St Helens Council has hit back at claims the town’s college is too close to a road which has illegal levels of pollution.
The town hall said the research carried out by Energydesk and Greenpeace UK is based on old data and since then efforts have been made to clean the area up.
We’d encourage residents and those commuting to consider greener methods, including walking, cycling, car sharing or public transportSt Helens Council spokesman
The researchers found St Helens College was within 150m of a stretch of Linkway West where nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels of 40.7 were recorded.
Readings of more than 40 are banned under EU law.
However, the council says the findings, part of a national study of schools, nurseries and colleges which are near roads with dangerously high pollution levels, do not reflect the current situation.
A council spokesman said: “The data referenced in this report was collected in 2013, and we’ve seen from subsequent air quality tests on Linkway West that the NO2 concentration fell since, at 37 in 2014 and 38 in 2015, below the National Air Quality Objective of 40.
“St Helens College is some distance from the Linkway, approximately 100m, and a feature of roadside NO2 pollution associated with traffic is that airborne concentrations fall off quite sharply with distance, so levels are likely to be significantly lower on the campus proper.
“Because of the previously-reported exceedances the council launched an action plan to improve air quality, but it’s something that’s very much led by travel habits, so we’d encourage residents and those commuting to consider greener methods, including walking, cycling, car sharing or public transport.”
The research also found a section of the East Lancs Road near Carr Mill where NO2 levels of 43.5 were recorded.
However, experts also warned that even roads with particle levels below 40 may still pose dangers of stunted development and lung disease, especially among young children. This is because there is no agreed safe level of NO2 pollution under EU law.