High air pollution warning issued for London until Thursday

The Mayor of London has issued a high air pollution warning for the capital which will stay in place until Thursday.

Sadiq Khan urged Londoners to “look after each other” by walking, cycling and avoiding unnecessary car trips as he warned of the dangerous effects of air pollution.

He said in a tweet: “Toxic air is dangerous, particularly for those with heart & lung problems.

“A high pollution episode is forecast from now to Thursday.

“Please look after each other by walking, cycling, avoiding unnecessary car trips, stopping engine idling & not burning wood or garden waste.”

Mr Khan warned London is “importing pollution from the continent” alongside a build-up of local emissions.

This is the first high air pollution warning to be issued since August 2020, City Hall said.

Mr Khan has been working to tackle London’s air pollution since he took up the mayoral office in 2016.

Fresh proposals to cut pollution includes a Workplace Parking Levy, which is hoped will encourage commuters to switch away from using private vehicles to get to work or school.

The levy would charge employers for the number of parking places they provide that are regularly used by workers.

He also wants to increase the monitoring of pollution caused as a result of traffic on London’s red routes, which only makes up for five per cent of the capital’s roads but sees 30 per cent of the city’s traffic.

Mr Khan has previously said Londoners face a crisis of “filthy air and gridlocked roads” unless car use is reduced.

Last year, a report by Inrix named London as the world’s most congested city.

Simon Birkett, founder and director of Clean Air in London, told the Standard that high levels of particle air pollution in London are “expected to continue into Friday”.

“This episode contains local and EU emissions and residual Saharan Dust from last week,” he said.

“It could come and go into next week. Everyone should read the Mayor’s warning and check updates and health advice. Doing so will save lives.”

Sarah Woolnough, chief executive of Asthma and Lung UK, said it is “extremely concerning that air pollution levels have spiked”.

“In the coming days as it could put 600,000 Londoners who are living with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) at risk.

“Everyone should be able to go outside freely without worrying about their health.”

Zack Polanski, chair of the London Assembly environment committee, said: “We now have high pollution alerts and warnings, but we cannot just wring our hands and say to vulnerable people avoid going outside.

“It is unacceptable for anyone to fear going outside.”

High air pollution warning issued for London until Thursday

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