London failed annual European Union limits on air pollution just eight days into 2016, data from the capital’s main air quality monitor show.
Nineteen times this year, the concentration of nitrogen dioxide on Putney High Street in Wandsworth, west London, has exceeded the EU limit of 200 micrograms per cubic meter as an hourly mean, according to provisional data on King’s College London’s Air Quality Network website. That compares with an annual limit of 18 “exceedances” set by the EU.
London’s two leading mayoral candidates have both vowed to tackle the problem:
I’ve been on Putney High Street with an air pollution monitor. We must clean up London’s filthy and dangerous air.
– SADIQ KHAN MP, LABOUR CANDIDATE
Shocking levels of air pollution right across London. I’ll be putting forward a comprehensive plan for tackling it.
– ZAC GOLDSMITH MP, CONSERVATIVE CANDIDATE
However, City Hall say they need the Government to bring in new measures, such as a scheme to get diesel cars off the road, if the problem is to be tackled.
The Air Quality Network pointed out that Oxford Street would have broken the 18-time limit before Putney High Street but the monitoring station there has stopped working.
The campaign group ClientEarth, who won a Supreme Court case over air pollution last year, said the Government’s response to the problem was inadequate:
Those plans fall well short and Londoners face another decade of choking on dangerously polluted air if ministers refuse to take the bold steps needed to solve this deadly problem. In the coming months, we will take the Government back to court. In the meantime we need to hear from all mayoral candidates about how they are going to solve this public health crisis. Warm words and empty rhetoric won’t save lives
Laura F. Nixon