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Why it is important

Air quality refers to the air around us, how clean it is and how many pollutants (harmful chemicals or substances) it contains. The more pollutants the air contains the more air pollution there is and the worse air quality is.

Poor air quality is a concern as air pollution can impact health. In periods of high pollution some people with existing heart and respiratory conditions, such as asthma, may find their condition gets worse. Over the long term air pollution:

  • can increase the risk of many respiratory and cardiovascular diseases
  • can reduce the lung development of children
  • is also increasingly being linked to a range of other health conditions

Air pollution in the UK has been improving over the last few decades, and is predicted to continue to do so.

However, we currently exceed EU limits for one of the main pollutants, nitrogen dioxide, in parts of Islington (pollution is generally worse on main roads and in the south of the borough). While we meet limits for all other air pollutants, given the health impacts of air pollution, we are working hard to reduce all pollution as much as possible as quickly as possible.

Actions taken to improve air quality can also help tackle climate change and vice versa.

Islington has declared a climate emergency and is working to make Islington net zero in terms of carbon by 2030. It is therefore important to tackle both climate and air quality together to maximise improvements in both.

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