Pollution levels in Devizes exceed safe limits meaning its residents' health is at risk, a report has revealed.

An air quality report by Imperial College shows pollution levels in the centre of Devizes are in the 50th percentile, with levels in the town ‘significant.’

This exceeds three World Health Organisation limits, meaning that a health risk is posed to people as a result.

The main pollutant which affects the area is called PN2.5.

As a study found, 19.9% of strokes can be attributed to this pollutant when exposed for periods of time when it is above a certain level (10mcg/m3).

In Devizes, the annual average for the pollutant is 10.50mcg/m3.

Graham Martin from Sustainable Devizes said: “My instinct is that there is little understanding of the risks of poor air quality and because we are a rural market town perceived to have clean air it is a risk associated with large conurbations.

“Air quality is not part of the discourse.

 “The current Wiltshire Council narrative is that ’nothing will be done to impede motor vehicles.

“This is the direction given to councillors officers which have been quoted to me in LCWIP meetings.

“There are questions to be asked of the council leadership of why they have a Climate Strategy that acknowledges 40% of Wiltshire carbon emissions come from internal combustion engine vehicles yet they will not ‘impede the car’ and have a large road-building programme.

Several steps are being taken to reduce the current levels, including initiatives such as the removal of the London Road roundabout which was replaced with traffic lights.

But Mr Martin said the benefits of this have been unclear and believes something has to change, such as implementing a 20mph speed limit in the centre.

“This may not be possible on London Rd and New Park Street which are the main areas of poor air quality but it plays into the narrative,” he said.

He also added active travel should be further promoted to reduce dependency on the car, as well as make a commitment to fund an “incremental implementation of LCSWIP and fund the behaviour change.”

Mr Martin stressed Sustainable Devizes is not calling for the banishing of cars or the reduction of parking, but stated: “We are seeking to change the way that this is approached so there is a commitment that can make long term changes.”

Wiltshire Council has been contacted for a comment.