Wigan air pollution levels have plummeted during lockdown

Air pollution levels have plummeted during a month of lockdown in Wigan.
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Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions have fallen 50 per cent or more in some weeks since severe restrictions were put in place compared to the equivalent time period last year, the latest environmental statistics show.

Data published by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) show the borough has become a much greener and cleaner place since the lockdown was imposed in late March.

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And the number of individual days with high readings of NO2, which is released from car exhausts, has also fallen dramatically.

The air is much cleaner under lockdownThe air is much cleaner under lockdown
The air is much cleaner under lockdown

Wigan Council said the figures clearly showed people were heeding the instructions only to go out if necessary.

A town hall spokesperson said: “It’s encouraging to see further evidence that residents are listening to public health guidance and staying at home unless for essential journeys. Over the last six months, we have been working hard on our climate change strategy which includes the measures we will take as an organisation to reduce our carbon footprint. We’ll launch this later this year.”

In the seven-day period starting on April 1 the average NO2 reading for the week in Wigan was just over eight micrograms per cubic metre.

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For the equivalent period in 2019, by contrast, the average was 16.7,making it 51 per cent higher. Similarly there was also a 51 per cent drop for the period beginning April 15, with this year’s average of 10.14 micrograms per cubic metre comparing to 2019’s figure of 20.86.

The period in the middle of these two had a smaller gap between the two years, but the 2020 reading was still 19.64 per cent lower than 2019’s.