London Mayor writes to reassure of no threat, veiled or otherwise, to Kings Colleges funding after fallout over Oxford St air pollution
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, has now said that he is not disputing Kings College London (KCL) air quality data, which was cited by one of the universitys scientists in reference to high levels of air pollution on Oxford Street.
In July, KCLs Dr David Carslaw, was reported by the Sunday Times as stating that Oxford Street nitrogen dioxide levels were the highest in the world (see airqualitynews.com story), but Mr Johnson has previously refuted suggestions that the capital has some of the worst air pollution around the globe.
In July, shortly after publication of the Sunday Times interview, Mr Johnson wrote 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
And, the Mayors advisor Mathew Pencharz also wrote to KCL last month stating that he trusted in future that more rigour will be applied to public statements (see airqualitynews.com story).
Campaign group Clean Air in London then suggested KCLs funding from the Great London Authority could be in jeopardy as a result of the fallout, but, in a letter to the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) dated November 3, Mr Johnson said this was not the case and dismissed the baseless and unfounded accusations.
Mr Johnsons letter, published online by the EAC today (November 13), was written in response to the Committees chair Joan Walley MP who had sought reassurance from the Mayor that KCLs funding was not under threat.
In the letter, referencing the correspondence between his office and KCL, Mr Johnson wrote: As you can see, we are not disputing Kings College data but rather asking only that in future more rigour will be applied to public statements. It is worth noting that Kings College staff have told us that the way the original claim about Oxford Street was presented by the media was indeed erroneous but decided not to refute it publically.
Mr Johnson added that there was absolutely no threat, veiled or otherwise, to Kings Colleges funding and that GLA funding decisions are not influenced by Kings research nor the way in which it is presented; in fact we are dependent on the colleges work for our policy development, implementation and to measure their effects.
During a London Assembly meeting last week (November 6), KCL air quality scientist Dr Frank Kelly did speak publically about the fallout when he said the statement made by his colleague Dr Carslaw still stands but I think it was misinterpreted misreported by the press, adding that the dispute was a regrettable episode (see airqualitynews.com story).