Gazette letters: Low carbon appliances, bus stop countdown screens, Violence Reduction Unit and safe cyclists
- Credit: Nicola Baird
This election revolves as much around Brexit as which party offers the best routes for the future, writes Nicola Baird, Islington Green.
Loading the NHS with money is great; offering ways to deal with the climate crisis is even better. Here's just one reason.
The heating engineer doing his annual autumn service on our gas boiler has a story for me. One of his customers, who lives near the old Arsenal stand, spent the summer puzzling why his safe boiler was triggering carbon monoxide alerts.
Carbon monoxide is one of the greenhouse gases warming up the planet. It's invisible and doesn't smell, but it is highly toxic and can kill people. In the same way homes need fire alarms, when a gas boiler is installed so should a methane alarm because it detects leaks.
Turns out this alarm went off when the weather was hotter and the windows were open. The engineer stops, waiting for me to figure out what was happening. And it's frightening: this gas alarm was being triggered by the air pollution outside the house, along the road.
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We know from the Islington Gazette's big green issue (October 24) that Islington Clean Air Parents are furious about the unhealthy soup we're all forced to breathe - what the chief exec of NHS England, Simon Stevens calls a "health emergency". Everyone in Islington lives or works close to a road, especially school students. And anyone really young, old or infirm is more susceptible to toxic air. So, if you are little with asthma, or an adult with COPD then every breath starts getting tougher.
The Royal College of Physicians' report in 2016, Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution found that around 40,000 deaths are attributable to exposure to outdoor air pollution. The medics suggest six steps to breathing better air, and not one of these ideas suggests using your car more. They suggest replacing old gas appliances, improving energy efficiency and using the active travel option - bus, train, walking or cycling. We can figure out the travel bit, but to install low carbon equipment in our homes, well, that requires targeted political will, else it just won't happen.
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On a recent Sunday morning I walked up Holloway Road to Junction Road and bus stop W, four routes stop there travelling west and north, writes an Archway resident, full name and address supplied.
The countdown screen which has been there for years and which is invaluable for travellers has been removed.
I walked across Navigator Square to see what was happening at bus stop E, five routes converge there, buses going up Highgate Hill and on to Brent Cross etc.
The screen was still there but blank, dead, although other countdown screens in the area were working. I
I presume it had been switched off preparatory to it being removed.
Transport for London's (TfL) policy on countdown seems to be that, because of Google and apps and gadgets and etc, it would really rather withdraw from its obligation to provide public information. Almost every other town and city in the UK has public transport information at its bus stops, Paris has it, Rome has, even Venice with its vaporetti!!!
All a passenger has to do is glance, and there are the next 10 buses and the number of minutes before each one will arrive - nothing could be simpler, clearer or more convenient. Perhaps it is because the Elizabeth Line is going to be spaffing hundreds of millions of our pounds over the next two years that TfL wants to save a few thousand pounds and send its teams of guerrilla technicians around at dead of night removing the means of giving Londoners access to public transport information which is publicly funded and should be publicly displayed so that all can see it?
TfL and Islington Council are doing a disservice by removing bus countdown indicators in N19, writes James Thomas Emmerson, Miranda Road, Archway.
My wife and I belong to a fairly numerous sub-group who are old (82) and do not own "smart" phones. Others also depend on these handy signs, including OAPs as well as those who either cannot afford expensive gadgets or are not able to use them.
Moreover, even the "smarties" might be too pre-occupied with their screen to check arrivals
Even Archway, where we live, deserves better service. Please restore these much-needed and loved indicators.
- Do you agree? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
The widespread rollout of early intervention initiatives across the capital is key to our efforts to end the surge in serious youth violence, writes Jennette Arnold OBE AM, London Assembly Member for North East (Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest).
The Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) has been set up at City Hall to help deliver a public health approach to the issue, and recognises the importance of reaching out to the most vulnerable young Londoners before they fall into the grip of gang activity and exploitation.
Our education system also has a central role to play in tackling violent crime.
Accordingly, the mayor has recently announced an extra £4.7 million of funding through the VRU directed at reducing school exclusions, improving after-school provision and giving support to pupils struggling with the transition between primary and secondary school.
Whilst it is clear that having a strong police presence on our streets is vital for ensuring robust enforcement, it is also essential to put in place preventative measures and safeguards for the most at-risk children.
The government should bolster the efforts that City Hall is making in each of these areas by reversing the significant cuts it has made to youth services and the Met Police and reconsidering welfare reforms that have pushed many children into poverty and precarious circumstances.
May I suggest in the interests of health and safety that all cyclists be encouraged to have a bell fitted on their bikes and wear clothing that can be seen in the dark when at night, writes Ms Florence Kenna, Compton Street.
Cyclists in black clothing and sometimes with no lights nor bells are completely invisible at night and are at increased risk.
This would lead to less injuries and even less deaths of both cyclists and pedestrians.