Air quality

Clearing London's air

Every Londoner deserves to breathe clearer air. Together with the Mayor of London, we are committed to reducing the impact of polluting road vehicles.

Air quality advice

We have air quality advice for each level of daily air pollution.

London's air quality

A lot of progress has been made, but there's still more work to do. The volume of road transport emissions in London makes it one of the most polluted places in the UK.

How road transport harms our health

Road vehicles are the single biggest cause of London's air pollution. They produce nearly half of all nitrogen oxides and emit tiny particles of rubber and metal - too small to see with the naked eye - into the air we breathe.

Air pollution affects the health of Londoners. The latest evidence shows that air pollution increases the risk of life-changing illnesses such as cancer, asthma and lung disease as well as dementia in older people.

More than 500,000 Londoners live with asthma and are more vulnerable to the impact of toxic air - over half of these people live in outer London boroughs. Air pollution even contributes to the premature death of thousands of Londoners every year.

The Ultra Low Emission Zone

The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) has already made a significant difference. Since its launch in 2019, the ULEZ has helped cut the number of older, polluting vehicles on the road and helped to reduce harmful nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 46% in central London and 21% in inner London.

Despite this progress, more needs to be done since the greatest number of deaths related to air pollution occur in outer London areas. This is why on 29 August 2023 the ULEZ expanded across all London boroughs to help 5 million more people in outer boroughs have clearer air to breathe too.

Find out more about the ULEZ expansion in 2023.

Air quality myth #1

Myth: Only central London is affected by air pollution

FACT: Pollution affects every borough in the city, not just central London

Air quality myth #2

Myth: Road vehicles aren't the main cause of London's air pollution

FACT: Polluting vehicles contribute nearly half of the air pollution in London

Air quality myth #3

Myth: You don't need to switch off a car engine when stationary

FACT: Research shows that turning off the engine significantly reduces pollution levels in the surrounding area

Air quality myth #4

Myth: You can always see when air pollution is bad in London

FACT: Most airborne toxic particles are too small to see with the naked eye

What else we're doing for air quality

We believe in enabling Londoners with options to help them make greener choices in the way they travel. 

Greener transport

  • Our 9000 buses are all low or zero emission at the tailpipe. The fleet is made up of electric, hydrogen, diesel and diesel-electric hybrid buses, all of which meet Euro VI emission standards
  • Low Emission Zone standards for heavy goods vehicles, vans and specialist vehicles over 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight (GVW) and buses, minibuses and coaches over 5 tonnes GVW are in place across most of Greater London
  • All new licensed taxis in London must be zero-emission capable - more than 6,400 already operate in the Capital
  • We've helped to establish over 300 rapid charge points for electric vehicles and opened rapid charging hub sites - these have six or more charge points in a single place. Hub sites include the Stratford International car park, Glass Yard in Woolwich and the Baynard House car park in the City of London. London now has over 11,000 charge points for electric vehicles, representing around a third of all charge points in the UK

Healthier streets

  • More than 600 School Streets have been created In partnership with London boroughs. School Streets restrict vehicle access outside a school during drop off and pick up times - this has helped to make it safer and easier for children to travel to and from school by foot, bike or scooter as well as improving air quality for them
  • Together with the London boroughs, we're creating a growing network of new and upgraded Cycleways across London that everyone can use
  • We provide free cycle skills online training for all abilities to help you build your confidence and to cycle safely on London's roads
  • We also aim to achieve benefits for air quality in the way that we manage our green infrastructure and enhance our green infrastructure

Today's forecast: Low

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Tomorrow's outlook: Low

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For more information on local pollution, visit the London Air website.

This air quality information is provided by Imperial College London.