BURY residents are being exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution, according to a top university.

Research conducted by Imperial College London’s Environmental Research Group (ERG) shows very high levels of air pollution in each of the borough’s six towns.

The data, compiled by the Central Office of Public Interest (COPI) shows the concentration of three toxic pollutants in the air at every postcode in the UK.

At many postcodes across Bury the level of these pollutants exceeds the maximum levels recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Town centre post codes in Bury, Radcliffe, Ramsbottom, Tottington, Prestwich and Whitefield were all ranked among the most polluted UK addresses in the UK, but air quality readings differed between addresses.

COPI provides data for two types of pollutant, particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxide (NO2).

PM consists of a complex mix of organic and inorganic substances suspended in the air and its major components include sulphate, nitrates, ammonia and black carbon.

These particulates can penetrate the lungs and blood stream which can lead to the risk of developing cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, as well as cancer.

NO2 is primarily produced by the combustion of fossil fuels which in the UK primarily comes from road transport.

Exposure to elevated concentrations of NO2 may contribute to the development of asthma and respiratory infections.

The data also shows how air quality compares to national levels, ranking addresses from percentile groups from 0 to 99.

For example, one address in Whitefield was ranked in the 92nd percentile, with very high levels of pollution.

While another address in Ramsbottom had the best air quality of the postcodes researched, NO2 levels at this postcode were more than double the WHO recommendation.

Commenting on the findings, Cllr Alan Quinn explained that the council have been monitoring air pollution Bury, particularly outside schools.

He stressed that in response to air pollution levels the council had formally acknowledged the climate emergency and would be helping to implement the Clean Air Zone (CAZ).

Cllr Quinn said: “(The council) bought three mobile air quality testing units which showed, at dropping off and picking up times, NO2 levels at one school exceeded 40mg/m2.

“We need to encourage parents to encourage parents to walk their kids to school and not park outside schools.

“We need to get people out of cars and into a safe, affordable London style transport system.

“Bus companies must be run by the public, not for profit.

COPI have made the data searchable, and people can check air quality at their address at the website, addresspollution.org.