At 7am this morning eight women from environmental action group Climate Rush visited the homes of Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone – the Conservative and Labour London Mayoral candidates. Dressed in scrubs and wearing surgical masks the women invited the two candidates to commit to bringing London’s air quality within legal limits and to join a direct action protest planned for the evening of Wednesday 13th July.
This early morning invitation comes after over 1000 London street-signs were subvertised on Sunday night by the addition of ‘PUBLIC HEALTH WARNING – DANGEROUS AIR POLLUTION’ stickers.
Jenny Jones – London Mayoral candidate for the Green Party – escaped an early morning doorstep visit from Climate Rush by pledging to join the Roadblock protest which leaves Soho Square at 6.30pm on Wednesday 13th July. The Roadblock protest will stage a ‘die-in’ on a London road and hold the space for up to 29 minutes, symbolic of the 29,000 premature deaths attributed to poor air quality in the UK – nearly 5% of all annual UK deaths. Doctors and nurses will check the pulses of the protesters and mark the position of their bodies with chalk. At the end of the 29 minutes the protesters aim to get up and walk away.
Jenny Jones said: “Getting clean air is rapidly emerging as the number one environmental and public health issue for Londoners. This is hardly surprising when both the government and Mayor have done so little about the pollution which is killing the equivalent of an estimated 4,300 Londoners every year. Young, energetic campaigners like Climate Rush will ensure that clean air is a big priority during the Mayoral elections. The real test for Mayoral candidates is whether they can agree to take real action to reduce traffic, lower fares and create a very low emission zone which only allows the cleanest of vehicles to enter central London ”
Tamsin Omond said: “London’s air quality is killing us. It’s a public health emergency that each Mayoral candidate must act to sort out. Boris scrapped the Western Extension Zone, 6-monthly taxi inspections and delayed the introduction of Stage 3 of the Low Emission Zone. It’s not good enough – and we will keep protesting – with plans to interrupt the Olympic lanes – unless we have election pledges from every candidate and strategic policies to get London breathing. The Roadblock protest will gather in Soho Square at 18:30 sharp on Wednesday 13th July.
Journalists are very welcome to attend.