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Sadiq Khan urged to follow Paris and offer free public transport to tackle London's air pollution

As French capital suffers 'worst air pollution for 10 years', activists urge Mayor of London to tackle the issue

Friday 09 December 2016 18:08 GMT
Sadiq Khan
Sadiq Khan (Getty Images)

Campaigners have called on Sadiq Khan to emulate Paris and offer free public transport to tackle air pollution.

As the French capital suffers the “worst air pollution for 10 years”, activists have urged the Mayor of London to tackle the issue of excessive pollutants in the capital.

Simon Birkett, Founder and Director of Clean Air in London, told The Independent that Mr Khan must start offering free public transport during periods when air pollution is particularly bad.

“Sadiq Khan must catch up with Mayors in other world cities. Of course Sadiq must ban diesel, but he should also join Paris in banning cars during the worst air pollution episodes and offering free public transport,” Mr Birkett said.

“This won’t help during a Saharan Dust episode but it should be a regular feature of his new air pollution alerts.”

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London responded and said: “Cleaning up London’s toxic air is one of the Mayor’s key priorities.

"That’s why Sadiq is doubling spending on tackling air pollution, including introducing the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone, and purchasing only hybrid or zero-emission double decker buses from 2018.

“Sadiq recognises that getting Londoners onto public transport is an important way of tackling air pollution, which is why the Mayor is freezing TfL fares over the next four years, while investing record amounts in walking and cycling.”

Paris has made all public transport free and placed restrictions on who can drive into the capital.

Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, said images of smog blanketing the capital were evidence of the need to reduce vehicle use in the city.

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