Pollution levels above safe limit in Sheffield suburb

The junction of Whitham Road, Crookes, Nile St and the A57,Broomhill
The junction of Whitham Road, Crookes, Nile St and the A57,Broomhill
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POLLUTION levels in a busy Sheffield suburb were above safe levels throughout 2011 – including streets near city hospitals, according to a community group.

Data collected at air quality monitoring stations in Broomhill found levels of harmful nitrogen dioxide linked to respiratory illnesses were almost double the European safe limits.

At three of the seven monitoring stations – Whitham Road/Crookes, Whitham Road/Moor Oaks Road and Western Bank/Clarkson Street – levels of nitrogen dioxide never fell below the safe limit of 40 microgrammes per cubic metre of air.

Howard Fry, secretary of Broomhill Forum, said: “Broomhill is a leafy suburb, but the air you breathe each day if you are anywhere near the A57 is well above the EU maximum healthy limit.”

Mr Fry blamed ‘stop-start movement due to traffic lights’ and the gradient, with afternoon rush-hour traffic crawling uphill on the A57 from the city centre.

He said although equipment in Broomhill does not measure particulates – the other main harmful exhaust pollution – it is accepted scientifically they ‘follow the same pattern’.

Broomhill Forum has released the figures just weeks after The Star revealed levels of equally harmful particulates in Tinsley and around the city centre reached three times EU safe levels and six times recommended limits set by the World Health Authority during the warm spell at the end of March.

Readings for the Whitham Road and Moor Oaks Road junction in Broomhill, where traffic crawls past in rush hour, show the amount of nitrogen dioxide reached almost 80 microgrammes per cubic metre last February.

The annual average levels of nitrogen dioxide were 53 at the junction of Whitham Road and Crookes, 50 at the junction of Whitham Road and Moor Oaks Road, and 48 outside Weston Park Hospital and close to Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

The other sites around the area monitored by council equipment – Brook Hill/Favell Road, Upper Hanover Street/Hounsfield Road, Western Bank/Northumberland Road and Manchester Road/Sale Road – were above the safe level for part of the year.

Mr Fry said: “Failure to reduce pollution in Sheffield to EU limit levels will lead to continuing reductions in the health and quality of life of those living closest to areas of high pollution.”

He called for more park and ride sites to encourage people to use public transport, greener buses and a city low emissions zone, banning the most polluting commercial vehicles.

■ Broomhill Forum is holding an Air Quality Symposium debate on Saturday from 9.30am to 1.30pm, at Sheffield University Medical School, next to the Hallamshire Hospital. The event is free.