Levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are 20% higher at Station Hill in Ascot than they are at the Royal Berkshire and Sunningdale Golf Clubs, according to a study carried out by Imperial College London.
Air pollution was given five ratings between very low and very high. Ascot exceeds World Health Organisation limits and is classified as “Demand Action”.
Nitrogen dioxide is an air pollutant where road transport is estimated to be responsible for about 50% of total emissions, which means that NO2 levels are highest close to busy roads and in urban areas.
The study was conducted by dividing the UK into 20m x 20m squares and feeding emissions data into computer models to produce estimated concentrations for each.
The study also looked at fine particles PM2.5, that is dust that can be drawn deep into the lungs, and larger particles PM10, which tend to be trapped in the nose, mouth or throat. In these ratings, the centre of Ascot has a 5% higher score than at the golf clubs.
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These findings raise alarm bells when the Royal Borough is proposing in its draft local plan 731 dwellings in Ascot (The High Street 300, Shorts 131, Heatherwood 250 and the Railway Station 50). This could easily translate into a further 1,000 vehicles in the area.
References: Health risks of air pollution in Europe – Health risks of air pollution in Europe – HRAPIE project, Recommendations for concentration–response functions for cost–benefit analysis of particulate matter, ozone and nitrogen dioxide (who.int)