UK air pollution

  1. London school pollution drops 95% in four years

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    The number of London schools with illegally toxic air has dropped dramatically since 2016 – down 95 per cent in four years.

    More than two million Londoners lived in areas over the legal limit for air pollution four years ago, but that figure is down 94 per cent to 119,000 people.

    Just 25 schools had illegal levels of dirty air last year – dropping from 671 in 2016 – and there are now no outer London schools in highly toxic areas.

    London pollution

    Six inner London boroughs – Lambeth, Westminster, Tower Hamlets, Camden, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Islington – still have state schools that breach the limits.

    The main pollutants in the capital are nitrogen dioxide, a byproduct of diesel engines, and particulate matter, micro-dust that can penetrate the lungs and enter the bloodstream.

    Both can cause stunted lung growth in children and worsen chronic illnesses like asthma and heart disease.

  2. Birmingham to trial hydrogen-fuelled buses

    Bus passengers in Birmingham will be using hydrogen-fuelled buses from April under a new scheme in the city.

    One of the buses

    The council's bought 20 double deckers fitted with the technology which National Express West Midlands will be trialling next year.

    Water is the only exhaust emission from hydrogen-fuelled vehicles.

    The council said the move would help improve Birmingham's poor air quality.

  3. Toxic air pollution worse in outer London, study finds

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Ulez zone

    Toxic air pollution from cars is now worse in outer London than in the city centre, new analysis by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has revealed.

    Nitrogen oxide pollution – a carcinogenic biproduct of diesel engines – is 23% higher on average at locations outside London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), according to the climate action non-profit.

    The fund is responsible for a network of more than 200 air quality sensors across the city, run in partnership with the mayor of London.

    Their study found that the five worst pollution hotspots are all outside the ULEZ, with the Broadway in Ealing ranked worst for toxic air.

    Cromwell Road in Kingston, Romford Road in Newham, Putney High Street in Wandsworth and Euston Road in Camden were also among the worst sites in the city.

    Sadiq Khan plans to extend the ULEZ to the up to the north and south circular roads next year – and three of these five worst locations will then be covered.

    But the study suggests many of London’s worst affected areas will still be outside the zone.

    Environmental Defense Fund policy and campaigns chief Oliver Lord said London needs “more ambition at local level” to tackle toxic air.

    “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,” he said.

    Zak Bond, policy officer for the British Lung Foundation, said accelerating the move away from diesel cars to 2030 was a “vital step”, adding that "breathing in dirty air is bad for everyone’s health but can be particularly dangerous for those living with lung conditions".