Wednesday 15 February 2017 10.00 GMT
Marylebone Road has the odd distinction of being the world’s most studied road in terms of air pollution – yet remains a chief culprit in London’s ‘shameful’ air quality. Now it’s home to a series of new experiments
Daybreak in the capital and on the pavement opposite Great Portland Street underground station runners cut virtuous paths through a crisp, cold winter’s morning. To one side of them lies Regent’s Park, deep green beneath a perfect frost. On the other roars a source of contamination so severe that the health of these runners might have been better served staying indoors.
Marylebone Road, one of London’s main east-west streets, illustrates with filthy glamour why the city suffers from stubbornly poor air quality – with recent record-breaking pollution levels having caused particular concern.
The road bears three and sometimes four lanes of intermittently fast-moving cars, vans, taxis, lorries, coaches and buses to and from the inner metropolis: past Madame Tussauds, junctions with Baker Street, home of Sherlock Holmes, the 200-year-old St Marylebone Parish Church, the University of Westminster, several imposing hotels and, somewhat ironically, a cluster of medical facilities.