Heavily-congested road in Northampton town centre comes fifth on list of East Midlands' most polluted areas

A clean air charity has ranked a Northampton road as one of the top 10 most polluted hotspots in the East Midlands.

The heavily-congested Harlestone Road, which carries a large amount of the traffic that runs through St James, has been placed at number five on a list of areas for producing the poisonous diesel by-product Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2).

A Northampton road has been named as one of the most polluted in the East Midlands.

A Northampton road has been named as one of the most polluted in the East Midlands.

The west Northampton road reportedly puts out an annual average 54.7ug/m3 (micrograms per metre squared) of the pollutant - well over the EU statutory cap of 40ug/m3.

The research comes from air quality charity Friends of the Earth, who are calling for more Clean Air Zones to be created that penalise pollutant vehicles and monitor air particulates.

It comes after the borough council proposed to create an 'Air Quality Management Area' for the entire town centre and published a list of 10 'areas of concern' in the town for pollution. Harlestone Road was on this list.

And a report in 2017 linked 'one-in-20' deaths in Northampton to air pollutants like NO2.

Harlestone Road was already on a list as an 'area of concern' for producing poisonous Nitrogen Dioxide.

Harlestone Road was already on a list as an 'area of concern' for producing poisonous Nitrogen Dioxide.

Richard Dyer, East Midlands campaign organiser at Friends of the Earth, said: “It’s unforgivable to see many locations across the region over air quality limits, leaving thousands of us breathing dangerously polluted air.

“Air pollution is often an issue thought of as affecting only the biggest cities. The reality is that unacceptably toxic air can be found across much of the UK. even in smaller towns. It is harming the health of people across the country and is especially bad for young children whose lungs are still developing.

“The government needs to step up and do more to deal with this air pollution crisis – they can’t just carry on leaving the difficult decisions with local authorities, many of which are severely under-resourced.”

The Borough council's clean up strategy, which came into effect last year, aims to phase out all diesel taxis by 2025.