London’s poor air quality is the result of European pollution which has been carried to the capital by winds, Boris Johnson yesterday told the London Assembly.
Questioned by Assembly Members at the regular Mayor’s Question Time session, the Mayor denied he would have to make short term changes to his air quality plan in return for a suspension of EU action over the high levels of PM10 pollutants in the capital’s air.
The EU Commission said the extension was conditional and requires “that short-term measures are introduced to control, or, where necessary, suspend activities which contribute to the risk of the limit values being exceeded.”
However the Mayor claims measures already announced, including a cleaning of road surfaces, would be sufficient to meet pollution targets and avoid a potential £300m fine.
The Mayor was being questioned by Green Party Assembly Member Darren Johnson who accused him of saying the wind was “gathering up all the pollution from Paris and dumping it directly on Marylebone Road, whilst by-passing areas like Bromley, Havering and Harrow which are all under the European pollution limits.”
Speaking at yesterday’s meeting the Mayor claimed EU officials “have been impressed by the force of what we are doing” to bring down pollution levels.
Although the EU granted an extension it refused to withdraw previous written warnings over the non-compliance, meaning if the targets are not met the Commission can proceed with the previously threatened court action.
The Mayor has previously been criticised for his decision to delay implementation of the Low Emission Zone 3rd phase and to scrap the Congestion Charge Western Extension which critics claim are a vital tool in tackling air quality.