesel is the worst of all.

Sign up to ditch diesel

Clean Air Kit 

Because you often can’t see it, or smell it, people don’t realise pollution is there. So we’ve developed a Clean Air Kit to help people find out about air pollution where they live. 
As well as a single-use air monitoring tube, the kit contains top tips for avoiding exposure to air pollution as well as advice on what you can do about the dirty air near you. 
We want as many people as possible to take part, so why not order your Clean Air Kit today.

The results from this ground-breaking citizen science project are helping us build a picture of air pollution across the UK, and are part of a national investigation we're running with King's College London. Take a look at the results on our UK-wide air pollution map.

Clean Air Schools 

Air pollution is particularly bad for children, whose lungs haven’t yet developed properly. 
We are working with schools and developing resources for them, to help them monitor their air and take steps towards reducing emissions around the schools. 
Find out more and sign your school up to be a Clean Air School

New Clean Air Act

We need a new Clean Air Act fit for the 21st century to tackle the modern sources of air pollution and to improve on existing legislation to ensure that we enshrine the right to breathe clean air in law.

Friends of the Earth is part of a coalition calling for a new Clean Air Act.


We know that road traffic is the biggest problem for air pollution, and diesel is the worst of all. Which is why we’re campaigning to ditch diesel and save lives.

But we can’t do it without you. So please take action to help us end this toxic tragedy.

Sign up to ditch diesel

Am I breathing in air pollution?

Many of us don’t know we’re breathing in dirty air. It’s often invisible and is rarely the result of natural phenomena like "Saharan dust" - despite what some politicians would have you believe.

What are the health risks of air pollution?

Air pollution is linked to heart disease, lung cancer and respiratory conditions such as asthma. Smog and other pollutants have also been linked to memory loss and dementia.

Children are particularly vulnerable to polluted air. It can harm their developing lungs. Also, people living in deprived areas often experience higher levels of pollution, partly because these areas are regularly near busy roads.

I thought diesel vehicles were better for the environment?

Recent tests confirm what many suspected after the VW scandal – diesel cars pollute far more in the real world than in laboratories.
Many motorists bought diesels because they were told they were better for the environment. The latest headlines, and the deceitful actions of some manufacturers, have shown that they were duped.

What is the government doing about it?

Instead of confronting the problem, the government is pushing to relax the testing regime for cars and doing far too little to meet legal pollution limits.
In fact under its current plans, a child born in the capital might not breathe clean air until the year 2025 – for some other UK cities, 2020.

Is air pollution just a London problem?

London has some of the dirtiest air in Europe and is a major hotspot for deadly Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2).
But the World Health Organisation says that 10 cities in the UK are breaching air quality standards for particle pollution – and a full 40 for superfine particles.
We need action now. Help us reduce air pollution and save lives: