London is a magnificent city; it’s a hub of industry, of finance, of tourism.
It’s where people live, work, go to school, go for fun.
Yet the air quality in our capital has been shown to be dangerously polluted.
That makes it a hazardous place to be, whether you go there out of choice or because you have to.
So just what is being done to improve London’s air quality?
ULEZ – the Ultra Low Emissions Zone – launched on 8th April 2019.
This is all part of the mayor of London’s efforts to clean up the air. When you drive in the ULEZ zone, you will need to meet exacting emissions standards for your vehicle. If not, you need to pay a daily charge.
This is in addition to the Congestion Charge (and currently runs in the same area), and is payable at all times, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
The idea behind this concept is to encourage drivers to invest in vehicles with lower emissions – making them safer for the environment and giving out less air pollution – as these will be exempt from the charge.
The money raised from the vehicles with higher emissions entering the ULEZ zone will go towards other air quality ideas.
School Air Quality Audits
Schools in London have always been a concern when it comes to air quality.
Breathing in polluted air is a health risk for children, and therefore 50 primary schools in London’s most polluted areas have been audited to determine exactly what those risks are.
The results of the audits have meant that recommendations are being implemented. These include:
- moving entrances and playgrounds so that they are further away from roads
- ensuring there is a rule regarding parents waiting in their cars and not allowing them to have the engine idling
- looking into emissions from kitchens and boilers etc, and lowering them if possible and if required
- changing road layouts around schools; encouraging walk or cycle to work schemes.
The Mayor’s Air Quality Fund
The Mayor’s Air Quality Fund (MAQF) is a 10 year programme of £20 million that is put aside to support air quality projects across all the London boroughs.
Although currently closed for applications, it opens up on a regular basis to invite people to put forward ideas that will benefit London and reduce the problem of air pollution with in the city.
Air Pollution Monitoring
More monitoring regarding the levels of air pollution is a good things; it will let everyone know exactly where the problem areas are, and ensure that the right plans are put in place to combat the issue.
Working with Kings College Hospital, schools, GP surgeries, and care homes will be notified directly if there is a change in the air quality around them, especially if it reaches dangerous levels.
Clean Air Route Finder
Some areas of London are more polluted than others, and that means that, if you sign up for the clean air route finder app, you can be directed through the best parts for your health if you are walking or cycling.
This has been done thanks to the monitoring of all routes by Cleaner Air Better Business.
The clean air routes have between 30 and 60 percent less pollution through them than the other routes that might be taken, so it’s clear that this will make a big difference.