The European Respiratory Society, along with the European Lung Foundation (ELF) and International Society for Environmental Epidemiology (ISEE), have issued a statement following the approval of planning permission for a new underground metallurgical coal mine near Whitehaven, West Cumbria, UK.
Turning back to coal not only damages population health overall but it also exacerbates social inequalities in health. Air pollution, climate change and ecosystem damage from coal disproportionately affect socio-economically deprived communities, thus exacerbating existing health inequalities within society, both in the UK and overseas.
The statement outlines the following requests:
- Re-evaluation of the air quality assessment using up-to-date air quality guidelines;
- Adequate evaluation of human health impacts across the continuum of coal use, including health effects of air pollution, climate change and ecosystem damage from coal combustion (including offshore);
- Investment in green jobs to avoid a post-industrial economic depression for Cumbrians;
- Transparency on the end-use of coal extracted from the Woodhouse Colliery.
Zorana J. Andersen, ERS Environment and Health Committee Chair: “The burden of lung diseases connected to air pollution is unacceptably high in Europe and the construction and operation of the Woodhouse Colliery coal mine in Cumbria will continue to bring us back to the past instead of looking at innovative and already existing solutions for a healthier future.”
Read the ISEE-ERS-ELF statement in full