Bad Air Day
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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