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Can London meet its air pollution targets?

There are calls for the Transport for London to do more to improve the capital's air quality, amid concerns that car manufacturers have been manipulating diesel emission's tests.

The London Assembly's Environment Committee will today meet with officials from Transport for London to investigate whether the VW scandal is stopping London from reaching its air pollution targets.

Smog to hit London

Credit: ITN

High levels of air pollution are to hit central London today.

The warm weather is pulling hot air in from France, bringing dense smog with it.

Older people and those with asthma or lung problems are being urged to take extra care.


Labour London Assembly member criticises Mayor over air pollution

The London skyline Credit: PA

A new Parliamentary report into air pollution recommends that more needs to be done to protect people from harm.

Commenting on the report London Assembly Labour Group Environment Spokesperson Murad Qureshi AM said:

"This report is a devastating indictment of a Mayor and Government who have failed to tackle one of London's biggest environmental and public health challenges.

"Having ignored this problem and blustered his way through for six years, this report finally debunks the Mayor's claims to have cut air pollution.

The report recommends a ban on building schools, hospitals and care homes next to air pollution hotspots caused by road traffic.

Parisian public transport free

Police officers control cars with number plates ending in even numbers in Paris today Credit: Mousse/ABACAPRESS.COM

The government made the decision after air pollution levels exceeded safe levels for 5 days in a row in the French capital. French experts say the move - last used in 1997 - does have an impact on improving air quality.

An information board shows 'Traffic banned to even' in Paris today Credit: Mousse/ABACA

Public transport was made free of charge on Friday and today in an attempt to encourage Parisians to leave their cars at home.

NO2 emissions down by 20% says Mayor

Since the Mayor was elected, NO2 emissions have reduced by 20 per cent and the number of people living in areas exceeding NO2 limits has halved but he fully recognises the need to take further action.

This includes the introduction of the world's first Ultra-Low Emission Zone in central London from 2020, tougher requirements for taxis from 2018 and a £20million fund to tackle local problem areas.

These most ambitious measures will deliver enormous economic and environmental benefits for central London and will make this global city an even better place to live, work and visit.

– A spokesman for Boris Johnson


London has highest nitrogen dioxide levels in Europe

London has the highest NO2 levels of any European city Credit: ITN

The toxic gas nitrogen dioxide (NO2) can lead to respiratory disease and can cause the lining of the lungs to become inflamed.

The government is the subject of legal action after failing to deal with the high level of the toxic gas in the country's cities.

Most British cities have plans to reduce traffic fumes to within the legal limit by 2020, however London has insisted that it could not meet the NO2 targets set for it in 1999 until at least 2025.

London has the highest levels of NO2 of any European capital city and the UK has the highest proportion of zones breaching legal limits.

Other central London locations feature in the top 50

Cockspur Street near Trafalgar Square registered 138 micrograms Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire

Other highly polluted areas include Oxford Street near Marble Arch, which registered at 150 micrograms, and Cockspur Street near Trafalgar Square on 138 micrograms.

The fourth and fifth locations were Park Lane and Knightsbridge - which measured 135 and 134 micrograms respectively.

Nearly four times accepted levels of nitrogen dioxide levels around palace

Researchers found 152 milligrams of the gas per cubic metre of air around the palace - the EU legal limit is 40 Credit: Andrew Parsons/PA Archive

Grosvenor Place, which runs alongside the Queen's London residence, had the highest level of the toxic gas nitrogen dioxide in 2012.

Researchers found 152 milligrams of the gas per cubic metre of air, with a main contributor being diesel engine fumes. The EU legal limit is 40.

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