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Sadiq Khan has issued a 'black' level toxic air alert for the first time

Written by
Alexandra Sims

Another week, another reminder of how polluted our smog-fest of a city is. After Sadiq Khan put London on toxic air alert last week, now toxic air pollution has hit the highest ‘black’ level. The black, or ‘very high’, readings of particle pollution were recorded at 6am in the City, Westminster and three sites in Camden – Swiss Cottage, Euston Road and Bloomsbury – and can be seen on this map from the London Air Quality Network. 

By 9am, there were also 12 red ‘high’ pollution alerts including Kensington & Chelsea, Richmond, Lambeth, Lewisham, Hammersmith, Greenwich and Tower Hamlets. The readings are thought to have been worsened by the cold January temperatures, which left London shrouded in a picturesque, if fume-laden, fog this morning. But by the afternoon the PM2.5 levels at the worst-polluted areas had fallen below the ‘black’ level of 100 microgrammes per cubic metre. It's the first time Sadiq Khan has issued the 'very high' alert under his new air quality warning system.

In some much-needed good news, Sadiq Khan has pledged to spend £875 million to help fight London's pollution problem. His plans include introducing a ‘T-charge’ later this year for the most polluting vehicles driving into the city and plans to pedestrianise Oxford Street completely by 2020, which should help to clean up our city's air. 

On the plus side, pollution on Oxford Street has dropped by a third in 12 months.

Want to breathe easy? There’s an app that shows you the least polluted routes through London.

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