Conservatives split over London Low Emission Zone

Conservative London Assembly Member James Cleverly has (not so cleverly) shown a lack of homework in his blog post discussing Boris Johnson’s intention to suspend the third phase of the Low Emission Zone:

Boris has taken the right decision to hold off with LEZ phase three. Its effectiveness is not known…

He said that there is “no evidence” that the Low Emission Zone improves air quality.

That’s not what Boris said in a press statement on February 2nd:

Although the Low Emission Zone has been successful in tackling the worst polluters, and will continue to play an important role, it is not the right time to press ahead with extending it to include smaller vehicles like vans and minibuses.

Following a meeting of the Environment Committee, which heard expert witnesses highlight the harm that air pollution has on the health of Londoners, Mike Tuffrey (Leader of the Liberal Democrats on the London Assembly) said,

London’s air quality is the worst in the UK and one of the worst of Europe’s capital cities. London’s air pollution is an invisible silent killer of more than 1,000 people each year – a figure five times higher than the number of Londoners killed through traffic accidents.  Just because the pollution is rarely visible we cannot stand by and pretend the problem does not exist.

Cleverly claims that the costs to small businesses, were LEZ phase three to go ahead, “would have sent many of them to the wall.”   At present London’s air quality harms both the economy and Londoners’ health, through huge medical bills and other costs such as absenteeism, which affect businesses.

Cleverly is a member of the Environment Committee and was there when it heard evidence showing that the lungs of some children in London were prematurely stunted by the air quality in parts of London.  Is he discounting this evidence?  Does he disagree with the Mayor?

I wonder how this squares with James Cleverly’s role as Ambassador for Young People in London?

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This entry was posted in London and News.

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