Are BRAKE death toll figures fact or fiction?

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The Star headlines last Monday were about a report from a charity, BRAKE, which revealed that an estimated 698 people had died in South Yorkshire because of air pollution caused by traffic.

Of these, 269 people, over the age of 25, have died in Sheffield.

I was just struck by the word “estimated”, which is basically another word for “guess”.

So in fact someone appears to be guessing that 698 people have died in South Yorkshire as a result of air pollution, and BRAKE seem to be putting it down to vehicles rather than all the other sources of pollution too.

The figures would appear to be guesstimates rather than fact, and I am not sure how guesswork can bring you to the precise figures that BRAKE are quoting?

How many of the people who are claimed to have died because of air pollution actually had an underlying health problem that may have been the cause of their deaths?

Was this even considered?

How do BRAKE explain why thousands of other people living in the same area didn’t die, despite living with the same air pollution?

I have no doubt that some people, with underlying health problems such as asthma, may have had their problem made worse by pollution.

Some may, sadly, have passed away.

But unless whoever produced these figures can guarantee them as facts, rather than guesses, then they don’t really mean much.

If BRAKE, The Star, and our Council can explain how these figures were arrived at, and prove that they are fact not fiction, then that is fair enough.

If they are fact, then why is the proposal to have another motorway service at Junction 35 of the M1 even being considered?

Let me stress I don’t live anywhere near this junction, or the woodland in the area, so it won’t affect me.

However, if there is so much concern about pollution in Sheffield, shouldn’t another service station be the last thing we need?

If spurious death toll figures are to be bandied about and we are expected to take them as accurate, then it surely doesn’t seem sensible to be causing more pollution at Junction 35.

I would be interested to know, are these figures quoted by BRAKE, fact or fiction?

S Collins

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