A NEW study carried out by a group in the city centre has shown that levels of nitrogen dioxide in Salisbury regularly exceeds the safe limit imposed by the European Union.

Salisbury Clean Air Network (SCAN) fitted 25 tubes at various locations in the city and ten of them were found to show a dangerous level of air pollution.

Figures from Public Health England show that 28,000 deaths nationwide can be linked to air pollution with the World Health Organisation proving a link to cancer.

Poor air quality is also thought to cause heart attacks and children living near busy roads in the UK have been shown to grow up with underdeveloped lungs.

The findings from SCAN identified the end of Fisherton Street near to St Paul's roundabout to be the worst offending location with a reading of 60 micrograms per cubic metre of air (µg/m3).

EU regualtions requires that levels should be below 40µg/m3 and is currently in the process of taking the UK government to court to force it to comply with the European rules.

Alison Craig, one of the founders of SCAN, and Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Salisbury, said that drastic action is needed to improve the situation and not enough is been done by Wiltshire Council.

She said: "We think air pollution should be tackled at senior directorial level, and that a sustainable transport policy for Salisbury must be drawn up and implemented without further delay.

"Currently, any efforts by the Public Health team locally seem to be ignored and marginalised by the transport and highways departments, and very little progress is being made.

"We are especially alarmed by the high levels of pollution (nitrogen dioxide) found under the Fisherton St railway bridge - well over the EC safety limit, and our highest finding.

"This is where the traffic coming into Salisbury enters an enclosed area and all the fumes are concentrating there.

"Efforts must be made to reduce through traffic in Salisbury city centre. There should be an integrated transport system linking the railway to the roads.

"Pedestrians should be given an alternative route and entry to the station."

Cllr Richard Clewer however claimed that work was being done by the council to improve air quality including planting of trees along Wilton Road.

"It is one of our top priorities," he said. "Planting trees is not a cop out as they are shown to make a real difference.

"You have to careful with any study because things like weather patterns have to be taken into account. It is why we are carrying out a longer term study to rule out any freak events or inaccuracies.

"We are not interested in any grand plans but looking at things we can do locally.

"If anybody has anymore sites that could be used for tree planting then they can contact me or the council."

Most polluted streets µg/m3

Fisherton St railway bridge 60.673

Crane St 43.326

Endless St 43.741

Castle St outside Tescos 47.725

Catherine St 43.492

Exeter St 45.899

Wilton Road 40.255

Churchill Way South 44.737

Southampton Road 52.124

Castle Road 50.132