Mayor answers to London

Air quality - nitrogen dioxide (1)

Question number1991/2012
Meeting date04/07/2012

Question by Stephen Knight

Do you dispute that London had the highest annual mean concentrations of nitrogen dioxide of any capital city in Europe in 2010, and if so why?

Answer by Boris Johnson

Attempting to rank cities on how polluted they are is not particularly helpful because of differences in the siting of monitoring stations and reporting methodologies.

Nevertheless, it is fair to say that London performs much better than many other European cities, including Paris, Rome, Barcelona and Athens, on PM2.5. In 2010, the UK – including London – was one of only twelve EU countries which met the European Union annual PM10 limit value. For NO2, meanwhile, twenty-two out of twenty-seven European countries failed to meet EU limit values for NO2. This is a shared problem across Europe and is mainly a result of the failure of vehicle Euro standards to deliver the expected emissions reductions.

Instead of trying to rank cities the priority is for cities and regions to work together to ensure action is taken by the European Commission and national governments to support the early up-take of Euro VI vehicles, which are expected to deliver the quickest improvement in NO2 concentrations. This is why I have helped to establish the Air Quality Initiative of the Regions which has recently published its joint position paper.

Main question

Stephen Knight