Dixon Clark Court, LTNs, Covid, old railways and winter safety

Campaign group Save The Trees, whose members have fought against felling the trees at Dixon Clark Co

Save The Trees have fought against felling the trees at Dixon Clark Court for the past year - Credit: Save The Trees

Cycling once more

Jill Ellenby, Highbury, full address supplied, writes: 

I’m writing to express my support for Islington Council’s low-traffic neighbourhood (LTN) schemes.  

One has recently started in my area and, already, the roads seem quieted and more human.

I’m in my 60s and became more confident cycling again in the previous lockdown after many years of being fearful of cycling on London roads.

The new LTNs will certainly help to cement this into a normal habit which will be great. 
I know that these schemes are designed to reduce traffic generally and lower carbon emissions. It’s vital that this is done as soon as possible. We can’t wait for electric cars and further greening of bus fleets, we need to act now, as the council is.

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I’m really looking forward to warmer and drier weather (and being out of lockdown) for get-togethers on the street and more cycling.  

Data on the LTNs

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R Walford, Islington, full address supplied, writes:

Some low-traffic neighbourhoods have been in place long enough now that some reliable data is available, and there’s lots of good news, here.

Many results come from the large LTNs installed in Waltham Forest in 2015. The evidence dispels many of the myths that are perpetrated about LTNs.

The evidence shows that LTNs increase the amount of walking and cycling that residents do, much more so than, for example, just the introduction of a cycle lane.

This means that people are healthier. Car ownership reduced, more than in areas with other walking or cycling schemes.

Road safety within the LTN improved by about 70 per cent (for those both outside and inside vehicles), while the effect on boundary roads was neutral.

The effect on street crime is impressive - there was a 10pc reduction in street crime inside the LTNs, with larger decreases for violent crime.

This effect increased over time, with an estimated 18pc reduction after three years. No crime displacement to adjacent areas.

Emergency response times showed no negative impact. Fire Brigade response times were unchanged inside LTNs, and slightly faster on boundary roads. This lack of negative impact is in line with the views of the London Fire Brigade’s borough commander.

At a scheme in Dulwich, manual counts indicated that between 2018 and 2020, the number of cyclists doubled around a new filter, relative to a control site. The estimated number of children cycling to school increased by seven times.

More and more people are understanding the benefits that LTNs can bring to Islington, and joining our support group.

Covid safety for firefighters

A fire at a waste disposal centre in Silvertown is now under control, with no injuries reported. Pic

David Brewerton and Jeremy Drew say that according to the Fire Brigades Union, fire service management want workers to return without a negative PCR test - Credit: London Fire Brigade

David Brewerton and Jeremy Drew, Islington Green Party, full address supplied, write:

We wish to bring to the attention of readers a problem with the treatment of fire workers.
There are many heroes of the pandemic, and we owe such a debt of gratitude to all those frontline workers who have enabled the rest of us to continue to function.

So it is distressing to hear that our brave and dedicated firefighters are being denied a previously agreed basic safety measure.

Firefighters have carried out many public service duties, such as driving ambulances and also moving the bodies of people who died of Covid-19. Before returning to normal duties, they previously had to submit a negative PCR test, for the obvious reason that if they returned while carrying the virus they could infect the whole station. You can’t socially distance in a fire engine.

But, according to the Fire Brigades Union, fire service management now want to allow workers to return to work without a negative PCR test.

This is not good enough. They should retain the test as it keeps us all safer.

If you have to dial 999, you don’t want to phone a fire station where many of the firefighters have contracted the virus which was brought in by one of their colleagues.

Calling on MPs

Alex Hofford, Islington, full address supplied, writes: 

Neither of Islington’s elected MPs Jeremy Corbyn and Emily Thornberry have commented publicly on the imminent felling of mature and healthy trees at Highbury Corner’s Dixon Clark Court. 

As the old adage goes, fixing climate change begins at home.

Therefore I recall with anger and disappointment the empty exhortations of our two MPs as they pledged on the Town Hall steps in June 2019 that they would do everything in their power to help combat the negative effects of climate change.

That was when Islington Council declared their climate emergency. Empty words indeed. 
Looking forward, should any Islington residents like to help us save magnificent Highbury trees which are due for the chop (depending on which way a High Court judge rules on January 29), please email your MP as soon as possible to urge them to ask Islington Council’s blinkered leadership to change course.

Restoring railways

Florence and Ivor Kenna, Compton Street, Islington, write:

Now that public opinion is going against pollution from private road transport, we need to think about reopening the public rail network, much of which was closed in the 1960s as a result of the Beeching proposals.

Rail transport is, and was, comfortable, convenient and comprehensive both for passengers and for goods. Few villages were without railway stations or halts.
The only disadvantage of rail before Beeching was steam or diesel engines puffing out pollution.

Even this was much less than the pollution caused by private road transport.
Private road transport is not better today. On the other hand, rail transport is being electrified.

The ongoing split in the Labour Party between the Starmerites and the Corbynistas enables us to ask a few questions about which faction would be better at restoring Britain’s rail network.

Remembering that the rail closures took place in the 1960s under a left Labour government and that the Beeching closures were, in fact, signed off by the very Labour leftwing minister of transport, Barbara Castle, it should not be assumed that the left will do the right thing.

Perhaps Sir Keir Starmer and Jeremy Corbyn will let readers know their views on this matter.

Winter safety

Mayor Philip Glanville, chair of London Councils’ transport and environment committee, writes: 

London boroughs are prepared for the winter season with 75,000 tonnes of salt available at key locations across the capital for quick and easy access to deal with the challenge of frozen roads and pavements.

In colder months, boroughs take responsibility for helping to ensure their most important routes are free of frost and ice and safe to use.

Highway teams continue to monitor high-tech weather forecasts, ready to treat the roads and pavements with salt as soon as conditions demand it. Councils will be keeping people up-to-date about forecasts, road conditions and salting activity. 

Boroughs understand how important it is to keep the roads safe. As a direct impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, car usage has unfortunately increased which means the issue of congestion and road safety affects a huge number of Londoners.

Although at present lockdown restrictions mean travel is limited to local areas, London’s boroughs are working hard to ensure it is as safe as possible for all road users, including pedestrians, to carry out their journeys.

We are also asking that Londoners be vigilant throughout the colder months to make sure their neighbours are okay.

If you notice milk bottles left outside, newspapers stuck in the letterbox or curtains drawn all day, or any other activity out of the ordinary, it could be a sign that someone in your community needs help.

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