Two Norfolk sites found to be breaching safe air pollution levels
- Credit: Archant
Safe air pollution limits are being breached in Norwich and King’s Lynn, analysis by a major environmental group has found.
Friends of the Earth (FoE), which analysed council reports on nitrogen dioxide in the air at monitoring sites across England, has found levels of air pollution are being breached at Castle Meadow in Norwich and Railway Road in King’s Lynn.
Both sites exceeded the annual average air quality target of 40 micrograms per cubic metre of air for nitrogen dioxide in 2018, the most recent year for which data is available.
Nitrogen dioxide is a pollutant which mostly comes from traffic fumes and, along with other pollution such as particulate matter, is linked to health issues such as lung and respiratory diseases and early deaths.
The average levels must be below 40 to meet government air quality targets, while World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines set this as a safe limit to protect public health.
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The worst offending location in Norfolk – at Castle Meadow in Norwich – came in at 54, while levels in Railway Road came in at 43.2.
Nationally, 1,360 sites failed to meet the 40 micrograms target in 2018.
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FoE has warned failing to fix air pollution costs lives and showed a failure to address the climate crisis.
It wants to see polluting vehicles removed from the roads and transport cleaned up.
In response to FoE’s findings, a spokesperson for King’s Lynn and West Borough said: “The council is committed to improving air quality across the borough.
“We have a number of measures and activities in place that support this commitment, particularly through our air quality action plan and our King Lynn’s Lynn Transport Strategy.”
Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport at, said: “Even though the East of England generally has lower levels of nitrogen dioxide than many other parts of the country we want to cut it even further.
“Understandably the hotspot in Norfolk is in the busy centre of Norwich. As we know increased active travel and cleaner vehicles are key ways to cut air pollution and improve health, we have an ongoing programme of walking, cycling and public transport improvements in the city.”
Norwich City Council which is responsible to monitoring air pollution in the city, was approached for comment.