Live updates

Air pollution 'kills more people than car accidents'

In London and across Europe, air pollution is killing more than ten times the number of people dying from road traffic accidents.

The known health effects of air pollution have rocketed in recent years with the World Health Organisation classifying outdoor air pollution as carcinogenic to humans in October 2013 as it did smoking in February 1985.

At its simplest, in public health terms, 'invisible' air pollution is where smoking was thirty years ago in terms of the scale and certainty of the risks and the lack of public understanding of them.

The huge variation in death rates for different death categories across boroughs may raise serious questions about inequalities and the competence and culpability of London authorities.

– Simon Birkett, Founder and Director of Clean Air in London


Air pollution a factor in thousands of London deaths

View of London from Canada Tower Credit: Sean Aidan/Eye Ubiquitous/Press Association Images

Health campaigners are urging the government to do more to tackle air pollution in the capital as new figures show it is a factor in thousands of deaths.

Clean Air London claims that air pollution is killing more then ten times the number of people who die from road traffic accidents.

London's Low Emission Zone failing to protect children?

Every year thousands of peoples' deaths in London are linked to pollution. Since 2008 the city's Low Emission Zone has been enforced to try to help make our air cleaner. Now, scientists from two universities claim that during the first three years of the scheme pollution levels didn't fall.

They've been studying the impact it has on young people in East London and Luke Hanrahan has been given exclusive access to those involved.

Illegal levels of pollution in London

Are Londoners dying needlessly because the government is breaking the law on air pollution?

The Supreme Court has ruled today that the government is failing in its legal duty to protect people from the harmful effects of pollution.

Experts have claimed that poor air quality causes 4,000 early deaths among Londoners each year. This report is from Martin Stew.

London's fight for cleaner air

London's skyline Credit: PA

The Mayor’s team are proposing to introduce an ultra-low emission zone in the city centre, which it says has the potential to deliver dramaticbenefits in air quality. Boris Johnson also hopes it'll spur on mass take-up of zero and low emission vehicles.

But ClientEarth, the organisation which brought today's case, says current policies need to be made more ambitious.


"Strenuous efforts" made to improve London's air

The Supreme Court has ruled the Government is breaking the law by not cutting air pollution levels in several cities including London. Levels of the toxic gas nitrogen dioxide currently breach EU limits in the capital and campaigners say the Government should be doing more.

But the Mayor's office says emissions are down:

“Airquality in the capital is taken extremely seriously and strenuous efforts arebeing made to improve it. Since the Mayor took office emissions ofdangerous particulates (PM10) have fallen by 15% and of oxides of nitrogen by20% thanks to an ambitious package of measures including building Europe'slargest fleet of low emission hybrid buses, retiring the oldest taxis andintroducing tighter emission standards for lorries and vans.”

– A spokesperson for the Mayor of London

Government insists air is safe

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs insists the UK's air is safe after a landmark ruling that the Government is failing in it's legal duty to protect people from the harmful effects of pollution.

“Air quality has improved significantly in recent decades and almost all of the UK meets EU air quality limits for all pollutants.”

– Defra spokesperson

A turning point in "the fight for clean air"

“This historic ruling marks a turning point inthe fight for clean air and will pile the pressure on Owen Paterson. Faced withcourt action on two fronts, he must now come up with an ambitious plan toprotect people from carcinogenic diesel fumes. Until now, his only policy hasbeen lobbying in Europe to try and weaken air pollution laws.”

“TheSupreme Court recognised that this case has broader implications for EUenvironmental law: The Government can’t flout environmental law with impunity.If the Government breaks the law, citizens can demand justice and the courtsmust act.”

– James Thornton, ClientEarth CE
Load more updates