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AQC quantifies health effects of emissions from Energy from Waste facilities in London

29-09-2020

Air Quality Consultants Ltd has considered the health effects of emissions from Energy from Waste facilities in London in a study commissioned by the Greater London Authority. Health risks to London residents related to emissions of pollutants such as dioxins and metals are exceedingly low.

Air Quality Consultants Ltd, with support from the Institute of Occupational Medicine, has considered the health effects of emissions from Energy from Waste facilities in London.  The study comprised two parts.  The first part was a detailed literature review to identify potential health effects from emissions of pollutants such as dioxins and metals.  The second part was a modelling study to show the magnitude and geographical spread of health effects from nitrogen oxides and particulate matter emissions.

The literature review showed potentially significant effects from older plant operated under different (non-UK) regulatory regimes.  It was, however, shown that well-managed modern facilities, such as those that operate in the UK and in London, are unlikely to pose a significant health risk.  Overall, potential health risks to London residents associated with pollutants such as dioxins and metals are exceedingly low.

The more detailed quantification of health effects associated with emissions of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter considered five facilities in London which are either currently operating or are soon expected to open.  Emissions were derived from measurements made at operational plant, and health effects were calculated taking account of the specific demographics in each London borough. 

Spatial patterns in predicted concentrations combine with those of local demography to create a clear east-west gradient in both mortality and hospital admissions caused by emissions from the facilities.  There are fewer than two additional hospital admissions caused by respiratory and cardiovascular conditions attributed to particulate matter emissions from the five facilities.  In total, 15 deaths of London residents per year are brought forward by nitrogen oxides and particulate matter from the five Energy from Waste facilities.  By comparison, a study commissioned by GLA estimated that over 9,000 Londoners died prematurely due to long-term exposure to air pollution in 2010 (source: London Environment Strategy, 2018)

The full report by Air Quality Consultants Ltd is available here.

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Annual Mortality Attributable to Air Pollution from Five EfW Facilities per Capita by London Borough (deaths brought forward per year) - e.g. 6 = 0.000006 deaths brought forward per resident per year.



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