London mayor Sadiq Khan has released air pollution warnings across the capital for the first time. The alerts are being shown at bus stops, Tube stations and by busy roads in London where there are pockets of high pollution.
Mr Khan says he has taken the unprecedented step in a bid to help London residents to protect themselves against poor air quality. Previously, the former London mayor Boris Johnson, now the Foreign Secretary, had introduced a scheme so that people could get air quality warnings if they subsribed to a text service.
However, the latest, more overt move has been welcomed by health campaigners and those suffering from respiratory conditions. Mr Khan believes that alerts could be life-saving, giving those who are particularly vulnerable to high levels of pollution, including people with asthma, a warning that they may have to cut down on outdoor activity at certain times or particular days.
However, some tourist organisations feel that the alerts may be off putting for those considering a visit to the capital in the short-term.
According to figures released by Mr Khan, more than 9,000 people died in London as a result of air pollution every year. The new warnings are set to be shown at 2,500 bus stops, Tube stations and road sides in the capital, urging drivers to cut their engines when stationary in a bid to reduce levels of pollution.
It is just one of a number of initiatives introduced by Mr Khan to reduce pollution, including the introduction of the Congestion Charge Zone. King’s College London says that pollution in the capital is so high because pollutants are not easily dispersed as a result of calm, settled and cold conditions.
Dr David Green of King’s College London said it was vital to let people know about the issue so they could protect their health and make informed choices when deciding which car to buy.