European Union (EU) rules stipulate that London can only overshoot the maximum safe levels of nitrous oxide in the air for an hour, 18 times a year.
This level of 200 micrograms per cubic metre (ug/m3), was exceeded for the 19th time during rush hour on Friday January 8. It has taken just eight days in 2016, for London to exceed its limit for air pollution that it had designated for the whole of 2016.
A report from King’s College London found that pollution in the capital led to around 5,900 premature deaths in 2010, these were as a result of respiratory and heart problems.
This is the fifth year in a row that London has massively overshot its limit. It has one of the worst pollution records in the world despite a strategy to create cleaner living in the capital, however this is difficult to achieve because of the excessively high NO₂ concentrations from diesel fumes.
London needs to change its thinking if we are to protect the hundreds of thousands of people both living in London and also on our busiest shopping streets.
“Put simply, diesel exhaust is the biggest public health catastrophe since the Black Death.”