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NEWS ROUNDUP: Leeds air quality strategy


16/07/21 | Leeds local news | Senior councillors will discuss ambitious proposals for a new strategy to save lives by meeting global standards for clean air quality next week.
Leeds City Council’s proposed new air quality strategy leads the way in its ambition and scope—setting stricter targets than national standards and aiming to tackle emissions from homes, industry and agriculture as well as transport.

Electric bin lorries, a public bike sharing scheme, enhanced enforcement of industrial emissions, citywide engagement, and planning policies requiring greener and better ventilated buildings would all be introduced as part of the strategy.

Air pollution is one of the biggest threats to public health in the UK. Consistent exposure to it causes breathing difficulties and other long-term lung and heart conditions. Nationally, it has been estimated to cause up to 36,000 early deaths every year.

Thanks to a citywide effort to switch to cleaner vehicles, air quality in Leeds has improved significantly in recent years and is now generally cleaner and healthier than many other UK cities. However continuing to reduce air pollution levels could save even more lives.

While road transport remains the main source of outdoor air pollution in Leeds, it is not the only one. According to the government, domestic burning of stoves and open fires is now the biggest source of particulate matter emissions—the type of pollution that Leeds needs to reduce to meet its new targets.

The proposed strategy aims to further protect everyone in Leeds from dirty air by eliminating the need for the city's remaining Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) and achieving the stricter World Health Organisation (WHO) targets for air quality citywide by 2030.

It proposes an extensive and wide-ranging action plan designed to tackle pollutant emissions from homes, transport, industry and agriculture. At a glance, it includes measures to:

  • Clean transport emissions by supporting the transition to zero emission vehicles and making buses better, e.g. introducing electric bin lorries, extending the popular EV Trials scheme and continuing to deliver the Connecting Leeds programme of transport infrastructure improvements.
  • Promote pollution-free and active ways to travel, e.g. introducing a public bike share scheme, working with schools and businesses to promote active travel and continuing to improve the city’s cycling infrastructure as part of the Connecting Leeds programme.
  • Reduce emissions from homes and raise awareness of indoor air pollution, e.g. requiring new developments to be greener and better ventilated, installing energy efficiency measures in existing homes and raising awareness of wood burners and other indoor sources of air pollution.
  • Better understand industrial and agricultural sources of emissions so that these can be reduced through engagement, regulation and enforcement.
  • Work in partnership with the health and care sector to ensure that the most vulnerable residents understand how best to protect themselves from pollutants.



Allotment holders and prospective allotment holders are being offered the chance to help shape the future of allotment provision across the city, as part of an on-line survey launched this week.

Undertaken by Leeds City Council, the results of these questionnaires will play an important part in ensuring that sites managed by the authority (through its Allotment Management Plan) can best meet the individual requirements of tenants and the wider communities that they serve. The council currently manages 101 allotment sites in Leeds, which includes 58 self-managed sites and 43 city controlled sites across the city and in doing so provides opportunities for people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds to come to together with the same interests in cultivation.

If you would like to take part in our on-line survey, which is now live, please follow the links below. If you do not have access to the internet or do not know how to access these surveys please phone Leeds 0113 3780873 on Monday to Thursday between 8am and 10am. Members of the council’s allotment team will be available to input this information with you over the phone.

Current allotment holders can take part through the following link:


Anyone wishing to acquire an allotment in the future, can offer their thoughts here:


The closing date to contribute in the survey is Friday 27 August 2021.

Councillor Salma Arif, Leeds City Council’s executive member for public health and active lifestyles said:

“Allotments play an extremely important role in the lives of so many people in Leeds, and we want to ensure that the sites which the council manages are best meeting the needs of our communities.

“Not only do allotments contribute towards healthy eating and active life styles, they also in providing good quality green space in built up areas, improve air quality and provide important recreational opportunities that encourage socialising, decrease isolation and lead to improved confidence and self-esteem.

“We are therefore launching a new survey, which will provide current allotment holders and also prospective allotment holders with the chance to share their thoughts on the provision on offer across the city and to identify where future improvements can if possible be made. This feedback will be crucial in terms of informing our future management plan and I would urge all allotment holders to please take part if they can.”

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