Right to breathe clean air cannot be ignored for another minute

Reacting to new figures today from the Mayor of London, showing that the estimate of number of early deaths in London from air pollution is more than doubled when nitrogen dioxide (the main pollutant from diesel engines) is included, Sian Berry, a councillor in Camden who is standing to be the Green candidate for Mayor of London said:

“This report shows a total of 9,500 people in London suffer deadly effects from pollution every year, and brings the public health emergency of air pollution into stark relief. Much more investment in reducing traffic, helping people walk, cycle and use public transport, and preventing high emission vehicles from entering our city, will be life saving and is essential.

“For eight years, London has had a Mayor without a vision for how great a city with less traffic and pollution can be for everyone. While Boris Johnson has wasted time on ‘smoothing traffic flow’, eye-catching but not very low emission buses, and sticking pollution to the roads with glue, we could have done so much more and saved many lives. If our next Mayor is a Green, the right to breathe clean air will not be ignored for another minute.”

“In Camden, a Green-led citizen science project showed illegal levels of NO2 emissions in Highgate, the ward I represent, which is several miles from central London and not somewhere people usually associate with air pollution.

“If it’s happening in Highgate, it’s probably happening in most of London, which means we need urgent action from the Mayor now. A first step would be implementing the ultra low emission zone earlier, covering all inner London Boroughs such as Camden, and with steps to help diesel car drivers find alternative ways to travel.”

Watch Sian talking about the citizen science project in Highgate and how it could help in your area:

Findings released today by the Mayor of London and Kings College London include nitrogen dioxide pollution, which can affect lung disease, asthma, lung development and heart conditions. Previous estimates of 4,300 early deaths in the city had only included the effects of particulate matter, another pollutant with sources including diesel engines and construction.

More on the health effects of air pollution from the Healthy Air Campaign.