Hartlepool air pollution levels fall
Air pollution levels in Hartlepool have been reduced slightly, new figures reveal.
Climate campaigners say the improvement in air quality has been helped by more people being encouraged to cycle, walk and the transition to zero-emission cars but want the Government to impose stricter limits on fine particles in the air (PM2.5), which come mainly from the burning of oil, gas and diesel.
Figures from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) show the average concentration of PM2.5 pollution particles in Hartlepool was 7.2 micrograms per cubic metre in 2019 - below the UK limit of 25, and the World Health Organisation guideline limit of 10.
That was down from 7.3 micrograms in 2018.
Separate NHS figures estimate 3.9% of deaths in the area were associated with long-term exposure to PM2.5 – down from four per cent the year before.
Dr Yannish Naik, director of the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change, welcomed the reduction in pollution in some areas, but also wants the Government to bring in lower limits on PM2.5.
He said: "The Government has taken some positive steps to reduce fine particulate pollution, including accelerating the transition to zero-emissions vehicles, and increasing investment in cycling and walking.
"However, UK limits for PM2.5 are still more than double the recommendations of the World Health Organisation and air pollution still contributes to around 40,000 deaths a year.”
A Defra spokesperson said: "We know there is more to do as we build back greener from the coronavirus pandemic.”