Wednesday, 24 March 2010

More on London's appalling air quality

Fellow air quality campaigner Cllr Paul Paul Braithwaite writes: "On Monday 22 March the powerful all-party Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) published its findings on Britain's poisonous air quality. I had sat through the hearings so I knew it would be hard hitting. It confirms that in London alone between 3,500 and 8,000 premature deaths are attributable to particulate matter, largely caused by diesel vehicles.

"Those living alongside our most polluted streets like Euston and Finchley Roads, Southampton Row, Kentish Town and Kilburm High Streets may be having their lives reduced by as much as nine years. The committee's chairman, Stephen Yeo, states that: "Air pollution probably causes more deaths than passive smoking, traffic accidents or obesity, yet it receives very little attention from government or the media."

"The UK risks substantial fines for its failure to meet EU regulations on limiting pollutants. It is crazy that Defra is focused on seeking extensions to exempt us from complying with European laws when we should be introducing a Local Emission Zone (LEZ) all across Greater London as swiftly as possible.

"When I put this to Mayor Johnson's excellent director of environment, Isabel Dedring, on March 12 she said the cost of vehicle compliance measures would be at least £2 billions and I replied it's a fraction of the known health costs, which are estimated at between £8.5bn and £20.2bn each year.

"What we need is to focus attention on the poisonous air that impairs so many Londoners lives today and an urgent joined-up plan of action from Mayor Boris."

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