London mayoral election: Sian Berry vows to target air pollution

Sian Berry Image copyright Green Party
Image caption Sian Berry said the time for "half-hearted" anti-air pollution policies had passed

Green Party mayoral candidate Sian Berry has said pollution from vehicles is "comparable" to deadly smogs created by coal fires 60 years ago.

London needs a "comprehensive plan to bring its air within legal limits" as soon as possible, Ms Berry said.

The Green Camden councillor plans to introduce a higher congestion charge for "all but the cleanest vehicles".

Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith and Labour hopeful Sadiq Khan have both vowed to tackle air pollution.

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Ahead of the official launch of her policy later, Ms Berry said the time for "half-hearted efforts to clean up our polluted air" had passed.

"Sixty years after the Clean Air Act helped put an end to the deadly smogs that came from coal fires and power stations, we are now faced with a comparable problem," she added.

'Exclude polluting vehicles'

"If I'm elected mayor I will immediately exclude the most polluting cars, vans and lorries from central London, and speed up the switchover to make all new buses and taxis zero-emission.

"I will cancel road-building plans and oppose all airport expansion."

Nearly 10,000 people died in 2010 as a result of air pollution according to King's College London research publish last year.

Ms Berry also promised:

  • To "enforce" the existing ban on idling for parked vehicles.
  • Provide "bad air day" warnings so people can cut car use and avoid outdoor exercise.
  • Accelerate the replacement of diesel buses with hybrids and electric vehicles.
  • Create a larger Ultra Low Emission Zone.

In his manifesto, Sadiq Khan vows to consult on bringing forward and expanding the Ultra Low Emission Zone, set a target of only buying electric or hydrogen buses by 2020 and opposing a third runway at Heathrow.

Mr Goldsmith has pledged to introduce tougher rules on HGVs, to encourage greener vehicles and safer cycling and create more greener spaces.

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