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This week Southwark Green Party submitted comments to Southwark Council on the planning application under consideration for the Elephant & Castle area. SGP objected to the application on a number of grounds and fear that the application could be another failure by Southwark Council to properly follow their own planning guidelines and consult communities on development in their areas.[Read more...]
It was snowing at midday on 11 February, but despite the cold, Londoners came to demonstrate with 'Stop the Killing' outside the Treasury. It was the middle of a high air pollution episode, and this health emergency was uppermost in the mind of many. Some Southwark Green Party members joined Southwark Cyclists to ride to central London along a quiet back route through Burgess Park and Kennington. Others came on foot. In that week alone, three cyclists and one pedestrian had been killed on London roads. The assembled crowd lay down on the tarmac for a minute in memory of all those killed already this year. Speakers including Caroline Russell, Green member of the London Assembly, pointed out that failure to invest in active travel is deadly in many ways.[Read more...]
Southwark Council's slogan for reporting on their public consultations is 'We asked, you said, we did'. In this case, we asked members of the public to send us their comments on the council's latest air quality strategy, so we could share them with you. Now we urge Southwark Council officers and councillors to read these heartfelt and thoughtful responses carefully (along with all the others, including the Southwark Green Party response) and DO.
R (Bermondsey) writes:
I cannot see anything about (a) reducing the total volume of motorised traffic in the borough or (b) about developing a network of free/low pollution footpaths and cycleways for those of us (eg the elderly with heart conditions), who need to move around the borough [...] there is insufficient detail about geographical priorities eg Borough High Street, Rye Lane, Camberwell, Rotherhithe Tunnel.
- Walk or cycle instead of driving – pollution levels can be higher inside a car than on the street because the ventilation intake is close to the exhaust of the cars in front and fumes build up inside a closed car. And it helps cut emissions too.
- Choose a low pollution route. Back routes can have 50% less particulate pollution. Use sites like Breathe London to plan a route
- If your workplace or school is near a main road, ask the building supervisors how air pollution is minimised. If there’s air conditioning, are the filters effective ones?
- When shopping, close the door – it keeps the heat in and pollution out.
- At home, make sure gas boilers and heaters are serviced regularly. If you have fires in an open fireplace, check that you are buying ‘smokeless’ coal, not ‘traditional’ or ‘house’ coal. It’s illegal to burn house coal in London – and it’s bad for the health of people inside the room as well as outside. Check that any woodburners are approved for Smoke Control Areas. It’s also illegal to burn logs on open fires.
Picture: It's illegal to burn 'traditional' House Coal - 'smoke-free' briquettes are a happier choice
The strategy acknowledges the severe impact of air pollution on the health of Southwark residents, noting in the introduction that ‘poor air quality disproportionately affects the young, old, ill and poor’ (page 5). But this recognition of the serious public health challenge is not matched by actions.
The plan is not strong or bold enough, and it does not provide enough detail of those actions the council does propose to take. We are dismayed that so many items lack clear targets, timescales, objectives and means of measuring success. This is particularly noticeable in comparison with Southwark’s previous plan which included timescales and indicators for each planned measure (Air Quality Improvement Strategy 2012-2017 and Action Plan 2012-2017 (AQIS 2012)).[Read more...]
Our first thoughts on the plan are below and the full text of our submitted response is here. Below is some text you can borrow and adapt, along with some examples of actions for the council to take.[Read more...]
The following letter from SGP member Tracey Beresford appears in the current (winter 2016/17) issue of the Camberwell Quarterly, and is published by kind permission of the Camberwell Society. The CQ is widely available at local newsagents. See also the Camberwell Society's Facebook page.[Read more...]
Air pollution is a recognised public health emergency. Southwark Council needs to take action. Or rather, actions. There’s no one solution, but the actions taken need to be both immediate and substantial.
Southwark is consulting on its updated air quality plan. Responses need to be in by 31 January. Southwark Green Party will submit a detailed response and publish it here. But in short – we think the plan talks a lot about meetings and monitoring and not enough about ideas and action!
We encourage you to respond individually. It’s a very simple form - the one question is quite open: ‘What do you have to say about the Air Quality Strategy and Action Plan?’ So why not use this space to explain to the council how air pollution affects you and why you want the council to do more? Please copy your response to us too at [email protected]
Read on for some suggestions about what councils can do…[Read more...]
It should be ancient history... but it isn't yet!
In July 2012, Southwark Green Party members made a deputation to Southwark Council calling for urgent action on air pollution. Southwark News reported...
Southwark Green Party has responded to the TfL consultation on measures like the Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) to combat air pollution and improve health. Southwark residents are exposed to some of the highest levels of pollution in London - so this affects us all. What do we want the Mayor to do?[Read more...]
On Thursday 22 December, Southwark Green Party member Tom Venner-Woodcock will appear at Ealing Magistrates Court. He was part of a group of 15 people who blockaded a road near Heathrow last month. His protest highlights the serious risks that airport expansion poses to Londoners' health and the global climate.[Read more...]
Southwark Green Party has been lobbying Southwark Council to take action on air pollution since 2011.
We've carried out our own air pollution studies and informed residents about how they can reduce the amount of pollution they breathe.
The new Southwark Council air quality webpages bring together some excellent resources and information. But they are a little thin on details of the borough's own initiatives to reduce air pollution. [Note: As this is a new/beta version of the page/section and it may move - here is an alternative link][Read more...]
Southwark Green Party has responded to Southwark Council's proposals for the Old Kent Road. We will be keeping a watching brief on plans for the area and working with local residents and businesses. The full response is below.
1. Do you agree with the overall vision for the Old Kent Road? YES/NO
Southwark Green Party welcomes the development of the Old Kent Road based on appropriately scaled development, backed up by improved transport infrastructure, sufficient social housing, high quality public spaces and built to zero carbon standards.[Read more...]
It was a cold and rainy night, a week after the victory of Donald Trump in the US presidential election – not the best backdrop for Southwark Green Party's 2016 AGM. But with around 40 people present, and Green candidate for London mayor Sian Berry as our guest speaker, the meeting turned out to be an uplifting occasion, showing how Green policies and politicians offer hope in dark times.[Read more...]
Southwark Green Party (SGP) stands in solidarity with Sisters Uncut, a feminist group taking direct action to defend services for victims of domestic violence. As a political party that campaigns for equal rights and better public services, SGP believes that Southwark Council has it within its power to prioritise a sufficient number of its empty council homes to provide refuge for all survivors of domestic abuse. We also call on the council to reinstate Black and Minority Ethnic domestic violence services, which have been cut.[Read more...]
On 9 November, less than 24 hours after the election of climate change denier Donald Trump, Green Party members from Southwark and Lambeth attended the annual Dulwich and West Norwood (DaWN) Speak Up for the Climate meeting, organised by DaWN MP Helen Hayes.[Read more...]
In October 2016, Southwark Green Party responded to Southwark Council's revised plans for the 'old nursery' site in Camberwell New Cemetery.
We are very glad that the council has taken public concerns on board after the previous consultation.The new plans offer good compromise solutions by combining burial spaces with much needed areas of meadow or woodland.[Read more...]
Typically, the RIBA’s Stirling Prize shortlist leavens starry spectacles with a socially minded gesture or two. In a thin year for the former, the list still obliged with the flawed spectacularity of Herzog & de Meuron’s Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford. In contrast, the ‘housing crisis’ generated a lot of noise but few homes again, so a ‘flagship’ housing scheme designed by dRMM for the Elephant and Castle’s ‘regeneration’ ticked a misleading box.
About 20 people attended Southwark Green Party’s monthly meet-up on 7 September, which this month was held at John the Unicorn, Peckham Rye. Eleanor Margolies organised an informal quiz on the subject of air pollution – an urgent issue in Southwark, which has the highest rate of premature deaths attributable to air pollution of any London borough. We learnt[Read more...]
The decision this week by the Government to reject Southwark Council’s application for a Compulsory Purchase Order laid bare how the Council has ignored community objections and prioritised the interests of developers.
Colin Boyle, Chair of Southwark Green Party, responded: “The Aylesbury Estate does need to be regenerated, but this needs to be done in a way that preserves the community, increases the level of social housing, and minimises the environmental impact.”[Read more...]