Croydon’s air quality: more coverage, more details

Dave Hill, the Grauniad‘s London blogger, has more on the air quality story we reported yesterday.

He’s found other evidence from Professor Frank Kelly of King’s College that suggests that poor air quality in London – the cause of an estimated 205 deaths a year in Croydon according to the survey commissioned by London Mayor Boris Johnson – could cause some victims to die up to nine years prematurely.

Hill’s also found more links to the survey, including the data on each separate ward in Croydon and the rest of London’s boroughs.

Our regular reader on the 12th floor of Taberner House has also been in touch to point out that the reason for Croydon having such a shockingly high projected death rate due to air pollution is because of the borough’s high population (it is London’s most populated borough).

It’s a fair point, and there is probably a “deaths per capita population” table to be done by an AS level student with time on their hands. But the death figures in the survey are, in any case, all just “projections”, very educated guesses based on pollution levels found throughout London.

It’s a long time since the dense fogs Victorians called “London peculiars” or “pea soupers”, and the smogs of the 1950s when bus conductors (remember them?) had to walk in front of their vehicle with lamps just to make sure that they did not career into brick walls. One week of lung-clogging smog in 1952 is reputed to have claimed the lives of 12,000 and made 100,000 seriously ill.

The Clean Air Acts, smokeless coal and the demise of most heavy industry put an end to London’s smogs long ago. But in the past five decades, we have all embraced another poisonous polluter with alacrity.

As environmentalist Simon Birkett said on the publication of the report, “It shows that air pollution is a problem throughout London.

“It may therefore come as a surprise to some in outer London who thought air pollution was not their problem.”

Read Dave Hill here.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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