Recent revelations have shown that nearly 95% of London’s population – some 7.9 million people – live in areas exceeding global guidelines for toxic air particles by more than 50%. As London’s Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, I find this completely unacceptable.
Londoners of all ages are being affected by the high level of pollution in our city. It has been linked to dementia, heart disease, strokes and our children having reduced lung capacity – and it is absolutely clear London is facing a toxic air crisis.
The reality is that thousands are dying prematurely every year as a direct result of London’s filthy air. This is putting a huge strain on our NHS, with businesses and the economy also suffering. What we are witnessing is the product of successive governments pushing the issue of pollution into the long grass, which is why the Mayor has taken decisive action.
The T-Charge – a £10 surcharge on older, more polluting vehicles travelling in the centre of London – was introduced on Monday following a comprehensive advertising and email campaign. Welcomed by the likes of the British Heart Foundation, Royal College of Physicians and the co-director of Asthma UK’s Centre for Applied Research, this bold policy will provide the vital protection for Londoners’ health that is so urgently needed.