‘Urgent action needed to improve air quality in London’

London, Sep 13 (IANS) London has been named as one of six major cities in Britain where urgent action is needed to improve air quality, a media report said on Sunday.

The government’s department for environment, food and rural affairs, cited the capital city, along with Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Southampton and Derby, where action is needed to reduce roadside levels of the pollutant nitrogen dioxide (NO2), Xinhua news agency reported.

The department named the six cities as it launched a nationwide consultation to seek views on what local and national action can be taken to improve Britain’s air quality.

Although London is named as a city needing more action, the report says the capital city is already leading the way in embracing new technology and planning tools, and in 2020 will introduce the Britain’s first ultra-low emission zone.

The first fully electric bus route in Britain will launch later this month in Croydon and by 2020 there will be 300 electric buses running in central London.

Government Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said: “Clean air is vital to our health and our environment and for making sure our cities are attractive places for people to live and work.”

As an incentive the government has announced grants of almost $400 mn on green initiatives.

The report also says in areas with high NO2 levels life expectancy is cut by six months, costing the British economy millions of dollars a year.

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