Concern about urban air quality is not new. Complaints were recorded in the 13th century when coal was first used in London. Since the middle of the 19th century, the atmosphere of the major British cities was regularly polluted by coal smoke in winter, giving rise to an infamous mixture of fog and smoke known as smog. Today the emphasis has shifted from the pollution problems caused by industry to the ones associated with motor vehicle emissions. The following pages show in chronological order the major pieces of legislation passed in the UK since 1845 with regards to combating air pollution in urban areas.
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