I want to start this evening by thanking colleagues for prioritising this motion in council; as I know we are pressed for time and have many contemporaneous motions to consider. I know that the vast majority of you in this chamber are keen to send a clear signal that we, and our constituents, no longer want to live in a city where noxious pollutants are a perpetual element of our life, that must be tolerated. Boris Johnson as Mayor of London has consistently failed to adequately deal with London’s illegal level of air quality; the situation is so dire now that London breached its annual air pollution limits within the first week of 2016.
And what is being done… Well we’ll be getting an ultra low emission zone, 5 years too late and with more caveats than I can count, the biggest one being privately owned passenger cars being exempt, and all of this additional time is costing the lives of over 47,000 Londoners. But this malaise, from a now part time Mayor, who’s more puff than substance is thankfully almost over — but let’s be clear, undoing this mess is going to take time but for every year it takes nine & a half thousands lives will be lost in London. Sadly those lives will be disproportionately from the less socio-economically mobile and Black and Asian communities. Members of Sustainable Development Committee will remember the expert evidence that we received last year on the latest science of ‘vehicle pollution’, and how now instead of carbon dioxide and monoxide emissions, the latest research shows that diesel engines, and in particular the particulates released from them, are by far the biggest causes of damage to health and loss of life.
So what do we do? Sit on the side lines and wring our hands, or do we as a Council look at how we can take matters into our own hands and help save Lewisham lives? I know what I want to do, and I hope that members will join me.
This motion empowers this Council to bring forward an action plan that looks at how we as a Local Authority can use the instruments at our disposal to reduce these emissions locally, researching and publishing a broad spectrum of proposals that includes, but isn’t limited to, incentivising drivers to make the shift to greener and cleaner modes of transport.
Council I move.
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