Londoners were advised to avoid physical activity on Friday 14 January as levels of toxic polluted air had reached dangerous levels. Oddly, no mention was made of those creating this toxic pollution or that they might want to consider driving a little less. This topsy turvy thinking has fuelled both the current climate emergency and also shocking inequality. e.g. In Islington drivers pay a nominal amount to park and even store their electric vehicles (EVs) on the street for free even though those same EVs create the most deadly toxic plastic particulate pollution from tyre and brake wear. On the open market a parking space in Islington can sell for over £500,000 and renting that parking space privately will cost at least 10x the subsidised charge levied by Islington Council. There is no such thing as free parking, the only question is who pays, and we all pay the price for this subsidy, which overwhelmingly benefits the wealthiest among us. These wealthier residents are both more likely to own a car and also to drive more often, while the poorest amongst us are most exposed to the resulting toxic air and road danger. In Islington it is not Polluter Pays but the Polluter who is Paid. It's time for a greener fairer approach, a #lowtrafficislington where young and old can breathe clean air, walk and cycle safely and where our public space benefits not just the few but the many.
You might also be interested in Sadiq Khan's expanded clean air proposals for a bit of further reading.