Air pollution levels at Bond End in Knaresborough have met legal limits for the first time since it was identified as a problem area over 10 years ago.
This was one of the key findings of Harrogate Borough Council’s 2021 Air Quality Annual Status Report, which tracked levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) at various monitoring sites across the district throughout 2020.
NO2 is an air pollutant produced mainly by exhaust fumes and has been linked to numerous health conditions, including asthma, heart disease, lung cancer and Alzheimer’s.
The UK still adheres to EU legal limits for air pollution, which state no monitoring site should exceed 40 micrograms per cubic metre of NO2 over the course of a year.
The annual level for Bond End was 33.8 micrograms per cubic metre in 2020, which is down on 40.47 micrograms per cubic metre in 2019.
Harrogate Borough Council declared an Air Quality Management Area for Bond End in 2010. The UK government requires local authorities to take action to improve areas with particularly bad air pollution.
In September 2018, North Yorkshire County Council replaced traffic lights at Bond End with a double mini-roundabout to reduce congestion and improve the flow of traffic.
This intervention appears to have reduced pollution levels, although many towns and cities across the UK reported decreases in air pollution during 2020 due to covid lockdowns and more people working from home.
- Plans for 77 homes on former Trelleborg factory site in Knaresborough
- £50,000 bid to look into Knaresborough to Flaxby cycle route
The four Air Quality Management Area in the Harrogate district all recorded annual levels below the 40 micrograms per cubic metre limit.
The others are at High Skellgate in Ripon, York Place in Knaresborough and Wetherby Road in Harrogate.
The council also has diffusion tubes to monitor NO2 levels at more than 50 other locations across the district. It found that air pollution decreased at every location over the past year except at Knaresborough bus station, where it increased slightly.
A council spokesman said:
“It’s positive that that annual reading for nitrogen dioxide is below the EU legal limit.
“We’re keen to remain at this level, or better still continue to improve, and have a number of actions as part of our Air Quality Action Plan.
“These include working with HGV, bus and taxi providers to improve the quality of their fleet, our ultra-low emission vehicle strategy as well as air quality campaigns and education.
“We are optimistic that the improvements in air quality will continue post-covid as many people have embraced a hybrid model of working at home and in the office.
“We will continue to monitoring air quality and tailor our action plan accordingly.”