Gazette letters: Environment Bill, invasion of Syria and Hate Crime Awareness Week

File photo dated 10/04/15 of air pollution over London. Picture: Nick Ansell/PA

File photo dated 10/04/15 of air pollution over London. Picture: Nick Ansell/PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

We welcome the Environment Bill announced in the Queen’s Speech on Monday, writes Cllr Julian Bell, chairman, London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee.

Air pollution in the capital is a silent killer and we need to ensure that producers pay for disposing of the packaging they create.

New legislation that provides London boroughs with improved powers and resources is essential if we are to deal with these challenges.

We want the new Bill to support the boroughs to tackle air pollution more effectively.

Our priorities include introducing powers to tackle idling vehicles and crack down on other sources of harmful emissions such as wood burning stoves.

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Parliament is meeting on Saturday, October 19 to discuss Brexit, when they should be discussing the more serious issue of the invasion of Syria by Turkey, writes Christopher Sills, Dunsmure Road, Stamford Hill.

This is going to affect Europe and Britain far more seriously than the futile attempts by this "do nothing parliament" to stop Brexit and worse leave Britain as a European colony with the long term resentments that will cause.

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Everyone knows the problems in the Middle East started when Tony Blair (former Labour prime minister) lied about the real reason for removing Saddam Hussein, which was that he attacked other countries but even worse used chemical weapons on the battlefield even though they are banned under international law

The problem was made worse by the total failure of Tony Blair and the Americans of how to return the country to civilian rule quickly. This led directly to the Syrian civil war and the formation of Isil - a group that wants to impose their extreme views on everybody else.

Most Syrians wanted to get rid of their president, but did not want the country to be taken over by Isil who they rightly regarded as worse and nor did America and the European Union because of terrorist activity.

When the Syrian president started using chemical weapons, contrary to international law, parliament to its eternal shame refused to allow action to be taken and the weak American President at the time did nothing. This allowed Russia to intervene to protect its naval base. It also made the refugee problem much worse.

When the Yazidis fled to a mountain to escape Isil and probable genocide the so-called liberals and socialists silence was defining and a crime against humanity was committed to parliament's eternal shame. The British Forces and their allies could have done it but there was no political will.

Isil was effectively beaten thanks to the Kurds and their allies but Mr Trump allowed the Turks to attack them with consequences, which will make Brexit look irrelevant. This will include the revival of Isil with the increased threat of terrorism.

There will also be a refugee crisis and as usual the Americans will do nothing to help, although they have caused the problem. Britain will rightly take in some, particularly the Christian community currently protected by the Kurds.

If America fails to take their share, as they will then demands from the irresponsible anti-immigration lobby for a block on immigration from America will grow. Those currently living here must be protected, as must citizens of the European Union.

Hate Crime Awareness Week (October 12 - 19) is a national week of action, which takes place every October to raise awareness of hate crime, writes Superintendent Waheed Khan, The Met's Lead Responsible Officer (LRO) for hate crime.

It aims to bring people together to stand in solidarity with those affected by hate crime, support them and raise awareness, as well as prevent hate crime with our communities across London and challenge hate crime in all its forms.

London is such a diverse and tolerant city, but too many still feel marginalised, or worse intimidated to go about their daily lives due to their race, faith, sexual orientation, gender or disability.

Hate crime incidents may involve a physical attack, damage to property, bullying, harassment, verbal abuse, insults or online abuse using social media and it is a scourge on our communities.

It can be deeply upsetting and humiliating for the victim, and sometimes victims don't believe they'll be taken seriously, however, I would like to remind victims that we (the Met) take a zero tolerance approach and that every report will be taken seriously.

Hate crime affects people from all walks of life, and impacts on communities across London. The Met does not tolerate any form of discrimination, and is committed to working with partners, such as MOPAC, TruVision, Tell Mama, Galop and Inclusion London, to robustly tackle hate crime by holding offenders to account, bringing prosecutions where appropriate, and in particular, supporting victims.

The Met has seen an increase in the reporting of all types of hate crime, and this rise is in part due to the growing willingness of victims to report crime and improved awareness by police. We have also seen a sharp increase in hate crimes perpetrated online, and the Met works with online platforms to identify offensive content and the people who post it, and progress investigations.

We would urge hate crime victims who have not spoken to police to come forward and tell us about incidents so they can be fully investigated."

Anyone who believes that they have been the victim of a hate crime is asked to call police on 101 or by tweeting @MetCC.

Information can also be reported anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online.

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