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Air pollution still too high say Greens

PUBLISHED: 16:50 04 November 2009 | UPDATED: 17:18 25 August 2010

LIVES are being put at risk by high air pollution levels which exceed European laws, according to the Green Party. London Assembly Member Darren Johnson, has criticised London Mayor Boris Johnson for not doing enough to meet the European Commission s ta

LIVES are being put at risk by high air pollution levels which exceed European laws, according to the Green Party.

London Assembly Member Darren Johnson, has criticised London Mayor Boris Johnson for not doing enough to meet the European Commission's targets.

During the last 12 months, he said levels of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) at Bromley's town centre monitoring site were over the maximum recommended level and a second site in Biggin Hill exceeded the regulated limits for ozone.

Levels of NO2 in Thames Road North in Bexley were also over the maximum recommended concentration level.

A site in Erith recorded 40 days on which levels of particulate matter, which can lead to asthma, lung cancer, cardiovascular issues, and even premature death exceeded a safe amount.

Mr Johnson said: "The London Mayor's Air Quality Strategy released on October 14 seems unlikely to reduce emissions by enough to meet the European Commission's targets.

"The Mayor has reinstated tough measures to tackle polluting vans that he previously suspended but he has postponed action until 2012.

"The delay in implementing such measures means that residents of Bromley and Bexley will continue to be at risk for years to come.

"He has also said that special measures may be needed in the future on days when pollution gets really bad. This means diversions and road closures in the future could be the price we pay for delays and inaction in the present."

During the period October 1, 2008 to September 30, 2009, the site in Bromley town centre breached NO2 levels by recording an annual mean of 46ug/m3 but the maximum limit is 40ug/m3.

At Biggin Hill there were 14 days where ozone presence exceeded the safe level which EU laws limit to 10 days a year.

Thames Road North exceeded limits by recording an annual mean level of NO2 of 43ug/m3 which was supposed to be no higher than 40ug/m3, while Erith's daily mean exceeded 50ug/m3 for 40 days but the EU states that should not happen for more than 35 days.

It is estimated that around 3,000 Londoners die every year from respiratory problems caused or exacerbated by high pollution levels.

A spokesperson for the Mayor said: "Darren Johnson is wrong to deduce that the special measures proposed in the Mayor's strategy for days when pollution is really bad are needed because of a lack of action by the Mayor.

"There will be days when additional measures may be needed in some parts of the capital to alleviate build ups of fumes.

"The Mayor's air quality strategy is currently in a draft form for comment from members of the London Assembly with a revised draft published for consultation with Londoners early in 2010."

For more information see www.londonair.org.uk.

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