Gazette letters: Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, spitting, Boudica and animal day

Spitting 'especially common in Finsbury Park' - is a problem in Islington, suggests Sheila Miller.

Spitting 'especially common in Finsbury Park' - is a problem in Islington, suggests Sheila Miller. - Credit: Archant

It was disappointing to read recent misinformed comments on the Canonbury West updates for Islington’s People Friendly Streets, writes K Fallon, Islington, full address supplied.

Complaints suggest a lack of consultation and yet thousands of comments have been submitted to Islington Council’s Commonplace consultation site both before, during and after measures are put in place. In fact, changes have already been made.

Fears have been expressed about the economic impact. However, the positive economic impacts of low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) have been demonstrated around the world and in London.

TfL studies have shown that LTN measures can increase retail sales by 30 per cent, people who walk to the high street spend 40pc more than people who drive and people who walk and cycle take twice the number of trips to the high street compared to those who drive over the course of the month.

Local businesses may have fears about the scheme. This is entirely understandable but largely unfounded.

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In a similar scheme in Walthamstow, some of the most vociferous campaigners against the scheme were business owners. Years on, their businesses are thriving and they are strong supporters of these measures.

To understand how badly needed these changes are, one need only stand in Canonbury Square Gardens for five minutes in late afternoon while breathing in to fully grasp the urgent need to address the toxic air pollution which is leaving the lungs of our children damaged for life.

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Merely crossing the road is dangerous, with rat-running motorists taking little account of the safety of others, including that of school age children on foot, as they speed by in their SUVs. This is one reason why the proportion of deaths and injuries to vulnerable road users remains unacceptably high.

It is time to consider the real positive impact of these proposals for our children, the elderly, the disabled and perhaps too for the 74pc of Islington residents who, unlike most vociferous objectors, do not have access to a motor car.

There are two root causes to Islington’s traffic problem, writes Andrew Willetts, Highbury Hill, Highbury.

TfL made disastrous changes to Highbury Corner and now propose changes to bus lanes which will drive more traffic to rat run.

Sat nav apps encourage drivers to use any street that potentially shaves just seconds off a journey while creating congestion on residential roads.

Protestors against LTNs should direct their ire at those bodies, and not at the council which is simply defending the health and wellbeing of its residents, the majority of whom do not own a car in the first place.

LTNs improve the life chances of the people who live in them, and the council should be applauded for supporting the people it represents.

I am shocked that, even in the midst of the current pandemic, the London borough of Islington has taken no action to stop people from spitting in the street – not even to the extent of putting up posters telling people not to, writes Sheila Miller, Moray Road, Finsbury Park.

This habit is especially common in Finsbury Park and thereabouts, where you and I live.

It has always been unpleasant and unhealthy, especially since the rise of an infectious form of TB, but the presence of the novel coronavirus among us makes it particularly dangerous.

When I was a child, there was a nationwide campaign against spitting - it succeeded in more or less stopping it, but the habit has returned on a wide scale, and laws or byelaws against it are not being enforced.

It’s time for the council to institute some sort of campaign, and start fining people who do it (as happened when I was a child).

We were interested to read JJ Connolly’s article on the history of King’s Cross (September 10), write Florence and Ivor Kenna, Compton Street, Islington.

Mr Connolly refers to “Anglo-Saxon resistance fighters led by the legendary Boudica”.

May we draw the attention of Gazette readers to the fact that Boudica, as leader of the Iceni tribe, was a Celt.

Diabetes UK is urging everyone with diabetes to take up the offer of a free flu jab through their local pharmacy or GP - this year more than ever, writes Roz Rosenblatt, London head, Diabetes UK.

Getting the flu jab is the best way to protect yourself against the flu and reduce your risk of needing to go into hospital, which is highly important because of Covid-19.

Data from Public Health England estimates that almost one third of people aged 16 to 65 living with diabetes in London are missing out on their jab and are therefore at risk of developing serious complications if they contract flu.

If you’re living with diabetes, you’re more at risk of getting the flu and, if you catch it, it can make your diabetes harder to manage and cause your blood sugar levels to rise dangerously high.

This can lead to acute complications, which may go unrecognised and can even be fatal.

That’s why it’s essential that everyone at high risk of serious illness from flu gets vaccinated as soon as possible – especially as it can take up to two weeks for it to be effective.

Without it, flu can also develop to pneumonia or bronchitis, which might require hospital admission.

For more information about diabetes and flu, please visit the Diabetes UK website at

Britain is renowned as a nation of animal lovers – and many people would go to any length to ensure their precious pets are healthy and happy, writes Geoffrey Dennis, chief executive, SPANA (Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad).

Thankfully, access to veterinary care when our companions are sick or injured is usually quick and easy – and there are more than 25,000 vets working up and down the country.

Sadly, it’s a very different story for animals in developing countries, including working animals.

A severe shortage of vet services means too many animals must endure pain and suffering without the vital care they need. In Zimbabwe, for instance, there are only around 340 vets serving the entire country.

SPANA believes that all animals deserve the right to high quality veterinary care, including working horses, donkeys, elephants and camels, which transport goods, people and water in the world’s poorest communities.

Our vets are often their only hope, providing free treatment that simply wouldn’t be available otherwise.

This World Animal Day (October 4), we’re asking for your support to ensure that no animal has to suffer in silence.

Please visit and help us provide working animals overseas with the same care and compassion as our own much-loved pets here in Britain.

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