European commission investigating whether technology was used to ‘hide’ high levels of pollution in the city

The European commission is investigating the use of dust suppressants in London following accusations that they were deliberately used around air monitoring sensors to disguise high levels of pollution.

Dust suppressants are glue-like substances that trap air pollutants from exhaust fumes and recirculated road dust. Trials in 2011 found they were able to reduce daily concentrations of PM10 – particulates smaller than 10µm in diameter – by 10-14%. They were used extensively throughout London’s major road networks during the 2012 Olympics.

But campaign groups such as Clean Air London have accused the London mayor, Boris Johnson, of ‘cheating’ EU regulations by using suppressants to lower PM10 in areas where it exceeds targets. The UK could face hefty fines if the data they provided is found to be inaccurate.