“Dirty air from continent” to blame for pollution spike as defra warns of more to follow

Today’s air pollution spike hit 17 local authorities including Slough, and may see bad air remain until Friday. 2 of Colnbrook’s 5 monitoring stations are currently reporting no data.

Experts said the ‘High’ level of pollution experienced today was due to winds dying down and dirty air coming in from the Continent, combining with traffic fumes and other airborne contaminants.

The toxic pollution spike, forecast on Sunday, saw London mayor Boris Johnson issue his first pollution warning under his Breathe Better Together launched in January campaign.

The pollution warning system ranges from one to 10 and the level 7 alert covered Brent, Camden, the City of London, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Islington, Kensington & Chelsea, Kingston, Lambeth, Merton, Richmond, Slough, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth and Westminster.

The mayor’s website urges residents to share cars and avoid leaving engines running unnecessarily.

Simon Birkett, founder and director of campaign group Clean Air in London, congratulated the Mayor for issuing the warning, although he added that alerts should be issued “before the news cycle rather than after it begins and tweeting then himself to 1.2m followers”.

Clean Air in London said:

This episode, the third of the year so far, is being caused by collapsing wind speeds and a change in wind direction that is bringing in air from the continent that has passed over heavily urbanised and industrialised areas

“Easterly winds look set to worsen the problem for West London as it gets smothered in everyone’s air pollution. Air pollution monitors across London are expected to report HIGH particle levels at roadside and perhaps some background locations later today.”

Locally there will be further angst that no pollution data is currently available from two of Colnbrook’s five monitoring stations, Slough Colnbrook Pippins and Slough Colnbrook Lakeside 2.   All but one Colnbrook’s monitoring stations is currently displaying data between 9 and 15 hours old amid signs that data providers are still not taking their responsibilities to the community seriously.

Wind speeds turning northerly tonight are expected to bring relief to the situation.

airText is currently forecasting that levels will drop to ‘low’ in Slough but defra does not currently expect levels to fall across the south-east until the end of the week.

Unlike the Mayor London, Slough’s website carried no warning to residents today.  Slough backed a Colnbrook Third Runway last month, despite Government figures that reveal local air quality will continue to breach limits without expansion until “at least” 2030.

Slough insisted on Friday that its refusal to reverse Brands Hill road ‘improvements’ and support for Heathrow expansion should not be interpreted as the Council not caring about residents in the easternmost part of the borough.

via “Dirty air from continent” to blame for pollution spike as defra warns of more to follow.

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