Lambeth council’s cabinet member for environment and sustainability Jennifer Brathwaite has challenged London mayor Boris Johnson over promises of a greener fleet of buses to reduce pollution.
She told him in a letter that Lambeth has some of the worst air pollution in the UK.
Its effects have led leading civil rights lawyer Jocelyn Cockburn to seek ways to challenge pollution on the Brixton Road in court.
Cllr Brathwaite said reports had revealed that some hybrid buses are running solely on diesel so the promised reduction in emissions from London’s bus fleet is not being met.
Transport for London was supposed to upgrade London’s entire bus fleet to meet EU emission standards by 2015. This would entail fitting 1,800 older buses with selective cataytic reduction (SCR) and replacing the rest of the fleet with new hybrid Routemasters.
Cllr Brathwaite’s letter asked the mayor for a list of buses travelling through Brixton and Streatham which have been modified to meet European Union (EU) directives on pollution or are new hybrid buses, and if any of these buses are experiencing problems which forces them to run on diesel alone.
The mayor forecast that introduction of hybrid vehicles would reduce emissions of deadly mono-nitrogen oxides from buses serving Brixton and Streatham by around 75% by 2020 compared to 2014 levels.
Cllr Brathwaite asked if any figures were available which indicated a downwards trend in emissions from buses in Brixton and Streatham.
Cllr Brathwaite has written to John Whittingdale, the secretary of state for culture media and sport, calling on him to make it easier for local authorities to remove disused roadside telephone boxes.
They served no purpose other than as magnets for anti-social behaviour including drug-taking, she said.
Only BT has the power to remove a box and Cllr Brathwaite said the company charges around £10,000 a box to do so.