Walk away from kerb to avoid fumes in London, adviser urges

Londoners should keep away from the kerb as they walk along  busy roads to avoid traffic-polluted air blamed for thousands of premature deaths, a  Government adviser urged today.

Dr Iarla Kilbane-Dawe said air pollution levels can be a third lower on the inside of the pavement on roads such as Putney High Street, in south-west  London, compared to the kerbside.

He also recommended that drivers keep the air vents in their car closed when they are in heavy traffic to keep out fumes. “It’s really important people understand the simple things they can do to protect themselves from air  pollution,” said Dr Kilbane-Dawe, who led a study for the Department for the Environment on communicating the public health risks from it.

“Walking or cycling along quiet rather than busy roads can reduce your  exposure by half or even more,  especially if you avoid pollution hotspots at the busiest junctions.

“Even walking further from the kerb on a busy road has been shown to make a difference.”

He added: “Studies repeatedly show that drivers and passengers in vehicles are exposed to the highest levels of pollution in the middle of the road.

“Professional drivers are likely to be exposed the most, but keeping air vents closed in busy traffic could help reduce exposure.”

A recent report estimated nearly 3,000 Londoners are dying prematurely every  year due to polluted air.

Further studies  by Dr Kilbane-Dawe showed that in a string of London  boroughs long-term exposure to  particulate pollution — an airborne mixture of diesel soot, brake dust and tyre fragments — is the fifth biggest killer after causes such as cancer and  cardiovascular diseases.

These boroughs include Kensington & Chelsea but also several in outer London such as Bromley, Barnet,  Bexley, Havering, Sutton and  Richmond. In many boroughs, the particulate pollution mortality rate is double that for people killed or  seriously injured in traffic accidents.

Mayor Boris Johnson insists he is “militant” on improving the city’s air.

The Green Party said Londoners overwhelmingly back demands to clean up the city’s “dangerously dirty” air.

Launching their campaign for the local and European elections, MEP Jean Lambert unveiled a poll showing 73 per cent support tougher enforcement of emission limits in the capital.

But only 43 per cent of Londoners support more 20mph zones.

“When people hear about our worked-through policies – cleaning up our dangerously dirty air, turning the minimum wage into a living wage and providing more affordable housing for Londoners – they vote Green,” claimed Ms Lambert.

via Walk away from kerb to avoid fumes in London, adviser urges – London – News – London Evening Standard.

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