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London Mayor backs down on inquiry appearance

After previous refusals, Boris Johnson relents and agrees to appear before parliamentary committee to give air evidence on air quality

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has backed down after previous refusals and agreed to attend a parliamentary inquiry into air pollution in the UK.

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) launched an inquiry and issued a call for evidence on the health impacts of air pollution last month (May 2), had specifically writing to Mr Johnson seeking his oral contribution to the inquiry on tackling air quality in London – a request turned down by the Mayor (see airqualitynews.com story).

Mayor of London Boris Johnson at the 'New Taxis for London' event earlier this year (January 16)

Mayor of London Boris Johnson at the ‘New Taxis for London’ event earlier this year (January 16)

However, in a letter sent to chair of the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC), Joan Walley, last week (May 29), Mr Johnson maintained that he could not attend the inquiry in June or July due to “significant diary pressures”, but said that he would be happy to attend alongside his environment advisor in September.

The Mayor wrote to the Committee: “I am grateful that you are willing to be flexible on the timings of your inquiry. As I said previously, I am afraid that I am unable to attend in June or July, due to significant diary pressures. However, I would be happy to give evidence alongside my Senior Advisor for Environment and Energy, Matthew Pencharz, when parliament returns in September.”

And, Mr Johnson also asked whether the Committee would be inviting testimony from Defra ministers, EU Commission representatives and the Local Government Association as part of the evidence gathering process, which he said would be “vital” to gain greater understanding of the issue.

Elsewhere in the letter, Mr Johnson also said that he would be jointly hosting an air quality event with the Lord Mayor of London, Fiona Woolf, at Mansion House in July.

Mr Johnson wrote: “This will be a showcase of all the work currently underway in London to improve air quality. I believe it would be highly relevant to your inquiry and I will be writing to every member of the Committee inviting them to attend.”

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