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Into the blue logo


Health is arguably the most valuable thing any human being can own. Understanding how our environment affects our minds and bodies - whether that's through the quality of the air we breathe, the water we drink, or simply the environments in which we live - is fundamental to promoting a healthy, happy society.

From providing evidence of noxious particles in the air, to the discovery of the ozone hole, to shedding light on the value of nature to the quality of our lives, NERC-funded research has helped, and will continue to help, protect people from harm, promote wellbeing and ensure the best environmental decisions for the benefit of everyone.

Congested traffic

Choking cities

Air pollution is estimated to cause 29,000 premature deaths in England every year. People living in the UK's cities are particularly at risk, as they breathe in the tiny particles and noxious gasses from the huge numbers of cars on the road and severe traffic congestion, as well as other transport and industry.

NERC invests around £3m each year in air pollution research. Decades of NERC research has fed into local and national government policies to reduce the major causes of air pollution in the UK. Air pollution is associated with a range of serious health problems, including heart and lung diseases which can lead to premature death. Our science is helping people understand the risks and manage their exposure.