BRADFORD'S levels of pollution has risen during the period of movement restrictions, despite nearly three-quarters of the United Kingdom experiencing decreases.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told people to work from home and social distance in response to the coronavirus outbreak, as early as Monday, March 16.

This in theory would lead to less cars on the road and therefore less pollution, in the form of Nitrous Oxide (NO2) specifically.

The daily average NO2 readings (micrograms per cubic metre) at monitoring stations across the country in the eight days following Mr Johnson's announcement (March 17 to March 24) were collected.

A mean result was calculated from this and compared to the average for the same eight day period last year (March 19 to March 26).

The Bradford Mayo Avenue station recorded an increase of 5.1 micrograms per cubic metre from 34.5 to 39.6, between 2019 and 2020.

This was the ninth-highest rise across the country, falling short of Grangemouth (+5.2), Stockton-on-Tees Eaglescliffe (+5.5), Wrexham (+6.2), Newport (+6.9), Greenock A8 Roadside (+6.9), Chesterfield Roadside (+7.3) Glasgow Kerbside (+8.3) and Grangemouth Moray (+9.3).

A further 36 stations recorded increases in N02 levels, ranging from 0.2 (Warrington) to 4.3 (Walsall Woodlands).

The majority of locations (109) saw decreases, with 36 per cent of those (39) experiencing a drastic drop of at least 10 micrograms per cubic metre of NO2.

Nitrogen dioxide, released from car exhausts, is a serious air pollutant and also indirectly contributes to the warming of the planet.

Bradford's average reading of 39.6 for the eight days following Mr Johnson's announcement, is the fourth highest in the country.

There were 162 stations in total included in the data, but five only had an average eight-day reading for this year, while three just had a mean eight-day reading for 2019.

Hafod-yr-ynys Roadside, in South Wales, had the largest decrease, dropping from 72.6 last year to 41.1 in 2020 (-31.5).

It previously recorded the highest levels of N02 than anywhere else in the UK apart from central London, in 2015 and 2016, according to Government figures.

But in June last year it was announced houses on the street where the monitoring station is would be bought up and knocked down in a bid to improve air quality.

This may have impacted its huge drop, rather than the Government's coronavirus measures, and Bradford Council's portfolio holder for healthy people and places, Councillor Sarah Ferriby, says we must be careful when analysing data for air quality and pollution.

She added: "Improving our air quality is a very serious issue that literally costs lives every year and disproportionately affects vulnerable communities; which is why we have been taking action to reduce air pollution and make Bradford a healthier place to live, work and visit.

"Air quality can vary widely owing to changes in weather and wind speed as well as traffic volumes.

"We are cautious about drawing comparisons between just two weeks of data.

"Anecdotally, we are aware that traffic levels have fallen since the government called for people to stay at home.

"We would expect to see a reduction in nitrogen dioxide levels as a result and an improvement in air quality."