Pollution getting worse in Warwick district, new report says

Pollution has got worse at 90 per cent of sites measured in Warwick district
Pollution has got worse at 90 per cent of sites measured in Warwick district

Levels of air pollution in Warwick district have got worse since last year, a new air quality report has said.

Warwick District Council's Air Quality Report for 2018 stated that around 90 per cent of all sites monitored in the district had higher concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a strong air pollutant, than last year.

Measurements were taken in Leamington, Warwick and Kenilworth.

The report also stated that 18 sites in the district had unsafe levels of NO2. The guideline 'safe' amount is 40 micrograms per cubic metre of air.

However, once the data was corrected to take into account the receptors' distance from the road, only 14 were still unsafe.

Many of the unsafe sites were in Air Quality Monitoring Areas (AQMAs), which are known to have high levels of pollution and are therefore regularly checked by the council.

The AQMAs are currently at Coventry Road in Warwick, Warwick town centre, New Street and Warwick Road in Kenilworth, and the crossroads of Bath Street and High Street in Leamington.

But other sites outside of the AQMAs also reported unsafe levels of NO2, such as Castle Hill in Warwick and Tachbrook Road in Leamington. Another site, Charles Street, also exceeded safe levels, but the levels were later found to be safe once the data was corrected for distance.

Overall, the worst levels of pollution were recorded at Wise Street in Leamington, which had an average of 55.4 micrograms of NO2 per cubic metre of air.

The sites reported as having unsafe levels of pollution were:

Warwick - Pageant House, Jury Street, High Street, Bowling Green Street, Saltisford/Northgate, Coventry Road, St Nicholas Church, Castle Hill.

Leamington - Bath Street, High Street, Spencer Street, Wise Street, Tachbrook Road, Old Warwick Road.

Labour district councillor Barbara Weed said: “Pollution from traffic is getting worse in our congested town centres. It can lead to health problems for the most vulnerable - young children and the elderly, and those with heart and lung conditions.

"Warwick District and Warwickshire County councils must work together to improve air quality for residents."

A Warwick District Council spokesman said: "Improving air quality, and in particular volumes and use of cars in our town centres, is a difficult and complex area to address and ultimately the responsibility of us all.

"Warwick District Council’s latest reports identify that air quality in terms of NO2 has increased within the Air Quality Management Areas , however, particulate results remain broadly consistent with previous years.

"The Council is working with partners on a number of schemes that could, over time improve air quality specifically targeting the identified Air Quality Management areas."

The report says measures aimed at tackling the rise in pollution include 20mph zones within AQMAs, the creation of a travel campaign website and on-going promotion campaign, and the council bringing electric vehicles into its fleet.

The council also expects the installation of new diffusion tubes in the Castle Hill in Warwick and the completion of the Europa Way development to help in the future.