Leamington’s air is not fit for humans to breathe, according to a new report published today (Wednesday October 31).
The report, by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and The Lancet Commission, named Leamington as one of 44 towns and cities in the UK breaching World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines on air quality.
Leamington was found to have an average of 13 micrograms of fine polluting matter per cubic metre of air - far higher than the maximum level of 10 micrograms per cubic metre according to WHO guidelines.
And hotspots for pollution in the town are likely to exceed the average figure.
Pollution is linked to early death, and children breathing in dirty air can cause health problems in later life.
The report called on the government to do more to combat levels of pollution, such as increasing funding to create more ‘clean air zones’ and implementing charges for vehicles in the most polluted towns and cities.
Dr Toby Hillman of the RCP said: “We know that high exposures in early life have a major effect on lung and cognitive development throughout an individual’s life – that is why it is the government’s duty to improve the air we breathe and to ensure that people across the UK are not exposed to such a preventable cause of death and illness.
“Addressing climate change and poor air quality isn’t a burden or cost, but fundamentally an opportunity we should grasp with both hands.”
The district council adopted an Air Quality Action Plan in 2015 which aims to reduce concentrations of nitrogen dioxide, a highly-polluting chemical emitted from diesel vehicles.
It aims to encourage people to use public transport, their bike or get about on foot, incorporate better traffic management schemes to reduce pollution, and to take air quality into account when new developments are considered.
Warwick District Council has been contacted for comment.