Although the report authors said their study was inconclusive, Chief Medical Officer Sir Kenneth Calman said they were taking the issue very seriously and further study had already started. Launching the report, health minister Frank Dobson said the report confirmed that air pollution damaged health and the Government was right to take a hard line on air quality - evidenced by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott's appeal for a Europe-wide campaign last week.
Environment minister Michael Meacher added: 'This report justifies the importance the Government attaches to measures for reducing air pollution. That is why I am determined to press ahead as quickly as possible with the implementation of the National Air Quality Strategy. And in Europe we are already close to agreeing significantly tighter standards for vehicle emissions and for fuel quality.'