The Mayor of Tower Hamlets has attacked the Government's limited plans to tackle air pollution in Britain as "nothing but hot air" after they failed to provide any new action which would help to clean up the capital's air.
Writing in response to a recent Government consultation on their Air Quality Plan the Mayor said the plan was "seriously insufficient" and "lacking any national leadership" after the Government's key proposals were to instruct councils to draw up air quality plans, something Tower Hamlets is already doing. Other than passing the buck to councils, the Government proposed that areas set up Clean Air Zones, something the Mayor of London has already set up in the form of his innovative Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) which is due to come into force in the coming years. The Mayor slammed the Government plans as offering "nothing extra to tackle the issue."
The recently published proposals include plans to phase out new petrol and diesel cars by 2040 but very little else to support councils to tackle air pollution in the meantime.
Since his election Mayor Biggs has been clear that tackling poor air quality is a key priority for his administration. The Council recently went out to consultation on its new Air Quality Action Plan which proposes new measures to tackle air pollution including increasing usage of low emissions transport by installing electric vehicle charge points and greater engagement with businesses and schools to help reduce their own impact on air pollution. The Council also plans to take tougher action on idling and to establish more cycle storage.
Commenting on the Government proposals, Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs said:
"The Government clearly have no intention of taking our air quality crisis seriously. Instead of coming up with a clear plan for action they have passed the buck to local councils despite offering up no additional funding.
"In Tower Hamlets we are making real strides setting up a cross-borough Low Emissions Neighbourhood and consulting on a new action plan to tackle air pollution. Despite that progress we know that air pollution doesn't respect borough borders, it needs national leadership to clear up our toxic air with measures to discourage the most polluting cars now, not decades in the future.
"The Government should be taking a leaf out of Sadiq Khan's book and prioritising tackling the air quality crisis, instead this plan is nothing but more hot air."