AIR pollution in South Lakeland has fallen to its lowest level in a decade, figures reveal.

Climate campaigners say the improvement in air quality has been helped by continuing investment in cycling and walking as well as the transition to zero-emission cars with new petrol cars to be banned from sale by 2030.

Yet there are still areas across the UK where "toxic" pollution has led to health charities calling on the Government to impose stricter limits on fine particles in the air (PM2.5), which come mainly from the burning of oil, gas and diesel.

Figures from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs show the average concentration of PM2.5 pollution particles in South Lakeland was 5.2 micrograms per cubic metre in 2019 - below the UK limit of 25, and the World Health Organisation guideline limit of 10.

That was a decrease from 5.8 micrograms in 2018, and the lowest level since 2010, when it was 7.9.

Across the North West, the level of PM2.5 was at 8.3 in 2019, and 7.9 in 2018.

Separate figures published by the NHS show an estimated 2.8 per cent of deaths among people aged 30 and over in South Lakeland were associated with long-term exposure to PM2.5, down from 3.2 per cent the year before.

The UK Health Alliance on Climate Change welcomed the reduction in pollution in some areas, but wants the Government to bring in lower limits on PM2.5 as part of the Environment Bill, which will come back before Parliament this year.