Air pollution improves in Richmondshire due to pandemic

Katie Beyer, Environmental Health and Licensing Assistant, checks one of Richmond’s monitoring sites.

A 25 per cent drop in air pollution has been seen across Richmondshire in the last 12 months, officials say.

All 15 sites measured by the district council have seen a fall, which is being partly attributed to the reduction in traffic levels as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The authority collates data on nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels from its’ lamppost and drainpipe diffusion tubes around the district – which are mostly close to main roads and centres of population.

NO2 is an air pollutant which can have a more serious effect on vulnerable people – children and older people, and those with heart and lung conditions such as COPD or asthma.

“Whilst the air pollution in Richmondshire is generally good and we have not had to declare an air quality management area, a problem associated with busier towns and cities, there is a benefit to cleaner air for us all,” said Cllr Philip Wicks, chair of the climate change working group.

“This pandemic is giving us all an opportunity to consider what we can do in the future to help improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions, be it working from home more, choosing active travel like walking or cycling (with their added health benefits), using public transport, choosing electric vehicles or just making fewer journeys.”

The air pollution results are reported to Defra annually in fulfilment of Part IV of the Environment Act 1995 Local Air Quality Management and are published on: .