City environment chief: nobody should have to breathe dirty air

Lord Mayor

Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Port Health and Environmental Services Committee has said that “nobody should have to breathe dirty air” and promised that the authority would “continue to work tirelessly” to eliminate it. 

Following the recently published Prevention of Future Deaths Report, and the inquest into the death of Ella Adoo Kissi-Debrah, Keith Bottomley said the tragedy “serves as a stark reminder of the terrible health impact that air pollution can have.” 

In December last year, a Coroner ruled that Ella had died of asthma, with exposure to excessive pollution being a contributory factor. 

It was the first time that air pollution has been explicitly linked to a named individual’s death. 

Mr Bottomley said: “This tragedy underlines, in very human terms, the urgency with which governments, local authorities, businesses – all of us – must act to drastically improve air quality.” 

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The City Corporation’s extensive network of monitors show that air quality in the City is improving, but air pollution is still a public health crisis in the capital, with an estimated 4,000 Londoners dying prematurely from long-term exposure every year. 

Outlining the bold and practical actions the organisation is taking to improve air quality in the Square Mile and wider London, Mr Bottomley said that the City Corporation’s Air Quality Strategy would guide its work to ensure the Square Mile meets W.H.O limits on nitrogen dioxide by 2030.  

He said the City Corporation will continue to raise community awareness around air pollution and how to reduce exposure, and seize new opportunities with its Climate Action Strategy, and COP26, and through its Emissions Reduction Bill, which with London Councils aims to give the capital’s local authorities tough new powers to tackle air pollution caused by boilers, construction machinery and diesel generators.

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