Client Earth predicted that over the weekend, Oxford Street was likely to breach air pollution limits. An article by the Guardian describes that figures which will be released next month will be a ‘Health Emergency’ according to the World Health Organisation.
Oxford Street was predicted to be the third area of London to officially breach its air pollution limits for the entire year this weekend in a growing air pollution crisis in the capital. The monitoring equipment at Oxford Street is back up and running, having been offline for a more than a week. In reality, the busy shopping street is likely to have breached the annual legal limit for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) above 200µg/m3 earlier this month but because of the broken equipment this dubious honour went to Putney High Street.
ClientEarth lawyer Alan Andrews said: “Many shoppers out for a bargain in the January sales will be unaware they are breathing toxic air. The level of air pollution on Oxford Street is unacceptable and damaging for everyone who works or shops there.
“Oxford Street follows hot on the heels of Putney High Street and Knightsbridge in breaking these legal limits, which are there to protect people’s health. The fact that, just over two weeks into the New Year, three areas of London have broken their annual limit for air pollution is more proof of just how poor a grasp the government has on this public health crisis.
“That’s why we’ll be taking the government back to court in the coming months.”
There are two EU legal limits for NO2, the 40 µg/m3 as an annual mean and the 200 µg/m3 which you are not allowed to breach for more than 18 hours in the whole year. If Oxford Street goes over 200 µg/m3 a few more times over the weekend, it will breach the latter limit, ie use up the entire year’s allowance of breaches by the middle of January.
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