London may be the best city in the world, but when it comes to our air we lose – big time.
Following a Freedom of Information request, figures have been released showing that Britain’s 50 blackspots for air pollution are all in the aptly named ‘big smoke’.
Buckingham Palace comes first place for the highest level of air pollution in the country, with almost four times the European legal limit. Runners up include more tourist favourites like Oxford Street near Marble Arch, Trafalgar Square, and the roads near Madame Tussauds, Covent Garden and outside Hamleys Toy Shop. These places have some of the highest levels of NO2 (Nitrogen Dioxide), which comes from diesel fumes.
Non-city folk can take a big unpolluted sigh of relief knowing that the air they breathe isn’t likely to cause them harm. Unfortunately for those of us living in London, there are some scary facts about NO2 causing respiratory diseases and inflammation of the lungs.
In an attempt to improve things by 2020, London will have the world’s first Ultra-Low Emission zone. But as that’s a while away, we’re off to buy a surgical face mask..