Air pollution across Derbyshire caused hundreds of deaths in just one year, a shock study claims.
The report by Public Health England (PHE) estimates 402 people died because of “dirty” air above the county in 2010.
Air pollution – which is sparked by vehicle fumes, industrial emissions and household and farming chemicals – can lead to heart and lung disease.
According to the study, air quality has improved “considerably” in the UK in recent decades thanks to new, cleaner technology and tighter environmental legislation. But campaigners said local authorities have a big role to play in further reducing emissions of pollutants and people’s exposure to them.
Simon Bowens, of Friends of the Earth, said: “It’s a scandal that hundreds of people have died prematurely in Derbyshire because of polluted air.
“Tougher measures are needed to tackle the causes of our dirty air, especially traffic pollution. Ministers and local authorities must develop an urgent action plan to introduce cleaner vehicles and encourage the use of alternative forms of transport.
“People won’t be able to breathe easily until they do.”
Authorities across Derbyshire are keen to promote cycling and walking as an alternative to using the car.