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NO2 emission reductions in UK cities due to Covid-19 lockdown 2019-2020

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has affected numerous industries around the world, but it has also had an impact on air pollution. The first day of the United Kingdom lockdown saw noticeable drops in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions in cities across the country.
The most dramatic decline was observed in Edinburgh. On March 26, 2020 the average daily NO2 emissions amounted to 28µg/m3, compared with 74µg/m3 recorded on the same day the previous year. This was followed by London Westminster, where emissions fell from 58µg/m3 to 30µg/m3. Not all cities saw as noticeable a decline, with daily emissions on this day in Manchester Piccadilly dropping by just 7µg/m3 from the previous year.

For further information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, please visit our dedicated Fact and Figures page.

COVID-19 lockdown affect on nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions in UK cities in March 2020 compared with March 2019

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Release date

March 2020


United Kingdom

Survey time period

March 26, 2019 and March 24, 2020

Supplementary notes

*microgram = one-millionth of a gram (µg/m3)

Figures are mean averages based on hourly monitoring data from the Department for Energy, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)

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