Associations between air pollution and socioeconomic characteristics, ethnicity and age profile of neighbourhoods in England and the Netherlands

Daniela Fecht*, Paul Fischer, Léa Fortunato, Gerard Hoek, Kees De Hoogh, Marten Marra, Hanneke Kruize, Danielle Vienneau, Rob Beelen, Anna Hansell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)


Air pollution levels are generally believed to be higher in deprived areas but associations are complex especially between sensitive population subgroups. We explore air pollution inequalities at national, regional and city level in England and the Netherlands comparing particulate matter (PM10) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations and publicly available population characteristics (deprivation, ethnicity, proportion of children and elderly). We saw higher concentrations in the most deprived 20% of neighbourhoods in England (1.5 μg/m3 higher PM10 and 4.4 μg/m3 NO2). Concentrations in both countries were higher in neighbourhoods with >20% non-White (England: 3.0 μg/m3 higher PM10 and 10.1 μg/m3 NO2; the Netherlands: 1.1 μg/m3 higher PM10 and 4.5 μg/m3 NO2) after adjustment for urbanisation and other variables. Associations for some areas differed from the national results. Air pollution inequalities were mainly an urban problem suggesting measures to reduce environmental air pollution inequality should include a focus on city transport.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-210
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by grant RGI-137 from the Dutch program Ruimte voor Geoinformatie , the Dutch Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment and through the EU 6th Framework Programme INTARESE Project ( 018385-2 ). The MRC-PHE Centre for Environment and Health and the work of the UK Small Area Health Statistics Unit is funded by the UK Medical Research Council and Public Health England ( G0801056/1 ). The funders had no involvement in the study design, analysis and interpretation of data, writing of the article or the decision to submit the article for publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Air pollution
  • Deprivation
  • Environmental justice
  • Ethnic inequity
  • Socioeconomic status


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