1. ITV Report

Air pollution 'dangerously high' in parts of the South West

Friends of the Earth is calling on the Government to take action Photo: ITV News

Air pollution levels in some parts of the West Country are almost double what they should be, according to shocking new research by Friends of the Earth.

The campaign group says young people across Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, Bristol and Dorset are breathing in 'unforgivably high' levels of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2).

Quay Road in Tideford, Cornwall, recorded the highest level - with 73.6 micrograms of pollutant in one cubic metre of air. This is well above the recommended level of 40ug/m3.

Friends of the Earth says high levels of NO2 can cause a flare up of asthma or symptoms such as coughing and difficulty breathing.

The amount of Nitrogen Oxide in the air in Tideford - the highest level in the South West

It’s unforgivable to see so many locations across the region over air quality limits, leaving thousands of us breathing dangerously polluted air. Air pollution is often an issue thought of as affecting only the biggest cities.

The reality is that unacceptably toxic air can be found across much of the UK. even in smaller towns. It is harming the health of people across the country and is especially bad for young children whose lungs are still developing.

The government needs to step up and do more to deal with this air pollution crisis – they can’t just carry on leaving the difficult decisions with local authorities, many of which are severely under-resourced.

– Mike Birkin, South West campaigner at Friends of the Earth
Parts of Devon, Somerset, Bristol and Dorset have been singled out Credit: ITV News

Temple Cloud in Somerset, Dean Prior in Devon and St Pauls in Bristol were also highlighted as having higher than average levels of NO2.

Friends of the Earth is campaigning for 'clean air zones' to be rolled out in far more places than currently planned, supported by measures such as improved infrastructure to support safe cycling and walking.

The group says removing certain types of vehicles would also contribute to reducing carbon emissions and fighting climate change.

Friends of the Earth wants fewer people to use vehicles Credit: ITV News

Bath and North East Somerset Council is considering introducing a clean air zone, after an “unprecedented” response to a public consultation.

The council has been told to reduce nitrogen dioxide levels in the city in the “shortest possible time”, and by 2021 at the latest.

The council received more than 8,400 responses to its clean air zone consultation, forcing it to delay a decision due before the deadline at the end of last year.

  • Quay Road, Tideford – 73.6ug/m3
  • A37 Temple Cloud, Bath & NE Somerset – 67
  • A38, Dean Prior, South Hams – 66.3
  • Ashley Road St. Pauls, Bristol – 65.1
  • St Thomas Road, Launceston – 62.4
  • Air Balloon roundabout, near Birdlip, Cotswold – 61.4
  • Newfoundland Way, Bristol – 61.2
  • East Wonford Hill, Exeter – 59
  • Chideock Main Street, West Dorset – 58.9
  • Mill Road, Tideford, Cornwall – 58.8