Breathing in dirty air can increase the risk of respiratory infections, heart disease and lung cancer, and concern over these health risks has prompted many cities across the UK to introduce or plan low emission zones.
The Indices of Multiple Deprivation, published by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, measures local deprivation levels by analysing various factors affecting communities, such as income, health, crime and pollution levels.
The pollution data, published in 2019, estimates the concentration of four pollutants – nitrogen dioxide, benzene, sulphur dioxide and particulates – all of which can cause ill health. The higher the score, the higher the levels of air pollution in the local area. The figures show wide geographical variations in how clean the air is around the country.
Holborn, St Giles and Bloomsbury South in Camden were found to have the worst air pollution levels in the country with a score of 1.90 – six times greater than the Isles of Scilly which had the lowest levels of air pollution at 0.32.
The figures also show how badly London is affected by air pollution, with the top 50 areas with the highest levels of air pollution all being found in the capital and the five worst affected areas concentrated in Camden and Westminster.
How does your local area compare? Here we reveal the 15 areas in North Kirklees with the highest levels of air pollution.