These are the most polluted places in the North

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Scunthorpe, Salford, Manchester and Carlisle are among the cities with the highest pollution levels in the North of England, according to a new report from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Scunthorpe in North Lincolnshire and Salford in Greater Manchester are top of the list, with 15 micrograms of air pollution per cubic metre. Anything exceeding 10 micrograms is considered to be unsafe.

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The North's most polluted places

Levels of pollution in Manchester were reported to be at 13 micrograms, and 12 micrograms in Carlisle, Liverpool, Leeds, Eccles, York and Sheffield. Hull, Stockton-on-Tees and Wigan all came in at the 11 microgram mark.

Newcastle and Preston are both at the 10 microgram limit.

High pollution levels are concerning, as they can cause diseases including stroke, heart disease, lung cancer and respiratory infections, and shorten lifespans. Pollution is estimated to cause around 40,000 premature deaths a year in the UK.

The UK's most polluted places

Close to 50 cities and towns around the UK have either reached or exceeded WHO's air pollution limits.

Port Talbot in Wales tops the list of the UK's most polluted locations. The town's pollution levels measured in at 18 micrograms per cubic metre.

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A little further down the rankings, the air quality in Thurrock in Essex, Swansea and Gillingham in Kent contained 13 or more micrograms of pollution.

Manchester is among the most polluted cities in the UK (Photo: Shutterstock)

Fifteen areas - including Armagh in Northern Ireland, Birmingham and Brighton - have reached the pollution limit of 10 micrograms per cubic metre.

Locations where pollution levels have fallen

While pollution levels have risen in many areas, some cities and town have seen a significant decrease in recent years.

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For instance, in 2017 it was reported that Glasgow's pollution levels were at 16 micrograms per cubic metre of air - higher than in both London and Leeds. The most recent data shows that Glasgow now has fewer than 10 micrograms of air pollution, removing the Scottish city from the concern lists entirely.

In London, air pollution fell from 17 micrograms in 2013 to 11 in 2015. During the same time frame, Sheffield saw its pollution levels fall from 17 micrograms to 12.

UK locations exceeding the pollution limit of 10 micrograms per cubic metre

Port Talbot - 18 micrograms per cubic metreScunthorpe - 15Salford - 15Thurrock - 14Manchester - 13Swansea - 13Gillingham - 13Carlisle - 12Chepstow - 12Leeds - 12Leicester - 12Liverpool - 12Grays - 12Eccles - 12Nottingham - 12Plymouth - 12York - 12Prestonpans - 12Royal Leamington Spa - 12Sandy - 12Sheffield - 12Stoke-On-Trent - 12London - 11Coventry - 11Hull - 11Londonderry - 11Middlesbrough - 11Norwich - 11Southend-On-Sea - 11Stockton-On-Tees - 11Storrington - 11Wigan - 11

The 15 towns that are at the limit

Armagh - 10 micrograms per cubic metreBirmingham - 10Brighton - 10Bristol - 10Cardiff - 10Eastbourne - 10Harlington - 10Newcastle - 10Newport - 10Oxford - 10Portsmouth - 10Preston - 10Saltash - 10Southampton - 10Stanford-Le-Hope - 10

Main image: Shutterstock