A new website is urging buyers and renters to seek discounts on properties in the most polluted areas of the capital.

Potential buyers are being encouraged to seek discounts of up to 20% on the asking prices of homes in pollution hotspots in London.

A new website, addresspollution.org, has used data from King’s College London to produce an air quality report for every address in the capital based on its annual nitrogen dioxide readings.

The report details whether pollution levels in the postcode exceed annual legal limits, giving the location a score out of five.

It also sets out the negative health impact the pollution levels could have on residents and the asking price discount buyers should try to negotiate if purchasing a property in the area.

Research carried out by the group found that 76% of Londoners think properties in areas which breach legal air pollution limits should be discounted, whether they are for sale or to rent.

Nearly six out of 10 people also said they would consider withdrawing an offer on a property if they found out it was in an area that breached World Health Organization safety limits for air quality.

Why is this happening?

The website has been set up by not-for-profit community interest group, the Central Office of Public Interest.

It claims that air pollution is now the biggest threat to public health in the UK, but its impact is not always well understood.

Its research suggests that just as other factors such as noise, crime levels and transport links can impact property prices, so too do high levels of air pollution.

"Air pollution is killing people across the country, and London is worst hit but people don’t believe it will affect them personally," said Humphrey Milles, founder of the Central Office for Public Interest.

"The Air Quality Rating is a tool to change these perceptions and show just how real, and dangerous, air pollution is across the capital, including in some of the wealthiest neighbourhoods."

Who does it affect?

If buyers follow the website’s recommendations and try to negotiate discounts based on air pollution levels, it could lead to hundreds of thousands of pounds being knocked off house prices in London.

For example, the website suggests people looking to buy a home in Westminster should ask for a 20% discount, which would knock more than £214,000 off the average property price there.

The website currently only offers reports for postcodes in London, but it plans to expand to include other UK towns and cities in the near future.

What’s the background?

It is not the first time that air pollution has been linked to a decrease in property values.

Previous research carried out by the Daily Telegraph suggested homes in heavily polluted areas could sell for up to 15% less than similar properties in less polluted locations.

There have also been calls for air quality information to be included in property listings in the same way as energy efficiency ratings are.

Top 3 takeaways

  • A new website, addresspollution.org, has used data from King’s College London to produce an air quality report for every address in the capital
  • Potential buyers are being encouraged to seek discounts of up to 20% on the asking prices of homes in pollution hotspots in London
  • 76% of Londoners think properties in areas which breach legal air pollution limits should be discounted, whether they are for sale or to rent.

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