Lindley councillors have welcomed the installation of an air quality monitor in their ward.
The new air quality equipment, installed in early May, is located on George Street in Lindley.
The unit, a Zephyr, is a lightweight air pollution sensor which measures gases and particulate matter formed from harmful emissions.
Councillor Cahal Burke (Lib Dems, Lindley) said:
“We have long campaigned for air quality improvements in Lindley. We have raised our concerns when houses have been allowed to be built in areas of poor air quality and we have had regular meetings with council officers to look at ways to improve the situation.
“It is estimated that 24,000 people die prematurely annually in the UK as a result of air pollution, while air pollution costs the UK economy £20 billion each year. We know there are short-term and long-term effects of air pollution on health.
“It’s important to know where pollution is concentrated, how it occurs and what elements are involved. Air quality monitoring is vital to help tackle poor air quality. Monitoring can help to ensure that the right steps are being taken.”
His colleague, Cllr Richard Eastwood, said:
“It’s good news that the air quality monitor is being installed. We wanted the device to be installed on George Street, due to the proximity to Lindley Infant School and Lindley Junior School. We know that children are particularly vulnerable to air pollution and we want additional measures to help tackle poor air quality outside schools.
“Given the situation with Covid-19, I think the timing is also helpful. We know that dirty air can cause lung and heart damage and a number of studies suggest that the underlying health damage means that respiratory infections, including Covid-19, may have a more serious impact.”
Councillor Anthony Smith added:
“I understand that the device is portable, does not require planning permission and is relatively cheap to operate, as it is solar powered.
“There has been a lot of housing development in Lindley in recent years. As residents and elected members for the Lindley ward, we recognise that air pollution is a major issue and we will continue to work with council officers and other partners to look at ways to improve air quality here. Good air is fundamental to our well-being.”
There are also similar air quality monitoring devices on Westgate in Huddersfield town centre, on Leeds Road and on Huddersfield Road in Mirfield. An additional device will be installed on Huddersfield’s ring road in due course.
Kirklees Council has currently declared 9 Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA) across the district, which includes Ainley Top, which is located partly in the Lindley ward. Local authorities, including Kirklees Council, are required to designate an AQMA where air quality objectives are not being achieved and put together a plan to improve air quality in these areas.