No car needed to enjoy roaming our borough

As a student of public health, I am appalled by the parking permit “roamer” proposals that Islington’s Labour-run council plans to implement. Leaving aside the inconvenience the scheme will cause to residents living near, for example The Whittington Hospital or a Tube station, and the fact that the proposals do not appear to have arisen as a result of any public demand, I would like to draw your attention to the public health implications.

Firstly, according to the London Air Quality Network, levels of airborne pollutants in certain parts of Islington regularly exceed desirable levels. According to the British Lung Foundation, air pollution can exacerbate respiratory problems like asthma and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and cause breathing difficulties in children and older people.

So why does the council want to encourage people to drive more and thus pollute more? Surely, it’s better (for the lungs of Islington residents) to encourage car-owners to drive less?

Secondly, obesity is a serious and increasing public health problem. There is a growing consensus among experts that physical and social environments play a role in obesity. One aspect of what is known as an obesogenic environment is that it encourages sedentary behaviour? The council should be encouraging people to walk, cycle or take public transport to enjoy the borough’s facilities.

On a more practical note, as a cyclist and public transport user who lives in a car-free development, I can assure the council that the leisure and shopping facilities of the borough can be enjoyed perfectly well without a car. – Rebecca Taylor, N19.