London Breaches Annual Air Pollution Limits Just Five Days Into 2017

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In what has been labelled a “shameful reminder of the severity of London’s air pollution,” London has breached its annual air pollution limits just five days into 2017, according to campaigners.

By law, hourly levels of toxic nitrogen dioxide must not exceed 200 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3) more than 18 times a whole year, but late on Thursday 5th January this limit was breached on Lambeth's Brixton Road.

Many other sites across London will also go on to break the yearly limit; Putney High Street exceeded the hourly limit over 1,200 times in 2016. Oxford Street, Kings Road in Chelsea, and the Strand are other poorly performing pollution sites.

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has pledged new measures to tackle the problem, which include the doubling of funding to £875m over the next five years. But the UK Government’s national plans have been hampered twice in the past two years after they were ruled as being illegal, putting added pressure on them to find a successful third strategy.

Alan Andrews, a lawyer at ClientEarth, the environmental group that successfully sued the government, said: “This is another shameful reminder of the severity of London’s air pollution and shows why the mayor has rightly made tackling it a top priority. It is absolutely essential that he now delivers on his promises and that the national government back him to the hilt.”