During the last Transport Committee of this term, l got an opportunity to ask a few questions about impact on air quality with all the transport preparations for this summers games in London. Unsurprisingly l got some very defensive responses from TfL and LOCOG, particularly when l questioned their claims in the previous weeks press releases.
Firstly air quality has been the biggest environment issue during the last two Olympics in Beijing and Athens, so its right to emphasis this issue. Now by TfL’s own Environment Report for 2011, its not meeting their own NOx and PM10 goals for the past few years. So for example, levels of NOx are above TfL’s own target for the third successive year. As for PM10 emissions these have exceeded TfL own targets for the second year running despite having fallen considerably under Ken. Quite honestly whos to say TfL will meet the targets over the Olympics when they can not reached their own targets for pass few years.
The reality though is that the IOC is only concerned with ozone ( check page 67/68) during the games which has not been mentioned at all in the TfL material sent out to convince us its on top of this issue. So TfL have fundamentally misunderstood what the concerns over the Olympics is actually though we should not forget NOx and PM10 and its impact to residents of London. Moreover during the Olympics, the second biggest hotspot for poor air in London is going to be Heathrow where we have been reliable informed that by BAA its expecting 50 per cent more taxis each day, 7,500 rather 5,000 taxis daily which as we all know disporportionately contribute to poor air quality. This makes me thing if TfL has not appreciate this in the second hotspot of London who is to say it will do any better in Central London and its suburbs.
So l really do think, its should be back to the drawing board for TfL to get a handle on this critical issue over the Olympics. It certainly won’t be the greenest games ever, if we do not get on top of poor air quality during the games.