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Thursday, 21 June 2012

The Mayor and Air

Credit to Stephen Knight, a Lib Dem London Assembly Member, for asking Boris Johnson about air quality at Mayor's Question Time (http://www.london.gov.uk/moderngov/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=183&MId=4512) - and let's look at what the Mayor said in his answer.

Stephen's press release refers to the Mayor having "ruled out actively informing Londoners about the state of London's air quality...by publishing information on the GLA's website every day" (http://www.london.gov.uk/media/press_releases_assembly_member/news-stephen-knight-boris-johnson%E2%80%99s-refusal-issue-smog-alerts-exposes-his-complacen).

Stephen is right that Londoners need to be so informed. I am pleased, therefore, to discover (from the Mayor's answer to Stephen's question) that such information is already being provided here: www.londonair.org.uk. A great question from Stephen, and (for me) a satisfactory answer from the Mayor.

Here is the relevant exchange, which repays reading in full:

Stephen Knight (AM): Let's all hope that the air is cleaner and sweeter, but will you give a commitment here, Mr Mayor, to publish smog alerts daily on the GLA website, if indeed the air
pollution is bad during the Olympics?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): I think you are really anticipating Jenny's question, but what we do have is a very widespread --

Stephen Knight (AM): Yes or no, Mr Mayor, that is all that is needed, just a yes or no.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): The answer is no, but we have --

Stephen Knight (AM): That's fine. Stop there.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Just so you know, and that is because we already have a great deal of information out there in the public domain. There is information on the King's College website, which for your benefit, Stephen, is www.londonair.org.uk. It is a website and it is also an application that you can get on your gizmo that will give you the information that you need.

It is on the BBC website and we are also supporting and encouraging the use of the airTEXT service so that Londoners who need to know about the quality of their air, perhaps
because they are asthmatic, or for whatever reason, do get information in real time and in advance. That information, in the run up to the Olympics, is going to come 48 hours in advance, rather than just 24 hours in advance. They will be promoted particularly in Olympic boroughs.

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