According to live data from the King’s College London, London has officially reached the legal air pollution limit of the United Kingdom for the whole year.
Under the pollution rules of the European Union, an individual place cannot break the hourly limit of 200 micrograms of nitrogen dioxide per cubic metre of air over 18 times within a year.
In 2018, the offending area was Brixton Road, which reached the limit for the 18th time this morning.
However, it is not all bad news as the air quality of London remained within legal limits for the longest period in almost two decades, according to the mayor of the capital, Sadiq Khan.
During the past years, London has broken the yearly limits less than a week into the new year.
Today, Khan announced a partnership with King’s College London that is intended to improve the way that the public is informed regarding poor air quality incidents in the capital.
The new alert system will start off a programme that was implemented in 2017. Starting next week, King’s will monitor air pollution in London continuously and directly inform a larger group of stakeholders as required.
In the near future, the alerts will also be targeted for those people who are particularly exposed to poor air quality, such as people at care homes, schools, and GPs surgeries.
Khan stated: “At long last we are seeing some improvements in our toxic air, but there is a long way to go before we can breathe easy. I want more Londoners to engage with air quality issues so I am sure the new guidance that I have published today will encourage people to learn more about the air they breathe and what they can do to improve it.”
Mayor Khan called on the government of the United Kingdom to “step up to the plate” and resemble his ambition.
The clean air campaigner for Friends of the Earth, Oliver Hayes, said that the United Kingdom still has a long way to go with regards to cleaning up its air, despite some good initiatives that were initiated by the mayor. Hayes recommended that the government should provide a “decent” scheme on diesel scrappage and devise a network of clean air zones across the nation.
“It’s high time we reimagined our cities so that people – not traffic– come first. Our health, our sense of community, and our wellbeing depend on it,” said Hayes.