London air quality data shows ‘toxic’ pollution hotspots

london air quality data
© iStock/jaymitpatel

New London air quality data has led to the identification of several ‘hotspots’ where air pollution is a particularly pressing issue.

The Breathe London network, consisting of of more than 100 air quality sensors around the city, found multiple boroughs in central and outer London where pollution levels were likely to exceed the legal limits. 40% of the sensors, which have been in place measuring London air quality data since late 2018, detected ‘high’ levels of air pollution; with busy roads in the West End showing nitrogen dioxide up to 10 times higher than smaller, quieter roads nearby.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has pledged an ‘open and transparent’ approach to London air quality data, enabling policymakers to make informed decisions on reducing pollution by making data freely available both to municipal authorities and to the city’s residents. The mayor has taken a range of actions to reduce the public health risks of pollution in the capital, including implementing the world’s first ultra-low emission zone and ramping up electric vehicle infrastructure throughout the city.

Khan said: “London’s filthy air is a public health crisis that leads to thousands of premature deaths in the capital every year as well as stunting the development of young lungs and increasing the number of cases of respiratory illness. It is vital that we face up to the reality of our situation and don’t shy away from the challenges presented by this new data. These findings, from our world leading Breathe London sensor network, are a stark reminder that pollution hotspots exist across London and will refocus our efforts on improving air quality for all. As we face up to the current climate emergency, I hope the success of this scheme will act as a blueprint for cities around the world to battle their own toxic air emergencies – but we can’t win this battle alone. The Government must take the air we breathe seriously and offer the support London needs to tackle this public health crisis.”

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