THE MOST polluting road in the West Midlands is in Coventry.
A study by environmental charity Friends of the Earth identified Holyhead Road as the region’s worst offender.
The major artery, which connects the ring road around the city centre to Allesley and the A45 to Solihull, came bottom of an audit of the 218 most polluting sites in the West Midlands.
The sites all breach annual Air Quality Objective for Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) levels, which are set to protect health.
Holyhead Road has annual average of 75.6 micrograms per cubic metre – nearly double the target level of 40.
The charity says high levels of NO2 can cause a flare up of asthma or symptoms such as coughing and difficulty breathing.
West Midlands campaigner at Friends of the Earth Chris Crean said: “It’s unforgivable to see many locations across the region over air quality limits, leaving thousands of us breathing dangerously polluted air.
“It is harming the health of people across the country and is especially bad for young children whose lungs are still developing.
“The government needs to step up and do more to deal with this air pollution crisis – they can’t just carry on leaving the difficult decisions with local authorities, many of which are severely under-resourced.”
UK Friends of the Earth is campaigning for Clean Air Zones to be rolled out in the worst affected cities – where polluting vehicles are charged for access to certain areas.
It also says this should be supported by measures such as improved infrastructure to support safe cycling and walking.
But Coventry City Council chiefs – who recently launched their Local Air Quality Action Plan – say a Clean Air Zone is not an option in the city.
It also announced a raft of measures to reduce pollution on Holyhead Road, to divert traffic away from pollution hotspots.
These include the controversial closure of Coundon Road, peak-time traffic restrictions, an HGV ban, and increasing capacity for cyclists and pedestrians around Spon End and junction seven of the ring road.
A council report states: “This package will relieve traffic pressures on Holyhead Road, ensuring reduced traffic flows and freer-flowing traffic thereby reducing NO2 levels at the worst pollution hotspot within the city.
“The improvements at Spon End and J7 will facilitate this by increasing the capability of the parallel route to Holyhead Road to accommodate traffic diverting from Holyhead Road.
“Collectively, these changes will enable the Council to proactively manage traffic flows entering the city from the west by directing traffic along the corridor that will have the least air quality impact.”