Sadiq Khan has been accused of greenwashing his political policies as London Mayor after launching a ‘clean air’ podcast aimed at ‘helping lead the fight against climate change’.
The weekly clean air podcast hosted by Kahn on LBC, raised concerns after mayoral aides said there were no plans for an episode on the Silvertown tunnel. A topic that is arguably the most controversial proposal during Khan’s time in office due to concerns it would worsen air quality.
“Any guests appearing on this new podcast should know they’re participating in a cynical PR offensive designed to greenwash dirty, climate-wrecking, policy,” said a spokesperson for the Stop the Silvertown Tunnel Coalition.
Tunnelling work on the £2bn tunnel under the Thames began earlier this month and will link Newham to the Greenwich peninsula via a 1.4 km road tunnel and is due to open by 2025.
Leader of the Green party in the London Assembly Sian Berry commented: “Perhaps the mayor could invite the leaders of local councils, campaigners, and others onto his podcast and hear from them why building a new urban motorway is unacceptable.”
Khan has argued the tunnel is needed to tackle congestion at the Blackwall tunnel, where queues can often stretch miles. It will be inside the ultra-low emission zone, introduced by Khan in 2019 – meaning any vehicles that fail to meet the exhaust emission rules will have to pay a daily charge.
Announcing the podcast, LBC said Khan would speak to “public leaders, politicians, environmental activists and celebrities from around the world who are helping lead the fight against climate change.”
The first episode, with Shadow Secretary of State for Climate Change and Net Zero Ed Miliband who announced plans on Monday to make Britain zero-carbon power by 2030, will be released on Tuesday next week.
“This summer we’ve seen deadly heatwaves, destructive wildfires, and dangerous flooding across the UK and the world,” said Khan. “At times, the threat posed by climate change can seem overwhelming, but there are inspiring people across the globe – of all ages and backgrounds – determined to help tackle this crisis head on.
“Clear the Air invites us to take a breath and reflect on the challenges facing our planet, the scale of the action needed to meet them and the steps we can all take to help secure a safer, fairer and greener future for all.”
A mayoral aide said Khan’s own policies were likely to be mentioned, but the podcast would focus primarily on the guests and their experience of seeking to tackle climate change.
Spokeswoman for the Stop the Silvertown Tunnel Coalition, Victoria Rance added: “Sadiq Khan talks about air quality and his achievements while ignoring the fact that over 16,000 children attend schools by Silvertown Tunnel approach roads in Greenwich and a similar number in Newham.
“Already these schools are overwhelmed by HGVs building the tunnel, and when it’s opened the HGV lanes will bring thousands more vehicles directly past them. Parents have started moving children out of these schools.
“Sadiq Khan refuses to discuss our concerns about children’s health and the damage his toxic project will cause both short and long term to the health of residents, and especially our children here.”
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