Khan hails air quality achievements ahead of mayoral election

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has published new data to show how London’s air quality has improved since he became mayor in 2016.

According to the report, hourly legal breaches for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels have been reduced by 97%, from 4,000 in 2016 to just over 100 last year.

There have also been reductions in Londoner’s long-term exposure to air pollution, with every monitoring site in the capital recording a reduction in annual average NO2 levels. Londonwide, there has been an average reduction of 21% between 2016 and 2019.

Brixton Road in Lambeth has been one of the biggest success stories with NO2 levels remaining within legal limits throughout 2019 and so far this year.

In 2016 it was one of the city’s major NO2 hotspots, with 530 hours above the EU’s legal limit of 200 µg/m3.

Similarly, Oxford Street in Westminster exceeded legal limits for 168 hours in 2016. In 2019 monitors did not record a single hour above legal limits. However, Oxford Street did not meet the annual mean level last year.

London will hold a mayoral election in May with air quality likely to be a key battleground.

Conservative candidate Shaun Bailey has previously said that he would halt the proposed expansion of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) and instead spend more money on electric buses.

Independent candidate Rory Stewart has said he would do more to tackle emissions from domestic boilers and construction machinery, should he become mayor.

Lib Dem candidate Siobhan Benita launched her campaign last week (February 13) and said air pollution is one of the top issues facing Londoners.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: ‘Toxic air is a national health crisis contributing to thousands of premature deaths every year. I have taken bold action in London with measures such as the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone and Low Emission Bus Zones, and it’s undeniable that these are making a difference to the air we breathe.’

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