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Hundreds dying due to air pollution levels in Leeds and Wakefield

The M62

The M62

HUNDREDS OF people are dying in Leeds and Wakefield each year due to the pollution in our air.

Long-term exposure to air pollution attributed to 2,567 deaths in the Yorkshire and Humber in 2010 – and 25,000 nationwide, a new report from Public Health England.

Particle air pollution – which can contribute to cardiovascular disease – was a factor in 5.7 per cent – or 178 – of adult deaths in Wakefield and 5.5 per cent – or 350 deaths – in Leeds.

The study shows a total of 26,636 life years are lost each year as a result.

The estimates are calculated using the average annual concentrations of man-made particles less than 2.5 microns in diameter, and the impacts on health.

Dr John Radford, chair of the Yorkshire and Humber Directors of Public Health said: “We had a history of air pollution particularly in the north with smog and smoke, but the particles are getting smaller.

“In the past pollution was linked with chronic lung conditions, and we had that to an extent last week with the Saharan smog, but it’s the small carbon particles that get right down to the lungs and into your circulation that increase the risk of heart attack. It’s likely to be the largest public health issue to face us over the next ten to 20 years.”

Dr Andrew Furber, Wakefield Council’s director of public health said the council was “obviously concerned” about any death from air pollution, but placed the blame on the city’s proximity to the M1, M62 and A1.

He said: “This is good for connectivity and employment, but means that air pollution levels can be higher than in some other areas which don’t have the same level of road-traffic.”

Dr Ian Cameron, Leeds City Council Director of Public Health, said the authority was working alongside neighbouring councils to address the issue on a regional basis.

He said: “The council is taking action to reduce pollution. For example, we are trialling less polluting vehicles such as refuse vehicles that run on biomethane gas and electric vehicles.”

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