Opinion: Paul Blacklock, head of corporate affairs for gas-supplier Calor calls for support for LPG to help clean up London’s air pollution problem.
Opinion: Paul Blacklock, head of corporate affairs for gas-supplier Calor calls for support for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to help clean up London’s air pollution problem.
Only a few weeks into his new post and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has accused his predecessor, Boris Johnson of having turned the city into a “laughing stockâ€? on air pollution by being too slow to act on the issue.
An air quality report, ‘Analysing Air Pollution Exposure in London’, which was not published by Boris Johnson while he was mayor of London, demonstrated that 433 schools in the capital are located in areas that exceed EU limits for nitrogen dioxide pollution.
The new mayor has officially published this report and promises to expand the size of the former mayor’s planned Ultra Low Emission Zone to the north and south circular roads.
These actions are promising and show the mayor is fully committed to cleaning up our air and protecting Londoners’ health which is encouraging given that the legal level of Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) had already been breached within a week of the year beginning.
NO2 is a toxic gas produced by diesel vehicles that is linked to respiratory problems. Its levels are increasingly in focus after Volkswagen was found by US authorities to have cheated emissions lab tests.
With more than 9,000 people a year in the capital dying early from illegal levels of NO2 and air quality a fixed item on the agenda of the most recent World Health Organisation Assembly, we need to look seriously at the plans for cleaner transportation, public and private to clean up our air.
It’s all very well hearing about the new mayor’s plans for expanding clean air zones, introducing ‘T-charges’ and the GLA’s predictions of how our air quality will supposedly improve, but the expense of converting public transport, including our taxi fleets, to electric is not only extortionate but unsustainable.
The City of Birmingham has already taken the lead by converting 80 of the city’s diesel black cabs to run on cleaner LPG to help improve Birmingham’s air quality.
2018 will see our politicians, policy makers and the industry encouraging London’s black cabs to take advantage of TfL’s subsidy to convert to hybrid electric vehicles, especially with the 2020 deadline fast approaching. However, the majority of London cabbies will have to fund this conversion themselves. There is already an affordable immediate alternative for London cabbies as the infrastructure exists for diesel taxis to be converted to cleaner and cheaper LPG now. By supporting London taxi drivers who wish to make this change to LPG, the Mayor will see immediate results in improved air quality.
We need our capital’s new mayor to look beyond diesel and electric and support cabbies who wish to convert to LPG fuel so our capital and other cities’ taxi fleets and vehicles can continue running without damaging our nation’s health.