A pollution trial led by Transport for London has been expanded. TfL say they have announced a package of measures to tackle pollution levels at the busiest roads in central London, but the Mayor, Boris Johnson has come under criticism for masking the problem instead of fixing it at its source.
TfL say the new targeted clean up measures could reduce local pollution levels of PM10 (a pollution measure) by 10-20% where applied. Kulveer Ranger, the Mayor’s Environment Director, said: “Pollution is a serious health issue and the Mayor is determined to reduce its impact.”
“A comprehensive package of clean-up measures including innovative technology, is now being targeted where most needed in central London. In addition, action is being taken to deliver a permanent legacy of cleaner air right across the Capital. This includes the first ever age limit for black cabs, tighter standards for the Low Emission Zone, cleaner buses, including the New Bus for London and an expanded bike hire scheme.”
However, campaigners have questioned TfL’s use of taxpayer’s money. Simon Birkett, Founder and Director of Clean Air in London, said: “The Mayor’s use of street planters, no doubt costing hundreds of pounds each, is another gross misuse of public funds which should have been spent instead on reducing the most harmful diesel emissions at their source as his own consultants told him to do nearly two years ago (e.g. by retrofitting buses or providing financial help to cabbies and van drivers to upgrade their vehicles).
TfL plan to launch a ‘No Engine Idling’ campaign to deter unnecessary engine running from all motor vehicles when stationary. They will use a small team of ‘eco-marshals’ who will monitor taxi ranks at busy central London mainline stations and other on street ranks where air quality is particularly poor.
Simon Birkett added the missed opportunity would reflect badly during the London Olympics: “The Mayor’s failure to act on pollution and preference for ‘greenwash’ is a scandal likely to embarrass London in front of the world in 2012.”