‘Rapidly needed’ brainstorm session to slash Leeds air pollution levels

Smog over Leeds city centre. Picture: Ross Parry.
Smog over Leeds city centre. Picture: Ross Parry.
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Experts will brainstorm ideas and come up with plans on how to tackle air pollution in Leeds during a conference this week.

Leeds Climathon, which is now fully booked, is taking place tomorrow and on Friday at Munro House on the corner of Duke Street and York Street.

Organisers say that Leeds is the third worst polluted city in the UK, with nearly 700 people expected to die in the area this year from illnesses related to it.

And failure to meet European Union targets on air quality will mean massive financial penalties by 2020, according to the organisers.

They added that air pollution already costs the local public health economy £480m.

Coun Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s deputy leader and executive member for environment and sustainability, will introduce the event at 9am tomorrow.

Coun Yeadon said: “To make a real change to air quality in Leeds it will take a city wide effort. I very much look forward therefore to hearing all the fantastic ideas and innovations that come out of this excellent event.”

Dr James Tate, a lecturer at the Institute for Transport Studies at the University of Leeds and academic lead for the Climathon, will later take attendees out on to the city’s streets with particle monitors to gather data on what people are breathing in. Other activities will take place on both days, with research teams coming together on the Friday to pitch their climate change solutions.

Alex Sobel, the Labour MP for Leeds North West, said: “Events like this which bring together people from different disciplines to come up with practical ideas to tackle our challenges around reducing carbon emissions are rapidly needed.”