Stoke Newington road closures: Parents who support banning rat-run traffic hold counter-demo as CleanAir4Schools stage another march

Campaigners in Brighton Road. Picture: Anna Williams

Campaigners in Brighton Road. Picture: Anna Williams - Credit: Archant

Disgruntled families living in Stoke Newington fear their voices supporting proposed road closures are being drowned out. Neighbours of all ages, and their pets, took to the streets on Tuesday to support Hackney Council’s plans to shut roads around Walford Road to rat-run traffic to improve air quality.

But this afternoon, in a counter-demonstration, campaigners on the other side of the fence will assemble under the banner of “CleanAir4Schools” to argue the proposals will only push pollution and traffic onto Church Street and Albion Road – where their kids go to school.

As the back and forth rumbles on, mum of two young children Anna Williams stressed the pressing need for the road closures.

Of Brighton Road, she said: “We have hundreds of babies, pregnant women and local residents all affected by rising pollution levels.”

Referring to the high-profile PR campaign run by the “CleanAir4Schools” group, she added: “Half the residents in our area are in social housing and their voices aren’t being heard. We’ve had enough.

“We don’t want the council to ‘press pause’ [a slogan adopted by CleanAir4Schools] – that will only stop progress on all of the changes the borough needs like improved cycling and reduced car use.

“If it’s paused we’re worried we’ll disappear off the agenda and be left to live in these unsustainable conditions on our streets.

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“It’s only a matter of time before there’s a fatal accident from all the traffic and dangerous driving.”

Hackney Council is due to hold a public survey on the plans, providing it is passed by cabinet later this month.

Jonny Fort, of Brighton Road, said: “For two years residents have been promised action from Hackney Council.

“There can be no more pauses, no more endless consultations.

“Local parents can’t wait any longer.”

Earlier this month Hackney Council shot down claims by CleanAir4Schools that air quality tests conducted by climate experts around Stoke Newington schools were “not fit for purpose”. The resulting row was extremely involved.