Independent report

Chief Medical Officer’s annual report 2022: air pollution

This year’s report lays out the scale of the challenge of reducing air pollution, the substantial progress that has been made and highlights achievable solutions.


Executive summary and recommendations


Air pollution affects us all. It is associated with impacts on lung development in children, heart disease, stroke, cancer, exacerbation of asthma and increased mortality, among other health effects. Except for air pollution in our own homes, we have little control as individuals over the level of pollution that we and our families breathe – this must be seen as a societal problem to solve.

Outdoor air quality in this country has improved significantly since the 1980s. We can and should go further to reduce air pollution – and it is technically possible to do so. Government, many industries, and sectors have a part to play in the solutions.

The report highlights achievable solutions across different sectors and makes the case that we need to continue to be active in reducing outdoor air pollution. The path to better outdoor air quality is clear. However, indoor air pollution is becoming an increasing proportion of the problem as improvements in outdoor air pollution occur. We need a better understanding of how we can prevent and reduce indoor air pollution.

Report chapters:

Chapter 1: air pollution and health. This covers the effects of air pollution on health, including inequalities.

Chapter 2: outdoor air pollution emissions and recent trends

Chapter 3: how air pollution is changing

Chapter 4: outdoor and indoor air pollution solutions

Chapter 5: air pollution chemistry, monitoring, forecasting and information

Chapter 6: city examples – work to reduce air pollution in Birmingham, Bradford and London

Chapter 7: air pollution research and innovation

Published 8 December 2022