- My book: Clearing The Air -

I've been working on my first book - Clearing the Air: the beginning and the end of air pollution - since 2016. It was released by Bloomsbury on 21st March, 2019.

Like many people, I had become increasingly alarmed by the headlines regarding the health effects of air pollution. Living in London at the time, I was confronted with a jarring reality: here was a rich capital city, known for its tree-lined streets and plentiful parks, and yet it had some of the worst diesel pollution in the world. Air pollution is killing people in the UK in the tens of thousands every year, and across the world in the millions. Yet, despite being a sustainability journalist, I didn't really know the science behind these figures. 

What is air pollution? Why is it bad for our health? And - perhaps most importantly - what can we do about it?

My journey for the answers took me much further afield than just London, incorporating Delhi, Beijing, Paris, Helsinki and, er, Milton Keynes. While shocked by the impact air pollution has on societies, I also found an optimistic vision for how cities can start clearing the air. The answers, the solutions, are within our grasp... 

Clearing the Air by Tim Smedley – book review

On Friday 5 December 1952, a thick fog settled over London. The city’s “peasoupers” were a common event in those days, but this fog was different. It persisted – and intensified. After two days, visibility had dropped to its lowest level on record – just over a metre. Londoners, as if blindfolded, were walking in front of cars and stepping off rail platforms. At Sadler’s Wells, a performance of La traviata was halted when the audience could no longer see the stage....

Deadly air in our cities: the invisible killer

"In the winter you can taste and smell the pollution,” says Kylie ap Garth, drinking coffee in a cafe in Hackney, east London. “My eldest is eight and he has asthma. Being outside, he would have a tight chest and cough. I just assumed it was the cold weather. I didn’t realise there was a link to the cars.” She is not exaggerating. The main road from Bethnal Green tube station is clogged with traffic, the smell of diesel fumes mixing with smoke from barbecue grill restaurants and construction dust.