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Clean air for all? Air pollution, deprivation and health

Poor outdoor air quality, particularly that associated with high concentrations of very fine particles (PM2.5) has been identified globally as a major cause of early mortality. In the UK, DEFRA have identified it as the country’s largest environmental health risk, contributing to long-term illness and shorter life expectancy. This impact appears to be greatest in the most deprived areas of our towns and cities. Although the general links between poor air quality and health outcomes are becoming better understood, it has been recognised that work in this area needs higher spatial and temporal resolution estimates of pollutant concentrations. Working with Nottingham City Council (NCC), this project will address that challenge by exploring the changing spatial and temporal distribution of PM2.5 across the City of Nottingham using available monitoring data and a high-resolution urban air quality model (ADMS-URBAN). These data will be combined with a) general practice (GP) reports of cardio-vascular disease and hospital admissions data and b) deprivation indices to investigate the links between air pollution and health in more and less deprived parts of the city, looking at both long and short term pollution exposure. The project will also work with NCC to look at the impacts of changes in transport policy on future air pollution levels and the possible effect of these on improving health outcomes. Given the global nature of air pollution concerns, the project will include the chance to work with researchers in China (based at the UoN’s campus in Ningbo) to develop a broader understanding of the issues. The successful candidate will also have the opportunity to experience working within a local authority setting (with NCC) and within an environmental consultancy (CERC).

Applicants should hold a minimum of a UK honours degree at 2.1 level or equivalent in subjects such as Geography, Environmental Science, Public Health or Natural Sciences.

For further details please contact Professor Sarah Metcalfe, or Dr. J. Duncan Whyatt,