Fresh air has never been so important as during the coronavirus pandemic. Even as lockdown restrictions ease, we know that meeting up outdoors – where possible – will reduce transmission of the virus.

Over the last year many of us have been lucky enough to be able to reconnect with nature, walking and cycling more. Yet despite the vast – and commendable – efforts made by experts to communicate health risks over the past year, public health policy continues to under-emphasise the threat posed every day by the very air we breathe.

Each year, it is estimated that 64,000 people die as a result of poor air quality. Often, they are the most vulnerable in our society, living in disadvantaged communities. Those who are the most exposed to pollution because of where they live or work face worse health outcomes over their lifetimes. This is a completely avoidable public health crisis.

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