Air Quality

EU acts to protect Londoners failed by Mayor on air pollution

The European Commission has today launched legal proceedings against the UK for its failure to cut toxic levels of nitrogen dioxide, linked to premature deaths in London.

This follows a UK Supreme Court ruling in 2013 that EU air pollution limits are regularly exceeded in 16 zones across the UK including Greater London, with current air quality improvement plans envisaging London compliance with EU standards only in 2025, fifteen years after the original deadline.

Liberal Democrat MEP for London Sarah Ludford commented:

Supreme Court highlights urgency of action on air pollution


London Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford, a campaigner for clean air in London, has welcomed as justified the declaration of the Supreme Court in a case brought by environmental campaign group Client Earth that the UK government has breached European air pollution rules. The Court decided to refer the case to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for further clarification.


“The Supreme Court declaration that the government has breached the EU Air Quality Directive is regrettable but necessary. Instead of acting swiftly to protect the public from harmful levels of air pollution, a Tory Environment Minister just last week shamefully tried to water down EU air quality rules and the Tory Mayor of London drags his feet.”


Weaker air pollution rules would harm Londoners


Boris cannot breathe easily over EU targets


Commenting on the news that Boris Johnson is being investigated over a possible breach of EU air pollution rules, London Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford and campaigner for clean air in London said:

“The bad news is racking up for Boris after his tetchy BBC interview on Sunday. He is now the subject of an EU probe into whether he breached air pollution rules during the Olympics.”

“The use of dust suppressants to avoid EU fines shows the Mayor will go to any length to avoid taking effective action to reduce chronic levels of air pollution in London.”

“Thousands of people die as a result of air pollution in London every year. The people of London deserve better air quality to stop these needless deaths.”

Politicians must stand firm on no third runway at Heathrow


London Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford today welcomed the coalition’s renewed commitment not to build a third runway at Heathrow; a pledge that will help to safeguard and protect the health and well-being of Londoners who presently suffer from the worst air quality in Europe, in addition to excessive levels of noise pollution for those living in and around Heathrow.


Sarah Ludford commented:


“It’s absolutely vital that politicians stick to the pledge of no third runway at Heathrow to protect Londoners health and improve air quality.” 


About Sarah


Sarah Ludford

Baroness Sarah Ludford is a Liberal Democrat Member of the House of Lords. She was a Member of the European Parliament for London from 1999 until June 2014 and a councillor in Islington from 1991 to 1999.


Strong political will needed to clean up London's air

Commenting on the new report from the Parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee on air quality London Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford said:

"I have been campaigning for many years with Liberal Democrats across London against the dirty air in our city the worst in Europe. This report confirms the urgency: London may no longer have the peasoup fogs of the 1950s but invisible pollutants like nitrogen dioxide and lung-irritating diesel particles are lethally high."

"The report rightly condemns the woeful lack of UK action to meet EU clean air targets. The deadline for the limit on small particles came and went in June and now we have laughably inadequate stopgap measures like spraying roads with glue in hotspots ahead of the Olympics!"

World Environmental Health Day: London pollution unacceptably high

Sarah Ludford with Mike Tuffrey and Lynne Featherstone.London Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford is marking the UK's first ever World Environmental Health Day by calling on the Government to commit to making London's air cleaner very soon not in 15 years' time.

Baroness warns over Islington pollution

An Islington-based MEP has issued a stark warning over dangerous levels of air pollution - which experts say are killing hundreds in the borough each year.

Baroness Sarah Ludford Liberal Democrat MEP for London who lives in Islington spoke out after the European Union decided to take no action despite London exceeding its legal limits for dangerous airborne particles.

The former Islington councillor said: "It's like the UK's bad air 'criminal record' is being wiped clean but from now on there is no reprieve."

UK’s air pollution reprieve does not wipe out need for action

Sarah Ludford MEP and Mike Tuffrey AM Spokesperson on the environment for the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group are working hard to try and clean up London's air.It has been revealed that the European Commission has wiped clean the slate on London's bad air record from January 2005 (when European standards came into force) until now and no EU action will be taken over th

MEP demands EU Commissioner tackles London's dirty air

Sarah Ludford MEP (middle) and Ed Davey MP (left) and Cllr Vicki Harris (right) campaigning for better air quality in Tolworth.

Sarah Ludford MEP (middle) and Ed Davey MP (left) and Cllr Vicki Harris (right) campaigning for better air quality in Tolworth.

Letter to environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik about Nitrogen Dioxide air pollution in London

9 February 2010

Dear Commissioner Potočnik

Subject: Breach of NO2 hourly limit values in London

First please allow us to congratulate you on your confirmation today as Commissioner for environment. We are writing to you on your first day in office to request that you keep the implementation of European air quality standards in London at the very top of your agenda.

NO2 limit values which came into force just over a month ago on 1 January 2010 as stipulated by directive 2008/50/EC and earlier legislation state that NO2 cannot exceed 200 µg per cubic metre more than 18 times in a calendar year.

London's air too dirty for health

The EU Commission has rejected the UK government's request for more time to meet the requirements of European clean air laws in Greater London. High levels of air pollution in the capital breach European air quality standards designed to protect health. Dangerous particles known as 'PM10' emitted from diesel engines and heating systems are a particularly bad problem in London.

In order to be granted a postponement of the deadline the UK and the Mayor of London had to show they were doing everything possible to comply with EU standards. But this is not the case so Brussels is pressing ahead with enforcement procedures.

London Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford said:

Sarah Highlights Poor Air Quality in London

Sarah Ludford with Mike Tuffrey and Lynne Featherstone.

Sarah Ludford with Mike Tuffrey and Lynne Featherstone.

Sarah is working strongly with Lib Dem London Assembly Member Mike Tuffrey to improve the poor air quality in London. They are pictured campaigning with Lynne Featherstone Lib Dem MP for Hornsey and Wood Green.

Government must take real action to improve air quality

Sarah Ludford with Commissioner Dimas and Susan Kramer in Strasbourg

Sarah Ludford and Susan Kramer met Commissioner Dimas to discuss air pollution in London.

Susan Kramer MP for Richmond Park and North Kingston this week travelled to Strasbourg to raise concerns about air quality in London.

EU lobbied on air quality 'dodge'

A delegation of council leaders will be in Strasbourg next month to lobby the European Commission on the UK government's plans to circumvent air quality targets at Heathrow. The meeting was arranged by London Liberal Democrat MEP Baroness Sarah Ludford a keen opponent of a third runway.

Transport secretary Ruth Kelly is expected to announce her decision shortly on Heathrow expansion plans which could include an extra 60000 flights a year at the two existing runways. The additional capacity could be provided from as early as next year - ahead of the first target date for a new EU air quality directive of 2010.

Cleaner Air for Londoners

Motorists will be encouraged to use green fuels made from vegetable matter - and thus get exemption from the London congestion charge - under new proposals approved by the European Parliament.

MEPs have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a target of 2% for use of 'biofuel' in road transport in 2005 increasing to 6% by 2010. The vote also clears the way for Member States to reach agreement on a 50% reduction in excise duties on biofuels.

Welcoming the outcome of the vote Lib Dem MEP for London Sarah Ludford said:

"In London we need to tackle pollution as well as congestion. A greater use of green fuel could really help improve the capital's air quality since biofuels emit between 40% and 80% less polluting "greenhouse" gasses than traditional fossil fuels."

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