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Bad air could land UK in hot water with Brussels, Euro MP warns

PUBLISHED: 23:36 20 May 2009 | UPDATED: 14:22 05 October 2010

BRITAIN faces an embarrassing legal wrangle during London’s 2012 Olympics if we fail to clean up our act on air pollution, London Euro MP Jean Lambert warned this-evening. The EU has already launched legal action over breaching standards, but we could face further action in the run-up to the Games if we do nothing, she says

By Mike Brooke

BRITAIN faces an embarrassing legal wrangle during London’s 2012 Olympics if we fail to clean up our act on air pollution, a Euro MP warned this-evening.

The EU Commission has already launched legal action against the UK over breaching standards on PM10 particulate matter, the tiny airborne particles emitted by industry, motor-vehicles and domestic heating, according to Green Party’s London MEP Jean Lambert.

These particles can cause and irritate conditions such as asthma, cardiovascular disease and lung cancer.

LEGAL ACTION

New pollution limits come into force next year, just 15 months before the Games being staged at Stratford in an area of East London choked with traffic fumes from the busy A11, A12 and A13 truck roads. The UK risks further action if we are still in breach of these limits by then, she points out.

“Unless pre-emptive action is taken now, the UK could be mired in legal action with the Commission in the period leading up to the Olympics,” the Euro MP said.

“All eyes will be on London in 2012—how is it going to look if we’re in the dock for failing to reduce the levels of deadly pollutants in the air?”

Her warning tonight (Wednesday) follows a London Assembly report into air quality in the capital. The May 1 report noted health problems caused by air pollution cost the NHS £20 billion a year. It called on Mayor Boris Johnson to help reduce road traffic by encouraging more walking and cycling.


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