“And Breathe Normally”: The Low Emission Zone impacts on health and well-being in England

Research output: Working paper / PreprintWorking paper


Air pollution is a global concern for its negative externalities on the climate, but also on the healthcare sector and human capital accumulation. Yet, there is scant evidence on the effectiveness of clean air transport policies. In this study we investigate the effects of London’s Low Emission Zone (LEZ) and Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) on health and well-being. We exploit the temporal and spatial variation of these policies, implemented in Greater London (LEZ) and Central London (ULEZ) in 2008 and 2019, respectively. Using a difference-in-differences approach and linked survey and administrative data, we find LEZ has significantly reduced PM10 by 12% of the baseline mean and ULEZ has reduced both NO2 by 12.4% and PM10 by 27%. We also show improvements in health with LEZ reducing limiting health problems by 7%, COPD by 14.5% and sick leave by 17%; and ULEZ reducing number of health conditions by 22.5%, anxiety by 6.5%, and sick leave by 18%. A back of the envelope cost-benefit analysis indicates savings for £963.7M for the overall population.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherHealth Econometrics Data Group, University of York
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


  • Air Pollution; Health; Well-being; Low Emission Zones


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