Cab drivers and cyclists join Greenpeace to demand real action on air pollution

Publication date: 21st April 2016

Two of the groups most exposed to London’s bad-quality air support Greenpeace’s proposal for a Clean Air Zone in the capital.

A new survey published today also shows that 62% of Londoners would back the scheme – including a strong majority of car owners.

The city’s dangerous air has brought together cabbies, cyclists and Greenpeace to support a proposal for a Clean Air Zone in London. The results of a new poll, commissioned by Greenpeace and released today, demonstrate the high levels of concern around air pollution in the city. More than half Londoners (51 percent) are extremely or very concerned about bad-quality air.

Ashok Sinha of the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) recently met Steve McNamara – General Secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) – to agree a joint approach to air pollution. The two leaders met at the London headquarters of Greenpeace where they both signed on to a proposal for a large city-wide Clean Air Zone that will phase out the most polluting vehicles off the roads and protect more Londoners from the impacts of air pollution.

Taxi drivers and cyclists are among the groups most exposed to dangerous and illegal levels of air pollution. The Clean Air Zone they’re now backing would offer protection to many more Londoners than those who live or work in zone 1 – the limited area covered by the proposed Ultra Low Emissions Zone that is due to come into force in 2020.

Further poll results show that 62% of Londoners would support the introduction of the wider, more comprehensive Clean Air Zone now supported by the LCC and LTDA. The nfpSynergy survey also shows that 60% of car owners support the Clean Air Zone proposal.

Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the LTDA, said:

“As cabbies, we are subjected to the worst of London’s poor air – driving around in illegal levels of pollution on a daily basis. With congestion on the rise due to the spiralling number of Private Hire Vehicles, London’s air quality is only going to get worse unless clear action is taken. Black cabs are committed to cleaning up London’s air and will be emissions free in new vehicles from 2018. We stand together with the London Cycling Campaign and Greenpeace in calling on the next Mayor to implement a Clear Air Zone to ensure that other vehicles operating in the capital clean up their act.”

Ashok Sinha of the London Cycling Campaign said:

“A comprehensive Clean Air Zone for London would protect everyone’s health – especially that of the capital’s children – as well as help fund the new Mini-Holland and Cycle Superhighway schemes that our Sign for Cycling campaign is calling for. The London Cycling Campaign stands united with Greenpeace and London’s cabbies in calling for the next Mayor to adopt this win-win policy that would both save lives and make it safer and easier for Londoners to make many more of their journeys by cycle.”

Greenpeace executive director John Sauven said:

“You know there’s something important going on when the two leaders of London’s cabbies and cyclists come together and ask for the same thing. Steve McNamara and Ashok Sinha are both people who understand that beating the air pollution crisis needs new, ambitious thinking. And they’re not alone. Nearly two-thirds of Londoners agree we need a Clean Air Zone that covers a large part of the city.  Next we need the new London mayor to get on board.”

ENDS

A picture of the meeting is available here: http://photo.greenpeace.org/shoot/27MZIFJ690UFI

Methodology: Online survey of 1,000 London residents representative by age and gender carried out by nfpSynergy in April 2016. The margin of error is +/- 3%