A new set of data released by City Hall revealed that the air in every one of London’s 32 boroughs is in breach of World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for toxic Nitrogen Dioxide levels.
The study, which was published yesterday (April 25), was carried out by placing almost 1,823 diffusion tubes around London — with every single tube found to exceed the WHO recommended limit, which is 10 µg/m3.
It was found in the study that average levels of Nitrogen Dioxide levels were similar in both inner and outer areas of the city, meaning action is required across all of London.
Two boroughs – Harrow and Bexley – also chose not to install the devices to measure air pollution levels in 2021, despite being advised to by City Hall. London’s remaining boroughs did implement the diffusion tubes upon the recommendation, and this marks the first time a full set of data on the average Nitrogen Dioxide levels has been compiled using this method.
14 London boroughs were also found to exceed a stricter legal limit on Nitrogen Dioxide levels of legal limit of 40 µg/m3. Merton (27%) was found to be the borough with the highest percentage of sites exceeding the guidelines, with Brent (26%) and Croydon (25%) not far behind. There was, however, some disparity between the number of sites measured in each borough.
Speaking on the study, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “London’s toxic air is leading to children growing up with stunted lungs and causes around 4,000 premature deaths a year – with the greatest number of attributable deaths in London’s outer boroughs.
“This data is yet more shocking proof that London’s air quality has been in serious breach of the recognised global standard – and it’s a problem in every single part of the capital.
“I have made tackling toxic air pollution a priority since I was first elected in 2016, and we have made huge progress since then. However, I am determined to do all I can to ensure that children now and the next generation of Londoners can grow up breathing cleaner air – wherever they live in the capital.
“This is why I made the difficult decision to expand the ULEZ London-wide – to help save lives and to give all Londoners the right to breathe cleaner air.”
This comes after a study published on April 24 found that new policies had, in fact, had a positive impact on London air. Nitrogen Dioxide levels have fallen across the city, and the ULEZ expansion is expected to lead to cleaner air for 5 million more people across the city.
Read the study in full here.