Johnson in pre-Olympics pollution row
02 April 2012
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has been caught up in a clean air row as London prepares for the Olympics.
It began when Johnson's office said that suppressants should be used to keep down dust in the air on streets that were being monitored for pollution levels during the Games. If the streets were found to exceed set levels London could be subjected to tens of millions of pounds in fines imposed by the European Union.
"The use of dust suppressants in front of official air quality monitoring stations is public health fraud on an industrial scale," said Simon Birkett, director of Clean Air London. "It is dangerous because it means we don't know how bad the problem really is."
Birkett said that the Mayor's clean air strategy stated: "There are days where a location only just exceeds the EU limit value. In these circumstances a reduction in local emissions or concentrations (for example, by preventing re-suspension) will help achieve compliance."
But the Mayor's office insisted the while idea was only short-term the best places to use dust suppressants were the busiest traffic spots.
In February, Clean Air London Air lodged a formal complaint with the European Commission about the UK's "failure" to comply with air quality laws. The campaign group said that quality laws were breached every day by a factor of two or more along London's busiest roads and elsewhere. "No other public health or environmental standard is breached on such a large scale with such serious consequences for public health," the body said.