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Mayor must start warning Londoners about air pollution - Stephen Knight

June 11, 2014 5:27 PM

Stephen Knight AM, Liberal Democrat London Assembly environment spokesperson, commenting on the Mayor's agreement to his request at today's Mayor's Question Time to put air pollution alerts on the www.london.gov.uk website said:

"Air pollution causes the premature death of an estimated 4,250 Londoners each year and the Mayor has a clear legal duty to improve public health in London. Yet until today he had repeatedly refused to issue air pollution information to Londoners. His agreement today to start doing so is therefore a very significant step that shows he is at last taking some responsibility for the problem.

"However, much more action is needed and the Mayor also admitted today that the launch of his "Breathe Better Together" initiative to alert Londoners to bad pollution days has been delayed yet again and is not now expected until September, 15 months after funding was first agreed. The launch was previously promised for "early 2014".

"Ensuring Londoners know about air pollution and can avoid unnecessary exposure during the worst pollution episodes is vital to public health and the Mayor should be using every opportunity open to him to ensure everyone is informed."


Notes to editors:

  1. In its most recent report on air quality, the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee concluded that "a public awareness campaign would be the single most important tool in improving air quality"
  1. The number of airTEXT subscribers has only increased by around 500 since the publication of the Mayor's Air Quality Strategy in 2010 (to around 10,000). At this rate it will take another 1000 years before your aspiration to sign up a further 250,000 participants is met.
  1. The Mayor of London has a duty to promote improvements in the health of persons in Greater London" under the GLA Act (1999)
  1. The Mayor's Air Quality Strategy from 2010 states:

[p.40, Mayor of London's Air Quality Strategyhttp://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/Air%20Quality%20Strategy%20v3.pdf]

Despite setting a goal of signing up a further 250,000 people, the Mayor has admitted that the GLA does not monitor progress [MQ 3373/2011]. In addition, he has been reluctant to publish smog alerts during recent air pollution episodes, see MQ3006/2011