Clean Air Day 2019

20.06.2019 3 min read

Today (20/06/2019) Sadiq Khan has announced plans to implement London’s biggest car-free day to date, closing 12.3 miles (20km) of roads in the centre of the capital in September.

The plan will see roads closed around Temple’s London office and across the river in the City of London. There will also be events held across the boroughs that will be promoting walking, cycling and public transport, as well as a host of play streets.

The aim of the day will be to highlight the issues surrounding air quality in the capital as well as giving Londoners a chance to join in the fun and see London in different perspective.

The State of the Air we Breathe
Nine out of ten people across the world are exposed to levels of air pollutants that exceed safe levels which are set by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Often people are unaware that they are in an area of poor air quality, which can come from several sources including;

  • Household activities (e.g. burning of fossil fuels to provide heat and light)
  • Industry (e.g. energy production using fossil fuels, manufacturing processes such as for steel, cement and petrochemical, oil and gas exploration)
  • Transport (emissions from road transport, rail, shipping, aviation and construction machinery)
  • Agriculture (e.g. use of fertilisers, burning of agricultural waste and use of agricultural machinery)
  • Waste (e.g. waste incineration and from landfill sites)
  • Natural (volcanic eruptions, sea salt and dust storms)
  • Transboundary transport of pollutants between countries and even continents

The United Nations have reported that air pollution is the single largest, environmentally related global health risk of our time, responsible for approximately 6.5 million deaths per year across the globe. BreathLife is an initiative set up by the United Nations to mobilise cities to create policies which will protect human health and the planet from the effects of air pollution. To learn more about this initiative or to get involved, visit:

Air quality in London and many other cities across the UK regularly exceeds health-based WHO thresholds.

According to the World Bank the global cost of air pollution is US$225 billion annually:

What are the UK and Temple doing to tackle poor air quality?
In January 2019 the UK Government launched a Clean Air Strategy ( The government will do this by providing guidance on how to deliver development without breaching the WHO guidelines, devolve new powers to local authorities and bring in new primary legislation tackling all sources of poor air quality.

Temple’s Air Quality team  support both the public and private sector providing innovative practical and policy solutions to identify air quality issues and develop effective measures to mitigate these.

Key Contacts

Dr Xiangyu Sheng Director - Air Quality, Climate & Carbon