On this date in 1952, London was devoured by The Great Smog, a five-day air pollution catastrophe that might eventually have claimed 12,000 lives. Sixty years on, the Information Commissioner has a solicitor’s letter in his in-tray. It complains on behalf of the Clean Air In London campaign (CAL) that Boris Johnson has been avoiding disclosing details of attempts to weaken new European air quality regulations to be proposed in 2013, which seems likely be dubbed the EU’s Year of Air.
London has been jointly lobbying (pdf) with eleven fellow European regions for the relevant directive to in future “include a degree of flexibility that allows the specific characteristics of our regions to be taken into account.” Those other regions include Lombardia in northern Italy, whose Po Valley is notoriously fouled by road traffic fumes, and other high pollution areas.
Written answers from the mayor to questions about this activity from the Green Party’s Jenny Jones have not addressed that request for flexibility “flexibility,” the word that has made CAL smell a rat. In May, CAL made a Freedom of Information request, asking “What the Mayor of London and/or GLA is doing to influence directly or indirectly the future shape of the revised Air Quality Directive” and seeking any relevant information produced in the previous two years. The response, made three weeks after the official FoI deadline had expired, said that all such information was exempt from disclosure. One regulation cited in justification refers to disclosures that would “adversely affect international relations.”
via The great Boris information smog | Politics | guardian.co.uk.
Great news story – make sure to check this ‘live’ reenactment of ‘The Great Smog’ – #GreatSmog of #London on Twitter via @ClimateActio2n – More info here: http://bit.ly/WUJD8j