The air the babies breathe.

The intrauterine, perinatal and early childhood periods, during which the lungs are developing and maturing, are very vulnerable times. These are periods when the lungs are susceptible to injury by air pollutants.”

(more from this article below.)

Liverpool Women’s Hospital is a set of modern low-rise building with major landscaping features. Across the Upper Parliament Street side there is a raised grassy mound with trees that effectively blocks traffic pollution. It is a substantial piece of landscaping. (We were told, when planning our demonstration on Sept 25th, that there is space for 3000 people to stand on that mound).On the other side of the road there is more landscaping, helping to absorb traffic pollution

The traffic on Upper Parliament Street is significantly less than in the town centre. The other two roads around Liverpool Women’s Hospital are smaller and, again, blocked from impacting on the Hospital.

Trees, grass and bushes across the site also help filter the air.

The preferred site for any move is still not announced, but we are told one site is favoured and that would be high-rise block on the site of the old Liverpool Royal Hospital. This is an area with all the traffic and pollution that currently surrounds the area around the Royal. That site is in no way equal to the current site.

Moving the Liverpool Women’s Hospital to that site would add 60,000 extra patients and more than 1300 staff, increasing traffic significantly and increasing the pollutants caused by traffic.

The area has the heavy traffic on Low Hill but often standing traffic on Prescott Street, featuring the buses coming to the hospital and on into town. They often crawl along there, pumping out pollution into the air. Diesel cars are as bad, in traffic queues.Perhaps our planners should travel by bus

Buses also use Pembroke Place and West Derby Place. The standing traffic, especially from diesel engines, pump out pollutants into the air.

Air quality and traffic based pollution are significant problems. We are told 12,000 people die in each from this pollution in London alone.. We need an environmental impact assessment of any such move, and this impact assessment must be done now, not after decisions are made.

Traffic pollution for the new Royal needs a full impact assessment and serious intervention to reduce pollution for that hospital alone.


Babies and children are vulnerable to traffic pollution. This is backed up by scientific studies commissioned in Liverpool about Liverpool Traffic.

Why would we move the birth of 8000 babies into major traffic hotspot?

” The intrauterine, perinatal and early childhood periods, during which the lungs are developing and maturing, are very vulnerable times. These are periods when the lungs are susceptible to injury by air pollutants.

There is now substantial evidence on the adverse effects of air pollution on different pregnancy outcomes and infant health. The evidence shows that air pollution, with concentrations typical of many European cities, increases the risk of death from respiratory causes in the post neonatal period.

The evidence also shows a relationship between exposure to ambient air pollutants and adverse effects on the development of lung function. Reversible lung function deficits, chronically reduced lung growth rates and lower lung function levels are associated with exposure to air pollution. Moreover, the evidence shows clearer relationships for particulate matter and traffic-related air pollution (indicated by nitrogen dioxide) than for other pollutants. Based on current knowledge, air pollutants seem to interact with other environmental factors, such as allergens, viruses and diet, that influence the overall impact of air pollutants on children’s health

Air quality is recognised as the UK’s second biggest public health concern after smoking, with the Environmental Audit Commission estimating it annually costs the nation £20bn and can cut life expectancy by years (Henderson, 2012). A Defra briefing paper summarised the health impacts of poor air quality in the UK as follows:

 The burden of particulate air pollution in the UK in 2008 was estimated to be equivalent to nearly 29,000 deaths at typical ages and an associated loss of population life of 340,000 life years lost.

 It has been estimated that removing all fine particulate air pollution would have a bigger impact on life expectancy in England and Wales than eliminating passive smoking or road traffic accidents.  The economic cost from the impacts of air pollution in the UK is estimated at £9-19 billion every year. This is comparable to the economic cost of obesity (over £10 billion)

Local interventions to tackle outdoor air pollution with demonstrable impacts on health and health service use. LPHO Report Series, number 101 Rapid Evidence Review Series, number 4 Produced on behalf of the Merseyside Directors of Public Health,pollution,FINAL,FINAL.pdf

January 2015

There is more in another article

A more recent report is relevant also.

One thought on “The air the babies breathe.”

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