Ealing Pollution Levels Too High

Mayoral contender calls for 'clean air revolution'

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Ealing is one of several London boroughs found to have been in violation of pollution levels - according to data obtained by London mayoral contender, Sadiq Khan.

The most up-to-date statistics disclosed to the former transport minister cover 2010 to 2013 and show London’s boroughs exceeding targets on key air quality measures, including levels of nitrogen dioxide and ultrafine particulates that are known to be particularly hazardous to human health.

From 2010 to 2011, all of London’s boroughs were exceeding their NO2 limits, while only one – Sutton – managed to meet its target in 2012.

While there have been some improvements, especially in terms of bringing down the number of PM10 particles, in 2013 – the last year which data is currently available for – there were still seven boroughs breaching their targets on the smaller PM2.5 particles.

The most recent figures show that Ealing exceeded its targets for levels of nitrogen dioxide and ultrafine PM2.5 particulates, which are known to be particularly hazardous to human health as they can get lodged in people's lungs. Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster, Tower Hamlets, Camden and Brent also exceeded their targets.

The campaign group Clean Air in London has estimated that 7,500 people a year die early in the capital due to NO2 and particulate pollution, and that around 55,000 are dying prematurely across the UK.

Ozone gases and particulates are common triggers of asthma attacks, with Asthma UK reporting that two thirds of asthma sufferers saying that air pollution worsens their symptoms and makes attacks more likely.

Tooting MP Sadiq Khan, who is one of the front runners to be selected as the Labour Party's candidate in next year’s London mayoral election, has already said he will make tackling the city’s notorious pollution problem one of his top priorities and is vowing to ‘lead a clean air revolution’.

The plans he has outlined so far include:

  • extending London’s proposed Ultra Low Emission Zone
  • moving towards an all-electric bus fleet
  • an ambitious blueprint for pedestrianising Oxford Street, which would see the capital’s flagship shopping strip transformed into a one and a half mile tree-lined public space
  • action to make London's streets safer for cycling

Reacting to the latest data, Sadiq Khan said: “These figures paint a dismal picture of London's long-term efforts to tackle air pollution and underline the need for a much bolder and more radical approach. 

"When it comes to reducing certain pollutants, it's clear that any progress we have seen has been lacklustre at best, and in some cases simply non-existent. 

"This is a public health issue. When doctors advise people not to go running in London on certain days, and children’s lungs are underdeveloped, we can’t let this carry on. When the lives of asthma sufferers are put at risk because of the greater risk of potentially fatal attacks caused by air pollution, we cannot fail to act. Meaningful action is desperately needed if we want our city to be a healthy and pleasant place to live. 

"If I was in City Hall, cleaning up London's air would be at the top of my agenda, rather than being relegated to a mere afterthought."




8th July 2015