An environmental report, the European SootFreeCities Ranking, ranked London fourth from bottom of a table of seventeen major European. London was graded “F” for its record on reducing soot emissions and helping improve air quality.
The ranking puts London below Glasgow and Paris and way below Berlin which achieved the highest score of 84 per cent compared to London’s 58 per cent.
Labour’s environment spokesman, Murad Qureshi, said: "Our ranking was heavily affected by three major factors which can be laid firmly at Boris’s door: his decision to halve the size of the congestion charge zone, postponing the next phase of the low emission zone – allowing thousands of vehicles to go on polluting, and his prioritising car use over public transport by increasing fares.
“If Boris Johnson had continued on the course mapped out by the last Mayor, I am in no doubt we would be ranked far higher up the table.”
· In February 2009 Boris Johnson suspended the next phase of London’s Low Emission Zone. The third phase was due to come into force in October 2010 but was postponed until January 2012
· In January 2011 Boris Johnson halved the size of the congestion charge zone. Just half the income from the western extension of the zone would have raised enough money to pay for the greening of London’s polluting vans and minibuses
· Research shows that twenty times more people are killed by London’s poor air than in road traffic accidents
Murad Qureshi’s response to the Mayor’s draft air quality strategy included proposals for:
· Targeted "low emission zones" to cut traffic in pollution hot-spots
· Improved information for Londoners on local air quality levels – via text message alerts, for example
· The introduction of a vehicle retrofitting subsidy scheme
· Improved transport to Heathrow airport as new figures show three-quarters of toxic nitrogen oxide pollution in the local area could be caused by road vehicles
There were 184 fatalities caused by road traffic collisions during 2009 (http://bit.ly/94fGRH). An Institute of Occupational Medicine report commissioned by the Mayor and published in June 2009 estimated that 4,267 deaths in London could be attributed to the city’s air quality (http://bit.ly/aPu8GF)
For further information please contact Nikki Salih on 020 7983 4400