University Professor supports campaign to reduce air pollution in Liverpool

Calum Semple, a Professor in Child Health and Outbreak Medicine, is providing support to a local public health campaign to ensure everyone gets to breathe the cleanest air possible.

The ‘Let’s Clear the Air Liverpool’ campaign, run by Liverpool City Council and partners, outlines the steps people can take to mitigate the impact of air pollution in Liverpool and highlights the stark health consequences of pollution caused mainly by cars and also industry.

The aim is to encourage changes in behaviour by making small changes to significantly reduce the amount of pollution and improve the quality of the air in the city.

Let’s Clear the Air Liverpool campaign highlights that:

  • Children living in highly polluted areas are four times more likely to have stunted lung development which can affect their health for life
  • People breathe in twice as much pollution inside their car than they would do outside
  • Diesel exhausts contain up to 30 times more air pollution than petrol
  • Air pollution can worsen asthma and breathing problems, while long periods of exposure can cause heart disease, strokes, hardening of the arteries and increases the risk of lung cancer

In a video produced for the campaign Professor Semple explains how children are more likely to have wheeze or asthma if they’re exposed to air pollution.


Professor Semple, who is also a Consultant in Paediatric Respiratory Medicine at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, said: “We are seeing parents bring their children into our clinics and they themselves are recognising the closeness they live to these busy roads is causing problems for the child’s health.

“Children are more likely to get severe bronchitis and pneumonia and that makes them come into hospital. There is quite a lot of evidence to show the presence of small particles from car fumes is associated with increasing the risk of these problems and increasing the severity of these problems for children.

“We think the reason children are suffering more is because they are shorter, they’re closer to the ground, children actually breathe a little bit faster than adults do, so they breathe in more of the fumes. There’s another problem that children have, they’re growing, their lungs are still developing and any insult to a developing lung will result in that lung not developing as it should do.

“We now recognise these problems are occurring even when the baby is in the mother’s womb from the mother being exposed to these tiny particles.”

To find our more information about the campaign and the ways in which you can help please visit

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