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BT Tower records 58 percent reduction in carbon emissions during London lockdown

Air pollution in London dramatically dropped from March to May

Laura Richards

Readings taken by London’s BT Tower suggest the capital has seen a drop in toxic carbon emissions by almost 60 percent while in lockdown. The measurements were taken by the 190m tower’s atmospheric observatory and cover emissions between 8am and 8pm in central London. The results analysed by the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (UKCEH) and the University of Reading show a fall by 58 percent of toxic carbon fumes in the capital when compared to historical pre-lockdown readings.       

The data was collated from the start of March until the start of May, and the fall is in direct correlation with a drop-off in traffic on London’s roads, with lockdown imposed on March 23. Traffic levels also saw a 60 percent reduction in central London during this period, according to TfL. 

Dr Eiko Nemitz of the UKCEH said: ‘These measurements offer a unique insight into changes in fossil fuel use and carbon dioxide emissions both during the lockdown and as we gradually come out of it.’ He also commented on the BT Tower’s suitability for the task of pollution monitoring in central London.

‘The fact that the reduction in carbon dioxide emissions in central London almost exactly correlates with the reduction in traffic provides further evidence that vehicle emissions are a major source of carbon dioxide in London, and that traffic is closely linked with other carbon-emitting activities such as the heating of shops and offices,’ added Dr Nemitz. 

Read more positive news about London’s pollution levels here.

See the impact lockdown is also having on nature, as the National Trust reveals the return of animals to its historic sites.

Fancy helping keep emissions down after lockdown? Find out where to buy a bike in London right now.   

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