Air pollution kills 9,500 Londoners each year

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Flickr, Alex Loach

AROUND 9,500 deaths each year in London are caused by air pollution, says a new study from Kings College London. The number is double that previously thought.
The university’s researchers have carried out a unique investigation, thought to be the first of its kind in the world, looking at the effects of long-term exposure to pollutants known as PM2.5s and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), produced for the most part by diesel engines.
Including NO2 in the study is what’s caused the numbers to shoot up in the tally of people whose life expectancy is cut short by air pollution. Many UK cities, including Birmingham and Leeds alongside London at the top of the list as the worst offenders, are breaking European rules on production of NO2.
London is looking to further tackle its air pollution levels by bringing in an ’ultra-low emissions zone,’ which will charge the worst polluting heavy vehicles such as lorries and coaches £100 to enter. Transport for London is also planning to significantly expand its fleet of entirely electric buses, including its first completely electric double decker in October.
The London study will be followed later in the year by a UK wide report, which is expected to put the number of Britons dying early because of air pollution at 80,000 per year.
Despite the high levels of pollutants and their horrifying effect on life expectancy in the UK, Spain regularly produces worse results than the UK, with less rain to soften the effects of pollution. A recent European Environment Agency study found Spain to be the worst performing nation in regards to exceeding pollution thresholds.

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