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Assembly member calls on Londoners to speak out on air quality

Green Party member of the London Assembly, Caroline Russell, has urged Londoners to respond to the Mayor’s consultation on air quality following a number of high pollution episodes.

Caroline Russell, Green Party member of the London Assembly, has called for responses to the Mayor’s consultation on air quality

As air pollution warnings hit ‘high’ for the second consecutive day last week (see AirQualityNews.com story), Caroline Russell urged Londoners to make their voice heard on how to improve London’s air in the Mayor of London’s consultation.

The consultation, which was launched in October, called for views on the introduction of an emissions surcharge to cut pollution in the central congestion charging area, where the boundary of the new Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) should be and when it should come into effect (see AirQualityNews.com story).

Mrs Russell has written to the Mayor, Sadiq Khan, about his latest consultation on air quality and has urged all Londoners to respond and have their say in shaping the future of the city to give the Mayor “the strongest mandate to take tough action.”

She said: “It is vital that all Londoners concerned about the air they and their families breathe have the chance to be heard in this consultation.

“I am glad that the Mayor is consulting with Londoners to make plans to clean up our air and hope as many people as possible respond to give the Mayor the strongest mandate to take tough action on the most polluting vehicles.”

In her response, Mrs Russel called on Sadiq Khan to make the ULEZ cover the whole of London, “so everyone can breathe clean air not just those communities living inside the north and south circular.”

Emissions Surcharge

However, Mrs Russell questioned the effectiveness of the Emissions Surcharge compared to a system of road charging. She said: “I’m surprised the Mayor has not included any road pricing in the consultation options. The Emissions Surcharge is a very blunt instrument, once paid, it has no built in-incentive to reduce vehicle use. In fact quite the opposite. People may want to get value for having paid the surcharge by driving as much as possible.

Sadiq Khan, at the Air Quality Plan consultation launch today (5 July)

Sadiq Khan launched the second phase of his air quality consultation in October

“A nuanced road pricing system which varies by time of day, distance travelled and the level of engine emissions would reduce pollution and traffic and address fairness issues much better, so I would encourage Londoners to ask for a road pricing option when completing the consultation.

“The main source of this health damaging pollution is the emissions from the tail pipes of vehicles on our roads. The more we can do to encourage Londoners to walk and cycle by making streets more pleasant and reducing polluting journeys, the better the overall health of our city will be.”

While she emphasised the need for a road charging system, Mrs Russell added that “as the current ULEZ and Emissions Charge proposals are the only option on the table, I give them my full support, in order to get started on cleaning up London’s air.”

She concluded: “I urge everyone to respond to the consultation to speak up for cleaner air in their area.”

The consultation closes on 18 December 2016. A further final consultation will take place in early 2017, which will take into account the views from this consultation and propose statutory changes to the ULEZ.

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