Air pollution at commuter hotspots in London halved in the first four weeks of lockdown, according to new research by the Environmental Defence Fund Europe (EDFE) and Global Action Plan.
EDFE analysed pollution data from the Breathe London monitoring network during the morning (8-11 am) and evening (5-8 pm) at Borough High Street, Crowcross Street and South Street.
They found that in the first four weeks of lockdown nitrogen oxide (NO2) emissions fell by between 30-50%.
Additional research conducted by Global Action Plan also found that Londoners are more concerned about air pollution since lockdown began, with 70% of Londoners saying they want the government and local authorities to tackle air pollution and traffic more urgently than before the coronavirus outbreak.
Shirley Rodrigues, Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, said: ‘Toxic air contributes to thousands of premature deaths in London every year and there is emerging evidence linking air pollution with an increased vulnerability to COVID-19.
‘London’s recovery from this pandemic must be a green, fair and prosperous one, and it’s clear that Londoners agree. Our challenge is to eradicate air pollution permanently and ensure the gains we’ve made through policies such as ULEZ continue.
‘The Mayor’s new Street space programme is fast-tracking the transformation of streets across our city to enable many more people to walk and cycle. By making the right choices we can all play a part in tackling our air pollution crisis.’
Chris Large, Co-CEO at Global Action Plan, also commented: ‘These findings are clear: air pollution clears up rapidly when we stop driving polluting vehicles.
‘Children in some London boroughs average 10% smaller lungs than the UK average, and this stunting stays for life. Businesses can end this disadvantage to London’s inner-city children by committing to tackling air pollution.’
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