- MEP-lead-candidate Rupert Read says David Cameron should be 'ashamed of himself' for his flippant response to last week's smog.
[[RUPERT READ IS AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW down the line or in studios ON THIS TOPIC.]]
Public Health England has released statistics today on the number of people dying because of air pollution.
Across the UK it is estimated that 25,002 people died because of air pollution in 2010. 
That includes 2844 people, here in the East.
Rupert Read, the Green Party's lead MEP-candidate for Eastern England and a clean air campaigner, said:
"These new statistics, which show that thousands of people are dying because of air pollution, make it clear that urgent action is needed to clean up our air.
"The fact that thousands are dying because of air pollution should be a source of shame for Ministers. Yet, despite the mounting evidence of this major public health threat, the Government is doing far too little to reduce air pollution.
"David Cameron, who last week flippantly blamed the smog entirely on Saharan Dust, should be ashamed of himself. The Government know that the smog last week was in part caused by the high levels of pollution we have in this country, yet, shamefully, Ministers refuse to accept responsibility. Now that these stats reveal thousands of deaths are caused by air pollution, it is time for Ministers to take this issue seriously and take urgent action to protect people's health."
In Mr Read's constituency 2844 deaths in 2010 [the most recent year for which stats are available - the figures for this year are likely to be higher, because of recent air pollution events here in the East] were associated directly with air pollution. Public Health England's report estimates that 5.6% of deaths in Eastern England were attributable to air pollution. That's a total of 29,096 life-years lost.
Mr Read went on to say:
"With well over one in twenty deaths in my constituency caused by air pollution it is abundantly clear that action is needed. Many of our towns and cities need to radically rethink the way they are dealing with air pollution. To protect people's health we need both the UK Government and local authorities to be bold in tackling air pollution.
"We need clean public transport options, plus a huge improvement in the numbers of people cycling and walking. We need what I have been calling for consistently: a green public transport revolution.
"It's time we recognise that air pollution is a political issue. We can clean up our air, but we need to force politicians to take the issue seriously. Which only Greens do."
For high quality (non copyright) photographs of Rupert please feel free to use any from his Flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rupertread/