London Has Already Breached Its Air Pollution Limit For The Entire Year

Photo: Paul Harris/Getty Images.
A south London street has breached its air pollution limit for the entire year in just five days.

EU law states that the average hourly level of nitrogen dioxide in the air may not exceed the World Health Organisation's guideline (200 micrograms per cubic metre) more than 18 times in a year.

However, Brixton Road in Lambeth had exceeded the guideline 19 times by 9pm on Thursday the 5th of January, monitoring from the London Air Project at King's College suggests.

In November, European Environment Agency figures revealed that the UK has a higher level of annual deaths from nitrogen dioxide than any other European country bar Italy. This toxic gas is expelled mainly by diesel vehicles.

Three other London streets - Brompton Road, Neasden Lane and Putney High Street - had already exceeded the WHO's nitrogen dioxide guideline at least six times by the end of Thursday.

Penny Woods of the British Lung Foundation said in response to the figures: "It's shocking that pollution limits in London have already been breached for 2017 - this shows the extent of the public health crisis we are facing.

"The mix of these toxic air pollution levels with freezing temperatures poses a serious risk to people with lung conditions and can affect all of our health."

On Friday, London's Mayor Sadiq Khan announced plans to introduce 10 new "Low Emission Bus Zones" in a bid to cut nitrogen dioxide levels in the capital.

Khan said in a statement: "Tackling London’s filthy air is one of my main priorities and I am delighted to be delivering on that commitment by introducing these new Low Emission Bus Zones. Removing the oldest, dirtiest buses from our streets and delivering Low Emission Bus Zones will make a big contribution to tackling transport pollution."
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