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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

Neasden Lane breaches air pollution limit for 36th day this year – London’s Green MEP urges Commission to stand firm on capital’s poor air quality

Dangerous airborne particles known as PM10 have exceeded legal ‘safe’ limits at Neasden Lane, Brent, for the 36th day this year; breaching EU air quality standards which could put lives at risk.

Jean Lambert, Green MEP for London, has condemned the Mayor of London for failing to take the radical and immediate action necessary to tackle air pollution in the capital, and has urged the European Commission to stand firm on the UK’s blatant and consistent breaches of EU air quality law.

Under EU law, the UK must ensure that PM10 levels do not go over a certain level more than 35 days per calendar year {1}.  Neasden Lane is the first place in London to breach this legal limit in 2012, yet some 15 places across London have exceeded the limits on 17 days or more this year, including Marylebone Road, Swiss Cottage and the Blackwell Tunnel.

The EU Environment Commissioner, Janez Potocnik, has recently confirmed that he will reinvestigate the UK’s application for a time extension to comply with legal limits for PM10 particles.

Speaking on the day of the breach, Jean said: “The fact that London continues to have the dirtiest air in the UK and is one of the most polluted places in Europe is an utter disgrace. Research shows that air pollution could be responsible for thousands of premature deaths a year.  Not only is this a great tragedy, but it places an enormous burden on the health service which could be avoided.

“Yet instead of tackling air pollution and the health risks it poses, the Mayor of London seems intent on ‘fooling’ air monitoring stations, such as those at Neasden Lane, and of finding ever new ways to sidestep vitally important EU legislation which is aimed at protecting the public from this invisible health crisis.  Citizen’s health must come first, and the European Commission now needs to follow through and show that there are real consequences when Member States don’t comply with crucial environmental law.”

Notes to Editor

1. Limit values for PM10 impose both an annual average concentration value of 40 micrograms and a daily concentration value of 50 micrograms which must not be exceeded more than 35 times per calendar year.  These entered into force on 1st January 2005.