London faces £300m fine after pollution triggers smog alert

by ClickGreen staff. Published Thu 21 Apr 2011 20:22
London facing huge fine for breaking air quality rules
London facing huge fine for breaking air quality rules

London today moved one step closer to a £300 million fine as it exceeded the number of “bad air days” legally allowed in a year in just four months.

According to the environment department, the high pressure system that has brought the current hot and sunny conditions to the UK is also likely to trigger a “high pollution episode” this Easter weekend.

And with 16 months to go before hosting the Olympic Games, the Government today advised Londoners to avoid exercising outdoors in the afternoon to avoid high pollution.

Elevated levels of PM10 and ozone reaching high or moderate are expected from now until at least Sunday. The forecast is therefore for high pollution for PM10 and ozone across England and Wales, and low for other pollutants over the weekend.

Some people are more sensitive to ozone than others and may begin to notice an effect on their breathing. People with asthma are not necessarily more sensitive but, if affected, can use their ‘reliever’ inhaler.

The public are urged to take sensible precautions such as avoiding making unnecessary short car journeys wherever possible can reduce the formation of ozone.

The capital's Marylebone Road air pollution monitoring station this morning reported 36 breaches of legal air quality limits. The maximum number of breaches permitted for each monitoring station for the full year is 35.

Just last month the European Commission in Brussels gave the UK a temporary reprieve until 11 June this year to give the Mayor of London time bring down levels of the dangerous PM10 pollutants to a safe standard.

Today’s breach could prompt the Commission to instigate legal proceedings in the European Court of Justice, fast tracking the UK to stage three of a six-stage process leading to the fine. And under the government’s Localism Bill, the £300 million fine would be passed to London taxpayers.

Labour London Assembly Member Murad Qureshi said: "London’s air quality is responsible for over 4,000 premature deaths each year. We were given a temporary reprieve by the EU but Boris has done little to comply and avoid this fine which Londoners simply cannot afford.

“The Mayor’s tactic has been to blame European air blowing over to the UK, but what about the polluted air which blows over to Europe from the UK? Londoners are facing a catastrophe both financially and in terms of their health, Boris needs to stop the blame game and take control of this rapidly deteriorating situation”

According to the environment department, the high pressure system that has brought the current hot and sunny conditions to the UK is also likely to trigger a “high pollution episode” this Easter weekend.

And with 16 months to go before hosting the Olympic Games, the Government today advised Londoners to avoid exercising outdoors in the afternoon to avoid high pollution.

Elevated levels of PM10 and ozone reaching high or moderate are expected from now until at least Sunday. The forecast is therefore for high pollution for PM10 and ozone across England and Wales, and low for other pollutants over the weekend.

Some people are more sensitive to ozone than others and may begin to notice an effect on their breathing. People with asthma are not necessarily more sensitive but, if affected, can use their ‘reliever’ inhaler.

The public are urged to take sensible precautions such as avoiding making unnecessary short car journeys wherever possible can reduce the formation of ozone.

The capital's Marylebone Road air pollution monitoring station this morning reported 36 breaches of legal air quality limits. The maximum number of breaches permitted for each monitoring station for the full year is 35.

Just last month the European Commission in Brussels gave the UK a temporary reprieve until 11 June this year to give the Mayor of London time bring down levels of the dangerous PM10 pollutants to a safe standard.

Today’s breach could prompt the Commission to instigate legal proceedings in the European Court of Justice, fast tracking the UK to stage three of a six-stage process leading to the fine. And under the government’s Localism Bill, the £300 million fine would be passed to London taxpayers.

Labour London Assembly Member Murad Qureshi said: "London’s air quality is responsible for over 4,000 premature deaths each year. We were given a temporary reprieve by the EU but Boris has done little to comply and avoid this fine which Londoners simply cannot afford.

“The Mayor’s tactic has been to blame European air blowing over to the UK, but what about the polluted air which blows over to Europe from the UK? Londoners are facing a catastrophe both financially and in terms of their health, Boris needs to stop the blame game and take control of this rapidly deteriorating situation”




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