The impact of the congestion charging scheme on air quality in London. Part 2. Analysis of the oxidative potential of particulate matter

Frank Kelly, H Ross Anderson, Ben Armstrong, Richard Atkinson, Benjamin Barratt, Sean Beevers, Dick Derwent, David Green, Ian Mudway, Paul Wilkinson, HEI Health Review Committee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


There is growing scientific consensus that the ability of inhaled particulate matter (PM*) to elicit oxidative stress both at the air-lung interface and systemically might underpin many of the acute and chronic respiratory and cardiovascular responses observed in exposed populations. In the current study (which is part two of a two-part HEI study of a congestion charging scheme [CCS] introduced in London, United Kingdom, in 2003), we tested the hypothesis that the reduction in vehicle numbers and changes in traffic composition resulting from the introduction of the CCS would result in decreased concentrations of traffic-specific emissions, both from vehicle exhaust and other sources (brake wear and tire wear), and an associated reduction in the oxidative potential of PM with an aerodynamic diameter <or = 10 microm (PM10). To test this hypothesis, we obtained, extracted, and analyzed tapered element oscillating microbalance (TEOM) PM10 filters from six monitoring sites within, bordering, or outside the area of the congestion charging zone (CCZ) for the 3 years before and after the introduction of the scheme. In addition, from January 2005, TEOM PM10 filters were obtained from an additional 10 sites outside the zone in order to perform the first-ever assessment of within-city spatial variability in the oxidative potential of PM10. Although London's PM10 was found to have remarkably high oxidative potential, it varied markedly between the studied sites, with evidence of increased potential at roadside locations compared with urban background locations. This difference appeared to reflect increased concentrations of copper (Cu), barium (Ba), and bioavailable iron (Fe) in PM10 collected at the roadside sites. PM10's oxidative potential after the introduction of the CCS did not change at the one urban background site within the zone. Yet compositional changes in PM10 were noted at the same site, including significant decreases in Cu and zinc (Zn) content, probably reflecting brake and tire wear (compared with increases in these metals at all sites outside the zone in the 3 years since the scheme's introduction). This pattern of results is consistent with observations of increased vehicle use throughout London in recent years and decreases in the number of vehicles entering the zone since the scheme's introduction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-144
Number of pages72
JournalResearch Report / Health Effects Institute
Issue number155
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011


Dive into the research topics of 'The impact of the congestion charging scheme on air quality in London. Part 2. Analysis of the oxidative potential of particulate matter'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this