Dec 08 2014

2 The Environmental Audit Committee Evidence that is NOT in the Report


Written evidence submitted by the Campaign for Air Pollution Public Inquiry



Thousands of people throughout the UK are dying from Air Pollution confirmed by a recent World Health Organisation report. The Government and Local Authorities have failed to implement effective Air Quality Strategies and the EU is taking action to fine the UK.

In May 2013 The Supreme Court has declared that the Government is failing in its legal duty to protect people from the harmful effects of air pollution.

In London improper and unlawful Air Quality transport policies have failed to reduce harmful emissions and these ineffective policies are replicated nationwide. Throughout the country many applications for Incinerators are not complying with proper process resulting in improper approval being given.

The Environmental Audit Committee itself filed a damning report in 2011 requesting that the Government and Local Authorities take urgent action. This request has been completely ignored. The only way that urgent effective action will take place is if it is fully understood why air quality strategies have failed. A Public Inquiry into the thousands of deaths caused by pollution each year throughout the UK for which the criteria are fully met, is the ONLY mechanism which will fully scrutinize the evidence as to why previous air quality strategies have failed allowing effective strategies to be implemented going forwards.

2/About CAPPI The Campaign for Air Pollution Public Inquiry was set up to expose the failed air quality strategies of the Government and Local Authorities. The Breathe Clean Air Group and the Stop the Incinerator Group are both partners of the campaign. The Green Party have formally backed the Campaign for Air Pollution Public Inquiry at a national level. (ref.1)


3/ Background

My personal background is mechanical and production engineering. I have previously designed and developed an emissions reduction system for London Taxis, which successfully significantly reduced the emissions of 2300 London taxis.

I am extremely conversant with the technical requirements for emissions reduction and during the course of 2012/13 provided technical information and explanations to Professor David Carslaw of the Environmental Research Group at Kings College who had conducted emissions testing of 100,000 vehicles in London. The tests had shown that newer Euro standards and technologies used to achieve those standards had not improved emissions in an urban environment and I provided information and explanations as to why.

4/Public Law

It is a requirement of Public Law that decisions made by a Public body are rational and evidence based, for proper purpose, proportionate and properly reasoned. (ref.2)These criteria exist to ensure that decisions result in effective policies and strategies.  It is extremely important to acknowledge that these criteria are not just an obligation they are legal requirements and the failure to comply with these requirements is the reason why air quality strategies have failed.

5/ Transport.

5.1 Transport is one of the biggest causes of Air Pollution, particularly in urban environments.

There are many simple and cost effective solutions to reduce pollution from transport which have been ignored.(see para. 8 below)

In London 4267 people a year die from pollution. Boris Johnson has been Mayor for 6 years in which time 25,602 people have died from pollution yet he has not implemented a single effective policy to reduce pollution. This is confirmed by Air Quality Measurements

5.2 The failed Air Quality strategies implemented by the Mayor of London are replicated by Local Authorities throughout the country, who falsely believe that because they have been implemented in London that they must be effective. In fact the Mayor of London’s strategies do not comply with Public Law; they are not evidence based, properly reasoned, rational or for proper purpose.

5.3 He tried to cheat air quality measurements by spraying dust suppressant at the air quality test measurement locations.

5.4 He has wasted millions of pounds of Public money on his vanity ‘New Bus for London’ or ‘Boris Bus’ project. If this money had been spent on existing available Hybrid buses there would have been a massive reduction in pollution.

5.5 The Mayor of London claims in his letter to the Committee dated May 8th 2014 that he has reduced pollution in London by ‘retiring 3000 of the oldest, most polluting taxis’.

In written evidence that the Mayor of London submitted to the Committee in 2011 he stated (ref.3)

‘’11. NO2 levels have not fallen in recent years as modelling had predicted. This is a problem across major cities in the UK and across the EU. Emerging evidence, including a report by King’s College London, suggests that this may be due to the failure of recent Euro standards to deliver expected reductions of NO2 [1] . A Euro 5 car, for example, emits around five times as much direct NO2 as a fifteen year old car.’’


In this report he acknowledges that he had seen a report from Kings College London (prior to 2011) and that a new Euro 5 car would emit around five times as much NO2 as a fifteen year old car.

The Mayor of London had previously stated the same in his Air Quality Strategy report of 2010 (ref 4)

He then implemented a taxi age limit needlessly scrapping the fifteen year old taxis, which he knew would not reduce pollution at all. In fact it has been proven to have failed by a Defra report in May 2013 following testing in London carried out by the Environmental Research Group at Kings College London who tested the emissions from tens of thousands of vehicles. (ref .5)

The results of this testing confirmed what the Mayor had said in his statement more than two years earlier and before he implemented the taxi age limit; that the newer taxis actually created MORE NO2 than the older taxis.

5.6 The Mayor was asked on many occasions in Mayors questions by London Assembly Members to conduct proper emissions testing BEFORE he needlessly scrapped taxis, to prove that this strategy would actually reduce pollution. It is a requirement of Public Law for decisions to be evidence based so it would be reasonable to conduct at least some basic testing of taxis.  The Mayor point blank refused to conduct any testing whatsoever, instead relying on the fact that the newer vehicles were Euro 5 and therefore would be cleaner, even though this completely contradicted his own written evidence that he had submitted to the Environmental Audit Committee in 2011.

5.7 This is a clear example that proper process has been ignored and that the Mayor of London’s Air Quality strategies have not complied with Public Law which is why they have failed. The other Air Quality strategies that he has implemented have also failed to meet the legal requirements in Public Law and have also failed because of this.

5.8  A further example of this is the claim in his letter that he has ‘created tighter low emissions zone standards’ The LEZ has failed to reduce pollution because the test and approval process for technologies used has not been robust and there has been no enforcement of requirementsany way. This was documented in evidence that I have previously submitted to the Committee.



Throughout the UK Local Authorities are approving Planning applications and in many cases those decisions do not comply with Public Law.

6.1 In Trafford the Local Authority refused an application on the grounds that it is an Air Quality Management Area and an Incinerator would increase pollution. This decision was overturned by the Secretary of State.

The purpose of an AQMA is for a Local Authority to take action to reduce pollution; how can it possibly be correct process for the Government to go against this?

6.2 In London the Mayor has given permission for an Incinerator in Sutton. This is also an Air Quality Management Area, mainly due to the Mayor of London’s failed Air Quality strategies.

How can it be correct process that he has now given permission for an Incinerator in an area which is already exceeding pollution limits?

6.3 The alternatives to incineration are cheaper, more flexible, and quicker to implement and better for the environment. Rather than incinerating waste, local authorities should focus on maximising recycling and providing a weekly separate food waste collection for treatment by composting or anaerobic digestion (AD).

The incineration of household waste


6.4 There has been clear guidance given by the Environmental Audit Committee for the Government to help Local Authorities reduce pollution. This has been ignored and instead the Governments policy is proactively supporting planning applications for Incinerators which will increase pollution in Air Quality Management Areas.

6.5 It seems that in the UK the Environment Agency has taken a position that Incinerators will not increase pollution. This goes against common sense and in the US the Environmental Protection Agency and also in Europe, the European Environment Agency have both taken a different position.

6.6 Planning decisions in relation to Incinerators should be stayed by the Government pending full and proper investigation of the evidence in the format of a Public Inquiry.

7/ Public Inquiry

It seems that the Government has taken no notice of its own Environmental Audit Committee, The Supreme Court and the European Union. The ONLY reasonable solution is for the failures to be properly investigated in the format of a Public Inquiry

In 2012 ALL of the London Mayoral candidates formally supported a call for a Public Inquiry to investigate the failure to stop the thousands of deaths each year from pollution in London.

Certain characteristics can be identified in those public inquiries that have taken place:

  •                Widespread loss of life
  •                Threats to public health or safety
  •                Failure by the state in its duty to protect
  •                Failure in regulation
  •                Shocking events
  1.            Allegations of serious misconduct and prima facie merit have been made against those acting, or purporting to act, on behalf of the state and
  2.            Those allegations are sufficiently widespread and are being treated sufficiently seriously by those outside Government to undermine the public’s confidence in the integrity of the State and in the rule of law and
  3.            The allegations relate to a sufficiently defined event or series of events to allow an inquiry to be given proper and clear terms of reference and

An inquiry would represent the most effective means of establishing the merit of the allegations made and so of restoring public confidence.

It is the best possible way of establishing why previous air quality strategies have failed so that these mistakes are not repeated and proper effective urgent action is taken to reduce pollution and prevent thousands of deaths each year.

8/ Solutions.

In relation to transport there are many simple and effective solutions which have been suggested and ignored.

In London one of the biggest causes of pollution is from diesel vehicles.

8.1 A regulated engine cleanup programme could significantly reduce emissions of all diesel vehicles (including new vehicles).

8.2 Cleaner fuel could be used to reduce emissions for all diesel vehicles . In Sweden a ‘ Grade 1’ diesel is used which reduces PM (Particulate Matter) by 30% and Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) by 10%.(ref 6+7) This is a simple and effective solution which would have a significant and immediate effect and yet has been ignored.

8.3 HGV vehicles are among the most polluting and these vehicles cause the most pollution when they are ‘stop starting ‘ in traffic.(A vehicle causes most pollution when the engine is under load i.e. you see smoke for the back of a truck or bus when it pulls away from a stationary position and not when it is driving along)

A simple solution would be to implement a peak time delivery ban on HGV vehicles. This does not necessarily mean they have to deliver at 4 am, it just means that they are restricted from delivering at peak times i.e. between 7am and 9 am and 5pm and 7pm. This would result in a significant reduction in pollution for the most polluting vehicles but would also improve safety for cyclists. It would also allow the remaining traffic to flow more freely and reduce the pollution from these vehicles as well. This has been ignored by the Mayor since it was proposed more than 3 years ago.
8.4 Effective Traffic management in cities is a simple and cost effective way of reducing emissions. In London in particular many restrictions are ignored; a single van or truck improperly stopped can cause massive disruption to traffic flow. Again vehicles create pollution when stop starting and this can be avoided if effective traffic management in implemented.

8.5 Pedestrian foot bridges could minimize the use of pedestrian crossings and significantly improve traffic flow.

8.6 Many cities have implemented Park and Ride schemes, however in London this has not happened. Car Parks near the M25 with fast train connections or shuttles to central London could significantly reduce the number of vehicles in Central London.

8.7 There has been very limited improvement in cycling infrastructure . It should made easier for cyclists to cycle to their local station, take their bike on train, cycle to their destination on a safe cycle route and then store their bike securely when they arrive there. There are many disused railway tracks and tunnels in London which could be easily used as cycle routes.



We would urge the Environmental Audit Committee to support the Campaign for Air Pollution Public Inquiry and initiate the process for this to happen.

This is the only way that the Government will be forced to take the urgent action that is required to prevent the continued thousands of deaths each year from pollution in the UK.


Ref 1-Green Party Press Release



Ref 2 –Legal Requirements of Decisions by a Public Body



Ref 3-The Mayor of London’s written evidence to the EAC in 2011


11. NO2 levels have not fallen in recent years as modeling had predicted. This is a problem across major cities in the UK and across the EU. Emerging evidence, including a report by King’s College London, suggests that this may be due to the failure of recent Euro standards to deliver expected reductions of NO2 [1] . A Euro 5 car, for example, emits around five times as much direct NO2 as a fifteen year old car.


Ref 4-The Mayor of London’s Air Quality Strategy 2010.



Improving the emissions from all vehicles through new technologies

3.6.14. Euro air quality standards play an important role in driving improved performance on emissions. They were developed to ensure that natural fleet replacement results in significant reductions in pollutant emissions. They are also used by policymakers to specify requirements within different policies and schemes. Their ongoing development is therefore vital, with a focus on ensuring they are as effective as possible in delivering the benefits in reduced emissions that they have been designed to achieve, particularly when combined with abatement technologies.

3.6.15. Research into the application of Euro standards has highlighted that the higher standards do not deliver the expected improvements in emissions of NOx, especially for diesel cars and LGVs. Over the past few years, the amount of NO2 emitted directly by these vehicles has increased and overall NOx emissions (which include NO2) have tended to stabilise (rather than reduce), whilst improvements have been seen in HGVs and buses, more so since the introduction of the Euro IV standards for these vehicle types.

3.6.17. The Mayor will encourage the Government and the European Commission to ensure that future Euro standards deliver improvements in emissions in order to improve air quality in London. The Mayor will all also seek to make the case for improvements to the testing and enforcement processes for Euro standards; for example, the vehicle approval processes and testing standards could better reflect the actual on-urban road emissions of vehicles, as opposed to those derived from the figures obtained in laboratory conditions or based on drive cycles that are not representative of urban driving conditions.

Ref 5-Report from the Environmental Research Group, Kings College 2013



Ref 6 Testing by Swedish Transport Authority showing significant reduction in emissions by using cleaner diesel


Ref 7 –City Diesel


City Diesel City diesel is petroleum based lower emission diesel developed in Sweden but now available in many European Countries including the UK. Exhaust emissions from vehicles fuelled with city diesel compare favourably with exhaust emissions from equivalent vehicles fuelled with conventional diesel. The main benefit of city diesel is that its combustion reduces particulate emissions by 34 – 84% depending on engine type, duty cycle, test basis and type of particulate measured. An additional benefit of city diesel is that it is a low sulphur fuel, which is necessary for the optimum running of oxidation catalytic converters

26 May 2014