Northern cities need more attention in air quality debate, say researchers

More attention must be paid to air quality outside of London, according to a report by the Institute for Public Policy Research.

Speaking about the report – Gearing up for the Transition – researcher Darren Baxter said: “Toxic air is killing up to 40,000 children and adults a year. Too little attention is paid to this key issue, especially outside the capital.”

The report highlights congestion as a key issue, holding it accountable for costs of £2bn a year in lost productivity in Manchester and Liverpool.

The report was released in anticipation of the government’s clean air strategy, which it must publish before the end of the month.

RHA director of policy Jack Semple agreed discussion of the issue is often London-centric, but for good reason.

He told Freight in the City: “The reason London has so much coverage is not just because it is the UK’s biggest city by far, but because its congestion costs have been rising calamitously.”

Semple added there should be “greater recognition that Euro-6 trucks perform to standard and that NOx emissions are plummeting as a result”.

Jonathan Spruce, head of policy and strategy at Transport for the North, said: “Transport for the North recognises that the current position, with all but two of the 11 UK air quality reporting zones in the North exceeding legal limits on NOx, needs addressing.”