London’s quality of life ranking slips over pollution and traffic 

London has slipped down a list of the best cities in the world for quality of life due to high levels of traffic and pollution.

The capital placed 40th in the 19th annual Mercer Quality of Life Survey. London was 39th last year but was nudged down one place in the latest rankings by the French city of Lyon.

Kate Fitzpatrick, Mercer’s global mobility practice leader for the UK & Ireland said: “The capital’s only downfall in regard to infrastructure is heavy traffic congestion, which also contributes to the city’s low score for air quality and pollution.”

London was five places ahead of Edinburgh – the only other British city to make the top 50.

Ms Fitzpatrick said Brexit could also have an impact on London’s position in the rankings in future.

“Mercer will continue to closely monitor any impact of the upcoming Brexit negotiations on the quality of living in UK and European cities overall, in order to support multinational companies as they assess the best locations to attract the skilled workforce they require,” she said.

The study ranks cities by looking at access to healthcare, social and economic conditions, quality of education, housing and environmental factors, including traffic congestion and air pollution.

London mayor Sadiq Khan is pressing ahead with a series of measures to cut air pollution in the capital including a £10-a-day T-charge on the most polluting vehicles to drive into central London from October, as well as introducing the Ultra Low Emission Zone earlier than 2020 and possibly expanding it from the city centre to the north and south circulars.

Nitrogen dioxide emissions from diesel cars are a key contributor to the capital’s poor air quality, which has seen City Hall advising the public to avoid strenuous activity on the worst-affected days.

A series of high air pollution alerts have already been issued for the capital in the first three months of the year.

In January, air pollution in London reached a six year high when a “black” alert was issued for parts of the capital leading to one school restricting time outdoors for children.

Last month, a report commissioned by the mayor revealed that tens of thousands of children in London schools are being exposed to illegal levels of air pollution.

The report also showed that London’s poor are far more likely to be living in areas affected by air pollution linked to 9,000 early deaths every year in the capital.

London is one of many places hit by the UK’s air quality crisis, which has led to the Government being issued with a “final warning” by the European Commission for repeated breaches of legal limits.

Vienna in Austria beat 231 other cities to claim the top spot in the study. Baghdad was handed the lowest ranking.

The German citiies of Dusseldorf, Munich and Frankfurt all made the top ten.

Destinations from further afield that made the cut include Auckland, Vancouver, Zurich and Sydney.

This year's Mercer Quality of Life rankings:
1. Vienna, Austria

2. Zurich, Switzerland

3. Auckland, New Zealand

4. Munich, Germany

5. Vancouver, Canada

6. Dusseldorf, Germany

7. Frankfurt, Germany

8. Geneva, Switzerland

9. Copenhagen, Denmark

10=. Basel, Switzerland

10=. Sydney, Australia

12. Amsterdam, Netherlands

13. Berlin, Germany

14. Bern, Switzerland

15. Wellington, New Zealand

16=. Melbourne, Australia

16=. Toronto, Canada

18. Ottawa, Canada

19. Hamburg, Germany

20. Stockholm, Sweden

San Francisco was for the second year running ranked the highest  American city, with Boston, New York and Honolulu all making the top 50.

In 69th place, Prague is the highest ranking city in Central and Eastern Europe, followed by Ljubljana and Budapest.

Rome fell by four places due to ongoing waste removal issues.

Source: London’s quality of life ranking slips over pollution and traffic | London Evening Standard

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