Air pollution outside West Jesmond Primary breaches legal limits

Analysis of the air outside West Jesmond Primary School shows extreme levels of nitrogen oxide (NO2) beyond safe legal limits.

Current UK law states that NO2 levels must not exceed 40ug m-3. However, the Monday morning school run along Tankerville Terrace has generated figures of up to 76.13ug m-3 around the time of 8am.

Figures from peak pick-up times for the schools in West Jesmond show the effect that cars and transport have on the air quality. 

Reports from last year revealed that Newcastle upon Tyne is one of the 16 areas in the UK that breaches air pollution legal limits. According to Public Health England, this harmful pollution comes from exhaust fumes especially diesel engines, as well as tyre and brake presence in the air that we breathe. 

Public Health England reported in their November 2018 health matters report that long term exposure to NO2 will have an annual effect on the population equivalent to 28,000 to 36,000 deaths nationwide.

The report added that the total cost of air pollutants will be £1.69 billion for NO2 and particle matter combined in the years between 2017 and 2025. The financial impact is calculated based on the cost of caring for those whose health is affected, amongst other factors.

Between 2017 and 2035 1.14 million new cases of disease would be attrible to NO2 worldwide, with the greatest number of cases from diabetes and asthma. 

Cabinet Member for Transport and Air Pollution and Labour Councillor for South Jesmond, Arlene Ainsley told JesmondLocal: “I take this issue very seriously as poor air quality is a major public health issue which shortens lives.

“Everyone has a part to play in helping to improve air quality and one of the biggest ways we can all make a difference is by using our cars for fewer journeys, including on the school run”. 

Ainsley added: “Information from the air quality monitoring unit near West Jesmond Primary School shows that pollution levels in this area are much higher during the school run and this is likely to be caused by idling engines”. 

Newcastle City Council state on their website that they have been monitoring the NO2 levels in the city “for many years” and admit some areas have “levels of pollution being higher than legal limits”. 

Quote from spokesman at council.