London Assembly member Caroline Russell has been leading action on HGV emissions across the capital. New data from City Hall shows that over 85 per cent of vehicles in London, and 90 per cent of cars, meet the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) minimum requirements – a huge increase from 39 per cent of vehicles in February 2017.
However Russell, chair of London Assembly’s environment committee, has recommended prioritising reductions in PM2.5, a type of particle pollution caused mainly by road wear from vehicles. ‘We’ve heard worrying new evidence linking exposure to PM2.5 particle pollution to reduced cognitive function and worsening mental health in children, as well as potential links to dementia in older people,’ she said. A report from the environment committee observes that around 98 per cent of schools in London are in areas that exceed the WHO recommendations for levels of PM2.5 pollution.
Russell commented, ‘All over London, people are smothered by a swirling soup of invisible and toxic particles. The list of harm and health impacts from breathing polluted air is growing all the time and it is now one of the top five causes for premature death globally.’ One recommendation from the report is to expand newly launched air-quality audits from schools to hospitals and care homes.