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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

EU starts legal proceedings against UK Government over London air pollution

Jean with (from left) campaigners Chris Smith and Maureen Childs, as well as Clean Air in London director Simon Birkett (right) on the streets of Tower Hamlets campaigning about air pollution in the borough

20/02/2014 THE European Commission has slammed the Government over its failure to meet minimum safety standards by preventing air pollution in London.

It has issued a ‘letter of formal notice’ – the first stage in legal proceedings that could see the UK face fines of up to £300m a year for London alone – for failing to meet EU standards on clean air.

London’s Green Party MEP Jean Lambert, a founder supporter of the campaign group Clean Air in London, said she hoped the legal action will serve as a wake-up-call.

“I hope this formal letter now sees a serious response and is the start of a process which will see London’s air cleaned up, people’s health improved – and a reduction in the number of Londoners dying prematurely each year due to air pollution: some 4000 at last count,” she said.

“Poor air quality really is a matter of life and death, and I am shocked that the Government and the Mayor of London have repeatedly failed to take any significant action to improve it and meet their obligations.

“The latest figures show that some of the poorest areas of the capital have the worst air quality – so this isn’t just a public health issue, it’s an equality issue.

“Air pollution is largely caused by diesel exhaust fumes, and we need the government, the Mayor of London and the London Borough councils to act to reduce them immediately.”