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Air Quality

House of Lords written question – answered on 28th October 2009.

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Photo of Lord Berkeley Lord Berkeley Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to issuing legal directions to the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, to improve air quality in London under the Air Quality Standards Regulations 2007 or other legal instruments.

Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords) , Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (and Deputy Chief Whip)

Powers of direction exist, which are contained in Section 363 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999, and allow Ministers to reverse a mayoral decision where policies for the devolved Government clash with national decision-making. The Secretary of State also has powers under Section 30 of the Air Quality Standards Regulations 2007, which allow him to direct the Mayor of London and the boroughs for the purposes of meeting the ambient air quality directive's air quality limit values in London.

The Government, however, would prefer to make progress through dialogue. To this end, we are working closely with the Greater London Authority to review the measures contained in the mayor's air quality strategy.

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Simon Birkett
Posted on 31 Oct 2009 4:49 pm (Report this annotation)

Dear Lord Berkeley

For your information, one of the reasons the Campaign for Clean Air in London (CCAL) has sought details of the communications between the government and the Mayor of London on air quality is to discover whether the government has sought any commitments from the Mayor and, if so, what his reaction has been.

The government has refused CCAL's FOI/EIR request for it to release these communications and so CCAL has lodged an urgent formal complaint with the Information Commissioner's Office.

With best wishes.

Yours sincerely

Simon Birkett
Founder and Principal Contact
Cmapaign for Clean Air in London