Having doffed his green, safe and smart cap, Birmingham City Council’s cabinet member for community safety, James McKay, has now written to welcome the Government’s latest approach to extremism – “tackling the threat from terrorism in all its forms. We can’t pick and choose which extremism we want to tackle. We need to fight it all”.

bham air pollution

As an estimated 1460 Birmingham people die from air pollution each year, the government prefers to focus on terrorism, which has killed very few.

Public Health England reports show that air pollution is estimated to cause 1,460 excess deaths a year in Birmingham and the Government has been ordered by the UK’s highest court to take immediate action over its obligations under European law on air pollution limits.

In April, ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi reported from Birmingham, one of the worst affected cities. Watch the video: http://www.itv.com/news/update/2015-04-29/birmingham-one-of-uks-worst-cities-for-air-pollution/.

George Monbiot correctly points out that factors likely to kill far more people in this country than terrorists will manage, include:

  • diet, smoking, alcohol,
  • the slow collapse of the NHS,
  • child poverty,
  • air pollution,
  • traffic accidents,
  • lack of exercise,
  • even accidents due to the wrong kind of bedroom slippers,
  • and the writer adds, domestic violence,

and longer term:

  • climate change,
  • antibiotic resistance,
  • soil loss
  • and nuclear proliferation by states (including our own)

Monbiot insists that all the hazards he named – except nuclear proliferation – should be given more resources and political effort than are deployed to confront Islamic extremism.