ARCHIVE: Health benefits associated with reductions in air pollution

In May 2004 Defra published 'Valuation of Health Benefits Associated with Reductions in Air Pollution'. This report concentrates on generating a range of monetary values for various key mortality and morbidity benefits and aims to use the results to help inform appraisals of air quality impacts.

The study uses contingent valuation to generate evidence of people's willingness to pay (WTP) for avoiding the following adverse health effects of air pollution:

  • Chronic mortality – the impact on life expectancy of long-term exposure to average levels of pollutants in the air
  • Acute mortality – the deaths brought forward (particularly among those in poor health) by episodes of high pollution
  • Emergency admissions to hospital occasioned by such episodes
  • Days of breathing discomfort caused or aggravated by raised levels of pollution.

The results of this valuation will help inform the methodology currently used in policy appraisals to value health benefits associated with air pollution.


On 21 June 2004 Defra held a workshop to discuss evidence relating to the valuation of health benefits in air pollution and to consider any recommendations for values to be used in UK appraisal. The focus of the workshop was on values for mortality, both acute and chronic.

The workshop compared the Defra study with similar studies, presented in the literature review undertaken by Eftec (on behalf of Defra), and in particular a study undertaken for the European Commission.

The evidence base created by the Defra study and the workshop will help feed into policy appraisals concerning air quality improvement. This work will be taken forward by the Interdepartmental Group on Costs and Benefits (IGCB).

The IGCB plays an important role in helping Defra develop its understanding of the costs and benefits of reducing air pollution, and seeks to continually improve the appraisal methodology used for policies that reduce air pollution.


Further information is available on our Help page about downloading or reading Adobe Acrobat PDF documents.

Page last modified: 3 November 2006