Burngreave campaign group fears missing out on Sheffield’s push to fight pollution

Campaigners in one of the most deprived areas of Sheffield fear their neighbourhood will miss out on moves by the city council to improve air quality.

The Burngreave Clean Air Campaign complain that the inner city neighbourhood has been excluded from the Clean Air Policy which is being launched by the city council on February 27th.

The group also argues that drivers avoiding fines charges imposed in the city centre may divert through areas like Burngreave making the problem worse.

Under the policy non-complaint vehicles will be charged £10 a day and HGVs £50 a day, with heavy fines for drivers who don’t pay tracked by ANPR cameras.

The Burngreave Clean Air Campaign is a group formed in 2017 by a group of local residents that have been raising awareness for the health inequalities between the city centre and the Burngreave ward, with the area having some of the highest levels of pollutants within Sheffield.

Burngreave Clean Air Campaign protest

Luise Hunt, a member of Burngreave Clean Air Campaign, pointed out that their concerns are not being addressed by the Sheffield City Council.

Much of the research that has gone into establishing the levels of air pollution in Burngreave has only covered nitrogen dioxide levels.

One of the worst areas of the city is Herries Road and Barnsley Road areas in Burngreave, where, the annual average for 2022 was 64 micrograms per metre cubed of nitrogen dioxide, compared to the European limit of 40.

Moreover, other dangerous substances like primary particulate matter (PPM) have been ignored, being described by Ms Hunt as “two hundred times smaller than a grain of sand” and can “cause cancers, dementia, heart disease, strokes, diabetes, poor development of brains in children”. 

In a presentation put together by the group, they address the effect that air pollution has already had in Burngreave, with five local schools in the twelve most polluted school locations in Sheffield.

 This is made worse by the fact that the issue causes severe health problems for children in particular; with breathing issues created and mental development impacted.

“Let Burngreave Breathe” poster

Ms Hunt also questioned the nature of the new Clean Air policy, “Is it just to make money for a struggling council?”, and pointed out it excluded the most environmentally struggling areas.

Clean Air Zone signs marking the edge of the area

The idea to “Let Burngreave breathe!” also means promoting other means of helping the environment like encouraging communities to walk and cycle. 

Burngreave Air Campaign welcomes supporters on their Facebook group and can be contacted via burngreavecleanair@gmail.com for more information.

At the time of publication, Sheffield City Council has not responded to questions on the future of the CAZ and whether it may be extended to include wards such as Burngreave in the future.

Written by Adam Thomas

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