Greens have come under an astonishing attack from the Leader of the Council in Islington recently when he accused us of pushing for action on air pollution because an election was approaching. This followed a frankly offensive letter from the Executive member in charge of this issue making the same accusation and accusing us of 'petty politics'..
Never mind the fact that we have been campaigning on this issue for years-see the results of our own research in 2011, but Greens- myself included- have been recipients of Clean Air London awards for our work in this area!
|Collecting my Clean Air in London Award from Simon Birkett|
Darren Johnson and Jenny Jones, our fantastic Greens in the London Assembly, have been absolutely determined in the pressure they are putting on our arrogant and useless Mayor and this work is very much cross party. We have always supported the Council putting pressure on TfL and the Mayor, not that they have ever asked for our help, in spite of them claiming we have refused to work with them.
But the simple fact is that following through with one Green Party initiative, 20mph, just simply isn't enough.
People are dying in Islington. Its great to see that the community are on board with this issue, as evidenced by the letter page of last week's Tribune being full of practical ideas from non party political local residents.
|Residents have their say on air pollution and call for action.|
Here are a few of our suggestions for the Council:
- Stop encouraging short journeys by ditching roamer parking.
- Prioritise cycle parking, instead of increasing short stay parking.
- Work with local businesses to encourage clients to travel on foot and by bike - they spend more anyway.
- Work with Arsenal to renegotiate their travel plan; it's clearly not working.
- Strengthen rules on car free developments and use planning policy more widely to encourage walking and cycling.
- Plant trees, enforce vehicle idling restrictions and value our streets as places for people not just for vehicles.
The council shifting the blame for air pollution is a serious dereliction of duty. To say so is not party politics, it's a matter much, much more serious than that. The new figures that prompted Labour's attack confirm it is a matter of life and death.
The Labour Party have made an error trying to demean our efforts, the community know we've been working on this for years and know exactly who is playing petty politics.
However while air pollution continues to kill and disable people in Islington and beyond Greens of course continue to be more than happy to work with those across the political spectrum to tackle this problem. We look forward to hearing from the Council on how we can help and genuinely offer our suggestions and assistance in a positive spirit of cooperation.