Air pollution six times over limit

Air pollution above Meadowhall from Wincobank Hill during recent warm sunshine.
Air pollution above Meadowhall from Wincobank Hill during recent warm sunshine.

POLLUTION in some Sheffield neighbourhoods has soared to more than six times the world-recommended safe limit, The Star can reveal.

Residents suffering breathing problems such as asthma say the pollution - visible as a haze hanging over the city in calm, still air - has prevented them leaving their homes.

Monitoring equipment at locations around Sheffield has shown pollution levels from vehicles reached 125 at Lowfield School, on the edge of the city centre, and 108 in Tinsley.

The World Health Organisation says it should be just 20.

Campaigners calling for air quality improvements say the health problems pollution causes costs up to £160 million a year in NHS treatments and lost days at work.

Retired steelworker Karamat Hussain, 67, and his wife Shan, who also suffers asthma and angina, have a pollution monitoring station in the garden of their home at Town Street, Tinsley.

Mr Hussain, who has lived in Tinsley for 58 years, said: “The pollution showing on the monitor was high all the time during the sunny weather.

“I can remember when the M1 was built in the 1960s. The authorities said people in the area would not suffer healthwise but the opposite is true.

“The pollution does not help my wife’s health. We need something to be done for the benefit of youngsters and elderly people in the area.”

Neil Parry, of Sheffield East End Quality of Life Initiative, which is campaigning for cleaner air, said: “We have had some lovely sunny weather recently but people with respiratory or cardio-vascular health condition are likely to be suffering bad days because with high pressure comes big increases in air pollution.

“The social cost of air pollution in Sheffield is £160 million per year with untold misery for vulnerable people.

“The city council needs to create a low emission zone to restrict polluting vehicles and the Highways Agency needs to cut speed limits on the M1 around Tinsley.

“Walking, cycling or taking public transport would also help reduce air pollution and the physical activity would do us all some good. Air pollution is bad for the economy and health of Sheffield’s citizens.”