I write in response to last week’s letter from Dean James complaining about the Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in Bath. Mr James refers to, ‘….so called pollution your vehicle causes.’

By questioning the existence of toxic air pollution from vehicles Mr James insults the memory of nine year old Ella Adoo-Kissi-Deborah who died as a result of air pollution. In his Report to Prevent Future Deaths the Coroner wrote, ‘There was no dispute at the inquest that atmospheric air pollution is the cause of many thousand premature deaths every year in the UK. Delay in reducing the levels of atmospheric air pollution is the cause of avoidable deaths.’

In 2016 the Royal College of Physicians, together with the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, published a report called ‘Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution’. The Executive Summary begins, ‘Each year in the UK around 40,000 deaths are attributed to exposure to outdoor air pollution. Air pollution plays a role in many of the major health challenges of our day, it has been linked to cancer, asthma, stroke and heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and changes linked to dementia.’

I can only assume that none of these diseases are a concern for Mr James. Clean Air Zones have been created to address a direct hazard to public health.

Tragically the exhaust gases from internal combustion engines are so toxic they have long been used by people to end their own lives. I wonder for how long Mr James would dismiss vehicle pollution if he were reckless enough to sit with his face near the exhaust pipe of a merely idling vehicle?

Stephen Pritchard, Radstock