Dirty old town: Brixton Road breaks a year’s air pollution limits in just five days

Dirty old town: Brixton Road breaks a year's air pollution limits in just five days

Once again, Brixton Road has the dubious honour of being the first to breach the legal limit for levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which state that levels must not be more than 200 micrograms per cubic metre more than 18 times in a whole year.

Late on Thursday 5th January, this limit was broken on Brixton Road, which runs through the centre of town.

Brixton Road expected to break the annual EU pollution limit this week

Many other sites across the capital are set to break the annual limit, with Putney High Street, Oxford Street, Kings Road in Chelsea and the Strand being other known pollution hotspots.

Mainly created by diesel vehicles, NO2 pollution causes 9,500 early deaths every year in London and a recent report found that that one in 10 cases of Alzheimer’s in people living near busy roads could be linked to air pollution.

ClientEarth lawyer and Brixton resident Alan Andrews said:

This is another shameful reminder of the severity of London’s air pollution and shows why the Mayor has rightly made tackling it a top priority.

It is absolutely essential that he now delivers on his promises and that the national government back him to the hilt.

He has promised to introduce a bigger ultra-low emission zone in 2019 and to deploy the cleanest buses on the most polluted roads. While these are vital steps in the right direction, we can’t wait another three years for action. We need immediate action to cut pollution in the short-term and protect Londoners’ health during these pollution spikes.

While London has the worst air pollution, this is a national problem which requires a national solution. The government’s draft plans to tackle air pollution, as ordered by the High Court, are due in April. They must include a national network of clean air zones, which stop the dirtiest diesel vehicles entering pollution hotspots. They also have to stop the perverse fiscal incentives which encourage people to use diesel vehicles and instead help them to buy cleaner ones.

Things don’t look any better today, with the London Air Pollution Map once again showing high levels of pollution along Brixton Road.

KCL data for Brixton Road available here.