Client Earth has defeated the Mayor of London in a legal case that will force London’s powers into pushing forward schedules to tackle pollution in the capital.
Delivering its judgement earlier today, the European Court of Justice ruled that London’s schedule to tackle nitrogen dioxide levels is nowhere near urgent enough. A plan to reach legal limits on pollution must now be produced "as soon as possible".
This morning’s result has lead to the Green Party’s Jenny Jones calling on the Mayor’s office to reconsider recently unveiled road building plans, instead focusing on developing access to greener forms of transport in the city.
Jones is also calling for:
• Bring forward the Mayor’s Ultra Low Emission Zone by 2018 (Mayor’s plan is 2020) and extend the ULEZ to surrounding boroughs that want it.
• Clean up the bus fleet by only introducing new buses that are hybrid or electric and that meet or exceed the Euro VI air quality standard.
• A smog forecast and alert system that informs the general public and particularly vulnerable people such as asthmatics, with more detailed messaging and resources at schools, hospital and emergency services. This could encourage behaviour change to reduce pollution (such as not driving) and to reduce harm (such as not doing vigorous exercise near main roads).
• Traffic restrictions on certain roads so only essential vehicles can travel along them.
Jones said: “This is great news for Londoners’ health. This judgement shatters the Mayor’s complacency on air pollution. The Mayor must urgently rewrite his air quality strategy and reinstate emergency measures to bring pollution down from its dangerous and illegal levels.”
In other related news, read how Eric Pickles has been awarded for his efforts to address green energy here.
Meanwhile, cyclists are unlikely to be allowed on a proposed ‘garden bridge’ to be built on the Thames.