By Marcus Leach
London today (Thursday) moved one step closer to a £300 million fine as it exceeded the number of “bad air days” legally allowed in a year in just four months.
The Marylebone Road air pollution monitoring station this morning reported 36 breaches of legal air quality limits. The maximum number of breaches permitted for each monitoring station for the full year is 35.
Just last month the European Commission in Brussels gave the UK a temporary reprieve until 11 June this year to give the Mayor of London time bring down levels of the dangerous PM10 pollutants to a safe standard.
Today’s breach could prompt the Commission to instigate legal proceedings in the European Court of Justice, fast tracking the UK to stage three of a six-stage process leading to the fine. And under the government’s Localism Bill, the £300 million fine would be passed to London taxpayers.
"London’s air quality is responsible for over 4,000 premature deaths each year," Labour London Assembly Member Murad Qureshi said.
"We were given a temporary reprieve by the EU but Boris has done little to comply and avoid this fine which Londoners simply cannot afford.
“The Mayor’s tactic has been to blame European air blowing over to the UK, but what about the polluted air which blows over to Europe from the UK?
"Londoners are facing a catastrophe both financially and in terms of their health, Boris needs to stop the blame game and take control of this rapidly deteriorating situation”