Gazette letters: Quietway 10, plastic pollution and Caledonian Park visitor centre

Anita Frizzarin at the town hall last year. Picture: THOMAS COOPER

Anita Frizzarin at the town hall last year. Picture: THOMAS COOPER - Credit: Archant

Starting from March 2018, all local road schemes will be evaluated by Transport for London according to their “healthy streets” indicators, writes Anita Frizzarin, Wedmore Gardens, Archway.

These indicators include: “Does the street provide an attractive environment for walking and cycling?”, “Will people walking and cycling think the street has been designed with their needs in mind?” and “Have steps been taken to reduce the effect of motorised traffic on people walking and cycling, local businesses, and residents?”

One project that will be evaluated according to these criteria, and more detailed ones, is Quietway 10, which joins Finsbury Park to Clerkenwell. As currently proposed, Quietway 10 does not envisage a reduction of motorised traffic, and will not provide a route people on foot or bicycle will think has been designed with them in mind. The rat race will be maintained, and car parking -– such as at the corner between Thornhill Road and Offord Road – will keep obstructing the way of people on bicycles.

It would seem, therefore, that the Islington officers who design such things will have to be paid twice, the first time for drawing plans (which has already happened) that Transport for London will reject, and the second time for drawing plans that Transport for London will approve. Quietways in side streets are part of Sadiq Khan’s plans for London.

Is that a wise use of public money? Has any of our politicians considered telling officers they have to comply with the “healthy streets” criteria?

I was interested in the story of Anthony Wilkinson and his campaign against plastic straws in Islington, writes Mike Crowson, Islington Green Party.

Suddenly everybody is alarmed about the scale of plastic pollution, especially after Richard Attenborough’s TV programme showing what it does to wildlife and the oceans. Single-issue campaigns with clear limits have sometimes been very successful – lead in petrol and the effect of CFCs on the ozone layer are good examples, where we now take the results of the campaign as a given. I hope Anthony is just as successful.

Plastic is so universal and convenient that we almost don’t notice it. Every single-use coffee cup contains plastic and the UK has only two facilities with the equipment for recycling them. A plastic “squeezy” bottle of sauce or ketchup is more convenient; liquid soap in a plastic dispenser is handy; supermarket and drug store shelves are heavy with single use plastic bottles of shampoo and conditioner and much washing and washing up liquid and clothes freshener is in single-use plastic bottles too. Even wet wipes – guilty of blocking our sewers – are not biodegradable because of the plastic they contain. And every plastic handled toothbrush ever made in 40+ years still exists today!

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Of course plastic does have advantages – a single-use plastic bottle of water is lighter than lugging around my much heaver reusable bottle filled with water, and I also lug around a plastic carrier bag and reusable takeaway coffee cup. I had a brain tumour, which means I need to use a straw – I carry my own, wash and re-use them.

There are things we can do – charging for plastic bags has helped and charging manufacturers a levy on their packaging if it can’t be recycled might help. If every bottle and can was worth money – as is the case in Norway and Sweden – we’d be less likely to just dump them, but the answer lies in our laziness in saving the planet. Take a plastic spoon or fork – make the plastic, mould it into a spoon or fork, transport it by road to a cafe or supermarket, use it once then throw it away, just because we can’t be bothered to wash a metal one.

Even Islington town hall uses single-use plastic glasses in its committee rooms to save arranging a cleaner to wash reusable ones!

Once again Islington Council has shown its contempt for our Parkside community by demanding major increases to the opening hours of their Caledonian Park visitor centre before it is even built, writes Mike Power, Clock View Crescent, Islington.

Despite the centre being very close to our homes they also now plan to hire it out for “private functions and parties”.

Eighteen months ago, at the height of a vigorous campaign that demonstrated the strength of local feeling, councillors promised strictly limited hours for the centre. These opening hours were meant to ensure the local community would not unduly suffer noise, disruption, litter, anti-social behaviour, and traffic pollution and parking problems. But our councillors did not mean it. Their main aim is to make money from the park – so now our councillors are favouring “profit before people” – as they have never had a proper business plan for the visitor centre or the cafe, and are facing a large financial deficit.

A very special peaceful part of Caledonian Park has been ruined since building began. Trees have been smashed down, and beds of flowers and shrubs have been ripped up. Now, these new proposals have led to renewed angry responses from local residents and park users. Objections can be submitted online by March 1 at using ref number P2017/4433/S73.

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