Brighton’s high street is more polluted than the recommended limits set by the World Health Organization.

A new study has found that Western Road in the city centre is exceeding the levels of air pollution which were set by the WHO and is one of the most polluted streets in the country.

Readings taken in the middle of the day showed that the street was above the soft limit with researchers saying that vehicle emissions were a key contributing factor.

Sam Clarke, chief vehicle officer at sustainable energy company Gridserve, who commissioned the study, said: “With millions set to hit the high street this festive period, we wanted to look at the state of the nation’s air quality in the locations people will be doing most of their Christmas shopping.

“If we’re to reach the World Health Organisation’s annual target of 5 µg/m3 of PM2.5 in our air, collectively we need to change our behaviours.

“With vehicle emissions being a key contributor, anything we can do to travel more greenly, from walking more to cycling, and including electric vehicles, is a very valuable set forward to improve the air we breathe daily.”

Readings on Western Road found an average of 5.3 micrograms of air pollutants in every cubic meter of air.


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The WHO recommended limit is five micrograms.

Brighton’s Western Road was one of 19 high streets which were found to be above the WHO limit.

In response to the claims Brighton and Hove City Councillor Trevor Muten said: “We are determined to do things differently and improve air quality in the city.

“This is why we are already expanding our air quality monitoring, reviewing air quality data and working towards targeted actions to improve air quality in each of our six Air Quality Management Areas.

“Our data-driven approach will help identify the most effective means to improve air quality by controlling smoke and tackling vehicle emissions, and which ensure that the benefits are maximised. working with bus companies and taxi operators to encourage and deliver an increase in ultralow or zero-emission fleets.”


1. Stoke-On-Trent (Parliament Street) – 11.7
2. Newcastle (Northumberland Street) – 11.5
3. Leicester (Gallowtree Gate) – 11.2
4. Coventry (West Orchards Way) – 11.1
5. Hull (Jameston Street) – 10.7
6. Bradford (Broadway) – 10.6
7. Southampton (Above Bar Street) – 8.8
8. Nottingham (High Street) – 7.7
9. Luton (George Street) – 7.6
10. Manchester (Market Street) – 7.6
11. Northampton (Abington Street) – 7.3
12. Birmingham New Street – 7.3
13. Liverpool (Church Street) – 7.1
14. Derby (St Peter’s Street) – 6.9
15. London (Oxford Street) – 6.8
16. Sheffield (Fargate) – 6.3
17. Brighton (Western Road) – 5.6
18. Leeds (Briggate) – 5.3
19. Portsmouth (Commercial Road) – 5.1