The amount of dangerous pollution produced in Sudbury is the same as Northampton, one of the UK’s largest town’s, new figures have revealed.
Tests carried out by the BBC in the East of England show that 52 micrograms of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) were found per cubic metre of air in the town. It is illegal to exceed 40 micrograms.
NO2 is released when fuels such as car diesel or in central heating boilers are burned.
Sudbury mayor Jack Owen said the high levels of pollution, which eclipse those recorded in Cambridge and Milton Keynes, and match Northampton - a town with almost 20 times the population - were worrying.
“A lot has been made of the traffic problems and I think if anything they are getting worse,” said Mr Owen.
“There are log jams and bottle necks which are a major problem and people parking on the roads in Newton Road and Ballingdon Road causing stop start traffic.”
It is believed high levels of NO2 can result in inflamed lungs and long term health issues.
“It can lead to asthma and other health troubles and it would be interesting to find out the impact on health this is having here,” said Mr Owen.
Client Earth, a group of environmental lawyers, has sent a final legal warning to the UK government giving it 10 days to act on air pollution or face action in the High Court.
Mr Owen said that in Sudbury there was unlikely to be a quick-fix to the problem.
“We have had informal meetings with Halstead Town Council about a bypass and about how others deal with road systems,” he said.
“There has been lots of talk, but talk is cheap.”
Mr Owen said he would look to have the issue of pollution raised at the town council’s next highways meeting.