No East Riding schools are based in high air pollution levels, according to new research

No schools or colleges in the East Riding of Yorkshire are in areas with high levels of one of the most harmful forms of air pollution.

Monday, 15th February 2021, 10:50 am
The schools research was carried out by the British Lung Foundation. Photo: PA Images
The schools research was carried out by the British Lung Foundation. Photo: PA Images

That is according to research by the British Lung Foundation (BLF), which looked at locations across England with potentially dangerous levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5).

None of the 177 nurseries, schools or colleges in the East Riding of Yorkshire included in the study were found to be in areas where PM2.5 levels are above the World Health Organization-recommended limit.

PM2.5 is the most harmful type of air pollution for human health and particularly affects children and people with lung conditions such as asthma, says the BLF.

It can penetrate deep into the lungs and even the blood, increase heart diseases and lung cancer, and leads to thousands of early deaths a year.

Traffic fumes are a major source of the pollutant, which can also be produced through industrial emissions and wood burners.

The WHO says concentrations of PM2.5 should not exceed 10 micrograms per cubic metre on average in the year – half the current legal limit in the UK of 20 micrograms.

Across Yorkshire and The Humber, 54 nurseries, schools and colleges were identified as being in areas where WHO-recommended limits were breached.

The BLF said concentrations of PM2.5 tend to be higher in urban areas of southern and eastern England, partly due to greater exposure to pollution from mainland Europe.

The BLF is urging the Government to produce a national health protection plan for England to be overseen by a new air quality minister, and stronger air quality laws in line with the WHO limits.

Professor Stephen Holgate, medical adviser at the BLF, said: “We’ve known about the deadly harm air pollution can cause for decades, it’s time now for urgent action.”

Environment minister Rebecca Pow said: “Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 with emissions of fine particulate matter falling by 9% and emissions of nitrogen oxides at their lowest level since records began.

“However, we know there is more to do.”