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Looking at air quality in Preston as Council confirms no plans to introduce ULEZ

Posted on - 16th September, 2023 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Broughton, Fishwick, Fulwood, Health, Plungington, Preston City Centre, Preston Council, Preston News, Roads, St Matthews, Transport
Traffic queuing up in St Vincent's Road Pic: StePNE
Traffic queuing in St Vincent’s Road Pic: StePNE

Preston City Council says there are no plans to introduce an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in the city.

ULEZ aims to help improve air quality by reducing the number of vehicles that don’t meet emissions standards.

Air pollution increases the risk of illnesses such as cancer, asthma, lung disease and dementia, and leads to thousands of premature deaths each year.

In London, the much-discussed ULEZ has helped to reduce harmful nitrogen dioxide pollution by nearly half in central London and a fifth in inner London.

According to a 2020 report from charitable research unit, Centre for Cities, people in Preston were 21 times more likely to die from air pollution related illness than they were in a traffic collision.

The study found that 136 people were dying in Preston every year from PM2.5-related illness, which equated to one in every 25 deaths in the city. PM2.5 is particle matter that can originate from traffic. These particles are dangerous to human health as they can settle in the lungs and enter the bloodstream.

Read more: Pothole-ridden Fulwood crossroads set for repairs

Preston City Council has a legal responsibility to assess and improve the local air quality to meet government objectives.

There are two air quality stations in Preston, which monitor a variety of pollutants.

The station at Bootle Street in the St Matthews area monitors levels of nitrogen dioxide, PM2.5 and ozone, while the Meadow Street / Ringway station in the city centre monitors nitrogen dioxide.

Air quality station at Meadow Street and Ringway Pic: Google
Air quality station at Meadow Street and Ringway Pic: Google

If a location is found to have high pollution it’s declared as an Air Quality Management Area, and an action plan is put in place.

In Preston there are currently five Air Quality Management Areas for nitrogen dioxide.

  • Lychgate just off Church Street
  • Junction of Blackpool Road and Plungington Road
  • Part of Garstang Road in Broughton
  • Part of New Hall Lane
  • Parts of London Road, Grosvenor Street, Moore Street and Frenchwood Avenue

Read more: M6 lane closures between Junction 32 and 33 for eight weeks due to bridge repair works

Speaking about how air pollution is managed in Preston, a Council spokesperson said: ““Air pollution levels in Preston from vehicle use are much lower than those in the built up major urban areas elsewhere in the country and so the case for introducing an ULEZ is not evidenced to the same extent.

“Preston has some declared Air Quality Management Areas and there are specific plans for actions to reduce air pollution levels in those areas.

“Government and EU strategies for reducing polluting emissions from individual vehicles, by the move from new vehicles with combustion engines to vehicles powered by electricity etc, will reduce air pollution levels from vehicles in all towns and cities across the UK.”

Read more: Preston city centre on-street parking changes coming including scrapping free Sundays

Current pollutions levels recorded at Preston’s air quality stations can be found below:

For a five-day forecast for pollution levels at your postcode, view the UK Air Pollution Forecast.

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