14 Nov 2016

Leeds commits to cleaner, greener air for the city

Clean air/air quality

Council chiefs will be discussing how to ensure Leeds meets its obligations for air quality targets in 2020 at a meeting of its executive board this week (Wednesday 16 November).

A Leeds Air Quality Action plan has been developed to ensure 2020 air quality targets are met and provide improved public health outcomes for the citizens of Leeds.

In order to meet these targets there are a number of things that need to be looked at, including the current and potential future air quality management areas, along with increasing the use of sustainable transport across the city.

The vast majority of the city enjoys good air quality but there are a number of residential areas where the legal limits for NO2 are exceeded.

There are currently six areas that were designated as having annual average Nitrogen dioxide levels which exceeded the desired levels, however two of these areas, in Morley and Hunslet, have seen sustained reductions in NO2 levels in recent years and it is now recommended these no longer need to be managed specifically. In addition to this, there are two other areas in the city, one in Pool and one in Morley, where levels of this specific pollutant have increased meaning the potential introduction of two new managed areas in Leeds.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for environment and sustainability said:

“As a city we all have a responsibility to look at how we can improve air quality. Last year Leeds was identified by DEFRA as one of six locations in England that would require the introduction of a Clean Air Zone, based on current air quality monitoring, so as to improve air standards in the city by 2020.

“Vehicle emissions are by far the worst culprit for air pollution in Leeds. However, simple behaviour changes such as using more sustainable transport such as choosing to walk, cycle or get on a bus instead of jumping in the car each time we travel can start to make a real difference.

“As a council we are already implementing ideas and schemes to ensure we are in a better position to meet our air quality targets in the next few years. This includes making our council vehicle fleet greener, which progress has already started on and introducing the Park and Ride at Elland Road.

“There is now clear evidence that link long term exposure to poor air quality to a number of health concerns, therefore in early 2017 we will be engaging with people and businesses city-wide to ensure we can look at simple changes to behaviours that will result in significant changes for the quality of our city’s air.”

For more information about air quality monitoring and management areas in Leeds and to view the report visit http://democracy.leeds.gov.uk/documents/s151727/Air%20Quality%20Cover%20Report%20V2%20071116.pdf

Note to editors:

The council has a statutory requirement to identify and declare areas of the city where Air Quality Management Areas are needed to be implemented.

Recent air quality monitoring shows that NO2 levels remain high in three of the current AQMAs. These are at Haslewood Close in Burmantofts, the Normans in Kirkstall and and Tilburys in Beeston. It is therefore recommended that these three areas remain designated as AQMAs for the time being.

Air quality monitoring results at Queen Street, Morley, show annual average NO2 levels here have been reducing for the last three years, indicating that this AQMA should be considered for revocation.

Monitoring at Ladybeck Close, Hunslet shows acceptable concentrations of NO2 in the last year with only one failure in 16 results since 2012. This AQMA is therefore another candidate for revocation.

The final AQMA at Caspar Apartments is not recommended to be changed at present. Monitoring is currently suspended as the premises are currently unoccupied, however planning permission continues for residential use.

Main Street in Pool and Chapel Hill in Morley are also showing NO2 levels in excess of Air Quality Objectives and are recommended to be classed as Air Quality Management Areas.

For media enquiries contact:

Leeds City Council Communications team