Air quality around Elland Road Park and Ride

New figures released show that air quality on Elland Road near the Park and Ride is improving and traffic into Beeston is unaffected despite public concern that the scheme would attract more cars and reduce air quality.

Leeds City Council analysis shows that the level of dangerous nitrogen dioxide in the air has actually fallen since the Park and Ride scheme was introduced and that cars are not driving through Beeston more because of the scheme.

The Park and Ride scheme first went live in July 2014, with phase two (more spaces and a permanent but shelter building) operational by December 2016 and phase 3 currently being discussed, and an application for planning permission expected to be submitted shortly.

Leeds City Council has been working to improve air quality in a number of ways, including ensuring their own fleet of vans and new First and Arriva buses are ultra-low emission vehicles. The Park and Ride schemes around the city are another part in the plan. However, there have been concerns that while the Park and Ride Scheme clearly benefits the city as a whole, Beeston could be paying the price for other people’s clean air. I’m very pleased to say that the figures indicate that is not the case.

One measure of air quality is the level of nitrogen dioxide in the air. The National Air Quality Objective is to ensure that this is no greater than 40µgm3. As part of Leeds City Council’s monitoring regime, monitoring equipment was installed along Elland Road for the periods below.

Period Annualised Average µgm3
December 2008 to May 2009 37
2016 25
2017 24

Some of the improvement has been a gradual reduction in the level of in vehicle emissions as newer vehicles are manufactured to higher emissions standards. The 2017 figures are particularly interesting as they capture a time period where both phase 1 and phase 2 of the Elland Road Park and Ride were fully operational.

Additionally, the council used Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) devices to look at which direction cars that entered the Park and Ride came from (which junction they were last photographed at) and which direction cars leaving the Park and Ride went. Only 6% of vehicles leaving the site turned left and came into Beeston via Wesley Street and only 7% reached the site from that direction with the rest coming from the motorway junctions or the ring road.

Finally, traffic counts showed that the total number of cars between Wesley Street in Beeston and the Park and Ride entrance has remained relatively stable which would suggest that congestion further into Beeston (eg Old Lane) is not being caused by the Park and Ride Scheme.


This post was written by Cllr Andrew Scopes