The UK economy could enjoy a clean air dividend of £1.6bn if World Health Organisation (WHO) targets for air quality were met, a major new report has calculated.

The research, conducted by CBI Economics and funded by the Clean Air Fund, suggests three million working days a year are currently lost due to the impact of air pollution on public health.

Using four major UK cities as its focus, the report – titled Breathing Life into the UK Economy – says the estimated benefit of meeting WHO targets would reach nearly half a billion pounds in London, while Birmingham would enjoy a £25m economic boost, Bristol would secure £7m of gains, and Manchester would see £28m of economic benefits.

It also stresses that up to 17,000 premature deaths could be avoided if the WHO targets are met.

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