Nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution from diesel vehicles is significantly higher outside of central London, according to new research by the Environmental Defense Fund Europe (EDF).
The researchers modelled Breathe London data at 231 locations across London and found that NOx pollution from diesel vehicles is on average 23% higher at locations outside of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).
One of the areas with the highest pollution concentrations was Wembley in Brent, which is one of London’s most deprived neighbourhoods.
EDF has highlighted that this pollution is already having an impact on the health of those living in the area; the proportion of young people aged between 10 – 18 requiring emergency admission for asthma is 57% higher in Brent than it is across England as a whole.
The researchers have said that this raises a red flag for policymakers and highlights that lack of action may result in a car-led economic recovery which would increase toxic air pollution.
Based on these findings, EDF has joined the British Lung Foundation, Greenpeace, ClientEarth and Global Action Plan in urging the government to bring forward the date to ban the sale of diesel and petrol cars.
Oliver Lord, head of policy and campaigns at EDF Europe said: ‘There is no hiding from the magnitude of pollution from diesel cars.
‘Increasing car ownership and a lack of policy in Outer London could leave us in danger of dividing communities, and some of the most deprived neighbourhoods are at risk of being left behind in the fight for clean air.
‘We need more ambition at a local level and for the Government to give us all the certainty that diesel has had its day, sooner rather than later.’
Zak Bond, policy officer at the British Lung Foundation, added: ‘Now, more than ever, we need to protect everyone’s lungs, so we must improve air quality urgently.
‘It is clear that bringing forward the date for the end of the sale of petrol, diesel and hybrid cars and vans to 2030 is a vital step towards getting the most polluting vehicles off the road and thus improving the quality of life for people with a lung condition.’
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