London’s air quality is among the worst in Europe. We rank below cities such as Berlin, Amsterdam and Paris, and – internationally – our air is more polluted than cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago and Sydney. Central London in particular regularly breaches the legal limits for air pollution.
As Mayor, I will;
-Pedestrianise Oxford Street in order to clean up London’s air, as a first step to making London a walking city
-Aim to commission only zero-emission capable buses from 2020
-Encourage the development of a leasing scheme to help taxi drivers make the jump to zero-emission capable cabs
-Ensure that plans to extend London Charging infrastructure and establish a Paris-style car club are delivered by 2018
-Have air pollution monitors installed at ‘buggy level’ to help parents understand the effect of poor air quality
Air quality is not just an environment issue, it is a public health emergency. Pollution is a silent killer: London’s Clean Air campaign estimates that almost 7,500 deaths in London each year can be attributed to air-quality related illnesses; in some parts of the capital one in 12 deaths are partly caused by the effects of particle air pollution.
Our children and elderly bear the brunt of the pollution with our cars choke London’s air. I find deeply disturbing the thought of mums pushing buggies near the North Circular Road knowing their babies are inhaling the most toxic fumes in London. Or that a child’s walk to school is putting their health in serious danger. Over 1,000 London schools are within 150 metres of roads on which 10,000 or more vehicles travel each day – putting our children and young people at risk of developing asthma, with evidence also suggesting stunted lung growth.
At the same time, high pollution levels increase the chance that London’s elderly people will suffer life-threatening cardiovascular diseases.
I will ensure that TfL leads by example putting London’s buses, taxis and car clubs on the path to all-electric technology.