AIR pollution levels in Ramsbottom have not been monitored for the past five years because of vandals, according to environmentalists.

Pollution monitoring equipment was stolen in 2009, and since then no “meaningful data for the site” has been produced.

The diffusion tubes are placed on lamp posts in eight locations around Bury, monitoring the level of nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere.

Readings are collected every month, but the diffusion tube in Ramsbottom has been removed by vandals on several occasions.

Bury Council say the tube was replaced last month, and data was successfully recorded.

Bury Green Party says the situation is “unacceptable”, especially as statistics from Public Health England show Bury is in the top five worst areas for mortality attributable to air pollution in the North West.

A statement on the party’s website said: “Bury Green Party recently discovered that there had been no air pollution monitoring in Ramsbottom since 2009, this was discovered as they were preparing their objection to the planning application for the AD plant at Fletcher Bank Quarry in Shuttleworth.

“Given the type of industries we have in Ramsbottom and the large number of lorries driving through the centre of town on a daily basis this is totally unacceptable.”

A Bury Council spokesman said: “The monitoring equipment used in Ramsbottom is a diffusion tube that monitors levels of nitrogen dioxide, which is a pollutant associated with burning fossil fuels and transport.

“These diffusion tubes are sited on lamp posts at eight different locations in the borough and are collected each month.

“Unfortunately the diffusion tube sited in Ramsbottom has been removed by vandals on many occasions and so we weren’t able to produce any meaningful data for this site for some time.”

Bury Council says steps are being taken to combat pollution levels, and have asked residents to play their part.

The spokesman added: “Councils in Greater Manchester have worked hard to promote cycling, walking and the use of public transport and will continue to do so.

“However this will be a major challenge for our times and we would ask all our local residents to think carefully about their car use and look for opportunities to walk, cycle or use public transport.”