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90% of the City of London is planned to meet the World Health Organisation’s NO2 air quality guidelines by 2025, as many parts don't meet minimum standards now.

Plans to improve air quality in the Square Mile have been approved by the City of London Corporation’s policy and resources committee.

Its new Air Quality Strategy aims for 90% of the City to meet World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for nitrogen dioxide by 2025. The proposals also support the Mayor of London’s drive for London to meet WHO air quality guidelines for particulates by 2030.

The City Corporation will collaborate with every school in the Square Mile to roll out Air Quality Action Plans, building on a successful partnership work at Sir John Cass’s Foundation Primary School.

Last year, air pollution at the City school fell below the legal annual limit for the first time since monitoring began in 2003.

The City Corporation has installed a 24-hour air quality monitoring station in the playground, planted ‘air quality plants’ throughout the grounds, created green walls made from ivy screens, added new air filtration units in classrooms ,and brought in lessons on reducing exposure to air pollution.

Monitoring shows air quality in the City is already improving. And under the new plans, the City Corporation will accelerate its use of zero emission vehicle technology, requiring only low and zero-emission vehicles through its contracts and encouraging other City businesses to use cleaner vehicles.

The move brings the City Corporation a step closer to realising its goal of being the first UK authority to run a fully zero-emission fleet.

The authority will also make better air quality data available to the public by supporting the trial of new monitoring technology.

Catherine McGuinness, policy chair for the City Corporation, said: “These plans will lead to a significant improvement in the Square Mile’s air quality.

“Londoners demand clean air. We are determined to ensure that the City Corporation continues to play a leading role in the UK’s drive to meet air quality standards.

“Our work is already having a positive effect, and we will continue to push for change, embracing new and ambitious approaches to tackling this health crisis.” Jeremy Simons, chair of the City Corporation’s environmental services committee, added: “This is an important step towards cleaner air.

“Nobody should have to breathe dirty air, and we will continue to take bold and ambitious steps to protect health of our residents, workers and visitors.”

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