Westminster has been crowned London’s smelliest borough, according to a new study.
Jokes aside, an investigation revealed that Westminster had received 455 complaints relating to foul odour in the last year, more than anywhere else in the capital.
Unpleasant odours are often the result of high air pollution, but other causes such as refuse and dog faeces can also add to the stench.
Claire Watson, an odour expert for extraction and fabrication specialists Airmatic who collected the data from local authorities, said: “Odour complaints are a direct result of air pollution in an area.
“This can have a negative effect on the health and wellbeing of the residents in such areas with them breathing in air pollutants.
She added that poor air quality can lead to coughing, itchy eyes and even respiratory conditions and also impact residents’ mental health.
Only Birmingham and Stoke on Trent came out worse nationally, with 649 and 860 grievances recorded. Both are several times larger than Westminster in both size and population.
The area of Greater London overall was a large offender, accounting for 1,694 smell complaints, 30% of the UK total and around one for every 54 businesses in the city.
Neighbouring Kensington and Chelsea was ranked the tenth smelliest place in Britain, but still faired much better than Westminster with just 148 complaints. Camden and Wandsworth didn’t even make the top ten list.
Reducing the city’s air pollution levels forms part of the Council’s Fairer Westminster plan, but current statistics make for grim viewing.
Data from monitors shows that four areas in Westminster are exceeding government air quality objectives, including the nitrogen dioxide target of an average of 40 micrograms per cubic metre.
Two of the locations were in Soho, one in St James and another in Pimlico. The worst affected area was Waterloo Place, which not only far exceeded the nitrogen dioxide targets with an average of 52 micrograms per cubic metre last year, but also surpassed levels of lung inhalable particles smaller than 10 microns.
Westminster City Council did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
Image: Wikimedia Commons/George Tsiagalakis.