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Euro MP slams pollution threat on London’s congested roads

PUBLISHED: 20:22 16 July 2008 | UPDATED: 13:27 05 October 2010

A EURO-MP has slammed Government plans to delay meeting new EU air quality targets on London’s busy traffic routes. New figures show air pollution frequently exceeded current standards, claims London’s Green Party MEP Jean Lambert. But she fears the Government is seeking derogations’ from the EU Air Quality Directive instead of tackling the problem

Mike Brooke

A EURO-MP has slammed Government plans to delay meeting new EU air quality targets on London's busy traffic routes.

New figures show air pollution frequently exceeded current standards, claims London's Green Party MEP Jean Lambert.

But she fears the Government is seeking 'derogations' from the EU Air Quality Directive instead of tackling the problem.

"A thousand people die prematurely every year in London as a result of poor air quality," she says. "That's far more than die in traffic accidents.

"Air pollution is the invisible urban killer and the Government should be doing everything possible to clean up the air we breathe."

She adds: "It is imperative the Government commits fully with the new EU Air Quality Directive as early as possible."

Lambert received confirmation this week from the Department for the Environment in Whitehall that Britain is likely to seek extended compliance deadlines.

The Directive which came in on June 11 requires reduced exposure to nitrogen dioxide in urban areas, with a limit of 40 ug/m3 to be achieved by January, 2010.

But member States can seek a five-year extension to the deadline.

A 'hit list' of 20 worst spots for pollution monitored in London puts the A23 Brixton-road in south London at the top, where the monitoring station recorded 221 ug/m3, nearly eight times the suggested level.

The 'top 20' list also includes three main roads in East London, the 12th worst being the A11 Mile End-road recording a 69 ug/m3 reading, nearly twice as high as that recommended by the EU Directive.

Close behind are the A12 Blackwall Tunnel Approach in Poplar, at 63 ug/m3, and the A501 Old Street roundabout at Shoreditch at 62 ug/m3.

All but one of the 47 London monitoring stations had levels of nitrogen dioxide, NO2, consistently exceeding current air quality standards.

The list of '20 worst London sites' so far in 2008 are:

1. LAMBETH: A23 Brixton-road, 221 ug/m3

2. CHELSEA: A3220 Earl's Court-road, 117 ug/m3

3. MARYLEBONE: A501 Baker-street/Marylebone-road junction, 108 ug/m3

4. KNIGHTSBRIDGE: A4 junction with Brompton-road, 105 ug/m3

5. CHELSEA: King's Road, 96 ug/m3

6. VAUXHALL: Vauxhall Cross A202 one-way system, 85 ug/m3

7. SOHO: Shaftesbury-avenue, 83 ug/m3

8. WALLINGTON: A23 Purley-way, 79 ug/m3

9. SWISS COTTAGE: A41 Finchley-road, 77 ug/m3

10. CHISWICK: High-road, 73 ug/m3

11. FULHAM: Broadway, 73 ug/m3

12. MILE END: A11 Mile End-road, 69 ug/m3

13. WESTCOMBE PARK: A102 Woolwich flyover, 69 ug/m3

14. NORTH FINCHLEY: A1000 Tally Ho Corner, 66 ug/m3

15. HOLLOWAY: A1 Holloway-road, 66 ug/m3

16. POPLAR: A12 Blackwall Tunnel Approach, 63 ug/m3

17. SHOREDITCH: A501 Old Street roundabout, 62 ug/m3

18. BRENTFORD: M4/A406 junction, 62 ug/m3

19. NEW CROSS: A20 Lewisham-way, 61 ug/m3

20. LAMBETH: Christchurch-road, 60 ug/m3

Further details:

www.londonair.org.uk/london/asp/publicdetails.asp?region=0

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