UK government commits funding to London's air quality

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UK government Transport Secretary Philip Hammond has committed an additional £5m funding to the Mayor of London Boris Johnson to help improve air quality in the capital.

The funding is for a programme of measures designed to improve London’s air quality and help compliance with legally binding European targets.

The Mayor intends to use the money to establish a ’Clean Air Fund’ to extend measures in place at the small number of locations in central London that are at risk of exceeding the daily limit value for particulate matter (PM10), including Marylebone Road. These include trials of dust-suppressant technology, redeployment of the cleanest buses on routes through these areas and measures to reduce vehicle idling.

Philip Hammond said: ’Not only will this money help improve the environment for Londoners but it will also mean that we avoid costly infraction proceedings from the EU that could have cost us tens or hundreds of millions [of pounds],’ he added.

The EU’s Ambient Air Quality Directive 2008 requires member states to ensure that levels of various pollutants in ambient air comply with certain standards. Air quality across much of the UK is excellent, but parts of London do not yet comply with the standard for PM10.

The European Commission recently granted the UK more time to comply with legal standards to control particle pollution in London, subject to the formal submission to the commission of more detailed plans on the city’s pollution measures.

Boris Johnson said: ’We will use this money to create a fund for a package of clean-up measures at the places where it is most needed, such as Marylebone Road, to the benefit of people living and working in these areas.’