A group of MPs have relaunched an inquiry into improving air quality across the UK because of links to dementia and type 2 diabetes.
Four Commons committees have pledged to mount a campaign to look at how air quality across the country, especially in London. The relaunch of this “super inquiry” comes following research published in June led by the University of Leicester which found a possible link between air pollution and the rise in type 2 diabetes.
The original super inquiry was launched in March after the High Court ruled that the government’s proposal to slash nitrogen dioxide air pollution were not sufficient – but postponed until this month because of the snap general election in May.
Chair of the health committee Dr Sarah Wollaston MP said: “There is an increasing amount of evidence showing the impact of nitrogen dioxide and invisible particulates on human health.
“Many people are aware of their impact on our lungs and hearts, but new evidence suggests that they could also contribute to diseases as disparate as dementia and diabetes.”
Air pollution has been more and more associated with type 2 diabetes in recent years, and while the exact mechanisms behind this link are not understood, scientists hypothesise where people live and their income could be salient factors.
The politicians will now examine the government’s approach to anti-pollution and its ability to deliver the plans, including moves to create ‘clean air zones’ and put a stop to petrol and diesel cars from 2040.
Transport select committee chair Lilian Greenwood MP said: “Real change is possible if Government leads from the front to coordinate an effective response to one of the biggest issues of our time.”
Mary Creagh MP, who leads the final committee involved, the environmental audit committee, added: “Ministers will now face unprecedented scrutiny in Parliament to ensure they are doing everything necessary to protect people from filthy air.”

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