Air Quality Warnings

4 months ago (4:24 PM)
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there is not a lot than can be done about high pollution coming to the UK from afar with countries like India, USA and Russia constantly pumping rubbish into the air so as we all have to breathe this air it would be better to tackle the polluters as no amount of warnings about air quality will significantly have any effect unless we stop breathing it in somehow.

Terry Vaughan

I suffered during the recent extra high pollution levels but don't want to stay indoors. I would rather have motor vehicle emissions cut so I can go out and breathe clean air. It's not just other countries that pump rubbish. Doesn't seem much to ask.


Do not waste time or money until the penny drops worldwide. I came to London because of the old proverb,,,where there is muck their is money I caught the bug otherwise I would be back home.


The air pollution didn't stop me from doing what I usually, but it is a great concern.


The pollution certainly affected me, and I am normally immune to asthma, allergies, etc, and in the best of health! I found myself snuffling and sneezing, and found my voice was affected when singing with my choir. Of course we can do something about it, if we want to. We could design our cities to prioritise clean public transport, walking, and cycling. This would cut pollution, and make us all happier and healthier in many other ways. Bring on the segregated cycle routes, low-cost buses, and pedestrianised shopping streets!

Talk London

Hi all,

In our recent environmental priorities survey, 93% of Talk London community members taking part said they think cleaner, less polluted air is the main thing that could help them live a healthier lifestyle:

In terms of emissions from vehicles, here's what's being done to prioritise cleaner public transport, cycling and walking in London. What else would you say can help on these fronts?

Talk London Community Manager


Wendy your link seems to be broken.... When I clck on it I get the "Page not found" error and a message << "The requested page "/priorities/transport/green-transport" could not be found.>>


I agree with Olivia's comment, "Of course we can do something about it, if we want to. We could design our cities to prioritise clean public transport, walking, and cycling. This would cut pollution, and make us all happier and healthier in many other ways. Bring on the segregated cycle routes, low-cost buses, and pedestrianised shopping streets!"


I certainly noticed the lousy air quality on Wednesday evening and took it very gently biking in to the City from West London. Usually I notice how bad Grosvenor Place is when I come out of Hyde Park, but that night everywhere is bad.

I guess that the contribution from the Sahara was pretty small - the real problem was that the more normal air circulation from the Atlantic stopped. In the home, things get unpleasant when you can't flush the toilet. In London, all our own generated pollution isn't swept away if we have no wind.

National measures need to be taken to discourage diesel use in urban areas. Boris needs to up his game to get rid of dirty diesel taxis and buses. Allowing drivers to still buy bad cabs until 2017 and then using them for 15 years thereafter isn't good enough.


I find it truly shocking that most people, and local, London and national government, think it is OK for air pollution levels to be so high, year on year, that babies' and children's lung development is negatively affected. Radical emergency action should be taken right now to lower London air pollution levels, and the same goes for other cities and locations with the same problem. Long term solutions should be starting now. Also, people seem to forget that this is not just about 'premature' deaths (people dying, in other words). Diesel pollution, a major part of London air pollution, is particularly dangerous. It contains carcinogenic particles, and there is no parts per million level at which it would be safe to have these particles in the air. This is the 21st century, this country is well able to deal with this problem.


Being a smoker it made me smile that on the same day that the government announced plans to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes the air we breathe in London was the most polluted in recent history. Talk about misplaced priorities ! How long will it be before vehicle emissions are recognised as a serious threat to urban health, that affects everyone ?


I now have two asthma inhalers in use for the first time in 60 years or more- it is a pity we cannot control the pollution in our city and make living conditions pleasanter for the people who live here. I could not believe that in the local park during the heavy polluted days the garden people were out in numbers spraying all the edges of paths, and bases of benches and trees with some kind of blue and brown weed killer. Having just in the last year or so pulled out regular plants and planted up herbs in a herb garden, to spray all around the edge of these herbs with weed killer seems like madness. I would love for one to know what they use, if it is safe for children and animals to eat things off the ground that they may drop anywhere in the park, and if it is not just adding to the problems for people with breathing difficulties. I am not alone in noticing my pets always get sick after such sprayings are carried out, suggesting that at low pavement level there might well be toxic fumes that could kill animals, insects and small children. We have enough pollution without this surely?


I have mild asthma, and the pollution made me unwell for a couple of weeks. It was a shocking reminder that generally the air quality in London is not so bad: as someone observed, generally the wind carries our pollution away. Where to? Just because the air we breathe generally is pretty breathable doesn't mean we can be complacent about the pollution we produce. I'd like to see both local action to cut down on air polluters and international action to encourage other big cities to follow suit. Set an excellent example and one that others will want to follow, London!

Joanna Biddolph

This debate is notable for the absence of any mention of pollution caused by increasingly large, heavy and driven-too-fast articulated lorries and other large vehicles that plague our inner city roads. Yes, my breathing was affected by the recent poor air quality but it's equally affected by emissions from lorries that are far too big for our roads and which should not be allowed to travel in residential areas.

London Health C...

Thanks for all the comments so far. There are a range of opinions on what the causes are, and what we should prioritise in order to improve air quality in London. Here's a quick summary of what you've told us, but please keep the comments coming.
- We know some of this pollution is coming from abroad. Should we be exerting more influence over other countries to clean up their act?
- Emissions from motor vehicles, including articulated lorries and cabs, are contributing to the problem. Should we be discouraging vehicle use, in particular diesel vehicles? And what is the best way to do that?
- There is too much traffic on the roads. Should we be prioritising the use of public transport more?
- Much of London's urban design doesn't prioritise pedestrians and cyclists. Should we be looking to redesign our urban spaces with pedestrians and cyclists in mind?

Thanks again for your thoughts... keep them coming!

>LHC Team


We can do s-all about other countries - they will only say no.

WHY OH WHY OH WHY are we trying to expand Heathrow when we have this air pollution problem?????? Tell lobbying business to find greener ways to trade.


Emphatic 'yes' to prioritising pedestrians and cyclists. People want to cycle more, but they need to be in a safe environment. People want to walk more, and they need healthy air. Ironically as an asthmatic it would be better for me to drive or take a bus when pollution is high... Make it easier for people to make good choices. If you make it more convenient to walk or cycle than drive then people will do it. The exercise is good for us, and the clean air is great!

Diesel vehicles are so immediately triggering of asthma and other respiratory responses. It's unfortunate for people who own them, but the government must reduce their use. Supporting people to change to greener alternatives make a stamp down on diesel less punishing.


I am very affected by pollution levels but warnings do very little! We need greater action on improving air quality


The solutions are straightforward - people driving less. Asking them nicely won't work due to selfishness. I have no choice but to drive etc
Extend the congestion charge zone
Ban diesel cars
Make cars with a single driver pay more
Name and shame local authorities
Ban parking within half a mile of schools
Car free days