Boris Johnson ‘hid a pollution report on areas’ around schools as mayor, says Labour GLA candidate

Boris Johnson ‘hid a report about the number of schools in polluted areas in his drawer’ during his time as mayor, a Labour GLA candidate said during a hustings debate this evening.

Assembly Member for Merton and Wandsworth Leonie Cooper accused the Prime Minister of not doing enough to tackle air pollution during his time as London Mayor, and ignoring the report which showed how worrying the situation was.

Cooper claimed the number of schools in ‘really polluted areas’ was 477 under Johnson, but has reduced to 14 due to Sadiq Khan’s introduction of the Ultra Low Emission Zone and other work he has done as mayor. 

The Environmental Defense Fund Europe asked Labour’s Leonie Cooper, the Conservative’s Louise Calland, the Liberal Democrats’s Hina Bokhari and Green Party’s Hannah Graham about how their mayoral candidates would be mayors for clean air during the South West London Debate.  

Cooper also paid tribute to the Green and Liberal Democrat assembly members who have worked in collaboration with Labour assembly members and the mayor on cleaning up London’s air.  

While the Green Party’s Graham acknowledged the cross-party work, she also condemned Sadiq Khan’s Silvertown Tunnel project.

She said: “The current mayor is still pushing policies and plans that will make climate chaos harder to prevent. 

“This is unacceptable.

“London could really be leading the way to responding to the climate crisis. 

“Yet no mayor has reacted with the urgency that is needed.”

Both the Liberal Democrats and the Greens promised to scrap the controversial Silvertown Tunnel project in their bids to the South West London debate on Riverside Radio this evening.

Liberal Democrat representative Bokhari said: “It’s incredibly wrong to put in an extra road and then say you’re having less carbon.”

She also said the party planned to ‘green roof’ the city on a Chicago and Copenhagen model, create ten new parks and introduce a pay-as-you-go road pricing scheme.  

Conservative GLA candidate for Merton and Wandsworth Louise Calland spoke of the party’s plan to widen the Santander bike scheme to introduce electric bikes.

She spoke of her personal love of electric bikes which encourage people to cycle longer distances.

The Conservatives plan to introduce vertically-planted gardens around all schools which exceed the legal limits for pollution as these plants can reportedly reduce pollution by up to 30%.

According to data from Client Earth in October, Greater London was 1.9 times over the legal limit for air pollution in October 2020.

The Evening Standard reported yesterday that more than two million Londoners live in areas that exceed air pollution limits.

Featured image: From flickr (Sharon-Langridge).

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