By Victoria Harris
Leeds has once again been listed as one of the most polluted cities in the UK by The WHO.
Amongst other cities such as Nottingham, Plymouth and York, it has reported that Leeds has exceeded the limit of 10 micrograms per cubic metre (MCM), currently standing at 12 MCM.
London, Middlesbrough and Hull are just some of the highest polluted cities in the UK, achieving 11 MCM.
The Chief Executive of the British Heart Foundation, Simon Gillespie, told BBC News: “The UK still has a long way to go in a fight against air pollution.”
According to The WHO, it has been estimated that around 9 out of 10 individuals within the UK breathe in air that contains high level of pollutants.
Pollution has also been linked to 40,000 premature deaths every year.
Regarding the latest figures, Leeds City Council have put an action plan in place to improve the level of pollution across Leeds as research shows that living in polluted areas can worsen symptoms for asthma patients, alongside damaging individuals lung function.
Global Action Plan told Yorkshire Evening Post: “700 people will die prematurely from air pollution in Leeds alone this year, and an additional 2,567 across Yorkshire.
“This will cost the local health economy an estimated £40m.”
It has been reported that Leeds is the worst regional hotspot as there were 680 predicted deaths in 2016.
Leeds City Council have put in place schemes to encourage the use of vehicles with ultra-low or zero emissions within the city centre alongside investments into public transport and cycling infrastructure.
The council have also offered free parking for residents for ULEVS in the city centre when drivers switch their vehicles for ones with ultra-low emissions.
Greg Mulholland, Chair of Parliamentary Light Rail Group and MP for Leeds North West told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “Leeds is currently the largest city in Europe without an underground or a light rail system.”
Could offering a tram service be a step in the right direction for conquering pollution in Leeds?