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Homes on heavily-polluted main roads may fall in price, says expert

“I predict that within a few years, folks advertising properties for rent or to buy will start to show if their property is a safe distance - at least 200 metres - from a main road. Relative safety in pollution terms will become a selling point.”

That’s the view of long-standing industry expert David Lawrenson, commenting on the current debate regarding increased air pollution in cities and in relation to the dangers apparently caused by diesel vehicles.

“In due course, there may even be legislation to force vendors and landlords to show local average air quality information” he says - although he adds: “Don’t bank on it, because there are too many parties with too much to lose.”

Lawrenson, making his comments in his latest Lettings Focus newsletter, says he is an asthma sufferer and welcomes the recent initiatives by London mayor Sadiq Khan to introduce measures to deter diesel vehicles in parts of central London.

“So at last, the clamour for clean air is growing as evidence mounts about the damage polluted air is having on the health of the nation” says Lawrenson.

“In London alone, tens of thousands of people die each year, before their time, because of the effects of air pollution. And the closer you live to the centre of a big city or town, the closer you are to an airport, the closer you are to a main road and the busier that road is, the worse the impacts are” he adds.

He then forecasts that as the demand for action on air pollution grows and the awareness that being within 50 or 100 metres of a busy road or junction can be especially injurious to health, information about proximity to heavily-polluted roads will feature on property descriptions and on portals.

“The big house builders are still erecting their monstrous tower blocks right on the busy road junctions and in the middle of clogged roundabouts and road systems” he concludes - although he says he doubts government action on that given the emphasis on building new homes to meet demand.

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