Brexit, a Clean Air Act and cycle lanes

Brexit will impact on every aspect of our lives, creating endless trauma but also the chance to improve things. We will need our own laws and our own enforcement agencies, and it’s an opportunity to create a body like the Environmental Protection Agency in the US, with its own staff, legal powers and a culture of independence from Government.
Continue reading “Brexit, a Clean Air Act and cycle lanes”

New report shows need for driving bans

I was involved in taking evidence and drawing up the recommendations in the new report from the Parliamentary cycling group. Many of the stories I heard were of injustice, as the rules of the road are either unenforced by overstretched police or sidestepped through the use of legal loopholes.

For example, does anyone seriously think that the number of driving bans has fallen by 62% over the last 10 years because the quality of our driving has improved? The rules on claiming ‘hardship’ to avoid a driving ban haven’t changed, but the inclination of Magistrates to let people off has. When the ‘exception’ becomes the norm, then the law has to be changed to close the loophole and ensure that dangerous drivers are taken off the road and restricted to using buses/taxis.

The Guardian has a good summary of the report here

 

Government ignores London’s pollution cloud

London has suffered two major air pollution episodes so far this winter and the Government appears to have ignored both.  I have written a series of questions asking about health warnings to the public and advising people to avoid driving in polluted areas. Also, why they haven’t released the figures from a study into deaths related directly to the air pollution episode in 2012. Continue reading “Government ignores London’s pollution cloud”

Creating NICE pollution free towns

The NICE guidance could have been written at any point during the last sixteen years, from any number of organisations putting the case for incremental change. It is sensible stuff and yet completely inadequate as a road map for local authorities acting belatedly to deal with a huge public health scandal. It is a set of good ideas without any sense of priority for cash-strapped councils. For example, driver training to reduce fuel use and emissions is equivalent to congestion charging for congested areas, while planting vegetation in open areas is alongside parking controls, or creating the infrastructure for zero emission vehicles. All very sensible. Continue reading “Creating NICE pollution free towns”

Green Baroness on pollution monitoring tour

 

I joined Matt Newell from the London Cab Drivers Club (LCDC) on a tour of London’s pollution hotspots today, using a Chinese made handheld pollution monitor (measuring PM2.5). I wanted to get a realistic picture of what pollution is like for the people who have to put up with air pollution in order to make a living. The taxi trade has become increasingly concerned about the impacts of air pollution in recent years on the health of drivers, their passengers, and the Londoners they serve. Continue reading “Green Baroness on pollution monitoring tour”