bristolproblemWHO's air quality database showed 44 out of 51 British towns and cities had failed its tests for fine sooty particles smaller than 2.5 microns across. 

The particles, known as PM2.5s, have been linked to causing heart disease and premature death and they should not exceed 10 micrograms per cubic metre of air, according to the organisation.

But a significant number of places, including Bristol, exceeded the amount required to keep air safe.

Caroline Bartle, UWE Researcher, recently said:-

"In Bishopston, as in many other places, we have a problem with too many cars in too little space. We have a problem with air pollution from moving or idling motor vehicles (and, surprisingly perhaps, exposure to air pollution can be higher inside cars than on the street). And we have a problem with pavement parking, which can be a deterrent to walking, especially for people with mobility difficulties, or pushing prams, or shepherding small children."

"Bishopston has  a relatively high rate of car ownership. According to the 2011 census, Bishopston and Ashley Down ward has a ratio of 1.20 vehicles per household, higher than the average in Bristol (1.04) and in England as a whole (1.16) – and many of our streets are Victorian and were simply not designed for cars. A lot of our traffic is ‘local’ as opposed to passing through. A recent survey to understand traffic issues in the roads between the junctions of Ashley Down and Gloucester Road found that 19% of traffic entering the area was passing through, suggesting that 80% was ‘local traffic’."

Further details of this research can be found via this page.

Dr Toby Hillman, one of the report's authors from the Royal College of Physicians, said: "There isn't a safe limit for the amount of pollution that's been defined as yet and we know the effects of poor air quality run from cradle to grave; it's a lifetime threat to human health.

"This is a really direct and tangible impact on UK health from the drivers of climate change, and taking action on air quality should be a priority."

How does Bristol's air pollution compared with other cities? The UK league table

Here is a list of some of the worst towns and cities in the UK for air quality according to average annual PM2.5 numbers (in micrograms):-

  • Glasgow - 16
  • Scunthorpe - 16
  • Eastbourne - 15
  • Leeds - 15
  • London - 15
  • Southampton - 15
  • Birmingham - 14
  • Cardiff - 14
  • Portsmouth - 14
  • Stoke-on-Trent - 14
  • Bristol - 13
  • Manchester - 13
  • Norwich - 13
  • Belfast - 12
  • Carlisle - 12
  • Liverpool - 12
  • Plymouth - 12
  • Swansea - 12
  • York - 12
  • Birkenhead - 11
  • Brighton - 11

Health Impacts of Air Pollution in Bristol, February 2017

These latest figures show that around 300 deaths each year in the City of Bristol can be attributed to exposure to both nitrogen dioxide and fine particulate matter. This represents about 8.5% of deaths in the City of Bristol being attributable to air pollution.

These values can be compared with12 people killed in road traffic collisions in the City of Bristol in 2013

Attributable Fraction of Deaths in the City of Bristol in 2013 due to Air Pollution by Ward (based on new ward boundaries) for PM and Nitrogen Dioxide:-

  • Avonmouth and Lawrence Weston Ward 8.38%
  • Stoke Bishop Ward 7.44%
  • Henbury & Brentry Ward 7.77%
  • Bishopsworth Ward 7.40%
  • Hartcliffe & Withywood Ward 6.66%
  • Frome Vale Ward 8.58%
  • Horfield Ward 8.25%
  • Hengrove & Whitchurch Park Ward 7.08%
  • Clifton Ward 8.77%
  • Clifton Down Ward 8.91%
  • Eastville Ward 9.08%
  • Hillfields Ward 8.71%
  • Stockwood Ward 7.13%
  • Bedminster Ward 8.68%
  • Southville Ward 9.05%
  • Filwood Ward 7.95%
  • Windmill Hill Ward 8.98%
  • Knowle Ward 8.34%
  • Westbury on Trym & Henleaze Ward
  • Southmead Ward 8.00%
  • Redland Ward 8.41%
  • Bishopston & Ashley Down Ward 8.61%
  • Cotham Ward 9.27%
  • Ashley Ward 9.86%
  • Lawrence Hill Ward 10.76%
  • Lockleaze Ward 8.64%
  • Easton Ward 9.84%
  • Brislington West Ward 8.63%
  • Hotwells & Harbourside Ward 9.18%
  • Central Ward 10.21%
  • St George West Ward 9.21%
  • Brislington East Ward 8.33%
  • St George Troopers Hill Ward 8.28%
  • St George Central Ward 8.59%

Further information on Bristol's air pollution problems can be found here

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