The Independent Welcome to London – the most toxic town on the planet The Guardian Emissions research from King's College London has found nitrogen dioxide concentrations on Oxford Street to be worse than they are anywhere else on Earth, in the...
Emissions research from King's College London has found nitrogen dioxide concentrations on Oxford Street to be worse than they are anywhere else on Earth, in the history of air pollution. David Carslaw, who led the research, said: "To my knowledge this is the highest in the world in terms of both hourly and annual mean." That's higher than Beijing and Dhaka, higher than anywhere where face masks are the norm and the streets seem to throng with lost medics, and more than 11 times the EU limit.
A spokesman for the mayor of London called the figures "misleading", and said that the capital's air pollution was lower than that in many world cities. The fact is, there is too much stop-start traffic, too many tall buildings, too much nitrogen dioxide. But if you were more interested in winning a debate than you are in the air your fellow Londoners were breathing, you could see this as room for manoeuvre.
We've become so accustomed to the mantra that businesses and developers are king that we've ceased to even make the demand for some kind of equity between their interests and ours.
We're pre-empting the inevitable derision. And that's fair enough: nobody likes to be told no, especially if the refusal is couched in terms that insist upon the pathetic naivety of the request. But these explanations need to be drawn out.
The more we get a Boris Johnson exposition on why the cornflake box must be vigorously shaken for the benefit of the uppermost cornflakes, and how the natural superiority of rich people must be preserved by putting them first at all times, the more widely evident its ridiculousness will be.