Campaigners have staged a dramatic “die-in” as part of an air pollution protest involving up to 250 people outside the Department for Transport this evening.
The crowd gathered in Horseferry Road, Westminster, at 5pm with some carrying placards and wearing face masks.
They were joined at the demonstration by Green Party mayoral candidate Sian Berry and transport campaigner Tom Kearney.
Protesters later lay down on the road in a demonstration of the effects of air pollution on people’s health.
Organisers Stop Killing Cyclists claim 9,500 people are dying in London every year while 95,000 live with illnesses such as lung disease, heart problems and cancers caused by toxic smog.
Stop Killing Cyclists founder Donnachadh McCarthy said up to 250 people had attended the protest, with most of them lying on the ground for 15 minutes in respect for people who have died from air pollution.
He said: “We want to raise public awareness of the fact the Government has been reducing the cost of poisonous diesel. We want investment in safer transport, cycling and banning diesel engines from London.”
Along with calling for 10 per cent of Transport for London’s budget to be spent on cycling, Mr McCarthy’s group are also campaigning to ban cars from the roads at times when London is in breach of EU air pollution limits.
He said: “The main thing is it shouldn’t be the people who are suffering, the elderly and children with asthma, that stay inside. It should be the car drivers.
“We want a city fit for humans and children.”