York’s air quality significantly improves during lockdown

New analysis shows air quality in York has improved by an average of 30 per cent during the coronavirus lockdown.


New data has revealed that York’s air pollution has significantly reduced during the Coronavirus lockdown.

According to the Defra clean air strategy 2019, a number of deaths and life-long health problems are caused ever year, as a result of poor air quality.

One of the UK’s leading experts in air quality, Dr David Carslaw, who has over 20 years' experience in air pollution science and lives in York,  has analysed data collected by City of York Council as part of his ongoing research.

The analysis shows improvements in air quality (nitrogen dioxide concentrations) compared to ‘business as usual’ figures for specific areas of York where the council undertakes regular air quality monitoring, including:

  • Fishergate: a reduction of 43 per cent
  • Fulford Road: a reduction of 28 per cent
  • Gillygate: a reduction of 29 per cent
  • Heworth Green: a reduction of 27 per cent
  • Holgate Road: a reduction of 32 per cent
  • Nunnery Lane: a reduction of 38 per cent
  • Lawrence Street: a reduction of 29 per cent
  • Bootham: a reduction of 16 per cent

Average nitrogen dioxide reduction across all York sites is 30 per cent.

Cllr Paula Widdowson, the council’s executive member for the environment and climate change, said:

"We all have a responsibility to improve York’s air quality and this is an issue we have prioritised here in York, from launching the UK’s first voluntary Clean Air Zone, to investing in electric charging points across the city.

“Of course, the impact of the Coronavirus lockdown has had a significant impact on air quality in the city, as many have stuck to the Government’s social distancing guidance. However, the council has invested in a number of measures in recent years to help improve air quality in York, and we will continue to do so for the benefit of our communities.”

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