Gazette letters:Climate change, LTNs, police plan and feed the vulnerable

Christmas lights on Islington Town Hall. As the festive season is approaching, wed love to see what decorations youre putti...

Christmas lights on Islington Town Hall. As the festive season is approaching, wed love to see what decorations youre putting up this year. Lets brighten up our streets and put a smile on our neighbours faces as we head into an unusual Christmas season. Email gazette.letters@archant.co.uk with photos. Picture: Andre Langlois. - Credit: Archant

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Gazette readers this week.

Does tree felling fit with climate emergency goals?

Mrs F McRae, Islington, full address supplied, writes:

Just as I learned the welcome news that a court had granted a brief stay of execution for the seven mature trees in Dixon Clark Court, I have received from Islington Council news of two landmark reports which outline how Islington Council can create “a greener, healthier, fairer borough for all”.

One of these reports draws attention to Islington’s intention to “create a net zero carbon Islington by 2030” and to the council’s declaration last year of a climate emergency.


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Yet anyone who has walked through Highbury Corner in the past month has seen a campaign to protect seven trees from the council’s chainsaws.

The council argues that it plans to plant more trees elsewhere. But given that there are only 10 years to 2030 - not long enough for most trees to grow to anything like maturity - can council officials please explain to us how the plan for Dixon Clark Court fits in with its ambition to create a net zero carbon borough in a decade from now?

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LTNs ‘benefit all’

R Walford, Islington, full address supplied, writes:

In inner London, including Islington, the vast majority of people (90 per cent) live in residential streets as opposed to main roads or high streets, and this holds true whatever demographic you chose (age, ethnicity, disability, income, car access).

The figure is always between 87pc and 93pc. Any suggestion that only rich people live in residential streets is way off track.

People of low income are just as likely as wealthy people to live in a residential road, and so just as likely to benefit from low traffic neighbourhoods.

Low traffic neighbourhoods can actually help to address inequity: lower income families are less likely to have their own outdoor space so their need for usable street space is greater.

When LTNs are introduced there’s often a fear that the surrounding main roads will become gridlocked, but that is not what happens.

When road space is removed, the traffic doesn’t all just go somewhere else. For example, when bus lanes were introduced, the two lanes of cars didn’t all just squeeze into one, jammed, lane.

Some people chose to travel by public transport instead, or walk, or cycle, or retime the trip, or combine car journeys or change destinations (shopping local rather than out of town) and the traffic kept moving.

Evidence from Waltham Forest (2014-16) shows that, after the teething period, the changes in traffic counts on those main roads were comparable with what happened on main roads across London in the same period. The LTNs did not significantly increase the traffic on the main roads.

So the People Friendly Streets in Islington will benefit the vast majority of residents whatever their race, income, age or ability. And the people living on the main road should not anticipate any permanent increase in traffic. Actually, we think the children are the real beneficiaries – able to play out on the streets the way we did back in the 50s and 60s – they are getting their childhoods back. That’s why Barnsbury and St Mary’s Neighbourhood Group strongly support our council’s introduction of People Friendly Streets.

Our information comes from a report - LTNs for all? - available on our website: bit.ly/2IVbXaq.

Police Action Plan

Jennette Arnold OBE , London Assembly member for North East (Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest), writes:

The mayor and the London Assembly are committed to tackling all forms of crime, and as Londoners, we all must play our part in this.

Underpinning this is the fact that the police must have the trust and confidence of the communities they serve to protect.

A continuing key concern revolves around the disproportionate use of policing powers against BAME Londoners. Increasingly, where some powers have been used, it has been found that no crime had been committed.

Stop and search is an important tool in the fight against violent crime, but it needs to be carried out properly and appropriately if it’s to be effective.

Our police officers work extremely hard and put themselves in the face of danger every day to keep Londoners safe. Sometimes, the police do things wrong and need to be held to account when this happens.

It has been encouraging to see the mayor recently publish an Action Plan which seeks to comprehensively address these issues.

Central to the plan is a new target to ensure 40 per cent of new recruits to the force are from BAME backgrounds by 2022, backed by increased investment in officer training.

Communities across London will also be given a more significant role in working alongside the Met in examining the use of police powers and tactics.

Over the coming months, I will continue to monitor the Metropolitan Police’s progress on implementing this plan.

Christmas hamper

James Burton, Feed London Miracles project director, writes:

I wanted to let you know about an amazing project being launched in December by the children’s charity, Miracles.

The project is called Feed London and aims to support hundreds of vulnerable families predicted to go without a meal on Christmas Day.

We will provide a nutritious and healthy Feed London Christmas hamper to families in London, which will include all the ingredients needed for a sumptuous Christmas dinner, plus healthy recipe ideas, a box of Christmas crackers, supermarket vouchers and some wonderful treats for the children.

By donating £25, people can give the gift of Christmas dinner. Businesses and corporations are also invited to purchase a family hamper for £175 which they can donate to their clients as an alternative corporate Christmas gift.

We desperately need the support of the London community – from local business and from local citizens in each borough.

To find out how to get involved and to donate, please visit our website: feedlondon.org/

In London there are 700,000+ children living in poverty, which is more than in Scotland and Wales combined. The five boroughs with the highest rates of poverty (after housing costs) are: Tower Hamlets, 53 per cent; Newham, 43pc; Hackney, 41pc; Westminster, 41pc; and Islington, 40pc.

There are many reasons why a family might be living in poverty but for children it’s simple: they are born into it.

At Feed London, we believe in taking a whole family approach. We want to encourage long-term healthy eating and to introduce children to the fun of cooking because nothing tastes better than food you have cooked yourself.

Save The Children’s survey of households on universal credit or working tax credits found nearly two thirds had run up debts over the past two months. 60pc had cut down on food and other basics and over a third had relied on charities for food and clothes.

According to this research, over a quarter of respondents said it was harder to afford food compared to the start of the pandemic, while 22pc reported using a food bank.

For more information about Feed London – how to donate or get involved - please contact me, James Burton, on 07545174243 or email james@miraclesthecharity.org

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