Dr Kirsty Smallbone, head of the University of Brighton’s School of Environment and Technology and a lead researcher on air pollution, urged the Government to bring the ban forward.
She said: “Let’s go for 10 years time, plenty of time for the market to adjust, for a changeover in van and car fleet renewals and plenty of time for the government to develop incentive schemes to encourage vehicle trade-ins to meet the deadline.”
Dr Smallbone said over 50,000 people die each year in the UK from air pollution-related diseases, costing the NHS is around 16% of its total budget: “Why is this not declared a public health crisis public health crisis which demands immediate action?
“After all, liver diseases related to heavy drinking kill 12,300 people per year and this is considered a public health emergency.”
Dr Smallbone and lecturer Dr Kevin Wyche are studying ultra-fine particles which can pass through the lung alveoli and contaminate organs including the brain.