Mayor Boris a Johnson, has written to the Environmental Audit Committee stating that he has reduced pollution, claiming that his figure of a 20% reduction, taken from a modelled predicted measurement in 2008 is correct and the true measurement of 3% quoted by Caroline Lucas is incorrect ( even though the scientific air quality measurements prove that his figure was not true ).
The real life measurements of taxi emissions carried out by the Environmental Research Group at Kings proved beyond any doubt that the new taxis are creating MORE pollution than the 15 year old taxis that have been needlessly scrapped.
The Mayor claims that he has achieved the fictitious 20% reduction in pollution by scrapping older taxis.
The air quality measurements show that there was NOT a reduction of 20% in pollution and the testing of taxis shows that scrapping older taxis and replacing them with MORE polluting taxis would INCREASE pollution.
He also states that all new taxis will be zero emissions by 2018, even though no such taxi exists and even if there was, it would be doubtful if there is enough power in the grid to charge electric vehicles in any great numbers.
It's also doubtful that drivers can afford the £45-50k for a new taxi.
The Mayor has admitted that this fleet change out would take another 15 years, in which time tens of thousands of more people will die from pollution.
He says he is looking at further steps to accelerate turnover, in other words the 10 year age limit.
The concept of an age limit to reduce pollution has been proven to be flawed and ineffective.
Yet the Mayor has now proposed needlessly scrapping even more taxis.
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The Mayor says in his letter
Follow up to Environmental Audit Committee evidence session on air quality
It was a pleasure to appear before the Committee on 10 September and have the opportunity to set out the many measures I have put in place to improve air quality in London. I hope you found the session informative and helpful. As you know, I have now published both my Transport Emission Road Map and a comparison of air quality in a number of world and European cities. I have enclosed copies of both documents for your information.
During my appearance I promised to write to you on a few areas that were raised during the evidence session. I have addressed each of these below.
Reducing emissions and concentration of air pollution in London
Caroline Lucas queried the use of various statistics to explain the benefits my measures are delivering for air quality in the capital. In particular Caroline contrasted my own figure of a twenty per cent reduction in nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions with a figure – which was wrongly attributed to King’s College London – suggesting that the reduction in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations was only three per cent.
First, it is important to recognise that emissions and concentrations are different so cannot be compared. It is entirely appropriate for me to use a figure based on emissions reductions to communicate the success of the measures I have put in place as the policy levers available to me can only address emissions produced in London. The twenty per cent figure is an accurate representation of the reduction in emissions since 2008, based on the best evidence and information we had available at the time of developing the London Atmospheric Emissions Inventory 2010 (LAEI). With every iteration of the LAEI we improve the methodology to be more representative of the emissions sources and air quality impact in London.
By contrast, concentrations are influenced by a range of factors including the weather. Nevertheless, initial analysis undertaken by King’s College London suggests that reductions in NO2 concentrations across London at roadside sites are in the order of twelve per cent on average from 2008 to 2013. As requested by the Committee, I will be publishing further analysis later this year to ensure this information is on the public record.
Turning to the three per cent concentration figure, it is not clear how this has been calculated but as set out above it appears to be incorrect.
Roll out of zero emission capable taxis
I informed the Committee about my ambitious proposals to require all newly licensed taxis to be zero emission capable from 2018. This complements my existing policy of retiring taxis over fifteen years old. On current turnover this means that by 2033 all taxis in London would be zero emission capable. I am currently considering what further steps may be appropriate to accelerate this turnover and to support early adopters. I am also looking at what measures may be appropriate for private hire vehicles. Additional announcements will be made in due course.