Gazette letters: Air pollution, healthier policies and missing Hackney

Sadiq Khan is offering cash to help clean up the air in Stoke Newington. Picture: PA

Sadiq Khan is offering cash to help clean up the air in Stoke Newington. Picture: PA - Credit: Archant

I have read the article in last week’s Hackney Gazette about cleaning up air in Stoke Newington”, writesMr J E Kirby, Clissold Crescent, Stoke Newington.

On the face of it, sounds good but unfortunately Sadiq Khan is like all politicians, very good at talking the talk but it seems not much good at anything else. For instance as Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan is also the chairman of Transport for London (TfL). I have complained to them about the practice of buses especially the no 476 route that runs along Albion Road from Newington Green and then along Church Street in both directions.

Very often the no 476 northbound will sit at the northbound stop at Clissold Crescent under instructions from its control to wait a few minutes to even out the service, very often this is in excess of three to four minutes, all the time with its engine idling thus giving out exhaust emissions.

When I took this up with TfL they answered that the bus needs to do this to keep its air cylinders charged up, apparently these buses rely on air pressure to operate both the braking systems and also both the entry and exit sets of doors.

As somebody who used to work in the engineering industry both in factories and also as a workshop technician in my local secondary school, this does not make sense to me. Surely it is up to either TfL or the bus operator to make sure that the bus is fitted with adequate air cylinder storage capacity to allow it to operate without having to idle at bus stops. Or are buses somehow exempt from any emissions regulations? Sadiq Khan as chairman of TfL should set an example by ordering TfL and its operators to stop this practice of buses idling at bus stops if they need to wait to even out the service, then they should switch off the engine. If I was driving I would be expected to do so in a traffic jam so why should it be one rule for me etc?

Also, what doesn't help is the apparent inability of Thames Water to expedite the ongoing road works on the A10 between and including the mega hole outside Hugh Gateskill House in Manor Road opposite Stoke Newington station. There are also holes dug outside of the front closing the northbound side of the A10 opposite the station.

Both these holes have been open in excess of one month or more with little or no activity going on. Further to this there are a further two sites opposite Cazenove Road, both with sizeable holes. If these works are so vital, then why is Thames Water not working 24/7 to complete the job and open the road again?

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I don't doubt that these road works are necessary to improve the drainage on this section of roadway as when there is a downpour this part of the A10 is more like a river than a road.

The other day, for instance, it took the southbound no 476 bus I was on about 15 minutes or more to get from its stop outside Morrison's to the junction of Brooke Road to turn into Stoke Newington High Street.

I couldn't help but notice the irony in last week's Gazette, writes Oliver, Newington Green.

We had people moaning about Hackney closing a car park and TfL making it safer to cycle in the same week the council had been awarded funding to improve air quality.

How will we ever tackle air pollution and the growing child obesity crisis in Londonwith attitudes like this?

I use the busy cycleway next to Britannia everyday and I'm sure my fellow commuters would join me in thanking the council for taking steps to reduce traffic.

These readers should think how the proposals support the wider community and not just the few it inconveniences. I know some people genuinely need to use a car but how about joining a car club instead? They can be parked almost anywhere in the borough. We all need to make changes if we want to live in a healthier city.

I'm a long way from Hackney right now - bobbing around somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic as part of Greenpeace's Pole to Pole expedition, writes Will McCallum, Newington Green.

We're campaigning for 30 per cent of the world's oceans to be protected by 2030.

Vast and beautiful as it is out here, looking at pictures sent to me by friends I feel strangely jealous of everyone enjoying the summer greenery; our neighbourhood's many outdoor spaces bringing us together (sometimes, as anyone who has been to London Fields on a midsummer's day will attest, all too close together). Days are long at sea, in a place where sky and ocean meet on the horizon in all directions and weather of all description can pop up out of nowhere. You can lose a sense of the passing seasons.

So on my daily afternoon run on the treadmill, holding the side supports to avoid coming off as the ship pitches forward and back, I imagine the routes I run through Hackney at this time of year. There is one memory I love more than any other, which is of running along the north track of Clissold Park.

At this time of year as the foliage explodes untidily from the borders, it is the feeling of raising hands in the air and pelting along the track with knees and calves getting scratched and stung by the creeping brambles.

That sense of abandonment when you run with arms in the air is unmatched, and for a brief few hundred metres in the built up city you can feel as though you're running wild.

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