Harmful levels of traffic smog in “London’s most polluted high street” have already smashed annual limits just days into the year.
Calm weather conditions have sent readings of nitrogen dioxide — linked to asthma and lung damage — soaring off the scale in Putney High Street, according to campaigners.
The fumes are so bad that Putney shopkeepers are being advised to keep their doors shut for much of the day to protect customers and staff.
Concentrations of the gas in the street breached the upper safe limit of 200 micrograms per cubic metre in 72 “bad air” hours this year. The legal annual maximum set by the World Health Organisation and enshrined in law by Brussels and Westminster is 18 hours.
The average NO2 reading is 168 micrograms per cubic metre so far in 2013, compared with a legal limit of 40. The high readings are a setback for efforts by Wandsworth council and Transport for London to reduce emissions in Putney.
Dozens of diesel buses that use the many routes along the street have been replaced by cleaner hybrid versions and 85 more are being fitted with catalytic convertors. There are also moves to change the road layout to improve traffic flow.