All of London exposed to dangerous toxic air particles

4th October 2017


Web smog shutterstock 584658688 1

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Mitigation ,
  • Fossil fuels

Author

Isobel Hornbuckle

Every person living in the UK’s capital city inhabits an area that exceeds World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for the most dangerous toxic air particles.

That is according to research released today by London mayor, Sadiq Khan, which reveals that nearly 95% of the city’s population lives in an area that exceeds the guidelines by 50% or more.

Known as PM2.5, the particles are widely acknowledged to increase the likelihood of respiratory and cardiovascular disease, and are responsible for 29,000 premature deaths in the UK every year.

Khan said: “This research is another damning indictment of the toxic air that all Londoners are forced to breathe every day. It’s sickening to know that not a single area of London meets WHO health standards.

“I understand this is really difficult for Londoners, but that’s why I felt it was so important that I made this information public so people really understand the scale of the challenge we face in London.”

The research shows that in central London the average annual levels of PM2.5 are almost double the WHO guideline limits, with the main sources from tyre and brake wear, construction and wood burning.

This is of particular concern for children, with those exposed to the toxic pollutants more likely to grow up with reduced lung function and develop asthma.

Khan has committed to get pollution levels to within WHO guidelines by 2030, and a new T-charge will come into force later this month to remove the older most polluting vehicles from London’s roads.

He also wants a stricter set of emission standards on future sales of wood burning stoves and has set out plans for improved education about the types of fuel that should be used.

“The mayor is right to take a hard line on air pollution, as we all have a basic right to safe clean air,” Greenpeace clean air campaigner, Paul Morozzo, said.

“Restricting diesel will make a big difference to both PM and nitrogen oxide air pollution in London, which is why the mayor has no choice but to get tough on cleaning up our roads.”

Subscribe

Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.


Transform articles

UK off track for net zero by 2030, CCC warns

Only a third of the emission reductions required for the UK to achieve net zero by 2030 are covered by credible plans, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) has warned today.

18th July 2024

Read more

Almost three-fifths of UK environmental professionals feel there is a green skills gap across the country’s workforce, or that there will be, a new survey has uncovered.

4th July 2024

Read more

Climate hazards such as flooding, droughts and extreme heat are threatening eight in 10 of the world’s cities, new research from CDP has uncovered.

3rd July 2024

Read more

Ahead of the UK general election next month, IEMA has analysed the Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat, and Green Party manifestos in relation to the sustainability agenda.

19th June 2024

Read more

Nine in 10 UK adults do not fully trust brands to accurately portray their climate commitments or follow the science all the time, a new survey has uncovered.

19th June 2024

Read more

Just one in 20 workers aged 27 and under have the skills needed to help drive the net-zero transition, compared with one in eight of the workforce as a whole, new LinkedIn data suggests.

18th June 2024

Read more

With a Taskforce on Inequality and Social-related Financial Disclosures in the pipeline, Beth Knight talks to Chris Seekings about increased recognition of social sustainability

6th June 2024

Read more

Disinformation about the impossibility of averting the climate crisis is part of an alarming turn in denialist tactics, writes David Burrows

6th June 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close