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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

Lethal and illegal: London’s air pollution crisis

Air pollution is a huge and growing public health problem for the UK, and for London in particular. Across the UK as many as 40,000 deaths a year are attributed to outdoor air pollution, and it is the second most significant factor impacting on public health in London, after smoking.

Most air pollution in London is caused by road transport, of which diesel vehicles are the most polluting. Efforts must be made to reduce the number of diesel vehicles on the road, both by increasing the proportion of cleaner and greener vehicles and by a continued shift towards alternative forms of transport, including public transport, walking and cycling.

“The UK’s expected exit from the European Union could significantly reduce the pressure on the UK government to cut concentration levels.”

This report presents innovative new modelling that illustrates the scale of both the problem and the policy changes required to remedy it at the European, national and local levels. It also provides detailed analysis of the promise and limitations of current clean air measures, and the decisive steps that must be taken next.

“To ensure that London’s air pollution reaches legal limits in the coming years, policymakers will need to effect a fundamental shift in road usage across the capital.”