The impacts low emission zones have on improving health and decreasing health inequalities

T.R. Campbell, N.J. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review

Abstract

Background While there has been an increase in low emission zones (LEZ) across Europe, there is poor knowledge base examining the relationship between LEZ’s and their effect on public health. This study was to assess the current research base on the relationship between different models of low emission zones (LEZ’s) in Europe and their relationship with improving health and reducing health inequalities in areas of high air pollution.

Methods A literature search was undertaken using MedLine, ProQuest and Web of Science. A range of key words and synonyms were used including ‘low emission zones’ and ‘health inequalities’.

Results Four quantitative studies were identified and included; 2 sequential cross-sectional and 2 observational descriptive study designs.

The studies found that implementing LEZ’s in city centres was beneficial to the population’s overall health. This impacted different socio-economic groups depending on the country/article. Modelling was undertaken to investigate the impact of pollution levels. The dispersion models analysed in this study revealed that all studies had a reduction in particulate matter 10 (PM10) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). While the two studies that also examined particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) found slight decreases. In two of the studies examining mortality it was found that LEZ’s slightly improved the populations years of life gained (YLG) in adults. The other two studies examining different health parameters associated with respiratory/allergic symptoms in children, found that reduction in air pollutants had a slight improvement in some of the symptoms.

Conclusion LEZ’s have been shown to have a positive impact on improving health and reducing health inequalities in areas of high air pollution. Further research is necessary to further assess the relationship LEZ’s have on improving health and reducing health inequalities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)A171-A172
Number of pages2
JournalThorax
Volume74
Issue numberSuppl 2
Early online date12 Nov 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2019

Keywords

  • low emission zones (LEZ)
  • Europe
  • health inequalities
  • high air pollution

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