London Councils Calls for Funding to Tackle Poor Air Quality

Asks for EU fines not be to passed down to London boroughs

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London Councils

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London Councils will join the Mayor of London’s calls for more powers and funding for boroughs to improve London’s air quality at the launch of the Air Quality Manifesto today (29 July). 

Councillor Julian Bell, Chair of London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee (TEC) is due to speak at the event at Mansion House, alongside the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and the Lord Mayor of London, Alderman Fiona Woolf. 

London Councils – which represents London’s 32 boroughs and the City of London – is joining the Mayor in arguing that councils need greater financial support and legal powers to tackle poor air quality. 

Cllr Bell said: “Boroughs are taking significant steps to improve the quality of London’s air, but this is a pan-London problem. For example, councils have developed effective solutions – such as Croydon, which has cut emissions and congestion through reducing deliveries to construction sites by 26 per cent – and a number of partnerships have been set up by borough cluster groups.” 

London Councils also believes the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs should not pass on European Union fines to London boroughs for missing air quality targets. 

Cllr Bell added: “Passing on EU fines now would impede boroughs’ hard work in improving air quality. In 2011 we argued against the provision in the Localism Bill which allowed government departments to pass on EU fines to boroughs. 

“We think this is unfair because at the time the government was already exceeding air pollution targets and faced up to £300 million in fines. 

“It is also unreasonable, as poor air quality does not respect borough boundaries. Our message is clear – boroughs need the money and the power to make changes without their efforts being undermined by government or the looming threat of multimillion-pound fines.”

August 1, 2014