Brixton Road hits hourly NO2 limit

Brixton Road in South London has become the first place in London to hit the hourly mean limit for nitrogen dioxide in 2018, data from the London Air Quality Network has suggested. 

However, despite this exceedance coming early in the year, this represents a significant improvement in the performance of the location, and London more generally compared to 2017.

Traffic queueing on Brixton Road this afternoon (30 January)

UK objectives and EU limits stipulate a maximum nitrogen dioxide concentration – 200 µgm/m3 – that must not be exceeded at a single monitoring site for more than 18 hours over the whole year. These limits came into force in 2010.

The Brixton Road monitoring site recorded its 18th hour above the threshold today.

Last year Brixton Road was the first location to exceed the nitrogen dioxide limit value in just six days (see story).


In 2016 it took eight days for the objective to breached, when the first road exceeding the limit was Putney High Street. The site has currently recorded six exceedences of the hourly limit during 2018. During pollution episodes, roads in London can exceed the annual limit in a single day.

Improvements in concentrations of nitrogen dioxide pollution at a number of key locations throughout London have been welcomed by the Mayor of London, who has attributed the change in part due to the introduction of Low Emission Bus Zones (see story).

Within these designated zones, only buses meeting the Euro VI standard are able to operate, as part of a commitment to reduce the emissions of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) around roads which have recorded high levels of air pollution.

The air quality monitoring site on Brixton Road is a part of the London Air Quality Network

Currently two Low Emission Bus Zones have been set up, one in Brixton and another at Putney High Street, with plans for a further ten such areas to be established in coming months.

Initial results from the Putney Low Emission Bus Zone have also suggested that pollution on Putney High Street has fallen dramatically as a result of the measure (see story). The monitoring site on Putney High Street recorded in excess of 1,000 hours above the 200 µgm/m3 hourly limit in 2016.

The Brixton Road monitoring site is funded by the London Borough of Lambeth as part of the London Air Quality Monitoring Network which is run by King’s College London.

The London Air Quality Network is the most comprehensive urban monitoring network in Europe with detailed information on London’s pollution going back for more than two decades.

In total 24 sites across London and the wider LAQN network exceeded the legal 200 µgm/m3 hourly limit on 19 or more occasions in 2016, latest data suggests, while 50 sites met the target.

Related Links
London Air Quality Network



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