Brixton Road breaches annual air pollution limit in five days

Pollution over London city skyline showing St Paul's Cathedral, seen from Primrose HillImage copyright
Matt Dunham

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Air quality in the capital is monitored by King’s College London

A south London road has breached its annual air pollution limit for 2017 in just five days.

Readings taken in Brixton Road found levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), linked to nearly 5,900 early deaths a year, repeatedly breached the EU limit.

King’s College London, which runs the air quality monitoring stations, said some London streets have the highest levels of NO2 exposure in the world.

Oxford Street, Kings Road and the Strand are other pollution hotspots.

Under EU law hourly levels of NO2, mostly caused by diesel vehicles, must not exceed 200 micrograms per cubic metre more than 18 times in a year.

On 5 January Brixton Road had exceeded this annual limit by 17 hours, according to the London Air Quality Network at King’s College London.

At one point NO2 levels were nearly double the legal limit.

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Nitrogen dioxide levels on Britxon Road have been registered at nearly double the legal limit

Putney High Street, which was the first London road to exceed its legal limit last year, went on to exceed the hourly limit more than 1,100 times in 2016.

The news has come on the day Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announced 10 new low emission bus zones in the capital.

The new routes bring the total number of Low Emission Zones planned to 12, including previously announced zones in Putney High Street and Brixton.

The mayor has pledged to double funding to tackle air pollution to £875m over five years.

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Green Party

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Caroline Russell of the Green Party said there were “awful public health consequences” of living in dirty air

But Caroline Russell, who represents the Green Party on the London Assembly, said the plans were “just not enough”.

“Too many people have had their lives shortened, their asthma and other respiratory problems worsened and their quality of life reduced as a result of weak mayoral policies and government inaction,” she said.

In April a committee of MPs called air pollution in the UK a “public health emergency”.

This week a study suggested as many as 11% of cases of dementia in people living near busy roads could be linked to air pollution.


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