Protesters made of paper pop up in Northampton as part of Greenpeace 'ditch diesel' campaign

A paper protester campaigning against diesel air pollution has appeared in Wellingborough Road.
A paper protester campaigning against diesel air pollution has appeared in Wellingborough Road.

A paper protester holding a sign asking for the Government to "ditch diesel" has appeared in Northampton.

The illustration near the old St Edmunds Hospital, in Wellingborough Road, is part of a national campaign by environmental group Greenpeace.

The cutout, which comes after a report last year stated one-in-20 deaths in Northampton are caused by air pollution, shows a man protesting with a sign that reads "diesel is breaking the limit".

Some areas of Northampton, such as the Drapery, are also exceeding the legal limits for the poisonous diesel byproduct nitrogen dioxide.

Mel Evans, clean air campaigner at Greenpeace, said: “This event has now become an annual spectacle demonstrating the abject failure of both government and car companies to tackle the scandal of toxic air cloaking our towns and cities and making people sick.

"The best way to tackle this crisis is to get diesel off our roads and fast. We need leading car companies to stop making more toxic diesel cars, and government to get diesel off our roads as a priority.

“The government should further support and fund local authorities to implement clean air zones in towns and cities and bring forwards the UK’s phase-out date for diesel and petrol cars by at least a decade to 2030.”

The UK has reportedly broken legal limits for nitrogen dioxide every year since 2010, with 37 of the UK's 43 air quality zones failing to meet EU standards.

Northampton Borough Council is yet to sign off on a new clean air strategy for the town, which includes making all town centre taxis electric and potentially introducing a clean-air zone to fine high-emission vehicles.