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18 Apr 2018
Adam Bate

Air pollution hotspots UK


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Air pollution hotspots UK

Air pollution hotspots UK

Nitrogen Oxide is a major contributor to air pollution that’s harmful to the environment and our health. We look at transport emission hotspots in the UK and how the government plans to reduce them.

What is Nitrogen Oxide?

Nitrogen oxide (NOx) is a highly reactive gas which forms when fuel is burned at a high temperature.

Transport is a leading contributor of NOx emissions in the UK. Cars, trucks and vans are all to blame for the increasing levels of NOx pollution in the air.

Road transport NOx emissions in the UK

Here’s the top 10 air pollution hotspots in the UK based on the average level of Nitrogen Dioxide in 2017 (Jan-March):

You might be shocked to see that Crumlin, a small town in Wales, comes in with the second highest amount of NOx emissions. The A472 in Crumlin is to blame, with many lorries frequently taking this route to reach Pontypool.

London Nitrogen oxide levels

It isn’t surprising that the bustling capital of London is the leading culprit of road transport emissions.

Currently, around 50% of NOx emissions in Greater London are from road transport, with diesel vehicles being the largest contributor to road transport emissions.

It’s predicted that by 2020 the emissions from diesel cars will shrink from 24% in 2013 to 18% and petrol from 12% to 3%. London buses are predicted to be the highest contributor of NOx emissions (23%).

How does the government plan to reduce NOx emissions in the UK?

Measures being taken to hit NOx targets in the UK include the launch of a £10 toxicity ‘T-Charge’ aimed at older, more polluting vehicles on London roads. This will operate on top of the Congestion Charge, costing £21.50 to drive in the zone if your vehicle is affected.

Other measures across the country include retro-fitting buses with anti-pollution kits and designing road layouts and junctions to optimise traffic flow. The government is also introducing a grant for certain electric and hybrid vehicles which covers 35% of the purchase price.

Nitrogen oxide health effects

High levels of NOx impacts on respiratory functions that can cause inflammation of the airways.

Being exposed to high levels over the long term can decrease lung function and result in serious health problems.

A document published by the UK government estimates that NOx gases contribute to 23,500 premature deaths in the UK each year.

How can you help reduce NOx levels?

If you own a vehicle that runs on petrol or diesel then making the switch to an electric vehicle would dramatically reduce the levels of NOx it emits.

Read more about making the switch in our complete guide to electric cars.

Data from:

Transport for London



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