Air Clean Up
European Commission Blasts Inadequate London Air Pollution Plans
Mar 26 2010
The Government and the Mayor of London face renewed pressure to tackle London’s air pollution problems after the European Commission rejected an application for more time to meet minimum standards for dangerous airborne particles.
Particles (PM10)1 are one of the most harmful air pollutants for human health, and maximum limits2 for the amount of PM10 in the air have been set by the European Union. The deadline for meeting the standards fell in 2005, however levels of PM10 in many parts of London have remained well above the required level. Earlier this year, the UK Government applied for a time extension3 for meeting the standards across London, an application rejected today due to the poor quality of the accompanying action plan for driving down levels of PM10.
Environmental Protection UK warmly welcomes the Commission’s decision4 . The Government’s plans for reducing PM10 levels amounted to little more than waiting for cleaner vehicles to feed into the UK vehicle fleet. The Mayor of London has also shown little willingness to get to grips with the problem, as demonstrated by his proposed delay to the third phase of the London Low Emission Zone5.
The rejection means the UK Government and the Mayor will have to come up with a more convincing plan for tackling the PM10 problem, or face legal action and potentially heavy fines in the European Courts.
"The European Commission’s decision is a victory for the health of millions of Londoners", said Phillip Mulligan, Chief Executive of Environmental Protection UK.
"The Government gambled that the Commission would accept an essentially ’do nothing’ plan – they have lost this gamble and will now have to come up with a concrete strategy for getting to grips with London’s air pollution problems"
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