London has now reached its annual air pollution limit less than a month into the new year.
European Union rules - and UK law - state that monitoring stations are allowed to exceed hourly limits of 200 micrograms of NO2 [nitrogen dioxide] per cubic metre of air just 18 times in a year.
Today, Brixton Road in Lambeth recorded its 18th breach marking the official limit for the entire year.
This is actually a significant improvement on previous years. Last year London broke the limit for the year in just five days while the capital as a whole has consistently broken its own limits on air quality for the last five years.
To try and tackle the air pollution crisis that’s currently facing the capital, London Mayor Sadiq Khan has introduced a number of tough new measures including the T-charge which charges the most polluting types of car that wish to drive through the city.
Other actions include introducing new greener busses on routes that are classed as particularly dangerous air pollution hotspots including Putney. This has reportedly led to a 90% drop in the harmful emissions since their introduction.
Throughout 2016 Putney high street broke the EU limit a shocking 1,600 times.
The London mayor has been a strong proponent of tackling air pollution in the city and earlier this year blogged on HuffPost UK saying: “It’s shameful this problem has been ignored for so long.”
“It is a scandal that air pollution claims the lives of thousands every year and that children have been allowed to grow up in our capital with stunted lungs, while no meaningful action has been taken to safeguard their health.”
World Health Organisation figures from 2016 reveal that a staggering 92% of the world’s population are living in areas that exceed its own guidelines on air quality.
Environmental law firm ClientEarth took the UK government to the High Court last week for the third time over illegal air pollution in the country.
Speaking to HuffPost UK, ClientEarth spokesperson Simon Alcock said: “The Mayor has taken some bold and welcome steps to deal with London’s toxic air problem since coming to office and the later breach this year shows his policies are making a difference.”
But it’s still only a month into 2018 and London has breached limits for the whole year, which shows there’s much more to do. Londoners are still breathing filthy air on a daily basis.”
Ministers have to get a grip and show they’re serious about protecting our health by committing to real action to tackle our toxic air.”