Murad visits the monitoring station at Marylebone Road
Those of us who have spent Easter in London will have heard about the urgent smog alert issued by the government at the beginning of the long break. What is perhaps less apparent is that the alert was probably triggered by the air pollution monitoring station on the Marylebone Road which recorded yet another “bad air day” for the 36th time last Thursday. This means that the number of breaches have exceeded the EU limit of 35 permitted for an entire year in just 4 months and a whole two months earlier then last year.
Clearly things are moving from bad to worse and the Mayor appears unable to get on top of it. His decision to abandon the WEZ so recently and its proximity to the Marylebone Road is an obvious reason why this problem persists, as it’s well known that this would have helped keep emissions down by up to 8 per cent. Such regressive steps on top of his failure to implement the third phase of the LEZ to light commercial vehicles and his decision to drop six monthly inspections for black cabs (which he’s subsequently u-turned on) have all done a great disservice for Londoners especially those with chronic respiratory conditions.
The only action we have seen from the Mayor are a series of short term measures like the dust suppressant trial along the Marylebone Rd which runs all the way up to Kings Cross. This was a temporary step to keep the EU threat of fines at bay for a short while. Clearly, the strategy hasn’t worked otherwise we wouldn’t have the problems we’re experiencing today.
Air pollution is bad for our health. It reduces human life expectancy by an average of more than eight months and more than two years in the most polluted cities and regions. We need the Mayor to take all the necessary measures now to tackle this public health disaster, if the Mayor of London fails to take the lead on this life or death issue, who will?