Mayor’s view on Oxford St air pollution ‘has not changed’

London Mayor’s advisor disputes newspaper report suggesting Boris Johnson now accepts street has some of world’s worst air pollution

Boris Johnson’s view on Oxford Street’s air pollution “has not changed” and he has “never disputed” King’s College London (KCL) data, according to the Mayor’s energy and environment advisor Matthew Pencharz.

In a letter published in the Guardian yesterday (November 20) disputing claims in a previous report by the newspaper, Mr Pencharz wrote that “the claim that Oxford Street is the most polluted street in the world was erroneous and the Mayor does not accept it”.

Oxford Street in London has some of the highest levels of nitrogen dioxide in the UK

Oxford Street in London has some of the highest levels of nitrogen dioxide in the UK

Mr Pencharz’s letter followed a report last week by the Guardian which claimed that Mr Johnson had made “a u-turn” and had been “forced to accept that London’s Oxford Street has some of the worst air pollution in the world”.

The dispute relates to a report by the Sunday Times in July, which quoted KCL’s Dr David Carslaw as stating that Oxford Street nitrogen dioxide levels were the “highest in the world” (see story), but Mr Johnson has previously refuted suggestions that the capital has some of the worst air pollution around the globe.

Following the Sunday Times article, Mr Johnson said on Twitter: “B*ll*cks: ludicrous urban myth. London air qual [sic] better than Paris and many other Euro cities- and go to Beijing or Mexico city…”


However, in a letter last week (November 13) to the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) — which is currently conducting an inquiry into air pollution — Mr Johnson said he was “not disputing” KCL data and that “absolutely no threat” had been made to KCL funding (see story).

And, writing yesterday disputing the Guardian’ report on the issue, Mr Pencharz wrote that Mr Johnson “has always been clear that this data was taken out of context and misrepresented by repeatedly by the media”.

Mr Pencharz continued: “King’s College agrees that its data was misrepresented and reiterated this point to the London Assembly’s environment committee just last week”.

The Mayor’s advisor went on to state that London has “considerably lower levels of pollution than many world cities, as any reasonable analysis of international air quality shows” adding that Mr Johnson is “driving the most comprehensive and ambitious set of measures in the world to improve air quality”.


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