NETHERTON is home to one of the biggest air pollution hotspots in the West Midlands, research has revealed.

Halesowen Road ranked in fourth place in a list of the top ten worst spots in the region for nitrogen dioxide levels, according to an air quality audit carried out by Friends of the Earth.

Research found that the busy road recorded an average level of 66.5ug/m3 of the gas, which breaches the Annual Air Quality Objective set at 40ug/m3.

Only St Chads in Birmingham, Horsefair in Kidderminster and Etruria Road in Stoke-on-Trent ranked higher than the Netherton road.

Regionally, 125 locations across the West Midlands were found to have breached the Air Quality Objective levels, with 12 located in the Dudley borough.

That ranks Dudley as the second worst offender out of the boroughs that make up the West Midlands Combined Authority, with only Birmingham home to more air pollution hot spots.

Chris Crean, campaigner for West Midlands Friends of the Earth, said: “Failing to fix air pollution costs lives. It also shows a failure to address the climate crisis because the sources and solutions are intrinsically linked. If ministers want to avoid a return to the health-damaging and illegal levels of air pollution we had before lockdown, their enthusiasm for ‘active travel’ needs to be a permanent switch and not just a short-term gap plugger.

“The government must also end its damaging fixation on building more roads. You can’t justify this by planning to phase out polluting petrol and diesel vehicles and replace them with electric ones. We need to go much further than just getting out of one type of car and into another. Investment in better cycling and walking should be part of a fair and green post-coronavirus economic recovery plan aimed at creating a cleaner, fairer future.”

Chiefs at Dudley Council said they take tackling air pollution "incredibly seriously" and are continuing to implement measures that began before the coronavirus pandemic.

Councillor Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member for health and adult social care, said: “Cutting air pollution on our roads and improving air quality for borough residents is something we take incredibly seriously.

“Since the coronavirus outbreak, in the height of lockdown, we saw fewer vehicles on our roads and here in Dudley and across the country there was a drop in monitored levels of air pollution. But as people start to go about their daily lives again, we predict that levels of air pollution will begin to rise once more, so it’s a crucial time for us all to think about how we can be greener and protect our environment long term.

“Before coronavirus the council was already taking action to tackle this problem in our borough. With a grant from the government we have introduced new measures in areas of Dudley and Wordsley which were highlighted as particular problem areas.

“We’re also working with Transport for the West Midlands to further improve public transport in the borough to reduce our reliance on cars and with bus operators on the continued roll out of low emission buses which will reduce polluting emissions by 30 percent compared to conventional diesel fuelled vehicles.

“In Netherton there are ongoing discussions with local councillors on how we may improve traffic and bus flow through its centre to improve air quality. Data from monitors in the area is also being assessed to inform our next steps.”