Five million Londoners to breathe cleaner air if ULEZ expanded

340,000 people in outer London would live in areas meeting the interim World Health Organization (WHO) targets for nitrogen dioxide for the first time if the ULEZ is expanded.

New data from City Hall reveals all of outer London’s monitoring stations are currently exceeding the new WHO recommended guidelines for NO2 of 10 ug/m3.

The expansion of the ULEZ would reduce the number of Londoners living in areas exceeding interim WHO targets for NO2 by 13%, with five million people expected to breathe cleaner air if the expansion goes ahead.

Around 4,000 Londoners died prematurely in 2019 because of long term exposure to air pollution, with many more children having permanently stunted lungs and adults suffering a range of illnesses.

Travelling around the capital is a major source of exposure to poor air quality, with road vehicles causing nearly 50% of the city’s air pollution.

If no further action is taken to reduce air pollution, around 550,000 Londoners will develop diseases related to poor air quality over the next 30 years, according to City Hall predictions.

In this case the cost to the NHS and social care system in London is estimated to be £10.4 billion by 2050.

wide road with vehicles

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: ‘The health of Londoners across the capital is being damaged by air pollution and I’m doing all I can to improve it. This data shows how important it is to take bold action that benefits all Londoners. If the zone is expanded, five million people living in the outer boroughs would also be able to breathe cleaner, less polluted air and this is why I’ve been consulting on expanding the ULEZ London-wide.

‘Deadly air pollution contributes to children developing stunted lungs, asthma and a whole host of other health issues and new research has shown that it also puts people at increased risk of developing dementia. We need to act now to protect the most vulnerable from the worst consequences of toxic air and build a safer, fairer, greener and more prosperous city for everyone.’

The Mayor and Bloomberg Philanthropies have also announced the first community groups to receive free Breathe London air quality sensors, empowering them to monitor local air pollution.

Mums for Lungs in Redbridge is one of the first 10 community groups to be awarded a free Breathe London sensor, which is located in Elmhurst Gardens, an urban park and playground.

Elmhurst Gardens sits outside the expanded ULEZ and residents will be monitoring the pollution that predominantly comes from the North Circular. 

Lydia Fraser-Ward, a spokesperson for Mums for Lungs in Redbridge commented: ‘We are delighted to have been awarded an air quality sensor by the Mayor of London and Breathe London Community Programme. Our community in South Woodford in the London Borough of Redbridge are deeply concerned about the levels of air pollution in the neighbourhood, particularly in the playground of our lovely local park Elmhurst Gardens which sits next to the North Circular.

‘It is thanks to this project that we now have reliable and up-to-date data which members of the public can access online. This data demonstrates when pollution levels are at their highest and acts as important evidence to lobby for mitigation measures to help to protect park users from exposure to dangerously high levels of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter in the future.’

Photo by Anouk Fotografeert


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1 year ago

Sounds excellent to me. We need more now! Well done Mums.

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