London has the worst air quality of any capital city in Europe and there are 12 other areas of Britain with serious air pollution problems largely caused by vehicles. After smoking it is the biggest threat to health, costing billions. Despite this, the government plans to delay introducing mandatory cuts to pollutant levels as required by the European Commission, and faces large fines as a result.
I am fortunate to live in one of the few places in Britain where the air quality is so good rare lichens survive still and the light is crystal clear; whenever I visit London, within minutes my eyes become irritated and my throat sore, and I feel poisoned, which of course I am, and it is extraordinary that millions of people in Britain and most world cities are being damaged to such an extent that their life expectancy is being reduced daily.
The official concern is of the impact of these pollutants on public health, but my concern extends to include the effect on the birds, insects and mammals which share our cities too. They are so small, and so suffer so much more.
It seems that, in order to comply with the law, the government is considering introducing a national zone system from which the worst polluting vehicles will be banned. It will help, but could lead to the traffic being diverted to pollute the countryside instead. Why do they not consider banning polluting vehicles altogether? It would be so much easier as well as cleaner – but then corporates would be upset, and that would never do. Would it?]]>