Air quality in Richmondshire improves because of pandemic

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

Air quality in Richmondshire has improved due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The levels of nitrogen oxide – an air pollutant that reflects traffic conditions – dropped in March.

And with the current coronavirus lockdown and the much reduced levels of traffic on the roads the figures for April are expected to fall again – compared to figure for 2019.

Nitrogen oxide can have a serious effect on children and older people, and people with heart and lung conditions – asthma and COPD.

“Air pollution in Richmondshire is generally good, and we have not had to declare an Air Quality Management Area, often found in busier towns and cities, but there is a benefit to cleaner air for us all,” said council leader, Councillor Angie Dale.

“This is a great opportunity to consider what we all can do in the future to help improve air quality – be it working from home more, choosing active travel like walking or cycling, using public transport, choosing electric vehicles or just making fewer journeys.

“We are delighted to be part of this global improvement and hope it will continue long after the pandemic is over.”

Richmondshire District Council monitors nitrogen dioxide using diffusion tubes on lamp posts or drainpipes on buildings near roads. There are currently 15 tube locations across the district. Monthly analysis of the data provides an average measure of air quality at those sites.

The results are reported to Defra annually as part of Part IV of the Environment Act 1995 Local Air Quality Management and are published on