Readers' Letters

Readers' Letters

Gazette letters: Getting rid of plastic, St John Street pledge, new car spaces and council meeting chaos

PUBLISHED: 08:00 13 October 2018

A new water fountain at Liverpool Street station encouraging plastic bottle reuse. Picture: MAYOR OF LONDON

A new water fountain at Liverpool Street station encouraging plastic bottle reuse. Picture: MAYOR OF LONDON


So how are you feeling about saying goodbye to plastic in your life? asks Nicola Baird,

After David Attenborough’s breathtaking Blue Planet II TV series, everyone seemed to think disposable packaging had to stop. But long before, several local entrepreneurs were helping us use plastic less wastefully.

Tara Button was living just behind Morrisons at Nag’s Head when she decided to change the way the world shops. By 2016 she’d set up, selling items that don’t need to be disposable such as umbrellas and razors – if made to the right spec, they last a lifetime.

When it comes to food it’s easier to avoid one-use wrapping if you stay clear of supermarkets or shop’n’drop delivery. Unpackaged, founded by Catherine Conway, opened in Amwell Street in 2007. It’s closed now, but used to be a place you went with your own empty Tupperware boxes to stuff with oats, pasta, flour – anything. Ten years later this zero waste approach to shopping has caught on. All over London there are refill outlets where you fill up your own bags, while Unpackaged operates in three Planet Organic stores. Bakers, greengrocers and market stalls are also mostly plastic-wrap free, or can be if you bring a bag.

At Made In Little France, St John Street, and Borough Wines, Exmouth Market, you can refill wine bottles. Delis often let you use your own containers and Pret knocks off 50p if you bring your own coffee mug.

Avoiding plastic doesn’t tackle climate change. But living a life less throwaway (as Tara puts it in her book) makes clear how personal action can galvanise change. Sorting our plastic detritus is just the starting point.

•, set up in September 2017, is getting us all to refill our bottles at water fountains. Sadly there are none in Islington yet. Find your nearest at

Following the tragic death of Professor Bitner-Glindzicz on St John Street, it is essential to make St John Street safe for cyclists and pedestrians.

It is most welcome that Cllr Webbe has promised to make this dangerous road safer, writes David Harrison, Islington Living Streets.

This must include closing the street to through traffic to create a low pollution, safe route from the Angel to Smithfield.

It should present relatively few real problems as there are suitable alternatives for north/south motor traffic in Goswell Road and Farringdon Road. A key part of any scheme should be the creation of a fine public space south of the junction of St John Street and Cowcross Street.

Please can I clarify some of the numbers about parking spaces in last week’s letters page, writes Nicolina Cooper, head of traffic and parking service, Islington Council.

It’s true there have been approximately 3,000 Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) traffic orders in Islington in 2015 to 2018. However, this doesn’t mean thousands more car parking bays have been added to Islington’s roads during this time.

Most of these CPZ traffic orders relate to changes to existing parking bays, or changes in proposed enforcement times. Unfortunately, we cannot work out the exact number of car spaces added without working through every CPZ traffic order, and checking which bays have been added or revoked, which would take days of staff time to complete.

However, we can say thousands of new parking bays have not been added in this time.

I attended the council meeting on September 20 and I can say what took place was diabolical, disguisting, demeaning: an insult to intelligence and humanity, writes Michael McElligott, Amwell Street, Islington.

Cllr Webbe, on £50,000 a year, could not give a straight answer to a member of the public. Cllr Caluori, on £50,000 a year, had to be woken up by the chairman as he went to sleep in his chair. Cllr Russell threw a question at Cllr Hull, on £50,000 a year, but he could not answer.

Then we had some internal Labour questions to Labour people. There was a lot of back-slapping and they concluded they would e-mail each other. Then a guy jumped up as water was pouring down the walls. Even the building is crying for change.

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