Air pollution remains low in parts of the UK

Air pollution remains low in parts of the UK despite many people starting to return to work and life beginning to become more ‘normal.’ 

As the UK went into lockdown, Air Quality News reported on the sudden decline in air pollution across the country.

However, over 100 days have passed since then, and as more people are returning to work and with the public being advised to avoid public transport where possible, there is a growing concern over a sudden spike in air pollution.

To assess the situation, Air Quality News has analysed monitoring data from the Department for Energy, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), in London, Leeds, Manchester, Edinburgh and Bristol, comparing the daily average nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution yesterday (July 8) with the pollution levels on the same day last year (July 10). 

Having analysed this data, we found that air pollution in London Westminster is still showing evidence of a decline, yesterday, NO2 pollution measured in at 16µg/m3, below the World Health Organisation recommended safe level, whereas on the same day in 2019 NO2 measured in at  23µg/m3.

Similarly, Edinburgh is still seeing a dramatic decline in pollution, yesterday the daily average NO2 level was 10µg/m3 compared to 32µg/m3 the year before.  

The same can be seen in Bristol with NO2 measuring 11µg/m3 yesterday, compared to 34µg/m3 in 2019. 

However, interestingly, NO2 pollution in both Manchester and Leeds seems to be creeping back up, the daily average in Leeds yesterday was the same as in 2019, measuring in at 20µg/m3, and in Manchester, pollution was down just 2µg/m3 yesterday compared to the same time the year before. 

Photo Credit – Pixabay 









Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
4 years ago

When comparing two individual days, the main factor affecting air quality at a monitoring site is usually the weather. This comparison tells us nothing about changes to emissions.

4 years ago

On 15 July 2019 it was sunny and 28 degrees. Today it’s cloudy and only 19 degrees. Clearly that is also attributable to Covid and could not possibly be the result of meteorological variability, which just so happens to have a huge effect on pollution levels…

Help us break the news – share your information, opinion or analysis
Back to top