Stoke-on-Trent has the worst air polluted city centre in the country, according to a fieldwork study. Recordings taken at high streets in the 25 largest towns and cities in the country, over a two-week period, found that 76 percent are exceeding the World Health Organisation’s recommended annual level of air pollution.
But six towns and cities had more than double this level – including Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle, Leicester, Coventry, Hull, and Bradford.
At other end of the scale, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Reading had the lowest air pollution, according to the study by GRIDSERVE.
Sam Clarke, chief vehicle officer at the tech-enabled sustainable energy business, said: “With millions set to hit the high street this festive period, we wanted to look at the state of the nation’s air quality in the locations people will be doing most of their Christmas shopping.
“It’s shocking to see that so many were above the World Health Organisation’s annual recommendations for air pollution, and that one in 10 shoppers are even planning on foregoing the high streets altogether due to air quality.”
The brand enlisted a planning consultancy to gather the samples using an air quality monitoring device, at 11am on either a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, to ensure as much comparability as possible between the locations.
Researchers monitored the level of PM2.5 pollutants in the air – meaning particulate matter that is less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter.
Separate readings were taken 200 metres apart on high streets, and samples were also taken in central parks, and on an additional road with traffic present.
The WHO’s recommendation, acknowledged by the Government’s Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants, is that annual levels of PM2.5 should not exceed 5 micrograms per cubic meter of air (µg/m3).
Particulate matter (PM) is everything in the air that’s not gas, and consists of many chemical compounds and materials. Because of their small size, they can enter the bloodstream and cause illnesses such as asthma, heart disease, and lung cancer.
It comes after a poll, of 2,000 adults, found 36 percent have concerns over the health of the local community due to air pollution, or the health of their family (26 percent) or themselves (25 percent).
One in four (26 percent) are trying to find greener ways to travel, while 12 percent avoid shopping where there are lots of cars – or just forgo the high street in favour of online shopping (11 percent).
And a similar amount (10 percent) are going to do more of their Christmas shopping virtually this year, to avoid high-street air pollution.
Sam Clarke added: “If we’re to reach the World Health Organisation’s annual target of 5 µg/m3 of PM2.5 in our air, collectively we need to change our behaviours.
“With vehicle emissions being a key contributor, anything we can do to travel more greenly – from walking more, to cycling, and including electric vehicles – is a very valuable step forward to improve the air we breathe daily.”
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This notice was published: 2023-12-08 10:44:00