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Chief Medical Officer’s Annual Report on Air Quality shows Mayor’s success in bringing down air pollution

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Report shows life-long dangers of air pollution and the need to act
NO2 concentrations alongside roads are estimated to be 20% lower in inner London and 44% lower in central London than they would have been withoutthe ULEZ and its expansion
The projected reduction in PM2.5 exhaust emissions from the expansion of the ULEZ to include inner London is 35%
The number of state primary and secondary schools in London in areas exceeding the legal limit for NO2 fell from 455 in 2016 to just 20 in 2019
London’s air quality policies have narrowed the inequality gap in exposure to air pollution, with a reduction in the difference in exposure to toxic air between and most and least socio-deprived economic groups of up to 50% between 2013 and 2019
Mayor echoes CMO’s conclusion that “the path to bringing down air pollution is clear, we just need to follow it”.

The success of the Mayor’s policies in tackling air pollution in London have been highlighted by the Chief Medical Officer Professor Sir Chris Whitty in a major national report urging faster action to improve air quality and tackle all sources of air pollution across the country.
 
Today the Chief Medical Officer Professor Sir Chris Whitty published his annual report which this year focused on air quality and the dangers of air pollution throughout our lives – from affecting foetuses in the womb to links with dementia in old age.
 
The report highlighted the successes of the Mayor’s air quality policies in improving air quality in London and shone a spotlight on the work still to be done in tackling air pollution regionally and nationally.
 
In the report, although he noted there was still work to be done in reducing London’s air pollution, he cited London as a case study for tackling toxic air by reducing air pollution in public spaces through policies such as the ULEZ, School Streets and investing in better walking and cycling routes.
  
Thanks to the ULEZ and its expansion, harmful NO2 concentrations alongside roads are estimated to be 44 per cent lower in central London and 20 per cent lower in inner London than they would have been without it. Reductions in air pollution in London have helped contribute to reduced childhood asthma hospital admissions.
 
Expanding ULEZ London-wide will mean 5 million more people breathing cleaner air, and will save 27,000 tonnes of CO2 in outer London, nearly double that which the central London ULEZ achieved in its first year of operation. Amongst other improvements, the expansion is forecast to make further progress to reduce air pollution, by reducing nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions from cars and vans in outer London by 10 and 7 percent respectively, and reducing PM2.5 car exhaust emissions in outer London by nearly 16 per cent, benefitting five million outer London residents.
 
Since 2016 the network of protected cycle space across the city increased fivefold, 250 new or improved pedestrian crossings have been installed and 25 of the capital’s most dangerous and intimidating junctions have been changed to make them safer for walking and cycling. The report highlights that in 2020 the proportion of journeys taken by bike increased by 48 per cent from 2019, and the proportion of journeys on foot increased by 22 percentage points[1]. Although this behaviour was partially driven by the pandemic, it shows the potential for behaviour change and the wider adoption of active travel.
 
The Mayor and TfL have supported London Boroughs to deliver more than 500 school streets, and the number of state primary and secondary schools in London in areas exceeding the legal limit for NO2 fell from 455 in 2016 to just 20 in 2019.
 
Communities with higher levels of deprivation, or a higher proportion of people from a non-white ethnic background, are more likely to be exposed to higher levels of air pollution. However, London’s air quality policies have helped to narrow this gap by up to 50 per cent since 2013.[2]
 
Part of this success is due to the Mayor’s flagship ‘health in all policies’ approach, putting improving the health of Londoners and tackling health inequalities at the heart of all policies from TfL to the Violence Reduction Unit.
 
The Mayor’s work has shown the potential to improve air quality in the rest of the UK as he has done in London, and he welcomes the recommendations in the report to improve both outdoor and indoor air pollution.
 
The CMO report makes 15 recommendations – many of which London is also leading the way on, from making air quality central to local urban planning, through requiring developers to work to enhance air quality, to looking at ways to reduce indoor pollution and raising awareness about the effects of open fires.
 
 
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “This report shows London is a world leader when it comes to tackling toxic air. I’m proud that we’ve managed to reduce air pollution by almost half in central London due to the success of our Ultra Low Emission Zone, but thousands of lives are still being lost prematurely due to poor air quality. There is still much work to do, particularly in outer London where we have the greatest number of premature deaths due to the poisonous air people are breathing. That’s why I am expanding the Ultra Low Emission Zone London-wide, which will ensure five million more Londoners are able to breathe cleaner air.
 
“I am doing all I can to reduce air pollution and create a greener, healthier city for all, but our efforts alone will not be enough. I welcome the recommendations in the Chief Medical Officer’s annual report. We need to all work together – the Government, regional government, public bodies and health organisations – and use our collective strength to go further and faster than ever to tackle the scourge of toxic air.”
Professor Kevin Fenton, London regional director for public health said:
“Improvements in air quality have already led to better health in Londoners – we’ve recently seen reduced childhood asthma admissions, and further action will undoubtedly lead to a fall in coronary heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and many more serious illnesses.
“There’s still plenty to be done – air pollution harms our health throughout our entire lifespan, and will affect some communities more than others. It’s vital that we continue to improve the quality of the air we breathe and help all Londoners to live longer, healthier lives.”
Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer said: “Everyone is affected by air pollution, and it is everyone’s problem.
“Air pollution has improved and will continue improving provided we are active in tackling it. We can and should go further – and it is technically possible to do so.”
Louise Krupski, Cabinet Member for Climate and Environment, Lewisham Council said: “Tackling air pollution goes hand in hand with addressing climate change, which is vital to improve our health and reduce health inequalities. It’s clear that great progress, has been made to bring down air pollution ,including by introducing the Ultra Low Emissions Zone.  London is a fantastic example that other cities in the UK can follow of how to reduce it at a local level. We must now all work together and recognise the recommendations in the report so we can reduce the harm caused by toxic air both to our health and our planet.
 
ENDS
Notes to Editors
The CMO’s recommendations on outdoor air pollution include:  
  
·                Accelerating the electrification of light vehicles and public transport 
·                Innovation to reduce air pollution from non-exhaust sources such as tyres, and the need for a greater range of options for reducing air pollution from heavy and specialised vehicles 
·                Local urban planning should support reducing air pollution locally – such as reducing air pollution near schools and healthcare settings and supporting the shift to active travel 
·                The NHS is committing to halving its contribution to poor air quality within a decade 
·         The use of wood stoves is increasing and can impact air quality significantly in urban areas. In smoke control areas, the rules should be adhered to. 
  
 For indoor air pollution, the CMO’s recommendations include:  
 
·         Addressing a major engineering challenge – ensuring effective ventilation while minimising energy use and heat loss. This is a priority for reducing indoor air pollution whilst achieving net zero carbon.  
·         Increased research into tackling indoor air pollution including finding ways to reduce sources of indoor air pollution. 
 
 
[1] In 2020 bike journeys accounted for 3.4% of all journeys in London – a 48% increase since 2019 – and journeys made on foot peaked at 57% of all journeys, up from 35% in 2019.
  
[2] The difference in exposure to NO2 between the most and least deprived socio-economic groups (measured as annual average concentration) reduced by 50%, from 7.6µg/m3  in 2013 to 3.8µg/m3 in 2019.

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Graduate Organist vacancy in London and Home Counties – Church Times

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Graduate Organist vacancy in London and Home Counties  Church Times

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The dwindling case for living in London

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The recent debate around ‘levelling up’ may be missing something. I would argue that there is another way to consider geographical inequality – and, by this alternative measure, a levelling has been under way for more than 20 years.

I’ve spent three decades working in advertising, so it’s unsurprising that I tend to view economic life through the lens of consumption. By contrast, mainstream economists tend to view disparities through the medium of earnings or wealth. To me, measures of wealth should include not only the quantity of money you have but the breadth of worthwhile options available in choosing how to spend it.

Let’s put it another way. If you live in a boring village, and suddenly a great pub or café opens on the high street, then by my measure you have become richer; by the economist’s measure you have not.

Things that would once have been available in London decades before the provinces now appear everywhereat once 

There was undoubtedly a time when you were richer in London in two ways. You had more money, but you also had a far more exciting range of ways to spend it. Now not so much.

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London is a great city but, in terms of consumption quality, it has not improved markedly in the past 20 years. Over the same period, many smaller cities and even towns have advanced rapidly, significantly narrowing the gap. The kind of things that would once have been available in the capital decades before making it to the provinces – like sushi – now appear everywhere at once. Consider Turkish barbers, who seem to have taken over the country in only five years. (I can remember a time when it was enough just to get a haircut without having burning methylated spirits flicked in my ears. Back then I just didn’t know any better.)

This levelling is especially true of anything in the digital world: Amazon gadgets, Netflix films, Asos fashions and PlayStation games hit Aberystwyth the same day they hit Islington. But it also applies to the physical environment, as anyone over 50 can attest. I went to Manchester and Sheffield for the first time in 1989. Compared with London, they were then, let’s be honest, utterly rubbish. Now, when I visit those same cities, I experience mild ‘northern envy’. There are interesting places open everywhere. Northerners have better cars, because they have more money left over after paying for housing. And they are much better-looking, because they can nip home to get changed before going out.

Relatively speaking, London has improved far less dramatically than these provincial cities have. (New York, many aficionados argue, has got worse.) OK, the Tube is better than it used to be. Uber is a handy addition. But some things are awful – the last pleasure of driving in London ended when they put speed cameras on the Westway. Accommodation costs for the young wipe out any salary gains.

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By my measure, high property prices won’t just hit Londoners once – they’ll hit them twice. Not only do high rents wipe out what you earn, they also put at risk London’s once unassailable advantage as a great place to spend what money you have left. Creative businesses of any kind require space at a price which allows them to take risks. For a time, London found this space by moving its heartland from west to east. But suppose the people supporting what Douglas McWilliams calls ‘the flat white economy’ flee altogether? In my own experience, Kent suddenly seems weirdly full of fascinating restaurants founded by London exiles. If more of these people leave, the case for staying weakens further.

Londoners always say things like ‘Yes but there’s the theatre’. Let’s face it though – even Shakespeare left London for Stratford in his mid-forties. As he no doubt found, the theatre is all very well, but it’s nothing like being able to park outside your house.

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Gentrification is not a sin

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Gentrification is not a sin – UnHerd

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