Snipe - The Scoop

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Boris Johnson risks huge EU fines for air pollution

Boris Johnson has been urged to reverse his pro-motorist policies after the EU warned of hundreds of thousands of Londoners being at serious risk from polluted air.

Correspondence between the government and Boris Johnson obtained by the Guardian, reveals that the EU could impose unlimited fines if the Mayor does not take urgent measures.

Green Assembly Member Darren Johnson said today: 

“With hundreds of thousands of Londoners exposed to dangerously polluted air everyday, it is time for the Mayor to act.”

“Unfortunately, of the few clear decisions that Boris has taken so far, many will worsen, not improve air quality. He has cancelled a traffic reduction scheme at Parliament Square, dropped public procurement of hydrogen cars and is consulting about reversing the western extension of the congestion charging?”

When questioned by the Assembly, Boris promised that he would take "extra measures" to reduce the quantities of "fine particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide" in the atmosphere. 

However, his plans to expand London City Airport and build a new airport in the Thames Estuary will only further add to air pollution in the capital. Darren Johnson added:

“Rather than saying one thing and doing another, London’s new Mayor must show that the health of Londoners is his priority by taking cars off the roads, replacing them with cyclists, pedestrians, and public transport.”

If air pollution is not reduced by a third on London's busiest streets, the UK could be taken to the European court, with the potential for unlimited fines to be imposed.

But beyond any financial or environmental implication, the continuing problem of dire air quality is a huge health risk. Current levels of pollution are estimated to cause around 32,000 premature deaths in the UK each year.

And with rising petrol prices pushing drivers onto diesel, it is more important than ever that Boris Johnson puts the brakes on his pro-motorist agenda.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's not all bad. At least we can escape from the smog to the filtered air of our un-congestion charged Porsches and laugh as we mow down choking pededstrians struggling to cross the rephased traffic lights. What ho!

Tom said...

you just need to read Cameron's comments on Zac Goldsmith in his new book to see what a joke thye vote blue go green slogan is. The only thing thry want to go green are the traffic lights.

A Very Public Sociologist said...

So it's vote blue and, erm, turn purple then.

prj45 said...

"At least we can escape from the smog to the filtered air of our un-congestion charged Porsches and laugh as we mow down choking pededstrians struggling to cross the rephased traffic lights"

I don't think that's a serious post, but to make a point the air in car cabins is far far far worse than the air pedestrains breath, by factors of 100s IIRC.

Some people really do think their air filters filter out this stuff though.

Filters on military vehicles designed to operate in chemical war zones might, but they only last a week.

Tom said...

*cough*

Like it. Like it very much.

Harold said...

With Tim Parker departing, looks like Boris is setting up a post for Jeremy Clarkson - the only man who could make Boris look green.