New Air Pollution Campaign Launches

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 41 months ago
New Air Pollution Campaign Launches

Mmm, taste that air. Photo by DAVID HOLT from the Londonist Flickr pool

We're heading into spring air pollution season and City Hall is about to launch a major media campaign to make us all aware of the risks of bad air to our health.

Air pollution causes the premature death of around 4,000 Londoners each year by contributing to things like heart disease and strokes — a number that's thought to be rising — and creates problems for many other sufferers of asthma and respiratory problems. The Breathe Better Together campaign wants to make us think about the actions we take on bad air days: by avoiding busy roads we can drastically reduce our exposure, for example, and drivers will be encouraged to switch off their engines while stationary for long periods. There'll also be more publicity for airTEXT, a service that forecasts what London's air pollution is expected to be like for the next few days.

Boris Johnson said:

"This is about promoting small simple steps we can all make to help improve air quality, protect ourselves from pollutants and indeed breathe better together... I’m confident the Ultra-Low Emission Zone and the strict tightening of our emission standards will help dramatically improve air quality and lower NO2 across the city."

Opposition groups in the London Assembly are pointing out — and quite rightly — that City Hall's approach is focusing on the wrong thing. Labour's Murad Qureshi, a veteran campaigner on air pollution, was withering:

"Today’s air quality campaign launch is over a year later than promised and amounts to one phrase on repeat — 'Hold Your Breath!'"

The Green Party's Jenny Jones wants to see more action taken, including using Transport for London's public information network and regional weather reports to get warnings out during high pollution episodes, as well as restricting non-essential vehicle journeys when the air gets really bad. She said:

"The Breath Better campaign is really disappointing and inadequate compared to the scale of London's air pollution challenge. It appears to be about advising the victims of air pollution rather than the polluters. The Mayor's small, simple steps fail to properly include action to be taken by drivers who cause the pollution in the first place."

There's a video to accompany the tube posters, radio slots and social media. See if you can spot where the Mayor gets himself in on the action...

Last Updated 31 January 2015


It's infuriating that Boris' solution to high air pollution caused by motor traffic is to stay away from busy roads. How about getting cars off the street, not telling pedestrians and cyclists not to breathe. All roads in central London have excessively high air pollution, you can't avoid them without avoiding London entirely!


Heading into. By which we mean over two months away. Technically true but also premature.

Boris said. And by said we mean "said" via a PR person.

So much devil in detail.


We should be taking advantage of the technology available to reduce emissions. This company offers an easy to implement solution.

Greg Tingey

Air pollution causes the premature death of around 4,000 Londoners each year by contributing to things like heart disease and strokes
Unlike 1952 & 1955, when at least 12 000 Londoners died in a WEEK, because of the appalling smog - I can certinly remember the latter of those two.
The "air" was yellow-brown & you could not see 6 metres across a road @ mid-day.

Monad Unimundal

I want to get air pollution notifications by email and Boris's websites give no real contact or place to register. I am suffering now and do not want to be one of the hundred people a week that die from air pollution in London ! Boris uses our taxes to pay the EU fines each year for being three times over the danger limit - there are 50 hotspots in London and Boris decides to give people bikes ! Why ? - so they can die faster ? He has no idea about life on the streets as he pushes thru more luxury building without realizing the implications of yet more people and more cars - with overcrowed underground & buses. and more pollution. Is this the 'Big Society' & the ReImaging of London ? All fifty hotspots should be closed down until the air clears and people can walk about in peace. Public servants are elected to serve the people, not big business, at the expense of local people's health !