London to 'glue' pollution to the streets

By Rachel England - 25 Nov 2010 0:11:1 GMT
London to 'glue' pollution to the streets

The latest bid to tackle London's increasingly poor air quality will see a special solution sprayed onto the capital's roads in an attempt to 'glue' pollutants to the streets.

Transport for London (TfL) has already started testing this innovative idea, which sees a dust suppressant consisting of calcium magnesium acetate applied to jet-washed roads by a modified winter gritting machine.

The biodegradable saline solution – which will be applied several times a week during the early hours of the morning – will initially be used on the A3211 from Waterloo bridge to Tower Hill, and the A501 from Edgware Road to King's Cross Station.

The £300,000 trial is hoped to cut levels of PM10, a harmful pollution particulate that is contributing to London's terrible air quality. If successful, PM10 levels could be reduced by up to 20 per cent and the scheme will be rolled out to other areas of the capital.

Similar tests in Europe have demonstrated that this figure is entirely achievable. TfL has also indicated that the solution could be used as a road de-icer.

Commenting on the trial, mayor Boris Johnson said he expected it to have an immediate impact on air quality in the most polluted areas of central London.

"We have scoured the globe to find new ways to tackle pollution and found this wonderful contraption that tackles air quality head on, sticking particles to the roads' surface and preventing their dastardly escape back into the air we breathe," he said.

TfL insists that the chemical has no side-effects, and due to its application in minimal amounts road users will be unlikely to notice the chemical at all.

Officials hope that the innovation will help to deal with London's ongoing air quality issues. The EU has threatened fines of up to £300 million for the capital's failure to comply with quality standards, which the city has been in breach of for several years.

The capital has also come under pressure for the levels of pollution anticipated from the forthcoming 2012 Olympic Games, with officials criticised for failing to effectively address the issue in the Games' environmental strategy.

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Topics: Air Pollution Articles