‘filthy glamour’_ could polluted marylebone road help fix london’s air_ _ cities _ the guardian

Daybreak in the capital and on the pavement opposite Great Portland Street underground station runners cut virtuous paths through a crisp, cold winter’s morning. How to make curtains in minecraft To one side of them lies Regent’s Park, deep green beneath a perfect frost. Francesca battistelli On the other roars a source of contamination so severe that the health of these runners might have been better served staying indoors.

Marylebone Road, one of London’s main east-west streets, illustrates with filthy glamour why the city suffers from stubbornly poor air quality – with recent record-breaking pollution levels having caused particular concern.

The road bears three and sometimes four lanes of intermittently fast-moving cars, vans, taxis, lorries, coaches and buses to and from the inner metropolis: past Madame Tussauds, junctions with Baker Street, home of Sherlock Holmes, the 200-year-old St Marylebone Parish Church, the University of Westminster, several imposing hotels and, somewhat ironically, a cluster of medical facilities.

Across the road from Tussauds, right at the pavement’s edge, stands a large, brown, crate-like construction containing what King’s College’s air quality expert Dr Gary Fuller describes as “the foremost urban air pollution research lab in the world”. Fantasy football 2016 draft strategy He believes this monitoring site, set up in 1997 and now a part of the network of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, makes Marylebone Road “the most studied road in air pollution terms anywhere”.

This internal combustion corridor provides one of London’s starker spectacles of motor pollution. How to make curtains without sewing Its diesel-powered vehicles discharge fumes of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and microscopic soot particles, while further “particulate matter” is produced by the friction of tyres on asphalt and wear on brakes. Watch mlb playoffs online free All become airborne hazards to human lungs throughout the capital, prematurely ending an estimated 9,500 lives a year.

Between 2005 and 2009, the capital saw average NO2 rises of 11% – a period in which the trend was supposed to be towards reaching new, lowered limits. College softball scores 2016 “This was one of the things that was first discovered at Marylebone Road,” Fuller says. Garden design app free “It was like a canary, tweeting away that something was going wrong.”

Around the road is the neighbourhood of Marylebone itself, an irregular grid of fine, primarily residential streets and handsome squares. Wyevale northampton The two City of Westminster council wards that cover most of the area – stretching south to another notorious pollution hotspot, Oxford Street – contain around 25,000 residents, none of them safe from the effects of a toxic atmosphere.

Westminster City council has made a successful bid for £1m in funds from the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, to set up a low emission neighbourhood encompassing the two wards (one of five LENs across the capital). Cobblestone apartments Also supported by local business organisations, landowners and residents’ groups, it will introduce an array of small policies, some on a trial basis, with the aim of having a large improving impact on air quality that has been the subject of serious scrutiny in recent weeks.

On 23 January, a “very high” London-wide air pollution warning was issued for the first time through a new system brought in by Khan, after a maximum reading for particulates was registered along Marylebone Road and elsewhere. City landscape The episode illuminated more variables in London’s air pollution equation: low temperatures and a lack of wind, which meant that pollutants, augmented by the contribution of newly fashionable wood-burning fires, weren’t being dispersed.

According to the mayor, this “shameful” state of affairs meant “everyone, from the most vulnerable to the physically fit, may need to take precautions to protect themselves”. Fences lyrics phoenix Trials and errors

The question of which is the most polluted part of London is, in the words of the King’s College research group that gathers pollution data from dozens of monitoring sites, “difficult to answer sensibly”. Elevator pitch tips This is because different sites have different goals, while “pollution hotspots are often quite small and vary depending on the weather and the time of year”.

But Marylebone Road and its surroundings have consistently illustrated issues surrounding London’s most persistent air quality problems and the attempts to solve them.

Its most vexing finding of late is that levels of NO2 are not being brought down nearly fast enough. Stardock fences free This is in line with a report by King’s scientists, published last autumn, which found that, since 2010, most monitored roads in London showed an average NO2 decrease of 5% a year, thanks substantially to a clean-up of buses.

According to Fuller, there is “still a long way to go” in combatting NO2 – but the Marylebone Road monitor has also generated some better news over the years. Landscape photography techniques He relates how after diesel standards were tightened from 2008, removing a lot of sulphur from the fuel, the number of dangerous particles in the air there fell 60% within a month or so. Garden ideas pinterest “I don’t know of any other fall in urban air pollution that dramatic resulting from a policy,” Fuller says.

It certainly worked better than the “dust suppressant” measures introduced by the then London mayor Boris Johnson in 2011 to “glue” harmful particles to ground along the road, but which the monitoring kit later showed to have been ineffective.

King’s College is to play a part in the LEN scheme, which originated with the Johnson mayoralty and has been expanded under his successor. Elevator pitch video There are plans for new green spaces, additional charging points for electric vehicles (including dedicated shared ones for residents), and incentives for changes in behaviour.

A policy of fining vehicle owners who leave their engines idling despite being asked to switch them off will operate intensively in the LEN, with “air marshals” serving £80 penalty charge notices. Hardscaping definition And from 3 April, a 50% surcharge will be levied on visiting diesel cars parking within Marylebone, pushing the hourly rate up to £7.35 per hour. College softball field dimensions Cross-party concern

Air quality has become the biggest concern for residents across Conservative-run Westminster over the past two years, overtaking issues such as litter and antisocial behaviour.

Tim Carnegie, who chairs the Marylebone Association, has lived in the area for 16 years and was closely involved in developing the LEN bid. Fantasy football team names for girls He says the community has come together “to recognise the issue and do something about it”.

A chartered surveyor whose job entails giving companies location advice, Carnegie either walks or cycles to work, and regularly takes his two young daughters to primary school on foot. Garden centre vouchers He notices what he and they are breathing: “You can taste it in Marylebone,” he tweeted of the pollution on the day of Khan’s “very high” alert.

Architect Stephen Quinn, a resident of 20 years who has children aged 11, 13 and 15 and is also a Marylebone Association member, has found his own behaviour changing as his awareness of air quality has grown.

“I’ve got to the point where if I cross Baker Street or Gloucester Place or one of the busier roads when there’s a lot of traffic, I hold my breath. Facebook search by phone number If I’m waiting for the green man so I can cross Marylebone Road, I stand well back from the kerb, which is where the pollution is worst. How to install a fence gate I tell the kids to hold their breath if they’re walking past a bus exhaust.”

Quinn stresses the importance of educating people about a problem that many still fail to appreciate because it is largely invisible. Just bats com It is, though, increasingly recognised by business.

Labour mayor Khan has won praise for going further and faster than his Tory predecessor in his efforts to clean up London’s air. Fastpitch softball But despite being urged by pressure groups Doctors Against Diesel and Clean Air London to ban diesel vehicles outright, he says he lacks the required powers to follow the examples of Paris, Madrid, Mexico City and Athens, which in December all announced their intention to have them removed from their roads by 2025.

Khan has, though, speeded progress towards introducing a central London ultra low emission zone, urged the government to help with a diesel scrappage scheme and a new Clean Air Act, and announced a programme for low-emission bus zones on routes with many schools on them.

One of these skirts the Marylebone LEN, winning praise from Conservative councillor Acton – an indicator that air quality is of cross-party concern as well as uniting employers and environmentalists. Ncaa basketball final scores history The mayor will need to channel all the power of that consensus if Londoners are to breathe easy on Marylebone Road.

Guardian Cities is dedicating a week to investigating one of the worst preventable causes of death around the world: air pollution. Fantasy football week 5 Explore our coverage at The Air We Breathe and follow Guardian Cities on Twitter and Facebook to join the discussion