Air Quality and the EU
Air pollution is an environmental challenge that has no respect for national boundaries. The only way this can be effectively tackled is through international co-operation. If we are to influence policies that drive pollution in neighbouring countries, pollution that can affect London, we must be at the table to have our voice heard. The alternative is suffering all the negative consequences with no power to prevent toxic air from neighbouring countries.
The EU Air Quality Directive is at the heart of the Commission’s work to tackle poor toxic air quality. It sets pollutant limits and the legal process if there is an infringement. London’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone and the LEZ are unlikely to have come about, without the pressure from the Commission.
Those in favour of a UK exit claim that the same policies could be enacted by the UK Government, but the evidence is that the Conservative Government would otherwise fail to tackle toxic air. They cannot be trusted.
The Conservative Government’s lack of commitment to green issues can be summed up by the reported comments of the Prime Minister, to “get rid of all the green crap”.
* They failed to present a credible plan to bring the UK in line with limit values. (as required by the UK Supreme Court)
* The last Mayor failed to deliver his promise of an “electric vehicle revolution”.
* Road tax changes which give no incentive to switch to low emission vehicles.
* The last Mayor played down smog incidents, even saying in 2014 “I’m urging people just to have a little balance here, I cycled this morning and it seemed perfectly fine to me”.
Boris Johnson’s hidden findings on air pollution and deprivation
Further strong evidence of the need for EU safeguards can be seen in the newspaper reports that the last Mayor concealed the negative findings of a report into air pollution in London.
The GLA commissioned a report from environmental consultancy Aether to look at inequalities in the impact of air pollution. The then Mayor published their findings selectively. The finding that the number of Londoners exposed to illegal air pollution was forecast to drop from one million in 2015 to around 300,000 in 2020 was widely publicised but the finding that deprived schools in London were disproportionately affected was not released.
Brexit would allow the Conservative Government an excuse to do nothing and condemn thousands of Londoners to die prematurely.