Almost half of the Mayor’s new air pollution sensors are on track to breach legal limits for nitrogen dioxide this year, data has revealed.

Forty per cent of sensors are registering more than 40 micrograms of nitrogen dioxide per cubic metre – breaching European limits.

Nitrogen dioxide is a bi-product of fossil fuels burned by car and other vehicle engines. At high levels, it has been linked to lung and cardiovascular diseases, and premature death.

And it’s not just inner London that’s over the limit – traffic hotspots in the outer boroughs, including Barking, Kingston and Hillingdon, are all on track to breach legal levels this year.

Harrow, Redbridge and Enfield monitors also regularly register high pollution over 40 micrograms on busy streets.

The Mayor’s Breathe London network has been running for eight months, and builds on existing sensors monitored by Kings College London.

Air quality in the city is improving, with emissions in central London down 20 percent since the introduction of the Ultra Low Emission Zone in April. Almost 10,000 fewer cars are now entering the zone each day.

But Green assembly member Caroline Russell said a “catalogue of failures” in air pollution monitoring meant progress was not happening fast enough.

Ms Russell said the pollution sensor on Brixton Road – part of an existing network monitored by Kings College – has been broken for months.

For the last two years, it has been the first site in London to breach legal levels, going over the limit in the first few days of the year in 2017 and 2018.

Ms Russell said the failure to monitor “one of the most polluted roads in London” was “totally unacceptable” and eroded public trust.

She said: “We need to reduce unnecessary car trips to get as many dirty, polluting vehicles off our road as possible.

“I want to see the Mayor bring in a smart, fair road-pricing system and extend the Ultra Low Emission Zone to the whole of the city so no one is left out of having cleaner air.”

Sadiq Khan said the findings were a “stark reminder” of the pollution problem across the city.

He said: “London’s filthy air is a public health crisis that leads to thousands of premature deaths in the capital every year as well as stunting the development of young lungs and increasing the number of cases of respiratory illness.

“It is vital that we face up to the reality of our situation and don’t shy away from the challenges presented by this new data.”

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