Copenhagen, Oslo and Paris ranked first among 42 European cities for tackling air pollution.
Amsterdam and Hamburg are fourth and fifth; while Granada, Dublin and the Greater Manchester area are at the bottom of the list.
The list was published by the Clean Cities Campaign. But the data doesn’t mean that these cities are the least polluted or the ones with the freshest air.
Data was compiled on the following:
Shared bicycles and scooters zero emission buses shared electric cars electric vehicle charging equipment.
Campaign director Barbara Stoll says these indicators are important, but they don’t provide the complete picture.
“We think these are very important criteria, but this is not the complete picture.
“These are alternatives to other measures or complementary to other measures that cities need to implement, such as low-emission zones, such as low-traffic areas, such as potential congestion pricing, such as parking policies.
“So there are many other things cities can do to clean up transportation.”
Reducing or even banning diesel cars and older petrol vehicles in city centers is another way to tackle the problem of poor air quality in cities.
Since August, London has been expanding its Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to all of its boroughs.
This means that any vehicle that does not meet the ULEZ standards will have to pay a daily rate of approximately €14.50 to reach it.
The move has angered some people and has been challenged in court, but Simon Birkett, head of the ‘Clean Air in London’ lobby group, insists it won’t just be the environment and climate that will benefit from this enlarged zone, but also our own health.
“Low-emission zones lead to health benefits and in particular reductions in hospital admissions, heart attacks and strokes,” he explains. “So there are very clear health awards for us to win here if we continue down this path.”
Birkett also believes that the initiative should be implemented at EU level.
“Europe is currently reviewing its air quality directives. There was recently a very positive vote in the European Parliament’s Environment Committee, which said it would align these new air quality laws comply with the latest World Health Organization air quality guidelines.
A 2015 study showed that introducing low-emission zones helped reduce the concentration of nitrogen dioxide, an extremely harmful gas. It also cuts dangerous PM10 particles.