Air pollution figures a worry

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IT has long been assumed that air pollution and the motorway go hand in hand.

So it was no surprise that successive surveys highlighted the M1 corridor as a Sheffield blackspot.

But today’s revelation that the worst levels in the city are now in Broomhill will give much cause for concern.

It will worry the residents of that area, who have every right to be alarmed at levels of nitrogen dioxide which are 50 per cent higher in Broomhill than what is considered safe.

And it will trouble city politicians who are already under pressure to act on reducing traffic pollution.

That’s because city campaigners claim the problem is causing up to 500 premature deaths a year, leading to around 30,000 days lost from work due to sickness, and costing the NHS around £95m a year.

They say measures at a local level include discouraging car use, encouraging bus companies to bring in cleaner vehicles and setting up zones where access by polluting vehicles is controlled.

Sheffield Council is currently putting together an action plan to decide how poor air quality should be tackled.

Let’s hope it addresses the concerns of all parties., which means listening to residents, traders, drivers and non-drivers who all want the same thing - a good quality of life.

No doubt some compromise will be needed on all sides, but if a solution is to be reached on such a contentious matter, then better to concede some ground for the greater good.

Let’s hope the council’s report is completed speedily so we can debate its findings and reach a conclusion which tackles a situation that clearly affects many different areas of Sheffield.

Soaraway success

The success of the aerospace industry and its prospects for continuing major growth are two pieces of tremendous news for the Sheffield City Region.

We may not be home to any aeroplane manufacturer; until six years ago, when Robin Hood Airport opened, we didn’t even have a major airport; but the region’s hi-tech steel and engineering skills have been keeping civilian and military aircraft airborne for 80 years or more and, equally importantly, enabling them to land.

See an aircraft flying and you can be pretty sure there is some component inside that bears witness to this region’s skills, quality and ingenuity.

That also goes for modern aircraft being built in parts of the world like China where air travel is growing fastest.

Engine, airframe and landing gear manufacturers turn to this region for components and the tools with which to make them.

If we keep up our investment in training, cutting-edge equipment and world-beating research, that can only increase, alongside rising demand for quieter, more fuel-efficient aircraft.