An “unforgivable” scale of pollution across Yorkshire has been revealed by a major environmental organisation – showing that the region is home to UK’s worst spot for breaching nitrogen dioxide levels outside London
Friends of the Earth (FotE) released a data audit showing that 227 sites across Yorkshire that have breached the annual air quality objective for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels.
Campaigners called on the government to “step up” and tackle the issue instead of leaving “under-resourced” councils to make the tough choices.
The north-west entrance of the tunnel in Neville Street near Leeds Station tops FotE’s named Yorkshire spots.
It was found to have an NO2 level of 99 micrograms per cubic meter of air – nearly two-and-a-half times over the UK and European objective of 40 – making it the most polluted British location outside the capital.
Simon Bowens, Yorkshire and North East campaigner at FotE, said: “It’s unforgivable to see many locations across the region over air quality limits, leaving thousands of us breathing dangerously polluted air.”
“Air pollution is often an issue thought of as affecting only the biggest cities. The reality is that unacceptably toxic air can be found across much of the UK, even in smaller towns. It is harming the health of people across the country and is especially bad for young children whose lungs are still developing.
“The government needs to step up and do more to deal with this air pollution crisis – they can’t just carry on leaving the difficult decisions with local authorities, many of which are severely under-resourced.”
Fir Tree Close and John O’Gaunts, two very close sites off the A635 in Hickleton, Doncaster, are named as second and third.
Sheffield Station’s 3A/2B platform comes fourth, while the north-east entrance of the Neville Street tunnel in Leeds also registers at fifth on the list, followed in ninth by Bishopgate Street, which it connects to outside the Scarbrough Hotel pub.
Platform 6A and Arundel Gate Interchange in Sheffield are sixth and seventh, while Harborough Hill Road in Barnsley in eighth.
Queens Road in Bradford and New Bank North, Calderdale, are joint tenth.
FotE is campaigning for Clean Air Zones to be rolled out in far more places than are currently being planned, supported by improved infrastructure to support safe cycling and walking.