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How clean is your air? London as an example

According to data recently published from London Mayor Sadiq Khan, two million Londoners, including more than 400,000 children, are living in areas which exceed legal limits for air pollution.

Updates to the London Atmospheric Emission Inventory (LAEI), which analyses air quality, show that between 2013 and 2016, under the previous Mayor, there were no significant improvements in harmful nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations in London’s air, with some areas getting worse.

Thankfully since then there have been significant improvements in measured pollution levels. So far this year, there has been a 57% reduction in the number of hours recorded in which the city exceeded the 200ug/m3 limit for NO2, compared to the same period last year. Additionally, the Mayor has now launched an interactive map showing air quality across London, so that Londoners can be better informed about conditions in their local area.

These figures were published shortly before the introduction of the world-leading Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in central London, which will see non-compliant vehicles charged to enter the zone, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The ULEZ came into force in central London today (08/04/2019), and it means that drivers of older, more polluting vehicles are being charged to enter the congestion zone area at any time.

But outside the example of London it’s important to remember that air quality is the largest environmental health risk in the UK. It shortens lives and contributes to chronic illness. Health can be affected both by short-term, high-pollution episodes and by long-term exposure to lower levels of pollution.

Why not have a look at the DEFRA website to check out what pollution levels are like in your area? The Met Office supplies an air quality forecast for Defra based on five key pollutants: ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, PM2.5 and PM10 particles that can have an impact on your health.

Let’s remember there are small things we can all do that will make a big difference to emissions locally and nationally, with a positive and lasting impact. Try and think about your ‘clean air strategy’ both in work and at home.

If you’d like any help thinking about what improvements your business can make, contact us here.

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