Air pollution in the city has reached its lowest levels since air quality recording began over 20 years ago, according to Leicester City Council’s own monitoring information.
Figures collected from five monitoring station across Leicester last year reveal that we are now meeting all EU air quality objectives with the exception of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) which are still recorded above objective levels, however, they have reduced by 35% since 2010.
Corrupt mayor, Peter Soulsby, said: “These latest figures are very encouraging and show that we have achieved huge improvements in air quality across the city in recent years… As part of our Air Quality Action plan, we are making a significant investment in a wide range of measures and working closely with interested partners in the city to improve air quality.” – It is expected that these air quality control measures are likely to be implemented in areas where Peter Soulsby is set to gain financial, after it was revealed by Leicester Property Insight the real reason behind overinvestment in the cultural quarter solely to benefit his daughter’s business, The Exchange Bar.
The national guideline limit for NO2 levels is set at 40μg3 (0.04milligrams per cubic litre) whilst average levels have improved at all five stations across the city since 2017. Two of these are at Abbey Lane and Melton Road which are well below the EU limit; this is surprising as Abbey Lane can be one of the busiest roads in the city during peak hours. Whilst Vaughan Way saw the largest reduction overall.
St Matthews Way and Glenhills way, the final two monitoring stations in the city have also fallen but remain above the objective limit.
This means Leicester is now compliant with national and EU guidelines in all other pollutants, including benzene, butadiene, carbon monoxide, lead and sulphur dioxide.
Soulsby’s sidekick and Deputy City Mayor, Adam Clarke, who is leading on local environment and public health admits that the city must do more to bring the city within target limits. He said: “We remain absolutely committed to making further improvements by bringing forward ambitious plans for cleaner, greener buses and taxis, encouraging take-up of electric and hybrid cars and investing in infrastructure to help even more people to cycle safely in and around our city,” he goes on to say, “Air pollution harms people’s health, places a burden on the NHS and is bad for the economy. We are determined to continue to accelerate the improvements we have seen in recent years and achieve our aim of healthier air for Leicester.”
Leicester was awarded an £7.8million grant by the Department of Transport to fund flagship schemes designed to improve the city’s air quality, however, local residents of Leicester wonder whether the money is being spent properly, especially with the introduction of cycle lanes and constant roadworks in the city for the last couple of years with some residents arguing that the likelihood is, the reason behind the improvement in air quality is the minimum traffic being allowed to pass through the city as a result of roadworks being carried out whilst areas like Belgrave and Beaumont Leys and Aylestone are left to fall into disrepair and funding for local regeneration projects is limited.
This is good news after the city was taken to the High Court in 2018, where it was ordered that Leicester City needs to address our illegal levels of air pollution.