London has emerged as a “world leader” in tackling toxic air pollution according to a new report by chief medical officer Sir Chris Whitty.
His latest findings reveal the dangers of pollution in the capital, but show Nitrogen Dioxide (No2) concentrations by roads are down a fifth in inner London and 44 per cent in central.
The implementation and expansion of the Ultra Low Emissions Zone was heralded as a key contributor to the decline by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.
The report also said the improvement had narrowed the “inequality gap in exposure” to pollution, with socio-economically deprived groups less exposed.
Whitty’s report noted there was still significant work to be done in tackling toxic air, with 15 recommendations including making air quality central to local urban planning, to looking at ways to reduce indoor pollution and raising awareness about the effects of open fires.
“This report shows London is a world leader when it comes to tackling toxic air”, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said. “I’m proud that we’ve managed to reduce air pollution by almost half in central London due to the success of our Ultra Low Emission Zone, but thousands of lives are still being lost prematurely due to poor air quality.”
“I am doing all I can to reduce air pollution and create a greener, healthier city for all, but our efforts alone will not be enough. I welcome the recommendations in the Chief Medical Officer’s annual report.
Professor Chris Whitty said “everyone is affected by air pollution, and it is everyone’s problem.
“Air pollution has improved and will continue improving provided we are active in tackling it. We can and should go further – and it is technically possible to do so.”