A scheme to improve air quality in Barnet has been launched as the capital is put on alert over high levels of air pollution.

Pollution and dust from the Sahara has covered London in smog-like conditions, but Barnet Borough Council and Re, the authority’s joint venture with Capita, plan to tackle the issue long-term in the borough.

Two bids for funding worth more than £300,000 have been successfully submitted to the Greater London Authority’s Air Quality Fund, and as a result measures will be introduced across Barnet to help improve air quality.

These will include a bicycle hire scheme and the introduction of an electric vehicle charging point and cycle stands in North Finchley.

There will also be a community led project to reduce car use, and plant silver birch and magnolia trees, which are scientifically proven to reduce nitrogen dioxide and fine particulate concentrations. 

An 'air quality champion' will also be employed to work with residents, schools and businesses to promote greener travel in the borough.

Meanwhile the council and Re are advising residents to follow Government guidelines if they are concerned about air pollution, including cutting down on outdoor exercise if you suffer from asthma or certain health conditions, and avoiding congested areas.

Health warnings have been issued for people with asthma as well as lung and heart conditions.