Murad Qureshi says that despite getting plenty of feedback on his two previous drafts, the Mayor’s final strategy still will not protect Londoners from unnecessary pollution levels or prevent the UK being fined by the EU for breaching air quality standards.
Murad said: “He abandoned the six monthly inspections of taxis as soon as he became Mayor, did not introduce phase 3 of the Low Emission Zone last month and over Christmas he will get rid of the West London Congestion Zone Extension. This final air quality strategy will not make up for the regressive steps he has already taken. We know air quality in London has deteriorated and is London’s biggest public health issue. The EU is all over us about it.
“It’s taken him two and a half years to realise that his first step on this front – to remove the six monthly inspection of black cabs – was not at all helpful. Now he’s decided to reinstate some form of six monthly inspections from 2013. The third phase of the LEZ will be implemented in Jan 2012 rather than in Oct 2010. At this rate by 2012 we’ll be back to where we were in 2008 but by then it will be too late to avoid being hit by EU fines.
“We need a Mayor to stand up for Londoners, to identify problems and deal with them and to acknowledge that air pollution kills 20 times more than road traffic accidents, although it doesn’t get the same attention. But as usual with Boris, all we get is charm, bluster and hot air.”
London’s poor air quality kills an estimated 4,000 people in the city each year and the EU have started legal proceedings against the UK because of it, but the Mayor of this fine city thinks it better to pretend there is no problem rather than address it.
Murad Qureshi is a Londonwide Labour Assembly Member and is the Assembly’s Labour Group Environment spokesperson.
The Mayor’s Air Quality strategy can be found here:
Further information please contact Nikki Salih at 020 7983 4400