Nitrogen dioxide limits in London - update
News from the LAQN

Brixton Road has become the first place in London to breach objectives for nitrogen dioxide for 2017. UK objectives and EU limits stipulate a maximum nitrogen dioxide concentration that must not be exceeded for more than 18 hours over the whole year. These limits came into force in 2010. The Brixton Road monitoring site measured its 19th hour above the threshold at 21h yesterday (5th Jan).

In 2016 it took eight days for the objective to be breached and the first road was Putney High Street. In 2015 Oxford Street was the first road to breach, taking just two days. Pollution conditions since the New Year have been normal for winter. During pollution episodes, roads in London can exceed the annual limit in a single day.

Research by Dr Anna Font and Dr Gary Fuller from King’s has shown how nitrogen dioxide worsened, rather than improved, alongside London’s roads in the five years before the date for legal compliance in 2010.

Since 2010 nitrogen dioxide alongside most of London’s roads has started to improve. However, while press and public attention will focus on today’s result from Brixton Road, it is important to note that the majority of main roads in London regularly breach legal values for nitrogen dioxide.

The Brixton Road monitoring site is funded by the London Borough of Lambeth as part of the London Air Quality Monitoring Network which is run by King’s. The London Air quality Network is the most comprehensive urban monitoring network in Europe with detailed information on London’s pollution going back for more than two decades.

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Item date 06/01/2017

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