ella kissi over the backshot of london

Calls for ‘Ella’s Law’ after coroner rules air pollution played part in nine-year-old’s death

Anti-pollution campaigners called for a new Clean Air Act this week after a coroner ruled air pollution played a significant part in a child’s death.

Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, 9, from Lewisham, died in 2013 after suffering an asthma attack, and has become the first person in the UK to have air pollution listed as a cause of death.

Simon Birkett, founder and director of Clean Air in London said: “I wish to express my heartfelt sympathy to Rosamund Adoo Kissi-Debrah and her family on the tragic death of Ella Roberta, a talented and beautiful little girl.

“All our thoughts are with Rosamund and her family and we pay tribute to the exceptional legal team that has brought about today’s ground-breaking outcome.”

Birkett said the proposed law had been drafted by Clean Air in London and Harrison Grant Solicitors.

He said he hoped it could become “Ella’s Law” if Ella’s mother Rosamund and her advisers agreed with their ideas.

It comes as a report released in October from the Mayor of London found 99% of Londoners live with deadly air pollution.

Birkett said it was the Government’s duty to protect people’s lives as well as the environment, and called for new powers for the Government and local authorities to ensure such pollution is reduced. 

The Clean Air in London founder said action could include preventative measures such as warnings during periods of heightened air pollution.

In a letter to The Times today Jonathan Grigg, a professor of paediatric respiratory and environmental medicine at Queen Mary University of London said the coroner’s decision was groundbreaking and paved the way for governmental action.

Prof Grigg said:  “The coroner’s decision gives a human face to what we have known for some time: real children are killed by air pollution.

“The groundbreaking decision must now galvanise policymakers to reduce exposure of all children to pollution.”

Feature image credit: The Ella Roberta Estate

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