clean air

It’s not listed on death certificates, but it’s still considered “one of the great killers of our age.”
It’s not listed on death certificates, but it’s still considered “one of the great killers of our age.”
There's something about air pollution caused largely by emissions from diesel vehicles that people can't quite get their heads around. A perfect example of blissful ignorance. Until I had a call from a friend and ex-colleague Eleanor Church, I was one of them.
Walking to school makes children healthier, helps develop road safety skills, independence and opportunities to socialise. For a country with a child obesity crisis this is doubly important. Yet nearly a quarter of morning peak traffic comes from families on the school run; you can tell from the easing of traffic in the school holidays.
You might have seen the headlines: Sale of diesel and petrol vehicles to be banned by 2040. That sounds like big news, right? The end of the combustion engine. But when you take a closer look at the announcement - is this just more hot air?
Yet again the government is trying to hide behind a headline, and dodge its responsibility for tackling illegal air pollution in our towns and cities. Our toxic air is stunting our children's lung growth right now; it is sending vulnerable people to hospital and causing suffering up and down the country. We cannot wait nearly a quarter of a century for a solution. It needs strong government action to fix this crisis right now.
To save lives, but also to put London at the forefront of a clean vehicle revolution and spare its air pollution shame, the Mayor of London needs to introduce a ban on the dirtiest vehicles being used in the capital.
The Government has made a positive start in improving air quality and encouraging green alternatives. But it needs to be more ambitious. It should drive forward this agenda whatever the outcome of the court case.
These economic priorities will run in concert with, not be road-blocked by, my desire to make London a greener place to live and work. That must be the balanced approach that any Mayor makes to the capital's multi-faceted challenges, and I look forward to showing why I am uniquely suited to rise to that task.
If the E.U. is keen to assert leadership on these issues, it could do worse than reflect upon what "wealth" really means for its 500 million citizens.