Traffic is breaking EU pollution limits

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A LONDON Assembly member has accused Boris Johnson of “soft pedalling on air quality” as City Hall figures show traffic routes in east London are breaking EU limits on air pollution.

The data, released earlier this month, highlighted that 76 per cent of main roads in Barking and Dagenham have excess pollution with the A13 between Canning Town and Barking one of the worst in London.

London Assembly member Jenny Jones, Green Party, is calling on the Mayor of London to reduce public transport fares in an effort to entice people off of the roads.

These figures come after official emission data released by Transport for London (TfL) in June revealed that some of the worst pollution in the capital is centred around the poorest areas.

London has the highest levels of nitrogen dioxide (N02) on its roads than any capital city in Europe. The highest N02 can be found on roads including the North Circular, parts of the A13 and the Dartford Crossing in Thurrock.

For the last seven years London, along with Manchester and Birmingham, has failed to meet EU limits on air pollution – and the capital may soon have to start paying fines if it doesn’t clean up its act.

Medical studies have linked air pollution to cot death and asthma, along with a host of other illnesses, and reports from the Mayor’s office in the past have illustrated how air pollution is a huge danger to public health in London. Some estimates put the number of
premature deaths in the capital due to air pollution at around 4000.

In a twist, it has been revealed that the Government is now thinking about getting rid of hundreds of air quality monitoring sites as the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) considers removing local authorities’ legal obligation to provide air quality readings.

London Assembly Member for City and East, John Biggs, Labour, told the Enquirer: “There are many other sources of pollution but vehicle exhausts need urgent attention. Because the gases and particles in exhausts are invisible and cleaning them up is expensive some politicians avoid tough decisions.

“But the fact is that thousands of Londoners die early because of poor air quality, particularly the very young and very old and those with existing health problems. It is an invisible epidemic.

“In my view Boris Johnson has shilly-shallied on air quality and my constituents in Barking and Dagenham have suffered as a result.”

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