Pollution levels in parts of Llangollen are comparable to those found in major cities. In one location pollution is close to the legal limit, potentially putting at risk the health of residents.
Located in the picturesque Dee Valley, it is easy to assume that air pollution is something that doesn’t affect Llangollen. If you live alongside a main road in Llangollen, you may have guessed that things aren’t quite so rosey.
In January this year Llangollen Friends of the Earth deployed five Nitrogen Dioxide measuring kits. The kits measured this well known pollutant for three weeks. The results were surprising;
The European Union has set a legal average annual limit for NO2 at 40µg/m3 (micrograms per cubic metre). But even at low levels, short term and long term exposure to NO2 can have significant negative health effects.
One of the measurement sites is very close to the 40µg/m3 limit.
The levels displayed in Llangollen, especially those on the A539 Mill Street and by the A5 / Castle Street traffic lights are comparable to those found in certain locations in major cities. For example; Chester, the outskirts of Liverpool, Walsall and the dockland area of Cardiff.
Although generally lower, the increased average level at the school gate compared to the community garden is likely to be due to droppping off and picking up traffic at the school.
Group member Warren Davies stated, “These readings were taken during January and February when the traffic is pretty quiet. If the rest of the year was taken into account, the average values could be much higher.”
He went on to say “There is a lot of talk about reducing emissions in London and in cities, but localised air pollution in our towns can be just as unhealthy.”
Nationally outdoor air pollution is responsible for 40,000 premature deaths a year in the UK, according to the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.
NO2 is associated with vehicle traffic. Nationally Friends of the Earth is calling for restrictions of the dirtiest vehicles. Locally, Llangollen & District Friends of the Earth are calling on our local decision makers to consider our findings, and invest in schemes locally to reduce emissions by encouraging walking and cycling, and discouraging traffic-generating developments.