Poor air quality is a significant risk to public health and is estimated to contribute up to 200,000 premature deaths nationally per year. It is the third largest contributor to premature deaths in the UK according to a 2014 Air Quality Progress Report for Gateshead Council.
Gateshead Council currently monitors Nitrogen Dioxide and Particulate Matter 2.5 (although there is no requirement to monitor this). It does not monitor Sulphur Dioxide or Benzene as there are no significant sources or likelihood of the relevant air quality objectives being exceeded.
In 2013 there were no exceedances of the Nitrogen Dioxide annual mean or hourly air quality objectives. Particulate Matter 2.5 levels are below air quality objective and World Health Organisation (WHO) levels at Lychgate Court although there is some concern at the levels on the A1 Dunston as they are at the limit of the WHO annual mean for the second year running.
In 2017 3.6% of adult deaths (aged 30+) in Gateshead were estimated to be attributable to particulate air pollution. [Chart - Mortality attributable to air pollution]. Applying this to the number of deaths of those aged 30+ in Gateshead for 2017 (from MYE components of change) means there may have been 78 deaths. However, the methodology for calculating the estimates suggests that the actual proportion could be anywhere between 0.175 and 1.89 times the stated percentage, meaning the actual number of deaths may fall anywhere between 14 and 148.
There are currently approximately 1,900 residents and a further 1,000 students within the Gateshead Town Centre Air Quality Management Area (AQMA). The AQMA was established in April 2005 and extended in April 2008 because levels of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) exceeded the annual objective level. A review of 2013 monitoring data shows that NO2 levels have now fallen back below the annual mean objective level, but the AQMA will remain until a substantial extended period of results below the air quality objective is achieved.
 2014 Air Quality Progress Report for Gateshead Council, Apr 2014 (Gateshead Council Document Library website)
 Fraction of all-cause adult mortality attributable to anthropogenic particulate air pollution (measured as fine particulate matter, PM2.5), DEFRA/Air Pollution and Climate Change Group Public Health England, 2017 (PHOF website)