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Caroline Russell writes about the Clean Air for Enfield meeting that took place at Bowes School on 12th January.

caroline russellCaroline Russell is a member of the Greater London Council (Green Party) and was one of the top table speakers at the Clean Air for Enfield meetingI was impressed by the people I met in Enfield and their dedication to reducing air pollution and improving their neighbourhoods when I attended a public meeting at Bowes School on the 12th January. The turnout on a cold and rainy January evening was inspiring and I was struck by the way that people wanted help from the Mayor to give them good options as alternatives to driving.

imageBowes School, where the meeting was held, was last week the focus of press attention about the dangers posed to schoolchildren by air pollutionAs soon as I arrived in Bounds Green I became aware of the community severance caused by the North circular and could understand why people end up using their cars so much for local journeys.

People called for crossings so they could get across this massive north circular easily on foot.  It’s no wonder people get in their cars when the streets feel like, and are designed as, motorways.

There was real passion and depth of feeling, as campaigners, councillors and council officers discussed actions needed to reduce air pollution and tackle congestion.

It was clear everyone was fed up with the traffic clogging their road and people on those roads carrying the bulk of through traffic were particular keen to find solutions.

People also wanted bus lanes and protected bike lanes along the north circular and solutions for side roads that avoid pitting the residents of one road against residents of another.  Filtering the side roads to cut out rat running and provide more people friendly places could be a solution.

It was brilliant to hear Clare Rogers from Better Streets for Enfield talking passionately about school gate play streets and low traffic neighbourhoods and good to hear her ideas getting such a positive reception – I do hope they can be brought in.

This week I questioned the Mayor about the way his new walking and cycling commissioner will work and suggested a visit to Enfield to learn from residents about what’s needed to help people drive less.

It was good to hear Councillor Daniel Anderson explain that Enfield Council wants the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to extend beyond the North Circular, to include the whole of Enfield.

It is so important that Enfield and other parts of outer London are not left out. I am determined not to let that happen and it is an issue I will continue to raise with the Mayor while his plans for ULEZ and other pollution-cutting measures develop.

In summary, I came away knowing that people need London level policies to support traffic reduction, local polices to make the streets safer and people friendly and above all we must know that we can trust the air we breathe.

I would like to thank everyone who was involved in the meeting for inviting me. If we all work together we can improve air quality in Bowes and Enfield.

If anyone wants to make their voice heard they can sign this 38 degree petition by February 26 so I can present it to the Mayor to show the level of public support for this issue.

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Karl Brown's Avatar
Karl Brown posted a reply #3557 19 Jan 2018 16:24
“We know that people who live in city centres and near busy roads – often those on the lowest incomes in society – are most likely to be exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution. Epidemiological studies reveal that long term exposure to this kind of pollution reduces life-expectancy, mainly through an increased risk of mortality from cardiovascular and respiratory conditions, and lung cancer.”

Source: HMG: A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment, Chapter 4, Part 2, page 99.

Reading this almost exactly three years since I attended a UCL presentation with a small number of journalists and others to hear leading UK researchers outline the emerging air quality disaster, world research underway, various results evident but not yet peer “proven” and finally, and in particular, the need for all present to promote that message with the strength and intent it so required, is incredible - from zero to HMG acknowledgment in a core strategy paper in three years really is something. We all now just have to hope they do more than simply acknowledge the facts.

Why not do your little bit and support a move for the Ultra Low Emission Zone to extend to cover all of Enfield – the consolation is open with a link under “Current Consultations”, top left of the PGC site. Now, perhaps?

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