Air Pollution Research in London

Why do research in London?

  • Air pollution is a very large public health issue in London. It shortens the lives of Londoner’s leading to up to 9,400 extra deaths per year.
  • We still do not fully understand the health effects of air pollution.
  • London is a good place to do air pollution research, and acts as a giant laboratory.
  • Air pollution is well recorded in London, starting in 1993 and now covering about 200 sites.
  • London has a large population and good data on health, movement and population.

What kind of research is done in London?

  • We try out new equipment to measure pollution, for example, new ways to measure particle pollution.
  • We look at the effects of changes in pollution sources to see if polices to clean our air are working.
  • We look at differences in exposure to air pollution and health, for example, the differences between the pollution that your breathe on your bike or on the bus.

How much research is done in London?

What have we learned?

  • We now have a proper picture of pollution accross London, and can see that a large area of central London still has an air pollution problem.
  • We can see trends of pollution in London. Some pollutants have gone down over time, for example carbon monoxide, and others have stayed the same, for example nitrogen dioxide.
  • We now have much more evidence, and much better figures of the health effect of air pollution.
  • We now estimate that air pollution in London reduces life by about a year.

What questions do we still have?

  • Exactly how does air pollution cause health effects?
  • How much does the health impact of air pollution vary between individuals?
  • How does the health impact of air pollution vary depending on the mix of pollutants?
  • What is the best way to clean our air?

What has been published?

  • ERG has created a research portal showcasing some of our recent research.
  • ERG writes annual reports for the LAQN.
  • ERG also regularly publishes research papers in journals.
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