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Readers' Letters

Readers' Letters

Gazette letters: Cycling in Islington, cycling in Islington and, er, cycling in Islington

PUBLISHED: 14:12 21 December 2017 | UPDATED: 14:25 21 December 2017

John Ackers, of Cycle Islington, at the Active Travel Now cycle lane protest in Penton Street this morning. Picture: Polly Hancock

John Ackers, of Cycle Islington, at the Active Travel Now cycle lane protest in Penton Street this morning. Picture: Polly Hancock

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This council administration is committed to making Islington a fairer place for all, writes Cllr Claudia Webbe, environment and transport boss, Islington Council.

Air quality: Claudia Webbe with a recently installed electric vehicle charger. Picture: Islington CouncilAir quality: Claudia Webbe with a recently installed electric vehicle charger. Picture: Islington Council

With road users competing for safe space and children breathing polluted air from diesel vehicles, this commitment rightly includes providing safe and healthy streets for local people.

I am determined that this council will leave behind a legacy of reducing the number of people injured or killed on roads in Islington to zero, reducing the proportion of trips made by motor vehicles and improving air quality.

We want to support local people so they can lead healthier lives. That is why Islington’s transport strategy commits us to promoting active travel and reducing the negative impact of motor vehicles. We are doing this by providing safe routes to estates, implementing cycle improvement plans and more.

Islington is a borough of firsts on improving the transport environment. From implementing a borough-wide 20mph speed limit on our own roads, to introducing a diesel surcharge on resident parking permits and short-stay parking, to campaigning for the removal of dangerous gyratories, we are working to make our streets safer for pedestrians, cyclists and all road users.

Our work is not over yet. We will continue to work with local residents and our community to make our streets safer and reduce road danger to zero.

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In your editorial last week “Islington’s Labour group needs to get off the defensive about cycling” you suggest: “Islington has different needs and a different budget from other boroughs, and TfL controls a lot of its biggest problem streets.” That sounds like it’s come straight from the Islington Council press office, writes John Ackers, Highbury Grove, Highbury.

The lack of money isn’t the problem, it’s the lack of strategy and ambition. Last month, Hackney Council was allocated £10m under the TfL Liveable Neighbourhood programme. Islington Council also bid and got nothing. The pot of money is limited and the Transport for London on the mayor’s behalf award the boroughs with the most ambitious plans.

Hackney started with a strong hand. They are very committed to getting people out of their cars and living more active lifestyles. That is clearly laid out in a set of strong policies on walking, cycling and Liveable Neighbourhoods written in 2015. It’s very dry and boring but it demonstrates to TfL what the council is thinking and is trying to achieve. They deserved to win the £10m award.

Islington last updated its transport strategy in 2011. It was a hazy document at the time and now it just looks embarrassing. It’s very possible that Cllrs Richard Watts and Claudia Webbe don’t appreciate how just much ground they have to cover to catch up with their neighbours.

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Nice to see that party political point-scoring doesn’t stop just because we are in the advent to Christmas, writes Anita Frizzarin, Wedmore Gardens, Tufnell Park.

Was it really necessary for Labour’s Cllr Claudia Webbe, transport executive, on full council night December 7, 2017, to remove the link between safe roads and public health, just because the relevant motion – based on Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn’s own stated views – was put forward by Cllr Caroline Russell, who is in the Green Party?

Part of Cllr Russell’s motion read: “This means linking public health outcomes to transport spending and aiming for zero people killed on our roads.” That was removed by Cllr Webbe from the motion. The 47 loyal flock of Labour councillors – or rather the rump who bothered turning up in the town hall on full council night – enthusiastically voted for the truncation and then for the truncated version, of course. Cllr Russell was later accused of opportunism by Cllr Webbe on Twitter, because Cllr Russell voted for the amended version of the motion herself.

Is it the case perhaps that Cllr Webbe can hold her party colleagues to ransom because a woman is needed on the council executive for the sake of gender balance and Cllr Webbe knows – or thinks – she cannot currently be replaced?

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It is always lovely to see the mayor, writes Sebastian Sandys, Islington Green Party.

Especially so last Sunday at the carol service at my local parish church, St Clement’s Finsbury.

Stepping back from the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping and putting our political differences aside we were able to enjoy the carols and the hospitality of St Clement’s.

As we saw last week at the council meeting the differences between the Green Party and the Labour Party in Islington are often flung into sharp relief but it is always good, especially at times like Christmas, to step back and remember that we are all working for the best interests of the residents of Islington.

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