London Assembly calls for urgent action over NO2

Assembly backs motion calling for Mayor to develop emergency plans to bring nitrogen dioxide pollution in capital under control

The Mayor of London needs to develop plans for emergency measures to bring nitrogen dioxide pollution within legal limits in the capital, the London Assembly said today (June 5).

On May 1 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that the UK Government had failed in its legal duty to reduce the pollutant to within legal limits by 2010 (see story).

Defra has issued an air quality warning in London, forecasting high ozone levels

The London Assembly is calling for urgent measures to bring nitrogen dioxide levels under control

A motion backed by Assembly Members today (16 votes for and 6 against) noted the ruling and highlighted its previous calls for the Mayor’s Air Quality Strategy to be updated with faster and stronger action to reduce nitrogen dioxide in London.

The motion said he has failed to update his strategy and also notes a Defra report, entitled ‘Remote sensing of NO2 exhaust emissions from road vehicles’, which found that Euro vehicle emissions standards, on which his strategy is currently based, have not delivered expected reductions in the pollutant.

It therefore calls on him to urgently develop plans for emergency measures to bring nitrogen dioxide within legal limits in London.


Jenny Jones, the Green Party Assembly Member who proposed the motion, said: “Nitrogen dioxide may be invisible, but it has huge health hazards, particularly for the young and frail. Air pollution is widespread across London and it is extremely worrying that there are over 1,100 schools at risk because they are within 100m of busy roads.

“The Government and the Mayor have consistently pushed the issue backwards and forwards between themselves, but it is time for faster, stronger action.  The Mayor needs to stop fiddling around the edges and include real proposals that will protect Londoners.”

Murad Qureshi, Labour Assembly Member who seconded the motion, said: “Attempts to tackle air pollution so far have been woeful.  Air pollution is a silent killer, 20 times more deadly than road accidents and causing over 4,000 premature deaths each year.  It is time the Mayor stopped procrastinating and took some action on this very important issue.

”Only last month 70% of respondents to the Hounslow community consultation on an expanding Heathrow said that they are concerned about poor air quality and high levels of pollution around the second biggest hotspot for poor air quality, Heathrow airport. The Mayor is badly out of kilter with the public on this issue.”


The full text of the motion reads:

“The Assembly notes the recent ruling of the Supreme Court that the UK Government has failed in its legal duty to reduce nitrogen dioxide pollution to within legal limits by 2010.

“The Assembly recalls that in October 2011 it raised concerns that the Mayor’s Air Quality Strategy relies on government delivering specific measures and funding to enable legal limits for nitrogen dioxide to be met by 2015 at the latest.  The Assembly called on the Mayor to update his strategy to include faster and stronger action in London to ensure that the capital’s air meets legal standards for nitrogen dioxide.

“The Assembly notes that the Mayor has failed to include these actions in his strategy.

“The Assembly also notes the finding of a recent report commissioned by Defra, ‘Remote sensing of nitrogen dioxide exhaust emissions from road vehicles’. The report confirmed that the Euro vehicle emission standards and technologies, upon which the Mayor’s Air Quality Strategy is heavily reliant, have not delivered the expected reductions in nitrogen dioxide to fall within legal limits.

“This Assembly therefore calls on the Mayor of London to urgently develop plans for emergency measures to bring nitrogen dioxide pollution levels within legal limits.”


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