London may have the world’s most stringent rules against vehicle emissions by 2019, according to a proposal from Mayor Sadiq Khan.
Sadiq Khan issued the first “very high” air pollution alert of his eight-month tenure as London mayor, advising citizens to reduce physical exertion and avoid running outside.
The UK’s newest nature reserve was opened in east London over the weekend by Sir David Attenborough. Overshadowed by council tower blocks and swanky high rise developments, the 11 hectare (27 acres) site which includes a reservoir that supplies water to millions of Londoners, has become home to some of Britain’s more threatened birds including kingfishers, bitterns and Cetti warblers.
London has a dirty secret.
Levels of the harmful air pollutant nitrogen dioxide at a city-center monitoring station are the highest in Europe. Concentrations are greater even than in Beijing, where expatriates have dubbed the city’s smog the “airpocalypse.”
It’s the law of unintended consequences at work. European Union efforts to fightclimate change favored diesel fuel over gasoline because it emits less carbon dioxide, or CO2. However, diesel’s contaminants have swamped benefits from measures that include a toll drivers pay to enter central London, a thriving bike-hire program and growing public-transport network.
An unintended consequence of EU membership?