Roamer scheme nbo good for the environment

Labour councillor Paul Smith, whose brief is to protect Islington’s environment, has dismissed residents’ concerns about the introduction of the so-called “Roamer” parking scheme, which allows existing parking-permit holders to park their cars anywhere in the borough during its hours of operation (“Majority against Roamer scheme”, Viewpoints, 24 February 2011).

This is not good enough. The roamer scheme is a very significant change to parking policy in the borough, which goes against all the council’s existing policies on reducing traffic and cutting down on unnecessary car journeys.

It will lead directly to increased congestion and to even more air pollution, which is already damaging the health of children and adults in the borough and leading to up to 250 premature deaths in Islington every year (“Air pollution killing hundreds in Islington every year”, Gazette, February 10, 2011).

The only people directly consulted on the roamer scheme were existing parking permit holders – car owners who were likely to favour the proposal.

Yet over 50 per cent of Islington residents do not have access to a car – and we will all suffer from the increased air pollution and traffic. The consultation carried out by the council was one-sided, unfair and a waste of money.

It is also shocking that this council – which claims to care about social inequality in Islington – has brought in a policy which benefits those living in street properties at the expense of people living on council estates, who will not qualify for free parking under the Roamer policy. This is both unfair and socially divisive.

Islington Green Party has this week submitted a formal complaint to the council about the introduction of the scheme, calling upon the council to revoke its operation and to undertake a borough-wide consultation with all residents, not just car users, before introducing any similar scheme in the future.

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We call on Councillor Smith to stand up for the environment. – Emma Dixon, Islington Green Party.