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Leicester has worst air pollution in England

Air pollution causes 50,000 premature deaths in the UK every year and figures suggest Leicester has the worst air quality of any town in England and the 9th worst in Europe.

Today Leicester Friends of the Earth join other organisation to launch Healthy Air Leicester to campaign for action to rectify this situation.

Air pollution is believed to cause 50,000 premature deaths in the UK every year Credit: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Colour maps give dramatic picture of Leicester's air quality - full report

by Chris Halpin

Many of us don't give much thought to the air that we breathe, but scientists from the University of Leicester are doing just that to learn how pollution affects us.

In a world-first experiment they've mapped the whole of the city by plane, to see how fumes and emissions are carried around. They hope the work will mean we can lead cleaner, healthier lives. Chris Halpin reports.

Explanation of world first experiment to map Leicester's air quality

Project leader Dr Roland Leigh, of the Earth Observation Science group, explains to ITV News Central reporter Chris Halpin how the specially adapted Spectrometer mapped air quality around Leicester.

The device gave a reading for Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) levels between the ground and the plane - which was flying at around 900m.

Each reading corresponds to an area of 6 metres by 100 metres at ground level.

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Maps should help to 'understand' sources of pollution

The project leader behind the new pollution maps being used in the city of Leicester said it is the first time in the UK anyone has been able to use airborne technology to map pollution levels. He said:

This information really helps us understand the sources of pollution within cities, and the human exposure downwind. We are hoping to do carry out further flights as part of the Airborne Air Quality Mapper project - and are looking for potential collaborators and customers.

Read: Pollution maps 'future' of environmental technology

Pollution maps 'future' of environmental technology

Results from a new pollution-detecting technology, which has been installed in Leicester city, could help with environmental decisions in the future, scientists said.

The technology uses a "heatmap" to show pollution levels in the area, showing levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) across the city.

Leicester Cathedral in the city of Leicester Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

As part of a project "developing solutions to the national problem" of improving overall air quality, scientists have also used a device to map air quality around the city.

Monitoring visible light, it measures how much is lost at specific wavelengths absorbed by nitrogen dioxide.

The device was previously used as part of the CityScan project, to measure pollution in Leicester, Bologna, and London during the Olympics.

Read: University of Leicester technology will monitor pollution during the Olympics

Airborne pollution scanner monitors Leicester

Pollution map highlighting emissions in Leicester. Credit: University of Leicester

Leicester has become the first city in the world to have its air quality mapped out using an airborne pollution-scanner.

This bird's eye image shows how pollution levels vary across the city.

Images were taken by researchers from the University of Leicester from a survey plane flying 900m above the city's roads, parks, industrial estates and houses.

The European Commission is calling on the government to find a solution to improve air quality.

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