Boris and our ever decreasing air quality
Of all the bad things Boris has done, his utterly dismal record on air pollution is by far the most deadly. More than 4,000 early deaths a year in the city are down to living every day with bad air.
From cancelling the CO2 charge for gas-guzzlers, to delays on the LEZ, to his obsesssion with 'smoothing traffic flow' instead of reducing traffic, his failings go on and on...
May 02, 2012. Comments (4)
Climate Rush have struck again in their campaign for cleaner London air. Last night two of their activists spray-painted 40 white crime-scene body outlines on the city's most congested roads.
The 40 white bodies are there to symbolise the 4,267 premature deaths caused as a result of air pollution in London every year.
One was even plonked right outside Boris Johnson's front door.
Air pollution on London's most congested roads is deadly, and regularly breaches EU legal limits on air quality and often twice exceeds the World Health Organisation's safe limit, resulting in more deaths in the city than from road accidents, obesity or passive smoking.
And yes, the lack of progress on clearing this up is down to Boris. His efforts at gluing pollution to the ground, cancelling the Western Extension Zone of the Congestion Charge and the £25 gas-guzzler, and delaying the tightening of the Low Emission Zone for lorries and vans.
The extremely respectable Campaign for Clean Air in London has condemned Boris roundly for his policies over the last four years and said this week:
Climate Rush said today:
"Boris Johnson's policies are killing Londoners. In his five years as Mayor of London, Johnson has been roundly criticised for failing to deal with our toxic air quality and the ensuing public health epidemic. Instead he eases traffic, sticks pollution to the ground and scraps the Western low emission zone.
"London needs the next mayor to tackle air pollution by reducing the number of polluting vehicles on our roads, improving cycling infrastructure and creating an affordable and accessible public transport system."
Apr 05, 2012. Comments (2)
Another amazing action from Climate Rush in advance of their Spring Clean event on April 19th.
Very early this morning, three activists snuck up and stencilled a message on the pavement right outside Boris Johnson's home using actual London traffic soot glued to the pavement.
Boris has made an art out of hiding London's horrible air quality in the face of impending EU fines.
He's recently taken to using lorries to literally spray glue on the roads around the monitoring stations that measure the bad air at London’s most polluted spots, while taking no real steps to cut the level of traffic pollution. With several policies he's made things worse, such as delaying new Low Emission Zone standards and cancelling part of the Congestion Charge Zone. Oh and also making 'smoothing traffic flow' a top priority rather than helping people to reduce traffic.
Climate Rush said today:
We want to remind Boris that this health epidemic will be solved through reducing the number of vehicles on our roads, investing in safer cycling infrastructure, and lowering our prohibitive public transport fares – not with glue.”
For extra entertainment, you can watch Boris being grilled by Assembly Member and Green candidate for Mayor, Jenny Jones here: Boris loses his cool over 'pollution glue' questions
Mar 25, 2012. Comments (2)
A brilliant action and video from Climate Rush - reverse graffiti in the Rotherhithe tunnel showing up the dire pollution levels in London.
Nov 14, 2011. Comments (1)
Parliament's Environmental Audit Committee has released a new report today damning London's dangerously bad air and pouring scorn on the gimmicky short-term measures put in by Mayor Boris Johnson.
The Campaign for Clean Air in London (CAL) called it a "blistering attack on the Government for failing to act on the biggest public health crisis since the Great Smog of 1952 and [a] stinging criticism of the Mayor’s failure to ‘make the required policy trade-offs and achieve acceptable levels of air quality’."
Boris's failures on air pollution show up some of his worst deficiencies as Mayor - playing up to the motoring lobby, prioritising car traffic over pedestrians and cyclists, wasting money on a vanity bus when a speeded up hybrid programme would have done much more with less cash, the delayed tightening of the main LEZ for larger vehicles, etc etc.
Recently, the Mayor has been putting in much-mocked 'short-term measures' to try to bring down pollution levels to something approaching legal limits and avoid collosal fines, including lining up shrubs at the side of the road and his famous 'pollution glue' (see Darren Johnson's blog on Left Foot Forward here for more).
However, the Committee are not impressed They say:
"We welcome Defra's consultation to invite views on the short-term measures that have been adopted in London, but the fact that these measure have had to be used clearly indicates that air quality is not being addressed in the long-term. Further measures must address the causes of air pollution and must be more credible than spraying the roads with adhesive."
Sep 19, 2011. Comments (1)
Infuriating to watch, but a true Mayor's Question Time classic from 14th September.
Green AM (and candidate for Mayor) Jenny Jones has Mayor Johnson on the ropes, calling him out on his strategic (ie suspicious) trials of 'dust suppressant' pollution glue on roads that just happen to be next to the monitoring stations that show the highest readings.
This shows Boris' air pollution policy up as a proper sham, aimed at reducing the chances of being fined, rather than cutting pollution where it does most damage outside schools and homes. And when this is drawn to his attention, Boris gets dreadfully flustered and uncharming. As one commenter puts it: "Calm down Boris, you twerp".
Jul 11, 2011. Comments (2)
Creative direct action specialists Climate Rush plan to focus attention on London's dangerous air pollution in the 2012 election with a die-in at a major London junction on Wednesday evening.
Today they doorstepped current Mayor Boris Johnson and better Mayor Ken Livingstone with their demands for cleaner air from the next administration at City Hall. Green candidate Jenny Jones escaped an early morning call because she will be joining the demonstration. Good work Jenny!
Climate Rush aren't mincing their words about #SackBoris's record either. They say:
Boris scrapped the Western Extension Zone, 6-monthly taxi inspections and delayed the introduction of Stage 3 of the Low Emission Zone. It’s not good enough – and it’s making us sick. Climate Rush’s next protest will disrupt the Olympic lanes unless we have election pledges from every candidate and policies to get London breathing.
The protest meets at 6.30 pm in Soho Square on Weds 13 July. Find out more here: Climate Rush site
Or sign up to the event on Facebook here: Roadblock - we're all gonna die!
May 20, 2011. Comments (1)
Video of Darren Johnson's excellent takedown, during this month's MQT session, of Boris Johnson's ridiculous assertion that London breaking air quality legal limits already (it's only May) is down to pollution 'blowing in from Europe'.
From 2m 10s, in answer to Darren's question: "Given your failure to meet the annual limit of 35 bad air days for PM10 pollutants, will you now implement the idea of a very low emissions zone for central London?
Johnson B: "I'm not aware of their rejection of their [the EU's] rejection of that argument about the 80% of particulate matter coming from outside London."
Johnson D: "It's strange isn't it, that it manages to get to central London where we have real air pollution problems, but misses outer London."
Johnson B: Sprawls on a pin, rambles about buses, talks about something called 'eco-marshalls', fails to answer the question etc...
Apr 21, 2011. Comments (1)
The venerable Campaign for Clean Air in London has declared today London's official Bad Air Day.
This marks the 36th time the city's air has reached dangerous pollution levels, and the fact that this takes us over the 35 day limit that makes London officially liable for a £300 million fine. More technically:
London Air Quality Network has reported today that concentrations of dangerous airborne particles (PM10) in London, as measured at its Marylebone Road FDMS (i.e. Filter Dynamics Measurement System) monitor, exceeded a 24 hour mean of 50 micrograms per cubic metre (ug/m3) for the 36th time on 20 April 2011
A bad day indeed. The campaign says in its press release that this:
...jeopardises UK’s time extension for PM10 which is still subject to a temporary and conditional exemption; and it makes likely a reference to European Court of Justice and fines of £300m per annum in due course.
And, of course, we all know who is to blame. As Simon Birkett, founder of CAIL puts it:
Mayor Johnson’s backward steps have aggravated London’s air pollution problems. These have included deferring Phase 3 of the low emission zone from 4 October 2010 to 3 January 2012 and rejecting advice from his own consultants on the actions needed to tackle PM10 exceedances at hotspots.
The Mayor has backed himself into a corner where the only way to avoid £300m fines per year is likely to be a prolonged odd and even number plate ban. Such a ban is looking inevitable also to keep London moving during the Olympics as the Mayor continues to refuse to introduce an inner low emission zone.
The Mayor should be giving Londoners advice about protecting themselves (adaptation) and reducing air pollution for themselves and others (mitigation). People should be walking down side streets not busy roads and walking or cycling or using public transport rather than driving particularly older diesel vehicles. Who has warned people that bonfires over Easter will make air pollution worse still in London?
We need Mayor Johnson and the Government to tackle an invisible public health crisis with as many premature deaths attributable to air pollution in London in 2008 as we thought occurred during the Great Smog of 1952.
Full story here
All this makes the lovely smog-o-meter produced by Green AM Jenny Jones superfluous rather too rapidly, as it was monitoring the time we had left until we reached the legal limits. Here it is anyway, and it will continue to link up with London Air to show just how far over the limit we go.
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Boris is a square peg in a round hole. How he ever became the mayor of multiracial London - after his many controversial comments - is still a mystery to me.
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