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Readers' Letters

Gazette letters: Pollution in Stoke Newington Church Street, HPV vaccine and Phil Glanville's silence on Haringey

PUBLISHED: 12:15 20 February 2018 | UPDATED: 12:16 20 February 2018

Parents of William Patten School have their say on road closure plans at a Hackney Council ward forum meeting. Picture: Cllr Mete Coban

Parents of William Patten School have their say on road closure plans at a Hackney Council ward forum meeting. Picture: Cllr Mete Coban

Archant

We are a group of parents from William Patten Primary and write in response to your Editor's comment regarding road closures, write The Cleaner Air for William Patten parent group.

We aren’t against road closures per se but in this case the benefits must be weighed against the huge detriment to children in many primary schools and nurseries.

William Patten Primary is one of the top 50 polluted schools in London, with pollution levels in the playground above the annual legal limit for NO2. [Editor’s note: this hasn’t actually been proven. One air monitor in the playground by the school consistently gives readings within the legal limit; another, five metres into Church Street, consistently gives readings above it. The council’s air pollution experts believe the playground itself will fall within legal limits once the numbers have been crunched. The parents’ own expert believes otherwise.]

Breathing in pollution can stunt child lung development and compromise cognitive development.

According to Hackney’s own traffic figures 5,760 vehicles currently use Brighton, Beatty and Walford Road each day. If the closures go ahead traffic up to 2,000 cars will be displaced to Church Street where several primary schools and nurseries are located.

The road closures will undoubtedly push the pollution levels at William Patten even further over the legal limit. We believe they are in direct breach of the draft London Plan, the Hackney Mayor’s manifesto, and the Hackney Air Quality Action Plan.

In January, Hackney Council said pollution levels are so high they are considering advising William Patten to restrict access to a section of its playground. Yet at the same time they’re proposing sending more traffic past the school.

The council appears to have made several elementary mistakes in the calculations, concedes it hasn’t carried out detailed traffic modelling and, despite repeated requests, has failed to properly defend its workings.

We believe in more liveable streets, improving air quality and making areas safer for children and cyclists. But child health should never be the cost.

This is not just the opinion of a few parents at a primary school. Over 800 people have signed our petition, including parents and carers of William Patten, the local mosque and several schools and nurseries whose children stand to lose if these closures go ahead.

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I refer to your report, “Hackney councillor slammed for saying HPV vaccine is 21st century Thalidomide”, on January 25, writes Cllr Harvey Odze (Conservative, Springfield).

You quoted me as having said, at the full council meeting on January 24: “Given the considerable body of medical evidence that HPV does not cause cervical cancer, and that the vaccine is on its way to becoming the 21st century’s Thalidomide, can you assure me all parents are given full information about the dangers of the vaccine?”

I was asking Cllr Jonathan McShane, the cabinet member for health, social care and devolution, a supplementary question following on from Cllr Jessica Webb’s question asking the cabinet member if we can extend the Human Papilloma Virus vaccination programme to boys.

Due to the boorish, undemocratic behaviour of a group of Labour councillors, your reporter was unfortunately unable to hear the totallity of my question. So in order to put the record straight, what I in fact asked was:

“Given that there is a considerable body of peer reviewed medical evidence that Human Papilloma Virus does not cause cervical cancer and that the Human Papilloma Virus vaccine is well on its way to becoming the 21st century Thalidomide, except that Thalidomide, had it not had such disastrous side effects, would have been an effective vaccine, will the cabinet member consult the UK Association of Human Papilloma Virus Vaccine Injured Daughters (AHVID) and ensure that all parents are given full information about the dangers of the vaccine as well as its alleged advantages?”

This significantly alters the balance of my question.

Since your report I have been inundated with emails of thanks and support for publicly highlighting this issue. If anyone wishes to find more information I suggest they see Joan Shenton’s three-part documentary series Sacrificial Virgins and the short documentary Manufactured Crisis: HPV, Hype and Horror – Trailer 4.

I would suggest that any parents of injured girls who have not already done so contact AHVID, who will give them support in any way they can.

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Christopher Sills, Dunsmure Road, Stamford Hill, writes: So Labour in Haringey has done what Jeremy Corbyn has told them and is going to stop the regeneration scheme at Crouch End – despite the protests of nearly half the Labour council leaders in London.

While I will not comment on the actual scheme because I do not know enough about it, the principle of a party leader telling a council leader what to do is greatly worrying and will over time result in a complete halt to all regeneration, new housing, and housing improvement in London, unless Jeremy Corbyn and his Momentum allies are sent packing.

It is significant that the mayor of Hackney has not signed it, which suggests he either approves or is too scared of Momentum to put his head above the parapet. Either way, Hackney is the loser. The consequence of this is that housing conditions in Hackney will continue to get worse and homelessness will increase.

The last time Jeremy Corbyn’s economic policies were tried here was 1982 and the council went from being fairly efficient to a national joke in less than three years, with services collapsing and eventually a hung council.

It took Hackney about 20 years to recover from the rise of the extreme left and now there is a real danger that the voters of Hackney will continue to support Labour – not realising the party of Atlee, Wilson, Callaghan, Blair and Brown has been replaced by a bunch of people who seem to regard those who did not go to university, or are homeless, as inferior.

In 1968 Hackney replaced tired Labour with a reforming Conservative council. It needs to happen again in 2018.

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