Brent and Harrow
5 May 2016 Vote for
Sadiq Khan Mayor of London
Navin Shah GLA Brent & Harrow
Labour Party Londonwide

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Navin's News: ‘dirty’ diesel

I support Mayor’s call to introduce a ‘dirty’ diesel scrappage scheme

This week, hundreds of doctors, nurses, and other health professionals wrote to the Prime Minister urging the government to remove diesel vehicles as soon as possible as they are causing a “health emergency.”  

Department for Transport figures show that of the 101103 total number of cars in Harrow, 30166 are run on diesel. This is lower than the Londonwide average of 31%. Wheares in Brent the figures are higher than the Londonwide average with 92925 total number of cars in Brent, 30166 are run on diesel.

In 2012, the World Health Organisation classified diesel exhaust as a ‘definite carcinogen’. This was followed by a 2014 report from Transport for London (TfL) which cited that the growing popularity of diesel was a contributing factor in London’s failure to comply with EU air pollution limits. Warnings also came that year from Dr Frank Kelly, Professor of Environmental Health at King’s College London, that some diesel emissions, such as black carbon, can have a “much bigger health impact” than other pollutants.


Earlier this week, the campaign group ‘Doctors against Diesel’ said the vehicles could cause “irreversible lung damage” to children, and pointed out that the government’s own chief medical officer has said diesel vehicles should be phased out. The letter, which was sent to the Prime Minister, was signed by professors of paediatrics and public health from universities including the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Queen Mary, and the Faculty of Public Health.

This week the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announced he has put proposals to the government for a national ‘dirty’ diesel scrappage fund to financially compensate low income motorists changing their car to a cleaner model. It is hoped such a scheme will help tackle the capital’s toxic air.

Having almost 30000 diesel cars on Harrow roads and also 30000 diesel cars on Brent roads undoubtedly poses a significant risk to the health of residents.

Many car owners will have bought diesel cars in good faith, when the evidence suggested diesel cars were better for the environment. With more recent evidence showing diesel to have numerous public health risks it’s only right that we do everything possible to reduce the number of these cars on our roads.  

I welcome the Mayor’s call to introduce a scrappage scheme, and I urge the government to act quickly. This is a serious health risk which demands a serious – and timely – response.

ENDS

Notes

  • The Department for Transport figures show that as of September 2016 there are 29817 diesel cars and 67542 petrol cars in Harrow; The figures in Brent for this period are 30166 diesel cars and 57915 petrol cars;

  • Across the 32 London Boroughs there are 817,151 diesel cars and 1,775,919 petrol cars;

  • Diesel was classified as a “definite carcinogen” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organisation, in 2012.

  • Transport for London’s Transport Emissions Roadmap report in September 2014 stated that London’s failure to comply with EU air pollution legal limits was “partly a result of the increasing popularity of diesel engines”. See page 3.

  • Dr Frank Kelly, Professor of Environmental Health at King’s College London told the London Assembly’s Environment Committee on 6th November 2014 that some diesel emissions, such as black carbon, can have a “bigger health impact” than other pollutants. His comments can be found on page 5.

  • The Mayor’s proposals include a credit scheme valued at £2,000 to help low-income households in cities (those with incomes lower than £231.60 per week after housing costs) scrap up to 130,000 polluting cars, with incentives for car clubs (costing approximately £260 million in London);

  • The Doctors Against Diesel campaign group sent a copy of their letter to The Times. You can see the full details here;

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16th February 2017