Air pollution facts

What is causing air pollution in Bristol?

What impact does air pollution have on our health?

See some shocking statistics below. If you would like to see more detailed reports on the air pollution situation in Bristol, you can find useful links on our blog.

To find advice on how you can help reduce and avoid air pollution, check out our “top clean air tips” produced as part of Bristol Walking Festival.

Bristol shockers

Breaking the rules

The annual average levels of nitrogen dioxide are above government standards across central areas of Bristol.1

The problem is traffic

The main cause of air pollution in Bristol is the traffic on our roads. It isn't just big lorries that cause the problem - diesel cars are a major culprit. 2

Heart attacks and strokes

Air pollution is linked to heart attacks, strokes, heart disease, lung cancer and COPD, amongst other conditions. Tiny particles get into the bloodstream and move to organs around the body. 3

New evidence on health

There is new evidence linking air pollution to dementia, type 2 diabetes and autism. Research is still continuing on these and other conditions. 5 6 7

Not everyone is driving

Nearly 30% of Bristol residents do not have access to a car. 4

Can your child breathe?

Air pollution contributes to low birth weights, premature birth, and poorer brain and lung development in children. Children who live or go to schools on main roads can have 10% less lung capacity by the time they are 10.8

What about climate change?

The cause of climate change and air pollution is burning fossil fuels. However, some of the gases and processes involved are different. That's why diesel engines can be better for climate change (lower carbon dioxide emissions) but worse for air pollution (higher nitrogen oxide and particulates). 9

Cars don't protect from pollution

Air pollution affects everyone on busy streets. Being inside a car or other vehicle does not mean you are breathing cleaner air, and in some cases it can even be worse. 10

£54 billion a year

Air pollution costs the UK a whopping £54 billion a year because of the sickness and fatalities it causes.11

What can I do?