Opposition Assembly Members have described a new information campaign alerting members of the public to poor air quality as “disappointing”.
On Friday Boris Johnson announced a new ‘Breathe Better Together’ public awareness campaign that will include posters and broadcast ads aimed at helping reduce their exposure to pollution and help improve air quality.
They’ll also be able to sign up to receive free regular email and text alerts about pollution levels.
Advice includes walking and cycling using less polluted routes, and switching engines off when their cars are parked or stationary for a long period of time.
The Mayor said the campaign “is about promoting small simple steps we can all make to help improve air quality, protect ourselves from pollutants and indeed breathe better together.”
However Murad Qureshi, Labour’s London Assembly Labour Environment Spokesperson, said the campaign “amounts to one phrase on repeat – “Hold Your Breath!”
He added: “It’s a last and desperate plea to cover up for seven years of dithering and inaction and shows that this Mayor really has run out of ideas for tackling the capital’s silent killer.”
Green party AM Baroness Jenny Jones has also criticised the campaign, saying “The Breath Better campaign is really disappointing and completely inadequate compared to the scale of London’s air pollution challenge.
“It appears to be about advising the victims of air pollution rather than the polluters.”
However the Clean Air in London campaign congratulated the Mayor for including smog warnings, saying it was “a good step” towards improving public health.
Today’s announcement has also been welcomed by support group, Asthma UK/
Research lead Professor Jonathan Grigg said: “Although it is difficult in urban areas to reduce your exposure to air pollutants, there are some things that people with respiratory conditions can do to reduce the negative impact air pollution has on their health.
“Text monitoring systems in cities like London help you to determine if it’s a day of high pollution and you can manage your day accordingly.
“But, in the long-term we also need more research into this area so that we can develop comprehensive, evidence based guidelines which can further reduce the health impacts of air pollution on people with conditions such as asthma.”