Gazette letters: Beautiful crane, barbecues, Labour, personal thanks and council spending

'Beautiful crane' Picture: MAVIS PILBEAM

'Beautiful crane' Picture: MAVIS PILBEAM - Credit: Mavis Philbeam

I took this photo on a Saturday night at 10pm from my bedroom window, writes Mavis Pilbeam, Archway, full address supplied.

It shows the big crane at Archway.

I thought you might like to see it – I love the red light on the top.

The blocks at Archway have long been an eyesore – but they are now being done up.

I can see the crane from my back window.

You may also want to watch:

A couple of nights ago it looked almost romantic, framed with chimney pots in the after-sunset glow – especially the warning light that shines out like a red planet.

Just goes to show that even cranes can be beautiful!

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You report on the levels of smoke from barbecues and the way Cllr Claudia Webbe has dismissed health concerns about the pollutants in this smoke (“Highbury Fields is not like Beijing”, July 7), writes Lucia, Highbury Fields, full address supplied.

I notice, however, she has refused to say if the council is accepting liability for the health consequences of its policy to allow barbecues.

The pollutant that all users of the Fields should be worried about is a particulate called PM2.5. The World Health Organisation has stated that there is no safe level of this pollutant. It is linked to respiratory diseases and lung cancer and even short-term exposure can be dangerous.

If you measure these pollutants over a year, the median level will of course be low, but when on sunny days there are dozens of barbecues, then the levels of PM2.5 can be very high indeed. One study shows that some extremely high levels of PM2.5 were recorded in close proximity to the lit barbecues on Highbury Fields (reaching shocking levels of over 700 microgrammes per cubic metre).

As barbecue users, often with young children in tow, tend to congregate close to each smoky barbecue unit, they breathe in pollutants and toxins, sometimes for hours. Many people who do not have gardens depend on the Fields for fresh air – is it right that they should be exposed to dangerous toxins instead? Children are particularly vulnerable and they should be able to play in the fields and the adjoining playground without breathing in these invisible particulates that can stunt their lung growth and increase the risk of respiratory illnesses.

This is why Save Highbury Fields is calling on the council to ban barbecues on the fields (they also cause hundreds of burn marks) and instead promote picnics. This way we can all enjoy the Fields.

When an organisation splits, it is only very rarely that the two resulting organisations come together again, write Florence and Ivor Kenna, Compton Street, Islington.

They tend to diverge more and more.

Such is the case with divorced couples. Such was the case when Ramsay MacDonald’s National Labour split away from the Labour Party. Such will be the case with the 172 MPs who have refused to work with the Labour Party’s elected leadership.

Constituency Labour parties might as well start considering suitable replacements for the 172 splitters.

I am writing to you to firstly express my thanks for the many messages and the support I have been sent by email and social media [in light of the racist abuse he suffered in a supermarket – Gazette, July 7], writes Cllr Raphael Andrews.

I have been deeply touched and moved that so many people have taken the time to express their disgust at what has happened to me. Once, again thank you all.

I would also like to respond to the many requests I have had from people in Clerkenwell and the rest of Islington for me to deal with the rising level of racism that has been taking place since the Referendum vote. I voted to support Islington Labour’s Full Council motion against racism and also took part in the “Say NO to Hate Crime” rally at Highbury Fields, where I was a steward for the event.

I would like to thank Cllr Richard Watts and MPs Emily Thornberry and Jeremy Corbyn who came to support it. Let me assure you all I will continue in my work to make Islington and especially Clerkenwell a fairer, better and more welcoming place for everyone to live and work, whatever their race or religion.

We are informed by the leader of the council there may be some funding shortfall issues for certain services in Islington as a consequence of our departure from the EU, writes Michael McElligott, Amwell Street, Islington.

Yet if we look at certain areas of council spending we see one million is spent on communications and PR.

The people of Islington should be put before the political PR needs of local politicians.

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