The West Midlands has been revealed as the second most polluted conurbation in the country in 2013, after figures from Defra’s own Air Pollution Index revealed by the Daily Mirror showed that the conurbation had at least 6 days of harmful levels of air pollution last year.

The conurbation also received an average score of 2.9 on the Air Pollution Index, which was second only to Greater London with a score of 3.4.

The news comes just days after the World Health Organisation released figures showing that air pollution contributed to 7 million premature deaths worldwide in 2012.

Our Campaigns Support Worker Julien Pritchard said:

“These latest figures should leave no-one in any doubt that we have a serious air pollution problem in Birmingham and the West Midlands.

“Breathing clean air should be a basic human right – it’s a scandal that tens of thousands of people die prematurely in the UK annually because of dangerous air pollution, which regularly breaches legal limits. In Birmingham alone air pollution contributed to around 530 deaths in 2013.

”Strong and urgent measures are needed to end this scandal, including action on road traffic, the main cause of most of Birmingham’s poor air quality. With 25% of car journeys under 2 miles in the city, there is a massive opportunity for a lot of these journeys to be made by bike or on foot.

“We need continued sustained investment in walking and cycling, to make it safer and easier for people to leave the car at home. This why our Let’s Get Moving campaign is calling for Birmingham to invest £10 per person on cycling and walking over the next 10 years.”