Air pollution killing hundreds in Bristol each year

Air pollution is killing nearly 200 people a year in Bristol. Credit: ITV West Country

Air pollution is killing nearly 200 people a year in Bristol - that's according to new government data. The city's air quality is illegally low - and European politicians say tougher laws are needed.

Breathing in polluted air is a fact of life for city dwellers - and particularly for Bristolians.

Government figures show that levels of nitrogen dioxide in 2013 were

and aren't expected to become legal until 2020.

Campaigners have told us that one form of transport in particular is causing more than its fair share of harm, and you've probably guessed where most of that pollution's coming from.

So what do Bristolians make of the situation? They are the people who live with it, day in, and day out.

In a statement Bristol City Council told us:

The irony is that Bristol is European Green Capital - and just last year it was hosting an international summit on how to improve air quality.

But there's more to all this than political embarrassment. What's around Bristolians in the air now is an invisible killer - and that isn't an exaggeration.

Government figures show that:

That's a higher rate than the English and South West average.

Air pollution can trigger heart and lung conditions, and can make asthma worse.

South West Conservative MEP Julie Girling was in town today to measure Bristol's illegal air for herself. There are plans afoot to introduce tougher air pollution controls across Europe, designed to make it harder for governments to ignore them. Ironically, it seems the VW emissions scandal might have actually helped matters:

It's clear that air pollution kills tens of thousands of people every year in the UK - so there really isn't any time to lose.