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Stoke Newington clean air group slams council’s road closure plans

PUBLISHED: 13:42 11 August 2020 | UPDATED: 13:58 11 August 2020

Clean Air for Schools March on 26.04.19. Children and parents from Grasmere and William Patten primary schools, march to Clissold Park.

Clean Air for Schools March on 26.04.19. Children and parents from Grasmere and William Patten primary schools, march to Clissold Park.

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A Stoke Newington group campaigning for cleaner air has called the council’s plans for through-traffic closures a “scandal”.

Traffic in Nevill Road. Picture: Hackney CouncilTraffic in Nevill Road. Picture: Hackney Council

A Stoke Newington group campaigning for cleaner air has called the council’s plans for through-traffic closures a “scandal”.

Members from the group Clean Air for Schools (CA4S) say the scheme “simply shifts almost all traffic from one set of roads to another” leading to increases in traffic “on some of the borough’s most polluted and congested roads” which lie in the vicinity of 14 schools and nurseries.

The group’s latest campaign calls for the expansion of an Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) across the whole of London and they have suggested Hackney Council wait one more year until the ULEZ is implemented when the road closures “wouldn’t cause schools to suffer excess pollution” or to put forward a “bigger, better scheme that would reduce traffic dominance across the whole area.”

CA4S member Sally Newsom said: “We want to fight traffic with a plan that tackles the whole area, not something that works to the benefit of one street and to the detriment of another.”

Councillor Jon Burke, cabinet member for energy, sustainability and community services. Picture: Emma BartholomewCouncillor Jon Burke, cabinet member for energy, sustainability and community services. Picture: Emma Bartholomew

The closures are set to be implemented in late September or early October despite the majority of residents opposing the scheme in a consultation.

But the council says the measures, designed to reduce the number of cars in the Walford area, will increase road safety particularly in light of the 33 crashes recorded there resulting in injury over three years to June 2019 and a further 20 at nearby junctions.

READ MORE: Council closes more Hackney Streets to protect residents from traffic

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In response to CA4S members’ suggestions the council’s environment chief, councillor Jon Burke said: ““There is a wider plan for the area.”

He says the council is “urgently working” to bring forward funding from the Mayor of London and it has applied for funding from TfL’s Streetspace programme to reduce polluting traffic on Church Street and Albion Road as well as introducing School Streets and pollution-blocking green screens at schools in the borough.

The councillor added: “In the Walford Road area, there are significant road safety issues, including a high number of accidents, on roads that are not designed for the volume of traffic they are seeing, which we have to act on as quickly as possible to rectify.

READ MORE: New low-traffic neighbourhoods to be created around Hackney amid 20 street closures

He believes, in order to “truly tackle London’s air pollution” walking an cycling need to be encouraged and driving made “less convenient”.

“70% of households in Hackney do not own a car so this means radically reducing traffic - particularly the 40% of traffic that doesn’t start or end in the borough - in our neighbourhoods, which we are committed to doing in our Transport Strategy. This is the imperative. Put simply, this means that we have to stop traffic using our borough as a cut-through,” said Cllr Burke.

The road closures are being introduced under Experimental Traffic Orders for 18 months.

To find out more about Clean Air for Schools click here.

For more information about the road closures visit www.hackney.gov.uk/walford-road-area


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