Thursday, 17 December 2009

Boris criticised by European Commission

Previously I had speculated whether Boris Johnson will now be under pressure to bring forward his draft Air Quality Strategy, in order to avert a possible £300m fine regarding the UK's failure to comply with EU limits on pollution in London, as per Directive 1999/30/EC.

The Guardian reports today, however, that even this won't be adequate as the European Commission has rejected the draft strategy saying:
"important elements are missing, such as a clear timetable for the implementation of the abatement measures envisaged as well as an estimate of the improvement of air quality which can be expected by 2011".
Boris has complained that the Commission was being "unreasonable" for refusing to consider his proposed strategy on the grounds that it was only a draft document, he may have a point but it now seems in the article that there is an acceptance that a fine is inevitable, it's now just a question of who pays - a battle of the budgets (my emphasis bold):
"I don't think it is right or very likely there will be a fine because it's possible to sort this out, but the cost of the infraction should not properly in my view be borne by this city… if you look at the total volume in pollutants they are very substantially coming outside the greater London authority area. This government has chronically refused to put in measures necessary over the last 10 years for us to be compliant."
Of course it will be the taxpayer who ultimately pays; no taxation without representation? Not where the EU is concerned.

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