Councils told to take more steps to cut air pollution

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Campaigners have urged local councils to restrict the use of wood-burning stoves and older vehicles to improve air quality.

The lung charity Longfonds said many Dutch towns and cities still exceeded European limits for nitrogen dioxide despite the introduction of measures such as ‘environmental zones’ where lorries and high-polluting diesel cars are banned.

The organisation said road traffic produced 13% of all nitrogen dioxide in the air, while wood burning was responsible for a further 10%.

It said local parties should get together after next month’s municipal elections and agree a set of tighter restrictions aimed at reducing people’s exposure to the gas. Research has found that around 12,000 people a year die prematurely as a result of poor air quality.