Scientists tell Prime Minister: Distance yourself from ‘merchants of doubt’,

36 leading air pollution scientists from across the UK have signed a letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak warning him that political dialogue is becoming worryingly close to science denial. 

The letter does not reference opposition to zero and low emission zones but it does refer to ‘mainstream politicians attending rallies run by conspiracy theorists’.

photo of black metal framed glass street post near gray concrete building during daytime

The first signatory on the letter is Prof Frank Kelly from Imperial College London while others represent, inter alia, the Universities of Swansea, Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham, Edinburgh, Southampton, York and Leeds. Signatories from Dusseldorf, Cork and Barcelona bring a continental flourish to the letter.

The letter begins by referencing the world class research into air quality that is undertaken in the UK, listing many discoveries  attributable to them. 

It continues, ‘As to what politicians do with these factual truths is up to them. However, recently the facts have been questioned and scientists have been discredited in an attack on the very essence of our scientific community.

‘Mainstream politicians have been attending rallies run by conspiracy theorists. They have been loudly repeating their dismissal of our science on social media accounts and broadcast interviews. They have spoken of not believing the science in the London Assembly and in Parliament.

‘A collapse in the trust of the scientific process would be a disaster. We urge you to disassociate from the merchants of doubt and, in no uncertain terms, to tell your party colleagues to not endorse them or emulate their pervasive claims that sow cynicism and undermine the factual and truth foundations of life.

‘we ask you and you colleagues to value science and understand the incredible advantages it bestows upon modern society.

Neil Garratt, leader of the City Hall Conservatives, said: ‘The Ulez expansion would produce only a small change in air quality according to the Mayor’s own independent analysis, which we must balance against the severe financial impact for those hit by the mayor’s charge. It is irresponsible for anyone to conflate opposition to the Ulez expansion with science denial.’



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