Gazette letters: Policing, tree cull, Emily Thornberry, electric cars and World Cancer Day

The Mayor of London has made funds available to the Met Police. Picture: MPS

The Mayor of London has made funds available to the Met Police. Picture: MPS - Credit: MPS

Last week, the latest funding announcement from the Home Office left the Met Police significantly short-changed once again, writes Jennette Arnold OBE, London Assembly member for North East (Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest).

Over the last few years, the Mayor of London has invested hundreds of millions into the Met to try and plug the gaps left by a decade of Government austerity- the total of which is almost £1 billion.

Efforts taken by City Hall have meant police officer numbers have started to recover, with 31,000 now in place across our capital. Policing operations have also been bolstered by the establishment of a dedicated Violent Crime Taskforce which has been successful in taking some of the most dangerous criminals off our streets.

Alongside implementing tough enforcement measures, such as the GPS tagging of offenders, City Hall is also focussing on tackling the myriad causes of violent crime, with the mayor launching the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) in 2018, as a public health approach model.

Since this time, the VRU has facilitated the investment of millions of pounds into the work of community groups, schools and the health sector to clamp down on youth and domestic violence.

In your article of December 3 you quote Cllr Diarmaid Ward as saying "We are looking at the petition [to save seven trees at Highbury Corner] and we are genuinely looking at a way to resolve it, writes Conor McHugh, Stop tree slaughter at Highbury Corner, full address supplied.

You may also want to watch:

It's very important to build council homes but trees are also very important," .

Since then he has informed residents by letter that the council is designing in anti-pollution measures that will be so effective (30 years hence, at any rate) that these trees will not be needed.

Most Read

Will he tell the world what solutions he looked at to save these trees, because he doesn't mention any to us, not even the glaringly obvious one.

That is to move the planned large private block (with not a square inch of social or affordable housing in it) a few metres, so that it leaves the screen of trees alongside Canonbury Road intact.

In a climate and ecological emergency it is absolutely crazy to axe these healthy, mature trees when they could be saved so easily.

I urge anyone passing by Highbury Corner to take a good look at how these seven trees and their few non-threatened companions form a screen against the illegal levels of pollution on the A1. Remember this leafy view so that you can compare it with the concrete canyon that is to come.

Remember Cllr Ward and his promise that "...trees are also very important".

It's not my party, so maybe I shouldn't comment, but Emily Thornberry's bid for the Labour leadership (reported in Gazette) would be more convincing if she'd had the moral courage to leave the shadow cabinet when Jeremy Corbyn made his decision to allow Boris Johnson a single-issue general election, writes Andrew Myer, Islington Green Party.

If she thought he was so wrong at the time and it would be disastrous for the country, as so many of us did, surely she should have resigned? For many people it will be hard to forget or forgive Labour's choice to enable an election on Brexit rather than a People's Vote, which has lumbered us not just with a poor Leave deal and a rocky future but also five years of a massive Boris Johnson majority.

So which aspect of her character does Ms Thornberry now think makes her a suitable candidate for high office? Her inability to persuade friends and colleagues to her strongly held belief? Her lack of strength of conviction to do the right thing when they disagreed? Her ability to apply 20:20 hindsight after it's all gone horribly wrong? Or just her stated preference for the outdated First-past-the-post system that gave the Tories that majority, despite more than half the country voting for parties committed to a People's Vote?

Islington council's "climate emergency" has turned out to be hot air, making a mockery of Claudia Webb's demands for an "urgent and comprehensive response", writes Alex Cox, Finsbury Park.

In one of the borough's pollution hot spots, Highbury Corner, the council is going ahead with felling 18 trees in Dixon Clark Court.

The council inaccurately justifies this tragedy as social housing or the trees, when new builds and nearly half of these trees could easily live side by side.

However, the current plans to kill all these trees mean greater pollution for those who will live in the proposed social housing, how is this making our borough a "fairer place for all"?

It seems that operators of the proposed supermarket delivery hub in St George's ward have written to Islington Council offering to run a 100 per cent electric fleet in place of the diesel vehicles they originally planned, writes Meg Howarth, Ellington Street, Islington.

lt's believed that Ocado has signed a lease with landlord Telereal Trillium (TT). Telereal is in turn owned by the William Pears Group. The Pears Foundation which, amongst other matters, supports research into the treatment of heart disease and other chronic medical conditions. A British Heart Foundation report published this year stresses the "seriously detrimental effect to heart health" of particulate matter found particularly in diesel exhaust emissions - Astonishing, therefore, that TT ever agreed the use of its land for a toxic operation slap-bang up against Yerbury Primary School.

So far, so good, then, that Ocado appears to have listened to local opposition from parents and staff.

But it is worth remembering that electric vehicles are themselves not emissions-free - producing as they do the most damaging, particulate (PM2) pollution from brake and tyre-wear and dust from roads.

The financial costs which Ocado might claim can clearly easily be borne. It's not only air quality being put at risk. More vehicle movements to and from the site, increase the road-danger risks, particularly to young children.

World Cancer Day 2020 is fast approaching on February 4, which is a great time to raise funds and vital awareness locally for children and young people with cancer, writes Helen Lam, CLIC Sargent, fundraising and engagement manager, London and Middlesex.

Cancer doesn't care about your education, your plans, your future. It can turn up at any time. That's why CLIC Sargent is here to stop it destroying young lives.

With your support this World Cancer Day, CLIC Sargent, the UK's leading cancer charity for children and young people, can reach more families and help minimise the damage cancer causes to young people. We need volunteers to help collect donations in Stamford Hill and Stratford Morrisons from February 1 - 4, 2020.

Doing bucket collections is fun and rewarding - especially when you do it with friends. Show your support and sign up at or call our supporter engagement team who will be happy to help on 0300 330 0803. You can also make a difference by donating £2 and getting your very own special Band Against Cancer wristband. They come in three limited edition colours and are available from or your local Morrisons store and JD Wetherspoon pubs.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter