Putney High Street Breached NO2 Limits Over 1100 Times in 2016

Prediction for 2017 is that the annual limit will be broken in first ten days of the year

Putney High Street
Putney High Street


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Researchers from King's College London have released figures showing that air pollution limits have been breached more than 1,100 times this year on Putney High Street.

Under EU rules the limit is not supposed to be exceeded more than 18 times in a year - the regulations are that the hourly upper limit for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is 200 micrograms per cubic metre. The hourly cap for NO2 has already been broken on 1,142 occasions on the High Street.

Although the levels of pollution are down since the peak in 2012 there has been little reduction over the last three years.

Simon Birkett

Simon Birkett, director of Clean Air in London, told this website, "From illegal wood burning to diesel fumes and poorly controlled construction projects, Wandsworth Council is failing to tackle air pollution at its source or hold others to account. Residents should think long and hard about the health they want when they vote in the next local election in 2018 if there's not decisive action soon."

“Currently, we’re predicting that Brixton Road, Brompton Road, Putney High Street or the Strand will breach the nitrogen dioxide hourly legal limit for the whole of 2017 by Monday 9 or Tuesday 10 January.”

Putney MP and Education Secretary Justine Greening, said: “It’s very concerning that we still have regular air pollution breaches. For Putney and Thamesfield residents it’s vital our air quality problem is sorted out.”

In July Mayor Sadiq Khan introduced the concept of a Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) which would divide Putney in half by the South Circular to be introduced in 2019, through which the owners of diesel cars would be charged £12.50 a day.

From February next year, Transport for London will be introducing exclusive use of hybrid or diesel buses with top-of-the-range anti-pollutant systems that meet or exceed Euro VI emissions standards to buses running on Putney High Street.

Judith Chegwidden, Chair of the Putney Society told this website, "Although the exceedances have dropped when compared to 2012, they have plateaued over the last three years and are still way above EU guidelines. We welcome the introduction of the Mayor's green bus route in February, which will further reduce the emissions from the many bus routes using the High Street. But much of the air pollution now comes from private diesel cars and vans. Many of these were purchased in the belief that they were the greener alternative - sadly the reverse is true. We need a national policy to provide an incentive for owners of older diesel cars to exchange them for less polluting models, whether petrol, hybrid or electric.

"The Mayor's proposals to extend the Ultra Lw Emission Zone to the North and South Circular Roads may help, but it needs backing up with government action. The Putney Society will continue to campaign for better air quality in 2017."

A Wandsworth spokesman told the Evening Standard, “Since 2012 we have seen decreases in pollution episodes each year. There is a long way to go but Kings College London confirms Putney High Street is one of the only locations in London to secure such a significant fall in NO2 pollution over this period.”

December 22, 2016

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