Thursday, April 14, 2011

Air Quality in London

Organisation: Sarah Ludford MEP
Government and mayor need to get to grips with air pollution
Originally published by London Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford, a campaigner for clean air in London, has quizzed European environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik on what action the Mayor and the government need to take to clean up London's dangerously polluted air.
The European Commission recently held off from taking the UK to court for failure to meet EU limits on health-damaging particles (PM10) in London's air which come particularly from diesel and cause a host of health problems and premature deaths. But this reprieve is only on condition that the Mayor and the government put together an action plan by June to tackle the problem.
Sarah Ludford said:
"London's air is the dirtiest in the UK, which is a disgrace. And it seems that Brussels just does not believe that on current plans London has any chance of complying with the European clean air standards that the UK government signed up to."
"It's time to stop trying to fob off the EU with meaningless 'air quality plans'. We must really put our backs into making London a city where people can - literally - breathe freely and not die young."
Liberal Democrats propose concrete and realistic measures such as retrofitting the most polluting vehicles with filters; speeding up the modernising of London's bus and taxi fleet; extension of the boiler scrappage scheme for replacement of old polluting boilers; and making central London a Clean Air Zone in which old diesel engines would be banned.
Sarah added:
"This is not about Europe's demands, it's about whether we Londoners want to live in a city which keeps people healthy or kills them off. Mayor Boris Johnson and Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman must deliver urgent action, not platitudes."
EU clean air law states that EU countries need to make sure that dangerous PM10 pollution does not go over a certain level more than 35 days per calendar year; already in April London has had 29 such days. To monitor the number of days that the main London air pollution monitoring station on Marylebone Road goes over the upper limit for PM10 of 50 ug/cubic metre, see link below.
Sarah Ludford MEP's Parliamentary Question and the Commission's answer:
Question for Question Time H-000153/2011
to the Commission
Part-session: April 2011
Rule 116
Baroness Sarah Ludford (ALDE)
Subject: Enforcement of EU air quality standards in Greater London
In March the Commission granted the UK additional time, until June 2011, to comply with EU air quality standards for airborne particles (PM10) in Greater London. It did so on condition that the UK quickly produce an action plan to reduce such pollution.
Could the Commission clarify what action it would regard as satisfactory and how long-term its perspective will be? Is it looking only for 'emergency' action that could consist of one-off controls or abatement in order to meet EU norms by June (maximum 35 exceedances a year of the PM10 daily limit value), or is it demanding longer-term changes that would put London on a path to a significantly lower emissions rate, that would substantially improve public health?
Tabled: 22.3.2011
Answer by the Commission
On 11 March 2011 the Commission adopted a Commission Decision[1] on the United Kingdom (UK) request to be exempted from the obligation to apply the PM10 limit values in London and Gibraltar. As regards London, this was the second time the UK requested an exemption after the first request was rejected by the Commission in December 2009.
According to this Decision, the UK authorities have to adjust the air quality plan for London by 11 June 2011. This is the date by which the exemption ends and the PM10 daily limit value will have to be met.
As stated in the Commission Decision, the UK has produced an air quality plan outlining how it plans to reach compliance by 11 June 2011. However, in view of the very narrow margin by which compliance is projected and the risk of further exceedances, the Commission has asked the UK authorities to adopt further measures effective for controlling or, where necessary, suspending activities which contribute to the risk of the limit value being exceeded. This is meant to ensure the full toolbox for addressing exceedances is readily available when/if required, irrespective of whether such exceedances would appear.
The competence to decide on the measures lies entirely with the Member States. Under the "subsidiarity" principle it is acknowledged that Member States - and their local authorities - are best placed to identify the most efficient and tailor made measures to address high concentration levels in their air quality zones.
As the long term measures are provided for in the already existing air quality plan, the short-term measures are meant to address any risk of exceedances during, for example, specific pollution episodes. Those measures are therefore not supposed to address a sustained exceedance problem over the long-term but rather meant to be seen as complementing instead of 'emergency' actions.
Measures that could fall under this category could be measures in relation to motor-vehicle traffic, construction works, the use of industrial plants or products and domestic heating. They could consist of controlling and, where necessary, suspending those activities contributing to the risk of the limit value being exceeded. Specific actions aimed at the protection of sensitive population groups, including children, may also be considered.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Request For Cab Related Sexual Assaults/Rapes .

Cab Related Sexual Assaults/Rapes

Question No: 617 / 2011
Caroline Pidgeon
For the last 3 years, per month, please provide figures for how many reported
cases there were for sexual assaults in:
a) Black cabs
b) Licensed private hire vehicles.
c) Unlicensed private hire vehicles.

Written answer from the Mayor

Written response received on 7 March 2011:

Metropolitan Police cab-related sexual offence figures include all sexual offences related to cabs and include offences committed by licensed taxi and minicab drivers, licensed drivers touting illegally and unlicensed cab drivers.
The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is unable to provide statistics that provide a definitive breakdown by type of cab for reporting purposes. The latest figures show the number of MPS cab-related offences for the previous 3 years as:
Month 2007/8 2008/9 2009/10 2010/11
Apr        10         10        15           7
May       11           3        13         14
Jun          9           8          9           8
Aug         8           8         11          6
Sep         9           2           7          6
Oct          8           6         10        12
Nov         8         12         17        11
Dec        11          7         15        11
Jan          9           8         15        11
Feb        16           9          8        N/A
Mar        13         16         14       N/A

 Total    120        93        140*     95**

 *Please note that the 2009/10 is different to the previously published figure of 143 offences. The new total reflects the latest information on the MPS crime reporting information system (CRIS)
MPS monthly figures are subject to change for up to 2 years to reflect any updates from ongoing investigations.

**2010/11 (Apr > -> Jan) > -> 95 (compared with 118 in the same period in

It is not possible to provide a reliable breakdown of cab-related offences by type of driver. It is only if and when a suspect is identified that the MPS in conjunction with TfL are able to verify if the suspect is a licensed taxi or PHV driver.

While it is not always possible to definitively determine whether offences were committed by unlicensed or licensed taxi and minicab drivers any details of the how the victim approached the offender or vice versa are used for investigative and analytical purposes where reliable information is available.
This is used to help inform the Safer Travel at Night campaign, TfL and police deployments and crime reduction activities.

TfL and the MPS are undertaking detailed analysis of the most serious cab-related sexual offences in 2009/10 to provide a definitive breakdown, as far as possible, by type of cab driver. Any definitive information from this work will be made available.