Air pollution in Luton hits ‘illegal’ level

Crawley Green Road/Vauxhall Way junction. Credit: Google.
Crawley Green Road/Vauxhall Way junction. Credit: Google.

An environmental campaign group has hit out at Luton Borough Council, claiming that some streets are either at or close to ‘illegal’ levels of air pollution.

Luton Friends of the Earth conducted tests for one month from March to April, claiming that their results showed that the Vauxhall Way/Crawley Green Road junction was at an “illegal” pollution level (44.28 µg/m3), while other junctions were close to “illegal” levels: Eaton Green Road/Frank Lester Way (37.57), Eaton Green Road/Lalleford Road (31.73), Ashcroft Road/Crawley Green Road (30.49), and Jansel House roundabout, Stopsley (31.62).

Eaton Green Road /Lalleford Road junction. Credit: Google Maps.

Eaton Green Road /Lalleford Road junction. Credit: Google Maps.

NO2 tubes were placed in each area during the month.

A Luton Friends of the Earth spokesman, claimed: “The EU legal mean annual nitrogen dioxide (NO2) limit is 40µg/m3.

“It’s not OK if results are just under illegal levels. People’s health is at risk, particularly school children and older people.Things cannot get better if the council and London Luton Airport Limited (LLAL) keep trying to expand the airport and we need a serious, effective plan to cut emissions.”

A Luton Borough Council spokesman, said: “Air quality monitoring must follow specific guidelines and should take place over a year in order to average out possible bias.

“As the Friends of the Earth figures only relate to two specific months, it is not possible for us to comment on them.

“We continually strive to improve the air quality for the wellbeing of people of the town. Air pollution levels in Luton are constantly monitored and we have recently published our Luton Town Centre Air Quality Action Plan. Later this year, the Council will be publishing an Air Quality strategy that covers the whole town. “

Cllr Andy Malcolm, Chair of London Luton Airport Ltd (LLAL), said: “We are absolutely committed to delivering expansion of our airport in the right way by balancing the very significant economic and employment benefits that will flow to Luton and the surrounding area with minimising and mitigating the full range of environmental impacts operations can bring.”

LLAL claim that air quality at the residential receptors closest to the airport is good.

Cllr Malcolm added: “We will be interested to receive more information about Friends of the Earth’s research, and urge everyone with an interest to attend one of our consultation events.”