Marylebone named worst in the UK for pollution
Josie Hinton TWO roads in Marylebone are officially among the worst in Britain for pollution which can cause asthma and lung cancer. Government maps obtained by the Clean Air for London campaign show Marylebone Road and Edgware Road contain some of the co
TWO roads in Marylebone are officially among the worst in Britain for pollution which can cause asthma and lung cancer.
Government maps obtained by the Clean Air for London campaign show Marylebone Road and Edgware Road contain some of the country's highest levels of the pollutant PM10 - a type of diesel.
The fumes, which can penetrate deep into the lungs, are of great concern due to their impact on the respiratory system and have also been linked to cardiovascular problems, premature births and early deaths.
The government now has two weeks to devise a plan to reduce current levels - or face legal action by the European Commission for breaking air quality laws.
Simon Birkett, who is spearheading the campaign for clean air, said new measures including one or more inner low emission zones are needed to target the most polluting vehicles.
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He said: "We are concerned that a relatively small number of vehicle owners, who are primarily responsible for causing poor air quality, are having a disproportionate, negative impact on the health of Londoners.
"Those causing poor air quality should pay the full environmental cost of their actions as part of a much wider 'polluter pays' strategy. We support separate measures to reduce congestion as a means of increasing road capacity and improving quality of life for people living and working in congested areas."
Carl Upsall, chairman of the Marylebone Association, said pollution is of great concern.
"We need to see a reduction in the pollution levels in those roads," he said. "Not only is Marylebone Road one of London's most polluted, it's also one of the most difficult to cross - so people are forced to stand for a long time among the fumes.
"There needs to be some form of deterrent to stop people driving along it for casual use. At the moment it divides Marylebone and restricts access to the park and Baker Street Tube station."
Meanwhile Westminster has announced it is reviewing its air quality strategy, and will introduce changes next year. These will include monitoring traffic emissions and using alternative fuels and technologies for council vehicles.
Environment boss Cllr Danny Chalkley said: "Sadly, Westminster suffers the worst air pollution in the UK and we are working hard to generate a cleaner environment."
Initiatives include a new car club scheme - allowing drivers to borrow cars on a pay-as-you-go tariff - and on-street charging for electric vehicles.
Mr Birkett cautiously applauded Westminster's aim to re-establish itself as a green authority.
"The strategy says nothing about what achievements this will require or within what timescale," he said.
"There's a risk that the council could use a lot of resources to make only a small difference.