Telford and Wrekin air quality within safe limits

Air pollution in Telford and Wrekin is within safe limits despite hundreds of breaches elsewhere environmental campaigners have found.

Audits of town hall reports carried out by Friends of the Earth found that levels of nitrogen dioxide at more than 1,000 monitoring sites across England were failing to meet air quality targets.

But checks in the borough found no sites where the average level of nitrogen dioxide exceeded 40 micrograms per cubic metre of air in 2018, the latest year for which data is available.

The average measure must be below 40 to meet Government air quality targets in an effort to protect public health.

Nationally 1,360 sites failed to meet that target, a reduction of 231 from the previous year.

The campaign group is warning that failing to fix air pollution will cost lives and shows a failure to address the climate crisis.

Friends of the Earth is claiming that road traffic is the leading cause of nitrogen dioxide pollution, which can inflame the lining of the lungs and reduce immunity to infections such as bronchitis.


The group’s clean air campaigner Simon Bowens said: “If ministers want to avoid a return to the health-damaging and illegal levels of air pollution we had before lockdown, their enthusiasm for ‘active travel’ needs to be a permanent switch and not just a short-term gap plugger.”

The Government recently announced plans to boost cycling and walking, including a pledge to build thousands of miles of bike lanes at a cost of £2 billion.

But environmental campaigners have criticised its separate commitment to invest £27bn new roads over the next five years.

Across the West Midlands 125 sites recorded annual averages that failed to meet air quality standards, 13 of which registered levels of more than 60 micrograms per cubic metre.

A Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs spokesman said: “Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – emissions of nitrogen oxides have fallen by 33 per cent and are at their lowest level since records began.

“But we know there is more to do, which is why we are taking urgent action to curb the impact air pollution has on communities across England through the delivery of our £3.8bn plan to clean up transport and tackle NO2 pollution.”

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