15.2.2013 Boris's sticky pollution solution fails
A new study has concluded that Boris Johnson's 'sticky pollution solution' has turned out to be a £1.4 million failure.
The trial aimed to reduce the amount of particulate matter air pollution in London, by 'gluing' pollutants from vehicles to London's roads. Air-quality experts have now found this method does not work.
Transport for London began the trials in 2010, when calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) was used in some of London's dirtiest industrial estates and roads. At the time it seemed to work, and the Mayor said that it would be a "wonderful contraption that tackles air pollution head on."
However, scientists at King's College London tested the effectiveness of the glue on 5 major roads over a two year period, concluding that the technique was not capturing PM10 particles. PM10 are fine particles that vehicle exhausts emit, and are harmful to human health.
Benjamin Barratt, a lecturer in air quality science at King's, said: "The bottom line is [the gluing method] is not going to work in many of the sites in London where the problem is purely down to traffic, but there are other locations in London where we have severe PM10 problems relating to industrial activity and it has been shown to have a role in those locations."
Green party London assembly member Jenny Jones said: "Boris Johnson's attempt at a quick fix of gluing pollution to London's polluted highways such as Marylebone Road has proved to be a failure and a waste of taxpayers' money."
The capital's air quality is said to be amongst the worst in Europe, and several measures have been tested to reduce the problem, such as low emission zones and congestion charges. Boris Johnson maintains that his ultimate vision is that one day most or all cars and vans in central London will be either electric or hybrid vehicles.
"Creating the world's first big-city ultra-low emission zone has the potential to be a game-changing moment in the quality of life of our great capital," the mayor said. "My vision is a central zone where almost all the vehicles running during working hours are either zero- or low-emission. This would deliver incredible benefits in air quality and stimulate the delivery and mass use of low-emission technology."
In addition to private vehicles being predominantly electrified, the Mayor also wants to encourage zero-emission taxis and says that all buses in central London will use hybrid technology by 2020.
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