Invisible killer: how one girl's tragic death could change the air pollution story

Close to home, for those living near the South Circular



This will be an important legal ruling. I think it could be a long case with a lot of expert witnesses and scientific evidence presented. Even if it is agreed that air pollution was cause of death or a contributory factor, a further issue could be whether a single source of pollution can be positively identified.

Here is a link to an article on just one source group of pollutants besides road traffic vehicles:

My sympathies with the family, and I hope they can find peace of mind following this catastrophe - the loss of a child.


I listened, with a huge lump in my throat, to the mother talking about this on LBC radio this afternoon and I was amazed by both her strength and dignity after what her daughter had suffered.
Beautiful person!

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Yes, this is one story I am following with great interest.

A nine-year-old girl who died following an asthma attack has become the first person in the UK to have air pollution listed as a cause of death.


The irony now is that the extension of the ULTRA LOW EMISSIONS ZONE will make the South Circular road the chosen/FREE by-pass route for the HIGHER POLLUTING vehicles, thereby intensifying the concentration of harmful emissions and INCREASING the threat of serious illness to asthma sufferers and others who live, work or otherwise need to go nearby this toxic corridor.
I understand that there are supposed to be some mitigation measures, but I can’t imagine, with the serious implications of this verdict, they will be anywhere near effective enough to deal with the problem.


How many lives do you think the extension of the Ultra Low Emission Zone will save within the North & South circular?

I hope councils and Mayor will measure the effects of ULEZ both inside and outside the zone?

She lived on the boundary, she died. So, not many then.

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Do you think there has only been one premature death in the country linked to air pollution? Ok.

Is that a serious question?
I’m just an angry old bloke who doesn’t have any of the factual data that local concillors have at their fingertips - so instead of being all cocky, why don’t you simply do your job and, perhaps, concentrate on the part of my post that you might actually be able to help with and let us know about the mitigation measures that will be put in place?


Yes. I want you to view the bigger picture and think about the millions of lives that will be likely be improved within the north & south circular. I’m sure we, Lewisham Council & TFL, will measure the impact on air quality inside and outside the extended ULEZ and make a judgement on its future based on the greater good for all Londoners.

Do the council and the (useless) Mayor of London have any plans to actually tackle air pollution, as opposed to concentrating congestion in unlucky areas, shuffling pollution and fining people for going about their daily business?

Here are some positive suggestions:

Plant lots of trees (rather than chopping them down).

Put a limit on the densification of London rather than continuing the ideological house-building and Population Ponzi Scheme, with all the extra pollution this entails.

Look at the below image.

If you see this and conclude “this area needs more urbanisation,” then you need to give your head a good wobble. If you cannot afford to live there, do what everyone else does, and go live somewhere you can afford to. Don’t demand that more houses are built in London in some perverse attempt at manipulating prices.

Embrace the electric future of transport - starting with promoting (not trying to cancel) Uber. End the special treatment of the Black Cab lobby. Why should their overpriced diesel-chugging often-empty vehicles get privileged access to bus lanes? Incentivise zero emissions vehicles by allowing them into bus lanes (reducing congestion in other lanes). And build more chargers and protect them with anti-ICEing enforcement.

Get those god-awful diesel busses off the road!

Revert the foolish LTNs and blanket #20mph limits and road narrowing. All they’ve acheived is longer journeys and more congestion.

Stop making things worse and start making things better.


So that was a serious question - to me. Well how the hell do I know!
I can just see imagine every driver who can’t afford a non-polluting car or the £12.50/day charge, who might otherwise be able to filter their way to their destination, will instead be chugging slowly (at a walking pace) along the S.Circ and some of our other roads (on the periphery of the ULEZ), like Dartmouth Road, which I envisage suffering more concentrated and higher levels of pollution than they do today; and this bothers me because I feel a particular responsibility for my residential and commercial tenants and their respective customers (on D. Rd), all of whom could be adversely affected because they need to live, work and walk alongside what will inevitably be a slower and more regular traffic jam between Forest Hill station and the swimming pools, which is my reason for being interested what you might have to say about mitigation measures for them (and other Lewisham residents), after which I might be more inclined to open my mind up to your ‘bigger picture’.


Well all have a responabilty to drive less. There is always a lot of defensive jusitifcation from people whenever air pollution or congestion is mentioned that THEIR car use is justified and essential. Not like others obviously.

We all need to do better here.


We all need to think better.

And we need to do away with attitudes and policies that pit residents against residents. The path to lower emissions is a positive one. Not a stupid and counterproductive war where those who rely on vehicles and the road network (which is all of us, directly or indirectly) must lose.

I guess people are relying on the councillors of SE23 to stand up for the needs of their local areas.
It is great news that the majority of people in London should benefit from ulez extension.
However, the majority of people in SE23 live within 0.5 or 1 mile of the South Circ, and therefore are likely to be negatively impacted if the South Circ sees more traffic as a consequence.
It’d be good to know what plans are in place to ensure ulez extension works just as well for SE23 residents, as for other living miles away in inner London who definitely will benefit from cleaner air.
(I am not a car driver).