London on pollution ‘high alert’ due to cold air, traffic, and wood burningNicola Davis
Monday 23 January 2017 17.58 GMT
London has been put on “very high” alert as cold and still weather, traffic, and a peak in the use of wood-burning stoves combined to send air pollution soaring in the capital and across swaths of the UK.
According to data from King’s College London, areas of London including Camden, the City of London and Westminster all reached 10 out of 10 on the air pollution index, with many other areas rated seven or higher.
The forecast for Tuesday is that air pollution levels will remain unacceptably high in the capital with pollution levels expected to similarly persist in other areas across the country.
“Today the shameful state of London’s toxic air has meant that I am forced to trigger the first ‘very high’ air pollution alert under my new comprehensive alert system,” said the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.
“This is the highest level of alert and everyone – from the most vulnerable to the physically fit – may need to take precautions to protect themselves from the filthy air.”
Researchers said the pollution is primarily down to particulates, although nitrogen dioxide is expected to reach moderate levels at roadsides in rush hour.
“This is a particularly bad pollution episode,” said Timothy Baker of the environmental research group at King’s College London. “The peak we saw [on Sunday] night was the highest level [of PM2.5 particulates] since April 2011 as an average across London.”