None? Wrong. Don’t believe me? Then check out the App: ‘Shoot! I Smoke’, which turns live pollution data from hundreds of air quality stations in cities around the world into a cigarette equivalent figure. Great idea. Technology enabled. Thoroughly depressing. 

Source – Shoot! I smoke 13/06/2018

Smoking leads to 98,000 ‘preventable deaths’ each year in the UK. The equivalent figure due to particulates and other vehicle emissions is 40,000. And the health cost? £5.9 billion each year according to new research* from the University of Oxford and University of Bath published ahead of Clean Air Day next week. That’s equivalent to £37 for each petrol car, £258 for each diesel car and £593 for each diesel van apparently.

But at least all those cars mean we are getting to work efficiently right?  Well….they do…currently…..

There are 31 million cars on the road in the UK today, but regardless of whether you are sitting in a ‘dirty diesel’ or a new Tesla, average traffic speeds across England’s A roads are declining. In the morning rush (7am to 10am) average speeds are 23.7 mph and in the evening a slightly lower 22.2 mph. On ‘urban’ roads, the average is to just over 18mph. And in the City of London? Sorry, it’s a nearly pedestrian 7.6mph!

This decrease in average commuting speeds is a relatively new phenomenon, but if things keep going the same way, within the next 10 years it’ll be quicker to cycle (assuming Strava averages). E-bike anyone?


About the author

Ryan Smith is Head of ESG Research. He joined Kames Capital in October 2000 as an SRI analyst and was appointed to his current position in September 2002. He has 17 years’ industry experience*. His role involves managing the team that conducts the ESG screening process for our Responsible Investing funds. Ryan’s team also provides corporate governance screening and research for all equity investments, and conducts research into environmental and social issues. Before joining us, he worked as an environmental chemist for Severn Trent Water. Ryan has an MSc in Environmental Chemistry from Nottingham Trent University and is a CFA charterholder.

*As at 28 February 2018.

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