Warm spring weather over the weekend triggered a smog alert in London from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), with moderate particulate matter levels also forecast for the remainder of the coming week.
Defra is also warning that there is a risk of high levels of particle air pollution this week, partly due to warm weather and also winds arriving from central and northern Europe impacting on southern England.
The Defra forecast states that this is ‘expected to continue through this week as a stable anticyclone lingers over the UK’ leading to ‘recirculation of air masses over the southern regions’ and causing elevated concentrations of PM10 and PM2.5 when coupled with ‘poorly dispersed local emissions’.
But, the Green Party is calling for more to be done by the UK government to meet clean air targets and tackle public health problems resulting from pollution, adding that Londoners ‘deserve better than a smog alert when the weather warms up’.
EU Green Party candidate Caroline Allen said: “I love the sunshine but wish it didn’t always seem to be accompanied by a toxic smog cloud, resulting in watering eyes and a sore throat, or worse.
“Mayor Boris Johnson’s failure to act over our dangerously poor air quality is seriously affecting Londoner’s health as well as risking millions in fines from Brussels. Greens are pushing for much faster action, so we can enjoy these sunny days unspoilt by toxic air.”
And, Caroline Russell, Green Party Local Transport spokesperson, criticised the what she called the London Mayor’s ‘cost-cutting plans to close vital air monitoring stations across the capital’.
She said: “Primary traffic emissions are known to play a key role in air pollution incidents. London authorities must get serious about making London a safer place for people to cycle and walk. Only then can we create a more liveable and less vehicle-dominated city.”
The Green Party claims it is ‘the only party with workable policies in place to tackle air pollution’ adding that it is calling for 20mph speed limits across London, a tightening up of Low Emission Zone standards and creating walking and cycling routes across the city.