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Air Pollution

Volume 498: debated on Wednesday 28 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 26 March 2009, Official Report, columns 697-8W, on air pollution, if he will indicate the increased morbidity and mortality levels assumed behind each of the six monetised social health costs in 2020 listed in the table. (296192)

[holding answer 27 October 2009]: The six scenarios discussed in the answer of 26 March 2009 were compared with a ‘business as usual’ scenario, during the development of the Renewable Energy Strategy to assess the additional air quality impacts of possible approaches to biomass heat uptake. It was found that the impact on concentrations of nitrogen dioxide was negligible on a national basis.

The impacts on morbidity resulting from the uptake of biomass as a renewable energy source were not assessed during the analyses.

The initial analysis of mortality for scenario 1 and 2 used an alternative approach to valuing the air quality impact which was not directly comparable in its intermediate assessment of mortality although the resulting monetise health costs are comparable.

An intermediate stage in the analysis of scenarios 3 to 6 was the calculation of the mortality resulting from the increment in particulate matter (PM10) concentrations in ambient air. The results of this stage of the analysis are shown in the following table. The analysis is subject to considerable uncertainty in the underlying assumptions. Including the time delay between the exposure to the air pollution and the resulting health impact. The values presented for Scenarios 3 to 6 represent the central case within this uncertainty. Other uncertainties include the biomass emissions, the spatial distribution of biomass uptake and the valuation methodology. The results presented are for the whole of the UK and are given in their raw output form.


Life years lost over a 100 year period

Life years lost in 2020

Annualised health costs (£ million)


728,086 to 1,389,577



2,766,736 to 5,280,418