Brixton Road was officially the most polluted road in London tonight as it reached the legal pollution level for a whole year just five days into 2017.
ClientEarth – a group of activist lawyers committed to securing a healthy planet – said that, according to the legal limit, levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) should not be more than 200 micrograms per cubic meter for more than 18 hours over an entire year. But NO2 levels on Brixton Road have so far been above this level for 17 consecutive hours today (Thursday 5 January).
London mayor Sadiq Khan is planning to introduce no/low emission buses on routes between Streatham and Brixton in October this year.
NO2 in towns and cities comes mostly from road traffic.
ClientEarth lawyer and Brixton resident Alan Andrews 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.
“He has promised to introduce a bigger ultra-low emission zone in 2019 and to deploy the cleanest buses on the most polluted roads.
“While these are vital steps in the right direction, we can’t wait another three years for action. We need immediate action to cut pollution in the short-term and protect Londoners’ health during these pollution spikes.
“While London has the worst air pollution, this is a national problem which requires a national solution.
“The government’s draft plans to tackle air pollution, as ordered by the High Court, are due in April.
“They must include a national network of clean air zones, which stop the dirtiest diesel vehicles entering pollution hotspots.
“They also have to stop the perverse fiscal incentives which encourage people to use diesel vehicles and instead help them to buy cleaner ones.”