The mayors of London and Paris have stood shoulder-to-shoulder to call for European action on air pollution.
Sadiq Khan and Anne Hidalgo have set out their priorities for the National Emissions Ceiling Directive in a joint letter to Sharon Dijksma, president of the European Union’s Environment Council. The Directive will be debated in the European parliament in Brussels on Wednesday, 8 June.
Mr Khan and Ms Hidalgo want the Directive to include strict and binding targets on toxic emissions for 2020, 2025 and 2030; the inclusion of methane in these targets; a new and fit-for-purpose Euro 6 testing regime; and the inclusion of tougher agricultural emission targets.
In the letter, sent out today (1 June), they wrote: “Estimations by the European Commission suggest that weaker national emission ceilings would lead to 16,000 extra deaths in the EU every year. This is not acceptable and we require our governments to follow the bold lead taken by our cities in tackling this issue.”
MEP Seb Dance, Labour’s environment spokesperson welcomed the stance of Mr Khan and Ms Hidalgo.
He said: “The message from Europe’s two biggest cities is crystal clear. London and Paris have combined forces to set out ambitious proposals to tackle air pollution, and there is a real concern that these efforts could be fatally undermined by the inaction of member state governments at a European level.”
Commenting on the joint letter, Alan Andrews, lawyer at environmental law firm ClientEarth, said: “This letter highlights the gulf between national governments and the mayors’ approaches to coordinated and ambitious action on air pollution.
“Bold policies are needed at city level but even if the mayors of London and Paris put in place the best air pollution policies in the world, without action to match at the UK and EU level, people in these two great cities will still be choking on dangerous levels of air pollution for years to come.”