Misconceptions about air pollution – Air quality is better than it was

Founder & Director of Clean Air London, Simon Birkett recently wrote an article for Environmental Health News on the Misconceptions about air pollution.

The piece contains a series of cartoons which the campaign group Clean Air in London commissioned to address the capital’s environmental challenges. Beautifully crafted by Andy Davey (@DaveyCartoons), the cartoons address matters such as London smog, wood burning, the tube, cycling and taxis.

The first misconception mentioned within the article ’12 Misconceptions about air pollution’  is that ‘air quality is better than it was’.

Air quality is better than it wasThe Facts:
Visible coal smoke disappeared after the Clean Air Act and has been replaced by diesel exhaust and other largely invisible particles and gases. During this time, the certainty and scale of the health effects of air pollution have rocketed upwards while public understanding has remained where it was 30 years ago for smoking. To find out more, click here.

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Clearly room for an air side view of London – The ‘Walkie Talkie’ Building

Article by Peter Dyment – Camfil UK


High up in the air above the bustling city at 20 Fenchurch street the curved shape of the ‘Walkie Talkie’ building has been noticeable on the skyline. It still has a few cranes atop the final stage as work finishes this year on the crowning summit of the building which will be the immense and surely spectacular enclosed roof garden with viewing gallery.

Walkie Talkie building

Works on the viewing gallery/garden level frame three close iconic buildings, Tower42, ‘The Cheesegrater’ and ‘The Gherkin’.

I was lucky enough to make a recent visit to inspect some plant on the site and there were numerous vantage points around the top floors to take in the spectacular views of London. These views were spread out in all directions. I watched Tower Bridge raise up for an old London barge. The bridge looked tiny laid out next to a toy fort called the Tower of London.

The outward curve of the ‘Walkie Talkie’ building is uniquely able to give an extremely large area at the top for the intended tiered roof garden. It differs from the angular pointed shapes of other recent London buildings. Continue reading

Airpocalypse Now? [British Safety Council article by Matthew Holder]

Article by Matthew Holder – British Safety Council

In 2012, according to estimates from the World Health Organisation, seven million people died across the world because of air pollution. Years after London’s ‘pea soupers’ and all the technological and legislative developments since then, how can air pollution now be the world’s largest environmental health risk?

air pollution

While increases in wealth from economic growth may allow us to spread our wings, environmental burdens can quickly bring us down to earth with a bump. When it comes to air pollution, more and more people are asking whether enough is being done to reduce it.

The high pollution levels we saw in March and April affecting London, Paris and other parts of western Europe seemed a surprise to many, a remnant of a previous age, of ‘pea soupers’ and gloomy streetlights in the 1940s, or more recent battles from the 1970s and 1980s about lead in petrol, acid rain or chlorofluorocarbons (CFC). Continue reading