Lockdown life in Wigan has much cleaner air

Life under lockdown to slow the spread of coronavirus has resulted in Wigan having cleaner air, the latest environmental data reveals.
Quieter streets in Wigan town centreQuieter streets in Wigan town centre
Quieter streets in Wigan town centre

Nitrogen dioxide (No2) levels detected by the town’s monitoring station have fallen since residents were ordered to work from home.

Analysis by the BBC Shared Data Unit found the average daily reading for NO2 between March 17 and March 24 for Wigan was 16 micrograms per cubic metre.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

This is a slight fall from the 16.8 average recorded over an equivalent eight-day period 12 months ago.

NO2 is released from car exhausts and is a major source of air pollution, which also contributes indirectly to the warming of the planet.

Further analysis of data from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) by the Wigan Post shows similar year-on-year drops for time periods throughout the coronavirus crisis.

Between March 15, the day after the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK passed 1,000, and March 19 the average NO2 reading at the Wigan monitoring station was 12,4 micrograms per cubic metre.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

This is a significant fall from the average of 17.3 recorded during the equivalent period last year.

Interestingly, in the days since lockdown measures were introduced higher daily averages of NO2 have been recorded in Wigan.

However, analysis shows that there is still a distinct drop in levels of the pollutant compared to this time last year.

Between March 20, when prime minister Boris Johnson ordered businesses such as restaurants, pubs and gyms to shut their doors, and March 25, the average NO2 reading at the town’s monitoring station was 19 micrograms per cubic metre.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In the equivalent period last year, by contrast, the average was 21.1.

Analysis of Defra air quality figures shows the severe restrictions on people’s movements have resulted in emissions falling in some city centres and towns.

However, some stations across the monitoring network have recorded higher levels of NO2 despite people being ordered to remain at home except for very limited reasons.

The Wigan monitoring station is located at The Deanery CE High School, a few hundred metres from the nearest roads Frog Lane and Parson’s Walk.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The council said it has been working to reduce emissions since last year and is looking at more ways to make the borough a greener place.

A spokesperson for the town hall said: “Since launching our climate change emergency last year, Wigan Council has made great strides in addressing the factors contributing to climate change and global warming locally.

“We’ve been working closely with Greater Manchester on the Clean Air Plan and locally we’ve been working with schools on anti-idling messages as we know this is a significant contributor to C02 emissions.

“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.”

A message from the Editorial Director, Gillian Parkinson:

Thank you for reading this story on our website.

But I also have an urgent plea to make of you.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In order for us to continue to provide high quality local news on this free-to-read site and in print, please purchase a copy of our newspaper as well.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on our town centres and many of our valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you buying a copy when you pop out for your essential shop or subscribing for delivery.

Our journalists are highly trained by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards anywhere in the world. Our content is universally trusted - as all independent research proves.

As Baroness Barran said in a House of Lords debate this week on the importance of journalists: "Not only are they a trusted source of facts, but they will have a role to play in rallying communities and getting the message across about how we can keep ourselves and our families safe, and protect our NHS. Undoubtedly, they have a critical role."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis. In return we will continue to forensically cover the local news - not only the impact of the virus but all the positive and uplifting news happening in these dark days.

We thank all our readers and advertisers for their understanding and support - and we wish YOU all the best in the coming weeks. Keep safe, and follow the Government advice. Thank you.


You can subscribe for delivery by contacting us at [email protected] or calling us on 0330 4033004 for details of a participating newsagent near you.

Related topics: