Want to know exactly how polluted the air around your home is? This new tool on the BBC website lets you type in your postcode and will give you a pollution rating between 1 and 6 – 1 being the lowest level of pollution, and 6 being the highest.
Typing in the postcode for the Giz UK offices in Paddington, for example, gives a pollution rating of 3. Each rating comes with a little description, too. For us, that's:
"A rating of 3 means it is likely that nitrogen dioxide levels will exceed the annual legal limit. At peak traffic the air quality will worsen. Health studies suggest a marginal impact for most people in these conditions.
This is lower than the average for Westminster, which is 4 out of 6 (lightly polluted)."
The tool is based on data from 2016 that was gathered during a project to map concentrations of nitrogen oxide around the UK. Bear in mind it's a year old then – if a giant factory has sprung up next door to you in the last 12 months you might find yourself breathing in much more pollution than this tool suggests!
Professor Roland Leigh, the technical director for EarthSense, a company dedicated to reducing the amount of pollution in our air, says that no area in Britain should have air quality bad enough that means you need to avoid exercising outside. There are precautions you can take to make sure you're avoiding the worst areas though – try and avoid main roads, and stick to side roads when you can. Traffic is a major source of pollution so as a rule of thumb, the further you are from a busy road, the cleaner your air will be. [BBC]