Mayor dithering over clean air on London smog 50th anniversary, say Greens

The 1952 Great London Smog killed around 4000 people and it was because of this disaster that modern air pollution control began. However, Greens argue that even 50 years later, pollution problems are not being taken seriously enough. They are calling on the Mayor to introduce a Low Emission Zone in London sooner rather than later.

"The Mayor is dragging his feet on doing the one thing which could deliver cleaner air in London. It will be hard to meet the Government’s air quality targets in London even with a Low Emission Zone. It will be impossible without one. Livingstone is likely to approach the 2004 Mayoral elections with everyone knowing that he was the man who failed to take a lead on tackling London’s air pollution. I hope that the Mayor will listen to our concerns and make cleaner air a priority in London." said Darren Johnson.

Such a zone would ban the most polluting diesel vehicles from London and would speed up the replacement of older engines in buses, coaches and heavy goods vehicles. This would not affect ordinary cars, but could include taxis and vans.

However, Mayor Ken Livingstone says that he is not able to implement a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) until at least 2007. Greens argue that a LEZ is crucial for enabling London to meet the Government’s air quality targets for 2004/5. The London Assembly has unanimously passed a resolution supporting the LEZ idea and many of the inner London boroughs support the principle of a LEZ. Even the ‘true blue’ Westminster Council supports the idea. A Westminster Council consultation has established the popularity of the principle, from the Freight Transport Association through to business groups. The major concern is timing, and how much money the Government and the Mayor are willing to put towards the cost of updating vehicles, especially those belonging to small businesses. Delaying implementation until 2007 will be a blow to everyone wanting cleaner air in London.

Darren Johnson said, "Ken should mark the 50th anniversary of the London Smog by introducing a low emission zone sooner rather than later."


For further information contact
Keith Magnum, London Green Party Press Officer 07732 465571


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