York is named as one of the most polluted cities in Britain

Queuing cars in York. Photographs: Richard McDougall
2 May 2018 @ 6.21 pm
| Environment

York’s poor air quality has been highlighted in a global report.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), York has worse air pollution than London.

Their researchers looked at fine particle emissions – called PM 2.5 – which travel deeply into people’s respiratory systems and can lead to health problems.

Many of the UK’s main cities exceed the WHO limit of 10 micrograms per cubic metre.

London, for example, has a reading of 11.

But York has a reading of 12 micrograms per cubic metre, putting it among Britain’s most polluted cities.

The worst offender in the country is the steel town of Port Talbot, with a reading of 18.

Causes premature death

Traffic is a major polluter in York

Only in March, campaigner Geoff Beacon called for stronger measures to tackle York’s air pollution, writing in YorkMix:

In 2012, the City of York’s Low Emissions Strategy estimated that between 94 and 163 people die prematurely each year in York from traffic pollution.

In addition, Public Health England have estimated that there are 82 premature deaths a year in York from particulate pollution alone.

Elsewhere in the world things are much worse.

The most polluted city in 2015 according to the WHO data is Muzaffarpur in India, with a figure of 197 micrograms per cubic metre, although this figure is under revision.

Below that is Pasakha in Bhutan (150), Delhi in India (123) and greater Cairo in Egypt (117).