Two London estates show major improvement in air quality

The results of the Science In The City air quality monitoring project reveals a marked improvement in atmospheric conditions around two central London housing developments.

New data collected by residents of the City of London as part of a major study run by Mapping for Change and commissioned by the City of London Corporation has revealed a 40% improvement in air quality at two housing estates in the so-called Square Mile. 

Dramatic reductions in atmospheric pollution have been observed around both the Barbican and Golden Lane residential developments. This figure is based on comparing nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels in 2021 compared with readings from 2013, when the project launched. This backs up a previous study, published last year, showing a 42% drop in NO2 levels across the City since 2016. 

When the project began, it also asked residents for their thoughts on air pollution, and what type of actions they wanted to see from the local authority. Those opinions played a pivotal role in the introduction of a Low Emission Neighbourhood programme in the City, alongside new electric vehicle charging points and green infrastructure, cargo bikes, and the piloting of a zero emission street initiative.

More recently, the City Corporation’s ban on new diesel vehicles for its fleet (where clean market alternatives are available), engagement with a London-wide crackdown on idling vehicles, and the CityAir app – providing 35,000 Londoners with low air pollution travel routes, advice and alerts – can also be linked to the project’s early stages. 

‘Carrying out a citizen science study with so many interested residents in the Barbican and Golden Lane estates was a privilege and has provided valuable data which would otherwise not be available,’ said Louise Francis, Managing Director of Mapping for Change.

‘Whilst this dataset is an important element, the views and ideas of the residents is also invaluable. There is no substitute for local knowledge and the residents are clearly the experts,’ she continued. ‘Many of the ideas and suggestions to reduce air pollution put forward in 2013/4 were translated into policy and adopted by the City Corporation. We hope that this project will build on that success.’

Last year, the City of London switched its full fleet of refuse collection vehicles tod electric models. 





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