Clean Air For Londoners - "Fifteen Years Is Too Long"
Wandsworth MEP wants commitment from government to act faster
Wandsworth Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford is marking the UK’s first ever World Environmental Health Day (26th September) by calling on the Government to commit to making London’s air cleaner very soon, not in 15 years' time.
An overwhelming majority - 40 of 43 - of the UK's ‘air quality zones' failed in 2010 to meet binding EU targets which Britain signed up to on reducing levels of harmful Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) which can cause or worsen respiratory problems. The government had to submit cleanup proposals to the European Commission by this month to accompany applications for time extensions. According to these proposals, while zones elsewhere in the country will be compliant by 2015, reduction in air pollution levels may not occur in London before 2025. In another development, pressure group Client Earth is taking government to court for failure to consult on plans to reduce the high levels of dangerous airborne particles in the city.
Sarah Ludford, a long time campaigner for cleaner air in the capital, said:
“With the Olympics next year the eyes of the world are going to be on London, and it is embarrassing that our capital's air will still be dirty and not meet European standards. I would regret it if the European Commission decided that the UK government had not done enough to combat air pollution and launched court action, but I would hardly be surprised .”
“The choice of air pollution as the theme for the first-ever World Environmental Health Day shows just how important this issue is. It’s unacceptable that London residents could be waiting fifteen years beyond the initial EU deadline for air quality compliance, and even dying young because of that."
The theme which has been chosen for this inaugural World Environmental Health Day event is air pollution. The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health has chosen to mark the event by hosting a conference on air quality at its London Headquarters. There are various events world-wide to mark the day.
September 26, 2011