Drones – the ‘end’ of Britain’s silent air pollution killer?

One of the world’s experts in drone technology, Robert Garbett, has called on the UK Government to support the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) plea for Britain to act to protect the health of people by implementing a ‘drone transport infrastructure’.

According to the research published in the scientific journal, Patterns found that a single delivery of a package by drone accounted for 84% less greenhouse gas emissions than a diesel truck and used 94% less energy.

Robert Garbett, Founder of Drone Major Group, stated: ‘We can save lives, disease in the youngest reduced, the oldest and most vulnerable members of society protected, as well as saving the NHS millions by replacing many of our delivery vans, trucks and heavy goods vehicles with battery-powered drones.’

Mitigating air pollution

‘It is glaringly obvious that the use of drones in the UK’s most polluted cities can rapidly and economically improve the quality of the air we breathe and mitigate the lethal consequences of air pollution.’

‘The UK has the knowledge to become the global driving force in drone technology, starting in our largest cities, potentially with a pioneering maritime drone initiative in London on the river Thames that would decarbonise the city’s logistics and freight industry. The technology is available now, and the huge health, environmental and economic benefits to the UK and its public should be a priority.’

“This technology can be deployed in any city with a river in the UK and beyond. Its adoption will dramatically reduce the number of delivery vehicles on our roads, improve air quality, reduce congestion, make roads faster and more efficient, and improve our wellbeing.’

‘Today, approximately 89% of all goods transported by land in Great Britain are moved directly by road transport, which is one of the UK’s most polluting industries. The exciting and necessary benefits of a drone initiative of this kind will reduce the logistics industry’s dependence on road travel through innovative, cleaner technology and advance the Government’s bid to cut pollution in the UK’s most crowded and congested cities. The UK should become a world leader,’ commented Garbett.  

‘A maritime drone delivery system on the Thames would not require any new building infrastructure and would involve maritime drones carrying freight, to travel along the river to a series of pontoons equipped appropriately for lifting freight onto the shore.’

Impact of air pollution

99% of the global population breathes in polluted air every day. In September, a breakthrough study by the Francis Crick Institution in London found that air pollution uncovered the link between car fumes and lung cancer in non-smokers. Another study by Imperial College London proved that approximately 4,000 Londoners died prematurely in 2019 because of long-term exposure to air pollution. Poor air quality causes permanently stunted lungs in children.

Dr Maria Neira of the World Health Organisation commented: ‘The benefits of cleaner air (will) extend beyond our health, to the collective public, environmental and economic health. And, like the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, air pollution calls for speedy, coordinated cross-border political leadership.’

Robert Garbett added: ‘City Hall now predicts that over 550,000 Londoners will develop diseases caused by poor air quality by 2050, a tragedy which, according to Air Quality News, could cost the NHS and social care system in London alone over £10.4 billion by 2050. 

‘An end to the disastrous impact of poor air quality on our health, the environment and the economic impact is plain to see. Suppose we implement maritime drone technology systems in our major cities. In that case, we can clean up our air, future-proof our vital logistics industry and capitalise on one of the UK’s biggest opportunities for growth in clean technology. The longer the UK takes to act on the solution to air pollution, the greater health and environmental risk the British public will face.’