London is officially the world’s most exposed city to pollution from planes

In recent years, London has seen several policies designed to clear up our city’s air, from the expanded ULEZ to Low-Traffic Neighbourhoods. But pollution from the capital’s roads is only part of the problem, as new research shows that London is more exposed to pollution from aviation than anywhere else on the planet.

The study, called the 2024 Airport Tracker, was produced by several thinktanks and is designed to show how cities around the world are affected by airports and air travel. According to the Guardian, this year, for the first time, the study includes the carbon impact of cargo as well as passenger flights.

London was revealed as the most vulnerable city in the world to aviation fumes, with planes landing and taking off at our city’s six airports apparently producing 3.23m cars’ worth of harmful nitrogen oxides and particulate matter emissions every year.

Second and third in the study were Dubai and Tokyo, which were exposed to the equivalent emissions of 2.78m cars.

What’s more is that London is apparently home to the second-most polluting airport in the world. According to Airport Tracker, London Heathrow produces a whopping 19.1m tonnes of CO2 per year, second only to Dubai (with 20.1m tonnes of CO2).

Keen to dive further into the data? You can check out the full Airport Tracker for yourself here.

Time Out and cleaning up London’s air

London is often named among the most polluted cities on the planet, but efforts are being made to rectify that. Did you see, for instance, that on Time Out we reported that air quality is about to be improved at two tube stations? We also named clean air campaigner Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah Time Out’s Community Hero of the Year.

Did you see that the ninth London Superloop bus route launches this weekend?

Listen to Time Out’s brilliant podcast ‘Love Thy Neighbourhood’: the newest episode with Paul Foot in Fitzrovia is out now.

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