London surpassed its annual 2017 air pollution limit in just five days
Thursday, 5th January 2017 was a day to remember in the British capital. London breached its annual permitted limit of air pollution for the year 2017 in just five days. Both European and British law have been infringed, due to high level emissions of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) among the streets.
• The assessment of air pollution in London
By law, hourly levels of toxic nitrogen dioxide must not exceed 200 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3) more than 18 times in a whole year. However, this limit was broken on Brixton Road in Lambeth. An air monitoring site measured its 19th hour above the threshold at 9 pm on Thursday.
Mayor Sadiq Khan announced the day after the measures that London breached its annual air pollution limits five days into the new year.
Brixton resident Alan Andrews, a lawyer for the campaign group ClientEarth, said the breach was “another shameful reminder of the severity of London’s air pollution.”
• Estimated consequences of air pollution in London
NO2 pollution, which is largely produced by diesel vehicles, is responsible for 5,900 early deaths every year in London.
Many streets in London are affected by this scourge. For instance, Putney High Street exceeded the hourly limit over 1,200 times in 2016. Nearly every major avenue is affected by air pollution and broke the limit established by law.
The director of Clean Air in London, an advocacy group, said that the only way to comply with the law was to “ban diesel from the most polluted places.”
Also this week, scientists said that one in 10 cases of Alzheimer’s in people living near busy roads could be linked to air pollution.
•The announced measures
The mayor of London has pledged new measures and announced he’d be doubling funding to £875m (€1.02m) over five years to tackle the problem. But the UK government’s national plans have twice been ruled illegal in the past two years and it has been sent back to the drawing board to develop a third strategy.
ClientEarth, who have taken the British government to court for not tackling Britain’s air pollution crisis, called on London’s mayor to deliver on his promises to reduce air pollution.
As a result, Sadiq Khan announced that ten Low Emission Bus Zones will be created within the next few months in order to reduce pollution from diesel vehicles.