London and Milan to chair roundtable on air quality solutions

The mayors of London and Milan are today coming together to discuss opportunities to tackle air pollution, the climate crisis and congestion.

Chair of C40 Cities, London’s Sadiq Khan, and Vice Chair for Europe, Milan’s Giuseppe Sala, will host a roundtable of experts focused on reducing city pollution through solutions such as low emission zones.  

C40 Cities is network of 100 mayors across the world working on delivery effective climate action, with the two mayors set to be joined by medical experts, including Professor Frank Kelly, and campaigners Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah and Mum’s for Lungs founder Jemima Hartshorn among others. 

Khan is also launching the C40 Green and Healthy Streets Leadership Forum today to allow mayors to engage, raise collective ambition and accelerate the implementation of polices, with aims for some areas to be zero emission by 2030.  

gray curtain building during daytime

14 cities will be taking part in the forum, including Barcelona, Milan, London, Delhi and Los Angeles, following discussions at the Transport and Air Quality Summit in London and the C40 World Mayors Summit in Buenos Aires last year.  

Khan said: ‘Toxic air pollution is a public health crisis in many of our cities – leading to premature death and chronic disease. As Chair of C40 Cities, I am committed to working collaboratively across national borders and city boundaries to tackle air pollution, congestion and the climate emergency. Air pollution claims the lives of an estimated seven million people across the globe each year.  

‘I’m glad to welcome Mayor Sala to London to collaborate on how mayors can work together to tackle this global crisis. I commend him for tackling congestion and air pollution through Milan’s ambitious Area B low emission zone.’  

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said almost the entire world population (98%) is exposed to unsafe air pollution, with those in low and middle-income countries facing the worst exposure.  

Approximately seven million people globally die each year due to poor air quality, while many suffer from health effects, such as asthma, heart disease and lung disease.  

Milan has some of the poorest air quality in Europe, reducing life expectancy by approximately 2-3 years, while car ownership is high, with 51 cars for every 100 inhabitants.

Milan’s Area B Low Emission Zone (LEZ) was launched in 2019, banning high-polluting vehicles form 70% of the city, with plans for vehicle standards to progressively rise up to 2030.

Mayor of Milan, Giuseppe Sala, said: ‘I’m delighted to have had the opportunity to meet with Mayor Khan in London and discuss our shared commitment to tackling the urgent challenge of the climate crisis, congestion and toxic air pollution. By working together and sharing our experiences we can make a real difference globally.’  

In London, several initiatives are taking place to tackle toxic air, with the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) now 18 times larger than the original area, reducing NO2 concentration in Central London by 44% and Inner London by 22%.  

The ULEZ is also set to be expanded this August to cover an extra five million people, with a £110 scrappage scheme to run alongside this to support citizens on low incomes, disabled Londoners, charities, small business and sole traders.  

Existing exemption periods for disabled drivers and community transport minibuses run by non-profits will also be extended to October 2027 and October 2025 respectively.  

Photo by Alev Takil


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