Dungannon air pollution at dangerous levels

Scotch Street Dungannon
Scotch Street Dungannon

Two residential areas in the Dungannon area have broken toxic air pollution targets, it has been revealed.

The Newell Road in Dungannon town, and Charlemont Road, Moy, have surpassed safety targets for nitrogen dioxide concentration levels. The pollutant has been linked to nearly 23,500 deaths annually in the UK, and comes from diesel engines in cars, lorries and other sources

The sites are believed to the worst polluted in the Mid Ulster district, and are regularly tested for air quality. The details were released at April’s meeting of Mid Ulster Council’s Environment Committee.

Independent Republican Councillor Barry Monteith said that traffic pollution was the culprit.

“The changes to the town centre mean that more traffic is now flowing through residential areas like the Newell Road and endangering local people’s lives.

“We’ve know for a while that air pollution is unsafe in this area. There have been numerous reports about it, but it’s now time that we had action and something done to tackle the cause of the problem.”

Meanwhile, monitoring in Cookstown and Moneymore has not shown any excess levels of air pollution. However, the council said routine monitoring will continue to be undertaken throughout the district with a view to improving the air quality experienced by residents.

Defra has made an initial estimate that nitrogen dioxide (NO2) contributes to shortening lives by an average of around five months – ranging from healthy individuals experiencing negligible effects to susceptible individuals whose poor health is seriously exacerbated by NO2 pollution.