Sheffield taxi rank one of most polluted places in England

The taxi rank at Sheffield railway station is one of the most polluted places in England, a new report has revealed.

Wednesday, 29th July 2020, 10:02 am
Updated Wednesday, 29th July 2020, 4:33 pm
The taxi rank at Sheffield railway station

More than 1,300 sites across England are breaching annual limits for harmful pollutant nitrogen dioxide, analysis by Friends of the Earth suggests.

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The environmental group has analysed the latest data on air pollution from English local authorities' air quality annual status reports submitted to the Government.

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It found the railway station taxi rank in Sheffield as the second worst place in England for pollution levels.

Friends of the Earth said 1,360 monitoring sites across the country exceeded the annual average air quality target of 40 micrograms per cubic metre of air for nitrogen dioxide in 2018, the most recent year for which data is available.

In some spots, the annual average was more than double the level set to protect health from long-term exposure to pollution.

Nitrogen dioxide is a pollutant which mostly comes from traffic fumes and is linked to health issues such as lung and respiratory diseases and early deaths.

Friends of the Earth wants to see polluting vehicles removed from the roads.

Simon Bowens, clean air campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: “If ministers want to avoid a return to the health-damaging and illegal levels of air pollution we had before lockdown, their enthusiasm for 'active travel' needs to be a permanent switch and not just a short-term gap plugger,” he said.

“The Government must also end its damaging fixation on building more roads.

“You can't justify this by planning to phase out polluting petrol and diesel vehicles and replace them with electric ones.

“We need to go much further than just getting out of one type of car and into another.

“Investment in better cycling and walking should be part of a fair and green post-coronavirus economic recovery plan aimed at creating a cleaner, fairer future.”

City Taxis said that, although it is the largest private hire company in Sheffield, it’s vehicles “do not sit at the Sheffield Train Station rank.”

In a statement, the firm added: “A few of our self-employed Hackney Carriages may have a Station Licence.

"Many of our ‘cabs’ have dual licences from which is issued and controlled by Sheffield Station, which this enables a minority of drivers to pick up passengers at the ranks when they aren’t working for City Taxis.

"We operate on a pre-book only basis, meaning passengers can book their vehicle for a specified time, which ensures minimal waiting time at the train station.

“City Taxis are making a conscious effort to reduce air pollution by converting to an all-electric fleet by 2025. City Taxis are also in the process of launching electric charging hubs to support our drivers and the community in making the switch to EV.”

There has been an improvement since the previous year’s audit by the green group, which saw 1,591 sites exceed the annual target.

The most polluted place in England was in Chideock Hill, West Dorset.

Two spots in Hickleton, Doncaster, also appear in the list of the worst 10 places