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Calls for new Clean Air Act after Ella Kissi-Debrah's death caused by pollution

Smoking exhaust

Transport & Environment (T&E) is calling for a new Clean Air Act after a landmark inquest into the death of nine-year-old Ella Kissi-Debrah ruled air pollution was a "material factor" in causing and worsening the asthma attacks she suffered leading to her death.

Pollution leads to an estimated 40,000 deaths in the UK every year, but this is believed to be the first time it has been named as a cause on a death certificate.

T&E said the ruling shows Ella’s death was avoidable if governments had put the needs of vulnerable children first, highlighting that evidence presented to the inquest showed the UK Government knew eight years before her death that it would miss legally binding air pollution limits

T&E has called for a new Clean Air Act "to make air safe to breath".

Greg Archer, T&E’s UK director and expert to the inquest, said: “Ella’s tragic death could have been avoided if irresponsible governments had not put the needs of the car industry and diesel car drivers before vulnerable children. We urgently need a new Clean Air Act, Ella’s Law, to bring down emissions of air pollutants and make air safe to breathe."

He added: “This inquest is a milestone in the battle for clean air and would not have happened without the courageous determination of Ella’s family.

"In the seven years since Ella died, nearly a quarter of a million other UK families have suffered tragedy as a result of vulnerable loved-ones breathing toxic air - four times more than those killed by Covid this year. In modern Britain this is inexcusable and preventable.”

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