Apr 06 2014

London mayoral hopefuls call for inquiry into Boris Johnson’s ‘delayed’ pollution plans

London mayoral hopefuls call for inquiry into Boris Johnson’s ‘delayed’ pollution plans

Ken Livingstone joins calls for a public inquiry into London’s failure to meet air quality targets

By Jessica Shankleman

01 May 2012

Labour’s Ken Livingstone has joined fellow mayoral hopefuls in calling for a public inquiry into London’s illegal air pollution levels, just days ahead of the 3 May elections. Green Party candidate Jenny Jones and independent hopeful Siobhan Benita last week added their voices to calls from a group known as Cabbies Against Boris for an independent investigation into the mayor’s Air Quality Strategy.

The group has argued that the mayor’s actions failed to bring the capital into line with EU air quality standards, which could result in hefty fines from Brussels.

Today Ken Livingstone joined those calls, accusing the current mayor and Tory rival Boris Johnsonof delaying action to reduce pollution from transport. “Jenny Jones is absolutely right to call for an inquiry into air pollution,” he said. “Traffic fumes are the biggest cause of premature death in London after smoking, and yet the Tory mayor has delayed action on cutting pollution from vans and cynically wasted money trying to fix the results at monitoring stations by gluing dust to the roads. The thousands of children growing up with asthma need a mayor who takes air pollution seriously.”

Johnson has faced constant criticism from green businesses and campaigners over his environmental record, and last month London’s 34 MPs wrote to the government accusing him of trying to artificially hide London’s illegal levels of air pollution by painting pollution suppressants on roads near official air quality monitoring stations.

A spokesman for Liberal Democrat candidate Brian Paddick said the party would support any campaign that “exposes… the awful record of this mayor and Transport for London in tackling the issue of dealing with the poor quality of air in London”.

However, he stopped short of calling for a public inquiry on the grounds that the process could delay any action being taken to curb pollution.

“Liberal Democrat members of the London Assembly have repeatedly, over the last four years, put forward suggestions to the mayor and TfL, urging action to be taken. A mayor can, and must, take action now,” he said.

A spokesman for Boris’ campaign failed to respond to questions fromBusinessGreen about the call for an inquiry at the time of going to press.