Air pollution fines (2) (Supplementary) [1]

Session date: 
March 23, 2011
Question By: 
Mike Tuffrey
Organisation: 
Liberal Democrats
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

I mean we can argue about which version of the Strategy the Commission had, but what is absolutely clear is that the only way to avoid the EU fines and breach the health limits is for you to have short term emergency measures on these hotspots, and that is a crackers way of running a strategy. What you should be doing is getting the base load down so that when there are hotspots you do not go over the limits. Closing road and spraying things and closing construction sites, which is what the Commission is saying you may have to do is surely the wrong way to go about it. What you should be doing, would you not agree, is to clean up the central area with a clean air zone which is what I have been urging on you, and doing things like the age limits on taxis; bringing those in earlier for the central area where the problem is worse. Cleaning up the buses, where there is a plan, bringing that in sooner for the central area so that we do not have to rely on these emergency measures and Londoners can breathe clean air every day of the year.

Supplementary To: 

Answer

Answer for Air pollution fines (2) (Supplementary) [1]

Answer for Air pollution fines (2) (Supplementary) [1]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Yes, I mean I understand that and it is an interesting idea. The difficulty is that if you brought in radically lower age limits for taxis you would really be penalising thousands and thousands of hardworking people in this city who are one of the backbones of our transport industry

Mike Tuffrey (AM): I understand that.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): If that really is your policy I think it is a mistake.

Mike Tuffrey (AM): I am talking about bringing it in for the central area quicker because Londoners are breathing unhealthy air.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Secondly, I think that you are underestimating the impact of the reforms and the progress that we are making. When you look at what we are doing with dust suppressants, when you look at what we are doing with walking, cycling and bringing in low carbon vehicles of all kinds, I think it is not just we who think it is a good way forward the evidence from the Commission's decision to lift the imposition of the fine is that in Brussels they also understand that we are going in the right direction.

Can I just make a serious point about how we have had to tackle this. Unfortunately, we in London cannot negotiate directly with Brussels.

Mike Tuffrey (AM): Sure. No, I understand that and this is a point you have made before. All I am saying, Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): What we are paying for is the inertia of the Labour Government in dealing with this problem and also the failure to negotiate properly.

Mike Tuffrey (AM): I agree.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Can I just complete the point. There are cities in continental Europe that have exemptions that were never even asked for by the central Government in this country.

Mike Tuffrey (AM): Thank you Chair. The point I made is we need to act.