While in office Boris Johnson should have better publicised these facts to city residents and expedited more extreme measures in pollution reduction. Congestion charging is only a partial success, a few eco buses running at 11.6 mpg are of little help and the cycling scheme inside the pollution zone actually promotes the premature death of each cyclist.
A few important facts:
- 29000 people die each year from poor air quality in the UK of which 4267 are in London.
- Life expectancy of those living in affected areas is reduced by an average of 11+ years.
- The biggest threat to your health is something you can't see or smell - Particulate Matter (PM)
- PM penetrates deep into respiratory tissue and your blood stream for long term damage.
- Asthma, heart attacks, strokes and various ailments can be caused by air pollution.
- Diesel vehicles produce significantly more pollution than petrol. 46% of cars are now diesel.
- The government promoted diesel use through misguided taxation and regulations since 2001.
- Road traffic causes up to 70% of air pollution.
- Children have 20% less lung capacity if they grow up in in air pollution zones.
- 30% of all new asthma cases are caused by living or working near busy roads.
- Mass installation of speed bumps in suburbs has caused a significant increase in pollution.
- A recent test showed a typical 10 mile journey in SE London can contain 100 speed bumps.
- Air pollution costs the UK up to £20 billion in health and environmental impacts.
- Walking, jogging, running or cycling in London increases your exposure significantly.
- Drivers are actually exposed to more pollution than cyclists in a recent study.
- Face masks do little to protect you from this pollution.
- Pollution readings can be manipulated by location of sensors, sampling rates and using pollution glue.
- The government is down playing the severity of the situation by comparing effort levels to other cities.
- Areas outside of central London appear to be as polluted as the inner city roads.
- The UK continues to fail EU pollution standards and will pass the cost of these fines on to you.
- Air pollution is the biggest cause of early death after smoking.
Although the government is taking this seriously and has done much to reduce certain levels, the problem lies in the fact that they need to do more sooner rather than later.
"TfL rules, existing black cabs don't require particulate filters and will only be taken off the road after 15 years." - A good example of too little too late.
Reduction of speed bumps that cause constant acceleration and breaking over short distances would offer some immediate benefit. Replacing them with alternate speed controls would help reduce the PM levels for those who live near these busy roads.
Boris Johnson sniggers when action groups try to get their pollution plights heard as seen in a recent TV debate. He appears to have no time for the people who are trying to do something to help.
"It is a national scandal that thousands of people are still dying from air pollution in the UK in 2011 - and the government is taking no responsibility for this," said committee chair Joan Walley MP.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said, "We are investing significant sums of money to facilitate further reductions in pollution around transport, including over £1bn to promote the uptake of ultra low emission vehicle technologies and to support local transport authorities to deliver sustainable transport measures."
If they took the £1 billion and offered a £15000 incentive on zero emission vehicles there would be 66000 less polluting vehicles on local roads.
Boris Johnson promised all new buses would be hybrid by 2012 but there are only 3.5% on the streets this year. Only 52 of 800 coming into service this year would be hybrid. He wasted £9.5 million on a single new bus that could have replaced 96 regular buses with hybrid technology.
As a final note - I find it completely unfair that only the top 4 mayoral candidates get exclusive TV air time forcing the next generation of better leaders to be hidden by the press. What kind of democracy is this?
Vote for Brian Paddick or Siobhan Benita and offer London a real chance at a better future.
3: London Air
|PM Air Pollution in London - March 2012 (1=Low, 10=High)|