Mayor answers to London

Summer 2012

Question number3007/2011
Meeting date12/10/2011

Question by Valerie Shawcross

Has Transport for London undertaken any computer modelling on the impact on air quality of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Olympic Route Network and/or the Paralympic Route Network and if so are any of these events expected to give rise to increases in air pollution or breaches of air quality law(s)?

What contingency plans do you have in place to reduce air pollution if there is a smog episode during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Olympic Games or the Paralympics Games?

Answer by Boris Johnson (1st Term)

As part of the ongoing design process of the Olympic and Paralympic Route Network, TfL (with Kings College) is currently modelling the potential implications for air quality. Previous emissions analysis was undertaken based on an early iteration of the ODA’s traffic modelling, but it was not possible to model the more detailed air quality impacts prior to more detailed design of the routes and associated traffic management.

An objective of the design is to minimise the overall impact on London’s traffic - and therefore the impact on air quality. If the modelling shows that further refinement of the travel demand management or additional mitigation measures are required these will be discussed with the ODA.

Hosting a safe and healthy Games is a priority for both the Government and me. Air quality has improved significantly in London in recent years, but in common with many UK and European cities, we have to take additional steps to improve it. Measures already, or being put, in place, such as the Low Emission Zone, cleaner buses and taxi age limits mean that air quality is unlikely to be an issue for the smooth running of the Games.

But we can also all do our part to improve air quality. London 2012 will be a “public transport Games” with 100 per cent of spectators travelling to London venues by public transport, cycling or on foot. During the Games it will be important for businesses to consider alternative ways of working and travelling, including home and flexible working, travelling into work at different times and encouraging their staff to walk or cycle into work.

The most likely possible acute risk to health would be from an ozone event, which is driven by the weather rather than local emissions. The Government monitors pollution levels to help manage this issue and if there is an occurrence they will provide advice to the public to help them manage any risks to their health. The Health Protection Agency will also be providing daily updates to the International Olympic Committee on air pollution risks, alongside other health risks, during the Olympics.

Main question

Valerie Shawcross