Air Pollution in the City of London
Is air pollution a problem in the City?
The City of London, along with much of central London, can experience high levels of air pollution. The pollution is made up of gases and very tiny particles that are not visible to the naked eye. The main source of this pollution is diesel vehicles. Air quality is monitored in the City and the data compared to health based targets. The targets for small particles (PM10) and nitrogen dioxide are not being met. At busy roadsides in the City, the annual average level of nitrogen dioxide is around three times the target. The map above shows how this pollutant varies across the City. Concentrations are highest next to busiest roads, the darker the colour, the higher the concentration.
How does it affect health?
Air pollution in London can have a serious impact on health. Children and the elderly are the most susceptible. It is estimated that up to 10,000 Londoners die each year due to poor air quality. Recent studies in East London have shown a reduced lung capacity in children exposed to high levels of pollution.
Where can I find out about daily pollution?
Pollution levels in London vary from day to day depending on the weather. To be advised when air pollution is going to be high you can register for a free mobile phone text message service. Current data from monitoring stations is made available on the London Air web site and the City of London has also developed a Smart Phone App called CityAir which displays current levels of air quality and is free of charge.
How can I help?
If you drive, avoid using your car for short journeys and turn your engine off when stationary. When buying a new car, select petrol over diesel as it will have much lower emissions. Ask your employer to specify low emission vehicles for deliveries. You can reduce your exposure to pollution by walking away from busy roads. Plan a low pollution route using www.walkit.com or the CityAir Smart Phone App .
What is the City of London Corporation doing about the problem?
The City published an Air Quality Strategy in 2015, which outlines plans and programmes to improve air quality in the Square Mile. For more information see www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/air. Follow us on Twitter @_CityAir
Business Healthy is hosting a free event for members on air quality, for more information please click here.