The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has revealed new data showing some of London’s most polluted streets as his Breathe London sensor network gives a fresh insight into the capital’s air quality. The Breathe London network highlights potential air quality hotspots, allowing solutions to be put in place as quickly as possible and is just the latest stage in the Mayor’s ambitious programme to tackle London’s toxic air. More than 100 fixed sensors were placed in locations across the capital and found levels of pollution likely to exceed legal limits not only in central London but also outer boroughs such as Barking, Kingston and Hillingdon. The findings demonstrate that poor air quality is not only a problem for people living and working in central London.
In their first eight months of operation, high levels of air pollution were detected by 40 per cent of the Breathe London sensors, showing locations are likely to exceed the legal annual levels of air pollution. Sensors on busy West End roads also recorded levels of nitrogen dioxide 10 times higher than on smaller streets just a few metres away. Publishing this data is an essential part of the Mayor’s open and transparent air quality agenda, allowing policy makers to take informed decisions to clean up the capital’s air and Londoners to use world-leading online tools to see real-time and past levels of air pollution in their areas.
In April, the Mayor introduced the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in central London, with plans to expand the zone to the North and South Circular in 2021. Since it was announced and then implemented, City Hall say central London has seen a 20 per cent reduction in emissions and 9,400 fewer cars enter the ULEZ zone each day. The Mayor has also already established 10 low-emission bus zones (LEBZ) – which have led to emission reductions of up to 90 per cent in some areas - and worked with TfL to transform London’s bus and taxi fleet. The Mayor’s Air Quality Fund helps boroughs to complement such regional measures with effective local action. The Mayor of London, Sadiq 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.”