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Mayor Asks Broadcasters To Give Londoners Regular Air Quality Updates

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has encouraged leading TV and radio broadcasters to work with him to help inform Londoners about poor air quality through their news and weather bulletins so they can take action to protect themselves from its harmful effects.

Sadiq has written to senior figures at BBC London, ITV London and LBC to ask them to include updates on the quality of London’s air during their news bulletins and weather reports and on their websites and apps, which would be coordinated with the existing city-wide alert system.

One of the Mayor’s first actions in office was to use electronic signage across the capital’s transport network to alert Londoners when there are high levels of pollution in the air.

The alerts are displayed at 2,500 bus countdown signs and river pier signs, 140 road-side dot matrix message signs on the busiest main roads into the city (with advice to switch engines off when stationary to reduce emissions) and electronic update signs in the entrances of all 270 London Underground stations.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “London’s filthy air poses a significant threat to our health including harming the development of children’s lungs, and I’m committed to tackling this issue so Londoners can breathe the clean air they deserve.

“I’m pressing ahead with bold and ambitious plans to improve air quality in the capital through measures such as the T-charge, the launch of which is only a few weeks away, as well as in-depth work to help us understand the full impact of poor air.

“Broadcasters are already doing excellent work covering the threat to public health posed by the capital’s filthy air and I’m asking them to go even further and help empower Londoners to reduce their exposure to harmful pollution. They can do this by providing regular daily air quality information as part of their weather broadcasts.

“I hope that the growing number of weather apps that many Londoners now use will also follow suit and provide air quality information.”

Since becoming Mayor, Sadiq has more than doubled investment in tackling air quality to £875 million over the next five years. He has also introduced the boldest plans to tackle air pollution in the world, including a £10 Toxicity-Charge (T-Charge) which will start in October this year, the introduction of the world's first Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in 2019 (subject to consultation), and the cleaning up of London's public transport fleets such as buses and taxis so that they lead the way in ultra-low emission technology.

The T-charge will be introduced on October 23 and will be the toughest emission standard of any city in the world. The vast majority of pre-2006 vehicles will need to pay an additional £10 emissions surcharge to travel in the central London Congestion Charge zone.

This week Sadiq also announced the first of 50 ‘air quality audits’ for primary schools in the worst polluted areas of the capital, to help protect children from toxic air, funded by £250,000 from the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund.

Recommendations from the audits could include moving school entrances and play areas to reduce exposure to busy roads, 'no engine idling' schemes to reduce harmful emissions during the school run, and measures to minimise emissions from boilers, kitchens and other sources.