London house prices: new pollution hotspot website threatens to push down values

Buyers encouraged to ask for major discounts in areas with dirtiest air


Homebuyers are being encouraged to ask for discounts of up to 20% on properties in the English capital’s pollution hotspots.

New website allows users to check the level of nitrogen dioxide - a toxic gas released when diesel, petrol and gas are burnt - at any address in London, reports The Times.

The site, which uses data from King’s College London, advises: “Those renting in areas with [a bad] rating should seek a reduction in rent if they are able to renegotiate their lease.”

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

The Central Office of Public Interest (Copi), the not-for-profit campaign behind the site, has given homes air pollution ratings of one (for low levels) to five, with the highest rating denoting an area that is 50% above the legal limit of 40 micrograms of nitrogen dioxide per cubic metre of air, says Estate Agent Today.

The Times cites the example of a £1.7m three-bedroom flat on Bayswater Road overlooking Hyde Park, where the annual pollution average is 45mcg/m3, giving the address a score of four. A 20% reduction in the value of this property would equate to £340,000.

The newspaper says that high scores are also recorded for “streets in Chelsea, Regent’s Park, Notting Hill and other areas where homes often cost millions of pounds”.

The new website has been launched amid growing fears over the health risks posed by air pollution, which include asthma, lung cancer, lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and pulmonary disease.

According to, “long-term exposure (for a year or more) to 70mcg leads to a 27.5% increased risk of disease related mortality”.

Copi founder Humphrey Milles said: “Air pollution is killing people across the country, and London is worst hit – but people don’t believe it will affect them personally.

“The Air Quality Rating is a tool to change these perceptions and show just how real, and dangerous, air pollution is across the capital, including in some of the wealthiest neighbourhoods.”

The push for price cuts in polluted areas is likely to worry London landlords, who are already facing a predicted drop of more than 6% in property values if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.