‘Exciting times’ in London pollution battle

“Exciting times” are ahead in the battle to tackle air pollution in London, city hall air quality manager Elliot Treharne has claimed.

The air quality manager was speaking at the annual London Air Quality Network (LAQN) hosted by King’s College London on 22 June.

Mr Treharne revealed Mayor of London Sadiq Khan believes he has a clear mandate to bring air pollution under control.

He also said proposals brought in under previous mayor Boris Johnson had helped to reduce emissions from the bus fleet by 74 per cent, cut NoX emissions by 15 per cent and other emissions by 50 per cent.

Mr Treharne said: “This is a magical time in tackling the issue of air quality – we have a lot planned going forward.

SADIQ KHAN

The conference heard that London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has a clear air quality mandate

“Sadiq has made it clear that this is one of his top issues. He wants to make it clear in Londoner’s mind that further action is being taken on this issue. He also wants residents to think about the type of vehicles they are using in the capital.

“The mayor is planning to use the congestion system to bring in a charge for the highest polluting vehicles on London’s roads. For example if you are a bus or coach you would pay £100 per day, while cars or vans would pay £12.50 per day. This is a real opportunity to alter people’s behaviour.”

The senior city hall official said Mr Khan wants London to be compliant with EU legal limits well before the government’s target of 2025.

Also during the conference delegates heard from Pete Edwards, of the University of York. He warned about the reliability of air pollution monitoring systems.

Mr Edwards said the systems are fine if being used as a tool to teach children about air pollution, but they can’t be considered as dependable monitors of EU legal limits.

He said: “Our research shows that these systems can be quite selective in their results. They are also very sensitive to other non-harmful particulars in their readings. There has not been enough significant peer-to-peer testing of the product.

“I’m fine with this technology being used to encourage awareness amongst the public about air pollution, or to teach children about the issue – but we have a problem if these monitors are compared to EU legal air pollution limits.”