A London Clean Air Zone
Air pollution in London is the worst in the UK for dangerous airborne particles (PM10) and has the highest annual nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels of any city in Europe. This pollution has serious health impacts for Londoners: it causes thousands of premature deaths and makes respiratory conditions such as asthma worse. Action needs to be taken to prevent the oldest, most polluting, diesel vehicles from driving in the centre of London where air pollution is worst. This will improve air quality, and improve the health and quality of life of Londoners.
What’’s the probllem? What s the prob em?
• Health effects: The key reason to take action to improve air quality is its serious health effects. We can’t see air pollution, but eight sites in inner London have already broken the health based limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) for this year. High levels of nitrogen dioxide cause irritation to airways and lungs, and can exacerbate asthma. More than half a million Londoners have asthma, and a quarter of them are children. Studies have also linked exposure to air pollution with lower lung function development in children. Particulates (airborne particles are called PM10 or PM2.5 depending on their size) have even more serious health effects. They not only affect the respiratory system, but cause heart disease and lead to premature death in those already ill. A recent study estimated that air pollution leads to over 4300 premature deaths in London per year, and this number could actually be as high as 8000. This is because exposure to particulates does not just lead to lung diseases but increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes. The health impacts of air pollution also cost the UK up to £17bn a year. [More information in
• Pollutants: So where does air pollution come from? About 70% of PM10 and 40% of NO2 come from road traffic. Domestic and commercial heating systems also emit pollution. About 80% of PM10...