Air pollution in Leamington breaches safe levels, report shows

Pollution in Leamington exceeds safe levels, the WHO's latest report shows
Pollution in Leamington exceeds safe levels, the WHO's latest report shows

Air pollution in Leamington breaches safe levels, new figures released by the World Health Organisation (WHO) have shown.

The WHO's report, published today (Wednesday May 2) measures two kinds of pollution - fine particle (PM2.5) and coarse particle (PM10).

It indicates Leamington has an average concentration of 12 micrograms of fine particles per cubic metre of air in 2015 - above the WHO safe level of 10 micrograms per cubic metre.

The measurement also placed Leamington among the 31 most polluted areas in the country.

Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western was concerned by the figures.

He said: "This news will come as no surprise to some residents and is something I have raised in the papers on several occasions in the past.

"Both towns of Warwick and Leamington have poor air quality and the last WHO report I saw around a year ago had Leamington at 39th worst in the country.

"So it is concerning to see further deterioration and for it to be reported as one of the worst 31 areas to have fine particle air pollution levels above 10 micrograms per cubic metre.

"This report serves as a timely reminder to act quickly and substantively. This is an important issue and one which needs urgent action from the Government. I will be pursuing it and acting."

Leamington's pollution levels had gone up from 2014 (11 micrograms/cubic metre), but had decreased since 2013 (13 micrograms/cubic metre).

The WHO estimates that around 7 million people die every year from exposure to fine particles in polluted air that penetrate deep into the lungs and cardiovascular system, causing diseases including stroke, heart disease, and lung cancer.

In response to the report, a spokesman for Warwick District Council said it was 'actively working' to improve air quality.

He added: "Our latest annual status report on air quality identifies that PM10 concentrations at monitoring sites have been consistently below the recommended World Health Organisation (WHO) values.

"In recent years, PM2.5 concentrations have also decreased, and in 2016, concentrations were only marginally above the recommended WHO limit.

"The council has had an Air Quality Action Plan in place for a number of years and is working with a number of stakeholders to deliver air quality improvements and reduce pollution in its towns.

"Some of these measures include improvements to walking and cycling infrastructure, increasing electric vehicle charging provision, junction improvements on key travel corridors and improving public information on sustainable transport options.”