Road Safety News

Campaign group to stage DfT ‘die-in’ protest

Thursday 3rd March 2016

The campaign group Stop Killing Cyclists is to stage a protest outside the DfT to highlight the more than 9,500 Londoners it says are “poisoned to death each year by transport pollution”. (Road.CC)

The group, known for organising a series of ‘die-ins’, is calling on supporters to meet at 5.00pm on 27 April to protest against government policy which it says does too little to tackle air pollution.

It is calling for a ban on private cars in London on occasions when EU air quality levels are broken, with a total ban on diesel cars within five years and all fossil fuel engines within 10 years.

Donnachadh McCarthy, co-founder of Stop Killing Cyclists, says the government is blocking progress on cutting pollution through measures including increasing taxes on greener cars and reducing taxes on more polluting vehicles.

In November 2015, the London Assembly called for a ban on lorries from the city’s streets during rush-hour, a move that was criticised the Freight Transport Association.

In a seperate Road.CC report, Chris Boardman said a cycling strategy is the key to reducing the estimated 23,500 premature deaths each year caused by air pollution, a situation he says should be treated as a "national emergency".

Donnachadh McCarthy said: “The [Stop Killing Cyclists] organising committee have decided we needed to stage a pollution protest, as over 9,500 Londoners are being poisoned to death each year by transport pollution.

“This includes about 3,800 bike owners, which dwarfs the 15 killed by traffic every year (up to introduction of latest truck safety measures).

“It is truly horrendous that London's traffic pollution is stunting the development children's lungs, thus disabling them for life.

“But we currently have no policy other than promoting cycling infrastructure and making cycling safer for everyone.”


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Oh dear! More unfounded alarmism from the usual suspects. From a global point of view, 80% of air pollution is caused by people in poor countries burning wood and dung, not fossil fuels. In case no one noticed, UK life expectancy from birth has reached record levels and the pension age keeps being raised as a result. All the factors that influence life expectancy in the UK, including genetics, life style, wealth, medical advances, environment etc are strongly positive overall. Can anyone name just one person with air pollution as a cause of death? No! Plus any claimed reduced life expectancy could amount to a matter of hours, days, or weeks rather than years. Part of the problem is how these air pollution death figures are estimated - they are based on 'life years' lost rather than actual deaths, using 'scientific models' of the average concentration of air pollution in a given area, compared to the number of deaths (presumably from all causes) in a single year. Hence it is impossible to identify the magnitude of air pollution as a contributory factor in deaths. The fact is that, aside from a few largely unexplained recent upticks, air quality is the best it has ever been in the UK since the 1990 baseline. National Average UK life expectancy from birth: Men 78, Women 82
Kensington & Chelsea: Men 85, Women 90
(Average salary: £88,000)
Glasgow: Men 71, Women 78
(Average salary: £23,500)
Source: ONS
Paul Biggs, Staffordshire

Agree (13) | Disagree (8)

I just wish this event was organised for sooner, 27th of March would be preferable, or even next week. I'm surprised so few people are taking this danger as seriously as they should.
TJ London

Agree (3) | Disagree (9)