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FIRST LONDON-WIDE CONSULTATION ON AIR POLLUTION

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The mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, today began a three month, London-wide consultation on the future of London's...
The mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, today began a three month, London-wide consultation on the future of London's air.

Members of the public, as well as businesses, local councils and other interested bodies, are being invited to comment on the mayor's Draft Air Quality Strategy, published today.

Mr Livingstone said: 'The smogs of the 1950s and 1960s might be a thing of the past, but people still associate London with poor quality air. Unfortunately they are right to do so - London suffers the worst air pollution of any city in the UK.

'Today I am delighted to publish the draft of London's first ever air quality strategy. I hope as many people as possible will take the opportunity to take part in the consultation and contribute to the development of this strategy.'

Twenty four thousand people die prematurely in Britain each year from the effects of air pollution. Poor quality air particularly affects the most vulnerable in society - the very young, very old and those with heart and lung problems. Air pollution triggers asthma attacks in one in seven children in central London.

In London two pollutants - nitrogen oxides and fine particles - are the greatest cause for concern. Over half of emissions of nitrogen oxides and over two thirds of fine particle emissions come from road traffic.

The strategy explains London's current air quality and predicts future levels of pollution. It contains measures to tackle the problem, including:

- A major programme to clean London's bus fleet - fitting 800 buses a year with new technology to reduce exhaust emissions

- An on-going programme of replacing older, more polluting buses with more than 1,000 cleaner, modern buses. All 6400 London buses will be Euro II standard or better by 2005.

- Working with the taxi trade, TransportAction and Central London Partnership to clean up London's black cabs

- Collaborating with government and London boroughs on a feasibility study into a possible Low Emission Zone in London

- Promoting grants towards the cost of buying alternatively fuelled vehicles and the award of a mayoral Environmental Business Marque for firms demonstrating good environmental practice.

- Exempting electrically powered and alternatively fuelled vehicles from the congestion charge for central London

The strategy also contains measures to address pollution from other sources, including other vehicles, airports, industry, construction, fires and buildings.

The consultation process runs until December. The views of consultees will be reflected in the final version of the mayor's Air Quality Strategy, due to be published in May 2002.

Notes

The Draft Air Quality Strategy, a shorter highlights document and a leaflet containing the main points will all be available from public libraries and other public buildings. Copies can also be downloaded from the internet.

Air Quality in most of London currently breaches UK and European Objective concentrations for the pollutants nitrogen dioxide and fine particles.

69% of fine particles and 52% of nitrogen oxides in greater London come from road transport. In central London this increases to 93% and 57%.

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