Worst polluted roads in London revealed

Figures released by the Mayor of London show the North Circular road and Dartford Crossing are among worst roads in London for exhaust emissions

The worst roads in London for traffic pollution have today (June 24) been revealed after emissions figures were released by the Mayor of London.

The figures show that the A406 North Circular road has the worst exhaust fumes in the capital, followed by the A282 Dartford Crossing and the A13 Commerical Road.

The figures revealed that Oxford Street was one of the worst roads in London for traffic pollution

The figures revealed that Oxford Street was one of the worst roads in London for traffic pollution

Busy London shopping areas Oxford Street and Brompton Road also fared badly in the emissions figures, with both appearing in the top 15 worst locations in the capital for nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter PM2.5 in 2012.

Campaigners have called for urgent action to tackle traffic pollution as a result of the emissions figures, but a spokeswoman for the London Mayor said “strenuous efforts” were being made to improve air quality in the capital.

The figures were disclosed after a freedom of information request by campaign group Clean Air in London. They reveal the emissions of 12 regulated pollutants from each category of road transport, in tonnes and tonnes per kilometre, in 2008, 2010 and 2012.

Simon Birkett of Clean Air in London (CAL), who requested the data, said he “applauds” the Mayor for releasing the 1.5 million pieces of data but would take “months” to analyse it fully.

He said: “In environmental terms, this is like discovering the Rosetta Stone. All of a sudden Londoners can decode air pollution on their doorstep — in a nutshell, it’s the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’ and ‘when’ of air pollution in London. Clean Air in London applauds the Mayor for releasing this information.”

Diesel vehicle ban

Mr Birkett also called for a ban of all diesel vehicles from the most polluted parts of London by 2020, as he said these were responsible for up to 30 times more nitrogen dioxide and PM2.5 exhaust emissions than petrol vehicles.

He said: “Ultimately, the only answer is for London to eliminate completely deadly diesel exhaust from the most polluted parts of London by 2020.  By doing so, London can lead the way in Europe and elsewhere in innovation and creating a successful, truly balanced economy.

“Last but not least, Clean Air in London records its thanks to Gerry Facenna, a leading barrister at Monckton Chambers, for his assistance in encouraging the Mayor to release this information.”

Friends of the Earth campaigner Jenny Bates said: “This shows that urgent and bold action is needed to tackle the deadly air pollution problem in London and areas where EU legal limits are not being met. Local people have been suffering premature death and ill health for too long. Traffic levels must be cut by making walking and cycling safer and improving public transport.”

However, a spokeswoman for the Mayor of London said regulations had been tightened on vehicles in the low emission zone, which was “one of many changes that have resulted in emissions of dangerous particulates (PM10) falling by 15% and of oxides of nitrogen by 20%.”

She said: “Strenuous efforts are being made to improve air quality in the capital and the Mayor constantly reviews new measures to target the most polluted roads.”

She added: “From building Europe’s largest fleet of low emission hybrid buses to tighter emission standards for lorries and vans, the Mayor will continue to work tirelessly to improve air quality in the capital.”

According to CAL, the top five worst roads in London in terms of emission rates (tonnes per kilometres per year) for the different air pollutants in London in 2012 in descending order were:

  • Benzene: A406 (North Circular Road), A118, A1055, A40 and A282.
  • Nitrogen dioxide (NO2): A406, A118, A1055, Alfred’s Way in East Ham and Barking (A13) and A13.
  • Nitrogen Oxides (NOx): A282 (Dartford Crossing), A406, A118, Alfred’s Way (A13) and A40 (Oxford Street).
  • Particulate matter PM2.5: A406, A1055, A40, A118 and A4202 (Park Lane).
  • Particulate matter PM10: A406, A1055, A40, A118 and A4202 (Park Lane).

More information on the emissions figures is available on the Clean Air in London website.


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