Questions to the Mayor on his Final Draft Consolidated Budget (Supplementary) [7]

Session date: 
February 23, 2015
Question By: 
Jenny Jones
City Hall Greens
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Jenny Jones AM:  Mr Mayor, you suggested last week that children could be bussed from Norfolk to breathe our alpine air, but that does not quite fit with the illegal levels of air pollution that surround many of our schools caused primarily by TfL’s dirty buses.  You promised some time ago that by 2012 you would have budgeted to have clean buses for London, hybrid or better.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  We have.


Jenny Jones AM:  You have not.  Where is it in your budget that says you are going to have clean buses so that our air is not going to be polluted


Answer for Questions to the Mayor on his Final Draft Consolidated Budget (Supplementary) [7]

Answer for Questions to the Mayor on his Final Draft Consolidated Budget (Supplementary) [7]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Two things.  First of all, there was a recent bad air day across the whole of the United Kingdom (UK) and it was certainly true that the air quality in Norfolk was worse than it was in London.  That is absolutely true.  That is point one.


Point two: we have a budget here that will continue to deliver the cleanest, greenest new bus in the world, will continue to enable us to invest in hybrid buses for London and will continue therefore to reduce nitrogen dioxide (NO2) plus the particulate matter less than 10 microns in diameter (PM10s) and particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter (PM2.5s) that is most pernicious in our area.  We have seen substantial improvements in air quality not just in theoretical emissions calculations but also in the measurements that have been taken at key sites.  The most recent one was either Euston or Marylebone Road.  I cannot remember where it was but it was significantly down, to such an extent that it caused consternation in the clean-air lobby because they thought that their fox was in danger of being shot.


Jenny Jones AM:  Mr Mayor, you know as well as I do that you have fiddled the figures consistently throughout your term of office on air pollution.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Absolutely untrue.


Jenny Jones AM:  You have done everything you could to lower air pollution by technical measures instead of actually doing the right thing, which is to clean up TfL.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Absolutely untrue.  You should withdraw that.  You should withdraw that, Jenny.  It is complete nonsense.


Jenny Jones AM:  I would like you to withdraw that comment about Norfolk children.  It was very flippant about the problem of air pollution in London.  You were very flippant.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  It was not remotely flippant.  It happens to be true.  It is very important that people should be educated on the reality of air quality rather than listening to endless scaremongering and nonsense from the Greens.  Air quality is affected by a variety of causes and it can be that bad air moving across from the continent can cause worse pollution in places like ‑‑


Jenny Jones AM:  Mr Mayor, you talk rubbish.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  It is absolutely true.


Jenny Jones AM:  You sit here and talk rubbish to us.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  No, you talk rubbish.  I recycle rubbish.  I dispose of rubbish.  You talk it.  We get rid of it.  We use it to create clean, green, renewable energy.  That is what we do with rubbish!


Jenny Jones AM:  Where in your budget, as you promised for 2012, does it say that all buses are going to be clean in London?  They are not.  You have dirty buses rattling around London, which are actually causing huge problems with pollution around schools for our children.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I do not want to be unnecessarily adversarial, Jenny, but, as you know, by 2020 we are bringing in the Ultra Low Emission Zone, which will mean that no bus will be able to go into ‑‑


Jenny Jones AM:  You will not be here.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Certainly, in one form or another, I will be here.  Like Gandalf, I will be translated into some new form, more powerful than you can possibly imagine.  I will be here and we will make sure that under the Ultra Low Emission Zone there will be no bus that goes through the centre of our town that is not a hybrid and does not have very low emissions.  That will be fantastic.


Jenny Jones AM:  I am talking about your promises about the current fleet.  You have broken your promises.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Nonsense.  It is part of a continuous programme.  You call them using ‘technical fixes’.  I do not think it is a technical fix to have the cleanest, greenest buses in Europe.


Jenny Jones AM:  Glue on the roads?  Glue?


Roger Evans AM (Chairman):  The Green Group is out of time.


Jenny Jones AM:  Thank you.