The heatwave makes the issue of pollution on Gillygate impossible for the council to brush under the carpet any more.

When buildings are converted to homes on this street approval is subject to the proviso that the front windows do not open due to levels of nitrogen dioxide, which for the last ten years have breached acceptable levels for health.

Now with a heatwave and a street that suffers badly from extra heating due to static cars with their engines running, residents and businesses must choose between boiling in their properties or breathing in dangerous levels of pollutants.

It is laudable for the council to improve air quality in some areas of York, but this cannot be done at the expense of other residents’ health and livelihoods. Traffic cannot just be pushed into already congested areas - radical action is needed. As a long-term resident of Gillygate people always tell me how there was once a plan to knock Gillygate down to increase traffic flow.

This odd, unresolved compromise between ring road and residential/shopping street has gone on too long and has damaged too many people’s health. If the council cannot commit to really dealing with the pollution, and I think that should start with temporary closure during the heatwave, then perhaps they should relook at the issue of purchasing the properties, compensating the owners and officially turning Gillygate into the major road it is being used as!

K Smith, Gillygate, York


Heat shows it’s time for council to act on climate

Schools, businesses and the transport network are all shutting down this week due to extreme heat, with deaths expected from our most vulnerable members of society.

This is not normal, but if we continue to do nothing, it will be.

Maybe it is time for York councillors to act on that Climate Emergency they declared. They could start by stopping any new road construction - ie the dualling of the ring road.

Henry Stevens, Western Terrace, New Earswick