COUNCIL chiefs and the Breathe Clean Air Group (BCAG) have clashed over claims people in Trafford are being exposed to dangerous levels of nitrogen dioxide.

Research carried out independently by the environmental campaign group BCAG claimed people on Barton Road people are exposed to nearly double the level of the pollutant as recommended by Europe.

But the council has questioned the research methods used by BCAG.

Peter Bagnall, a member of BCAG, said he has suffered a number of health problems as a result of traffic pollution from the M60 at Davyhulme.

He said: "I have lived in the area on both sides of the Manchester Ship Canal for all of my 71 years. As far as health effects I suffer from constant coughs, regular sore throats, dry and stinging eyes, occasional nose bleeds and occasional breathing difficulties.

"It has all got worse since the opening of the Trafford Centre in 1998. It now has over 30 million visitors a year and other centres like the Chill Factore and Event City put the figure up to 44 million visitors a year."

But Jo Burgess, another member of BCAG, insisted the group isn't "anti the motorway" but is "anti-pollution."

A council spokesman said: "Trafford Council reinforced that the Breathe Clean Air Group (BCAG) have not given any details of the monitoring methods they have used to obtain recently released information on nitrogen dioxide concentrations in the Urmston area.

"Specifically no information is given on the suitability of the monitoring locations or equipment used therefore the council cannot comment on the group’s sampling results. Previously BCAG have produced data from monthly diffusion tube samples which are not generally accepted as an accurate basis for the assessment for air quality.

"The council produces air quality data from four automatic monitoring stations in the borough that capture air quality data 24/7; that data is used to support national air quality monitoring and analysis."

In October, Messenger reported Kingsway Primary School had been identified in a survey as being in the top 10 most polluted schools in the country.

But the council spokesman added: "In relation to a recent newspaper article alleging high levels of nitrogen dioxide around Kingsway School the council currently monitors air quality levels from a monitoring station located at the school. This monitoring has shown that the measured nitrogen dioxide concentration levels at the school are well below the Government’s national air quality objective levels."

A Highways England spokesman said: "“We take air pollution on the road network seriously and have an ambition that nobody on or near our roads should be harmed by poor air quality. Between 2015 and 2021, we will be delivering £100million of investment in a wide range of projects to help tackle air quality on behalf of our customers and neighbours.”