London's MEP speaks out against air pollution in the capital
By LiseS | Saturday, October 01, 2011, 16:47
London Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford called on the Government this week to commit to making London's air cleaner. 40 of theUK's 43 'air quality zones' failed in 2010 to meet binding EU targets on reducing levels of harmful Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) which can cause or worsen respiratory problems.
Sarah Ludford MEP is pictured with Lib Dem colleagues Lynne Featherstone, MP for Hornsey and Wood Green and minister for equalities, and London Assembly member Mike Tuffrey.
According to government proposals submitted to the European Commission this month, while zones elsewhere in the country will be compliant with NO2 levels by 2015, reduction in air pollution London's may not occur before 2025. 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, says, "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 proposals to reduce NO2 levels that were submitted to the Commission this month can be seen here.
How's your breathing today? Should London speed up its air-quality improvement programme, particularly in light of next year's Olympics? Let us know below!