News from Caroline Russell: Mayor must help schools and charities beat air pollution
Air pollution is permanently damaging children’s lungs and shortening lives. Caroline Russell AM is asking the Mayor to provide a £15.75 million fund to protect children and vulnerable Londoners in an amendment to the Mayor’s 2019-20 budget.
Caroline’s proposed amendment:
- £15 million fund to help not-for-profit organisations upgrade old, polluting minibuses with replacement clean vehicles that meet the emissions standards of the Mayor’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). Many community transport operators do not have the financial resources to update their fleets in time.
- £750k fund to extend the Mayor’s air quality audits to 150 primary and secondary schools in areas with the highest concentration of nitrogen dioxide. To date, the Mayor has provided 50 schools with air quality audits.
Caroline Russell said:
“Many schools and charities use specially adapted minibuses to transport children, disabled and older people around London. However, they don’t have the funds to replace polluting vehicles with cleaner ones. As a result, they may face a hard choice between incurring penalties they can’t afford or stopping their services. This fund will mean that cash-strapped community and voluntary groups can keep providing these essential services in clean minibuses.
“All children should be able to trust the air they breathe. There are 150 primary and secondary schools suffering from illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide and particle pollution. Air quality audits will help them identify what actions are needed to cut pollution exposure that triggers asthma and stunts children’s lungs.”
The funding for these proposals will come from £750,000 of congestion charge revenue and £15 million from the Mayor’s Strategic Investment Fund.
Notes to editors
 Green Group Amendment January 2019:
 The Mayor's budget: https://www.london.gov.uk/about-us/governance-and-spending/spending-money-wisely/mayors-budget
 Vehicles registered with a ‘disabled’ or ‘disabled passenger vehicles’ tax class will be exempt from the ULEZ charges until October 2025 and a 100 per cent discount will be offered until October 2023 to charity minibuses. But community and faith groups who want to upgrade their minibuses and vans in the run up to a bigger ULEZ and Londoners would benefit from air pollution being cut sooner by more of these vehicles being replaced: https://www.london.gov.uk/decisions/md2305-changes-londonwide-low-emission-zone-expansion-ulez