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Central London Air Quality Breaches Yearly Limit

January 8, 2015
Environmental Protection

ox stNitrogen dioxide levels in London’s Oxford Street have taken just four days of the new year to breach annual European Union limits, according to campaign group Clean Air in London.

The current limits on NO2 dictate that levels should not exceed 200 micrograms per cubic metre for more than 18 hours each year. Figures confirmed by Kings College, who monitor around 120 sites in London, show that Oxford Street had reached 19 hours above the limit by January 4th. In 2014 the same monitoring site showed 1,361 breaches during the year.

In the coming weeks, monitoring sites in Putney High Street and Brixton Road are also expected to breach the EU annual limit. Clean Air in London founder Simon Birkett feels the situation in the capital has now reached crisis proportions. “Concerns about air pollution, particularly NO2 and diesel exhaust, have risen exponentially,” he said. “Leading scientists say that many roads in central London will tend to have the highest NO2 concentrations in the world. The gap between what the Mayor says and what he needs to do, and actually does has never been wider.” The news comes as the Mayor of London’s 11 week consultation on plans for a new ultra-low emission zone in the centre of the capital comes to a close on January 9th.

Recently the government’s Environmental Audit Committee labelled the UK’s air quality a ‘public health crisis’ after recommending that schools, hospitals and care homes should be built away from pollution hotspots.