And how she believes that the Mayor has been leading the way on the issue
Leonie Cooper - Assembly member for Wandsworth & Merton
After dither and delay, and being taken to Court numerous times, I was pleased to finally see the Government publish its Clean Air Strategy this week. It is absolutely unacceptable that local people in Merton and Wandsworth continue to be exposed to toxic levels of air. According to the latest data, air pollution causes over 9,000 premature deaths every year, so it is clear that a Government intervention has been long overdue.
However, the Government’s plans to clean up our air still do not go far enough, failing to address the main source of illegal emissions in London: cars and lorries. The Mayor of London has led the way on this issue, introducing robust measures to tackle vehicle pollution such as the T-Charge, cleaner buses on the worst polluted routes and from 2019 a bigger and more ambitious Ultra Low Emission Zone.
It’s good the Government are finally following the Mayor’s lead, but they must take more urgent and comprehensive action before more lives are unnecessarily cut short. They should start by taking stringent measures to get the most polluting vehicles off our roads – and allow London access to the Clean Air Fund. After all. Londoners pay for it so why can’t they have some of it?
Leonie Cooper AM
May 23, 2018