Guys, science has won. Today, Boris Johnson has finally admitted that the severe levels of pollution on London’s Oxford Street are, in fact, “not a myth”. We can’t see it from here, but we can only assume there’s confetti billowing from the windows of the Royal Society.
Here’s some context. Back in July, scientists from King’s College London found that Oxford Street has the highest recorded level of nitrogen dioxide in the entire world; or 11 times the EU limit. Johnson’s measured, scientific take on this news? “B*ll*cks: ludicrous urban myth.”
Besides a worrying ignorance as to the meaning of the phrase “urban myth”, the statement revealed a reluctance to admit that traffic and construction were taking their toll on Londoners’ lungs. An article by Zoe Williams of the Guardian to this effect was countered in the same publication by a tract from City Hall, titled “London, far from being toxic, is leading the way in tackling air pollution”. The EU, which has threatened fines and legal action over “excessive” UK air pollution levels, would beg to differ.