POLLUTION levels have increased on a major York street in the past year - and air quality levels continue to breach national targets in parts of the city centre.

But a council meeting heard air quality has improved since 2012 and has got so much better in the Fulford Road area during the past two years that it has been removed from the local authority’s management zone.

In the past year levels of nitrogen oxide decreased in all areas apart from Gillygate - where concentrations went up by 7.8 per cent.

Mike Southcombe, public protection manager at the council, told the meeting: “Gillygate has increased for a reason that we cannot explain.

“However the results are comparable to 2016 levels so there’s no need for panic at this stage.

“The air quality objectives for much of the city centre are still being breached at a number of locations.

“The air quality trend is continuing to improve across York as it has done since 2012 when the low emissions strategy was adopted.”

A report prepared for the meeting also shows that levels of PM10 particulates rose slightly at monitoring stations in Bootham, Fishergate and Holgate Road in 2018 - but they do not breach the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) air quality guidelines.

However levels of PM2.5 - smaller fine particulates in the air - at Bootham and Fishergate are above WHO recommended levels.

Mr Southcombe highlighted efforts to improve air quality in York - including the new clean air zone due to be introduced in January and anti-idling campaigns.

Cllr Paula Widdowson said: “It’s a massive step forward – to actually say that our air quality is improving.”