Empty road

UK nitrogen dioxide pollution levels hit 10-year low during lockdown

A road in Kent, UK, on 22 April

TMPhoto / Alamy

The UK-wide coronavirus lockdown led to a drop in nitrogen dioxide levels, with the air pollutant reaching low concentrations not seen in the past decade.

Jonathan Higham at the University of Liverpool, UK, and his colleagues analysed air pollution data from the UK government’s Automatic Urban and Rural Network between the start of the lockdown on 23 March through to 28 April.

The network comprises 300 sensors distributed around the UK. Each hour, they collect information including the levels of nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide, along with measures …