Up to 400 people die prematurely every year because of pollution from Aberthaw power station. That’s one of the findings of a new report from Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace showing that plumes of toxic nitrogen dioxide and particle pollution spread as far afield as France, the Republic of Ireland and across huge swathes of southern Britain.
These fatalities cost society more than £220 million each year. Further costs are associated with ill health caused by the pollution, which includes 195,000 days of illness per year, 3,400 cases of childhood asthma symptoms, 260 cases of bronchitis in children, 290 hospital admissions and 20 babies born with low birth weight.
Friends of the Earth Cymru have previously calculated that the coal-fired power station costs society £950 million in environmental and health costs every year.
Director of Friends of the Earth Cymru, Gareth Clubb, said:
“The pollution impacts of Aberthaw power station are startling. This one power station has prematurely ended the lives of thousands of people through its polluting emissions.
“To rub salt into the wound, Aberthaw is busily hoovering up tens of millions of pounds from electricity bill-payers in order to stay open in 2019. We’re all literally paying this power station to churn out polluting gases for years to come.
“It’s a clear demonstration of the critical importance of the UK retaining its environmental legislation once we leave the European Union. People right across the UK are signing up to our pledge asking MPs to keep our environmental protections – but we need thousands more to do so.
“The gargantuan scale of the pollution, the needless curtailing of the lives of hundreds of people every year, and the damage caused to our children’s lungs leave us with one course of action.
“Aberthaw power station must close”.
Greenpeace UK air pollution campaigner Areeba Hamid said:
“The pollution from this coal plant is exacerbating a major public health crisis already affecting tens of thousands of people across the UK. EU air quality rules are among the most effective tools to put pressure on government to act on the problem, but Brexit is now putting them at risk. Our government has a duty to ensure its citizens are not forced to breathe illegal levels of air pollution. Ministers should act swiftly to put in place a new Clean Air Act to tackle air pollution and protect our health and that of our children."