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£10 Billion Pound Cost of Industrial Air Pollution

November 27, 2014
Environmental Protection

draxA new report shows that industrial air pollution costs the UK economy and the NHS £10 billion a year, with only Poland and Germany’s emissions having a greater impact on health and the environment in Europe.

The research, carried out by the European Environment Agency (EEA), looked at the costs from air pollution associated with industrial facilities and the burning of petrol and diesel in vehicles between 2008 and 2012. Health costs, damage to buildings, lost working days and reduced agricultural yields were all used to produce total costs, with the impact of CO2 calculated according to its carbon price.

Three of the biggest sources of pollution were in the UK, with the Drax power station in Selby ranked fifth overall. In the four years of the study the ten biggest plants in the UK were thought to have been responsible for costs in excess of £12.6 billion.

EEA director Hans Bruyninckx hopes the report will highlight the real costs of industrial pollution across Europe. “While we all benefit from industry and power generation, this analysis shows that the technologies used by these plants impose hidden costs on our health and the environment,” he said. “Industry is also only part of the picture – it is important to recognise that other sectors, primarily transport and agriculture, also contribute to poor air quality.”

Eight of the 30 biggest sources of air pollution were in Germany, six in Poland, and four in Romania. The report concludes that half of all the environmental and health costs were caused by just 1% of Europe’s industrial plants. 

You can download a copy of ‘Costs of Air Pollution from European Industrial Facilities 2008-2012’ here