|Boris fiddles while London's lungs burn|
25 June 2010 | Press release
It has been announced today that London has exceeded the maximum number of days in 2010 in which harmful levels of dangerous airborne particles may present under European law. ClientEarth's Alan Andrews calls for urgent action.
Today it has been revealed that the year’s legal limit for days with harmful levels of dangerous airborne particles has been reached in less than six months.
The European Union has set a legal limit, which allows for 35 days where pollution reaches dangerous levels. In London we have seen 36 such days in less than six months.
A lack of urgency from the mayor’s office on air quality means Londoners continue to die early in their thousands – by city hall’s own figures, 4,300 people die prematurely as a result of dangerous airborne particles every year.
The European Commission is losing patience; a final warning was delivered to the UK last month. Again, by Mr Johnson’s own admission, fines resulting from a failure to meet European legal limits could be £300 million each year.
Alan Andrews, ClientEarth, comments: “The fact that half way through the year we have already exceeded the maximum allowable number of days with harmful levels of dangerous airborne particles shows how far London has to go on air pollution. But despite the well documented health impacts of poor air quality and the thousands of early deaths each year, central government and the mayor fail to take the situation seriously. We can only hope that the looming financial penalties faced by the UK will spark some action on the issue.
“With Conservatives in power at both national and city level, the time for shirking responsibility has passed. The mayor needs to act now on air pollution by producing an air quality strategy which contains a credible plan for achieving legal compliance by 2011.
What we have at the moment is a patchwork of ad hoc, untested and short-term measures. We need to get the dirtiest cars, buses and taxis of London’s roads as soon as possible, through a scrappage or retrofit scheme. If the mayor will not act willingly, the government must compel him to do so.”
For further information contact:
Mike Haines | Communications officer | ClientEarth
The Hothouse, 274 Richmond Road, London, E8 3QW
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