London must slash air pollution

Large European cities must reduce air pollution or face fines

London must radically reduce vehicle emissions by the year 2020 or face fines.

The city is one of a number of large European municipalities being asked by the European Commission to get on board with greenhouse-gas-emission targets set in 1999, according to the UK’s Guardian newspaper. The necessity of such air-pollution reduction was reiterated in the EC’s recent Clean Air Policy Package, adopted on Dec. 18.

“The human toll for poor air quality is worse than for road traffic accidents, making it the No. 1 environmental cause of premature death in the EU,” reads the EC’s press release announcing the Clean Air Policy Package. “It also impacts the quality of life due to asthma or respiratory problems.”

EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik told The Guardian that air pollution costs Europe from 330 billion to 940 billion euros a year “in extra health costs” and results in more than 100,000 premature deaths per year.