Record of Discussion and Proposals Introduction
Haringey air quality does not meet the WHO Standards. In fact, 99% of our London streets do not meet the WHO standard for public health.
Air pollution is linked with many diseases including diabetes, asthma, dementia and cancers to name just a few. NO2, PM2.5 and PM10 have a particularly detrimental effect on all our children leading to reduced lung capacity. The tiniest particles are entering our bodies and are found in our hearts, lungs and even the placenta.
We aim to raise awareness of this problem and to build community engagement by using models of participatory democracy to enable residents of our borough to talk about the problem of toxic air.
Participatory democracy means that we hold meetings whereby all can be heard and all can think together and propose solutions together. Polluted air is not an intractable problem: we can solve it - together.
The focus of our first meeting was on transport but the discussion also touched on pollution from the Edmonton incinerator.
Approximately 65% of Haringey residents do not own cars. The east of the borough has the lowest car ownership but the worst air quality. This is a social justice issue. Much of our traffic is passing through, much of it is from out of borough. We have only 15 monitoring tubes. See the attached report for their locations:
Haringey Clean Air People’s Assembly, 1
Haringey’s Air Quality Plan
Dr Ian Mudway, Public Health, Imperial College Cat Kenyon, Living Streets
Jane Dutton, Mums for Lungs
Rebecca Redwood, XR Doctors
Steve Ballard, London Hazards Centre
Haringey Rivers Forum Railway Fields
Guardians of the Green Friends of the Earth
White Hart Cycling Instruction Stroud Green LTN group Wightman Road LTN group
Cllr Scott Emery, Cllr Mike Blake - Muswell Hill, Cllr Rossestti, Cllr Nick daCosta - Alexandra, Cllr Ruth Gordon - Tottenham Hale, Cllr Culverwell - Stroud Green, Cllr Hakarta - St Ann’s, Cllr Matt White - Bruce Grove and Council Officer for Strategic Transport and Planning
48 participants in total, from 16 of Haringey’s 19 wards.
In the summary, below, we have gathered together people’s thoughts and suggestions expressed during the deliberation phase of the meeting, and grouped them by area of concern.
Proposals for next steps:
1. Our air quality is toxic - it affects everyone and leads to disease
All of the UK, except the very north of Scotland, breaches the WHO standard for clean air creating a huge public health issue with 40,000 deaths a year.
‘Our country is in a dire state of pollution and this is not something they knew.’ ‘More people die of pollution effects than diseases ...such as diabetes’
‘It’s an invisible threat to all of us – a lot of people think it’s not an issue until they really look at the numbers.’
We are stuck ‘looking at the current model of economy rather than the future. Would like Haringey to offer a future model of what the sustainable, clean air economy for clean air would look like.’
2. This is not health vs economy. Good health, in fact, leads to good economics.
Children’s health and our health needs to be prioritised.
‘The pollution hotspot of St Mary's school where children have very high levels of asthma [has] some of the worst pollution in London.’
‘Educate in mental health & wellbeing aspect of changing modes of transport’
‘This is a conflict between our health and profit for current vehicle manufacturers.’
‘I’m concerned about health impact but particularly, young/teenagers and elderly. Particularly mental health and also what we don’t know.’
‘How do we take others on the journey? It is invisible, how do we take people along in terms of awareness. For example, it was new for us to hear about the summer smog on Green Lanes.’
3. The Mayoral elections are vital for the wider ULEZ plans to be protected
We need ULEZ for Greater London, a Mayor that will commit to this and a Government that will back not undermine it - May is a crunch moment for Air Quality in our city.
‘The mayoral election next May will be a golden opportunity to cut air pollution and climate pollution. We need a strong campaign with medical experts pushing the mayor to extend the ULEZ to the whole of Greater London.’
‘Introduce road user charging’
‘We all need to lobby the Government to further fund. They have allocated 2bn for Active Travel and 27bn for new roads to be built.’
‘Who will do an effective campaign on explaining benefits of ULEZ before the GLA election - to counter misinformation that will be spread?’
‘Make a comparison before and after a ULEZ restriction is put in place to explain the benefits to people. Introduce video campaigns to show how nice it would be in boroughs where they have done it well.’
4. Public transport must be subsidised to cut private car use.
TFL needs to be properly funded to make transport more inclusive and cheaper.
‘TfL has not catered for passengers who need step-free or are in wheelchairs. This should be tackled at the same time as low emission changes are imposed. This group is being excluded from travel.’
‘We need to subsidise public transport to discourage people from getting into their cars.’
5. Car usage must be reduced through regulation of roads and vehicles
We need greater regulation of traffic. Volumes and speed of traffic in our borough is a huge concern for many residents in Haringey
‘I’m here because I’m very concerned about the level of traffic in my neighbourhood’ ‘It seems like Haringey hasn’t been doing quite as much ..compared to Camden and Hackney’
Tyre and brake dust create up to 50% of toxic particulates. EVs create particulate matter too, especially SUVs and HGVs
‘Electric cars also don’t solve the problem of particulate pollution from brake and road emission, only tailpipe emissions. Electric cars are not zero emissions. Exhaust emissions are zero, but brakes emissions in stop-start traffic are around 3 times higher than exhaust, and tyres (dependent on tyre quality, load, cornering etc) can be 1000 times higher than exhaust emissions.’ Weight of the car matters. ‘Electric cars are only clean if the electricity was generated by renewables.’ People need to be aware of brake and tyre pollution before they buy SUVs.’
‘Tyres on roads are bad. Trams with steel wheels on rails are better.’
‘The Natural History Museum scientists say we need 2x the global annual supply of certain minerals to convert just Uk cars to electric batteries. What about the rest of the world? There isn’t enough to make everyone electric.’
‘I don't believe there are regulations on emissions from brakes or tyres. and this is important to do’
We must reduce the number of cars on our roads - we need healthy, people centred streets instead - this includes neighbourhoods and high roads - this will involve councils and TFL working together.
‘Just to be clear - it is not just about cleaner cars. We need streets that have fewer cars - if we want to address road incidents, inactivity, about communities having streets they can use’
‘Our roads are saturated - we really need to reduce car ownership and traffic overall’
Bus routes and roads in general are managed by TfL. At times, councils can feel like they don’t have the power to impact.’
Bus routes and roads in general are managed by TfL. At times, council can feel like they don’t have the power to impact.’
Haringey Clean Air People’s Assembly, 4
‘TfL could work more with councils. Perhaps through a tighter network with councils to facilitate better solutions.’
‘main roads [go] through different boroughs, [councils] have to talk to each other to come up with a solution. When you have through traffic and councils have different budgets and solutions then you won’t find a solution for a specific route.’
TfL have rushed through their funding in order to spend it so that it isn’t taken away next year. Getting the balance right between spending it not too slowly and not too quickly.
‘Solutions were looking at being really local and on the residential streets but also looking at cutting traffic on the main roads.’
LTNS do eventually lead to evaporation as more are enabled to walk and cycle: http://enjoywalthamforest.co.uk/work-in-your-area/walthamstow-villa... le-numbers-before-and-after-the-scheme-and-during-the-trial/ - shows a 56% decrease in motor traffic in the original Village scheme following the scheme implementation
Taxis, Delivery Vans and Delivery Mopeds should all be electric by law
‘All taxis in London should be electric by law’
‘The increase of Uber has blighted our neighbourhoods with a lot of extra traffic’
Haringey needs more public electric charging points to enable businesses to transition
‘We also need to encourage electric cars with financial incentives and charging points. So people who do need them for work/physical needs/disability/other have a viable option to abandon their petrol/diesel cars.’
5. Transport of freight needs remodelling so that HGV have limited access
We need Haringey to incentivise businesses transitioning plan for a "last mile" on HGV deliveries
‘This is a growing topic in the environment movement right now’
‘Larger hubs for HGV outside the borough with smaller, electric vehicles delivering goods’. ‘This reduces congestion as well as pollution on our high streets.’
6. Cycling is dangerous in our borough - it needs rapid improvement
We need to grow a cycling culture in our borough by providing infrastructure
‘More cycling highways ... encourages exercise and zero emissions. And if implemented wide enough could be inclusive of people with mobility devices.’
‘reluctance around cycling is mainly on safety grounds’
‘it's a long haul...no magic bullets, we need to make drivers cyclists...[modal shift]
‘More does need to be done to get diversity in cycling. Safety being a key thing for many groups!’
‘Women and Black People are under-represented in cycling.’ But the most under-represented are children. We cycled as children but we deny them this joy’
Bike Hire, Bike Maintenance and Bike Training all need to be promoted and enabled more
For example, ‘people should be allowed 60 mins for free on Santander bikes instead of 30’
7. Walking is not pleasant in the borough due to air quality and speed of traffic
We need more clean air space for walkers and shopping streets that are not polluted
‘Main streets need traffic reducing measures - they are not pleasant’
The Underground air quality is very poor - digital displays could make people more aware of this
‘The Underground has very bad air quality. Also buses due to the enclosed spaces.’
8. The borough needs to show more vision on improving air quality
Haringey Council could have more vision and passion - this has been lacking
‘We would like our borough to be ahead of the game by being proactive!’
‘Haringey’s showed lack of initiation of applying for and planning good cycle infrastructure when it was announced by the mayor in April.’
‘ the public can feel powerless against industries, politicians and the media. We look to our council to support us.’
‘We need passion from Haringey - a culture change - this has been lacking.’
‘Low traffic neighbourhoods had to be fought for in the Netherlands’
‘Can the council link climate change and awareness and concern around getting to net zero?’
In Haringey, we want pollution sensors with live data that the public can access. We need more data and access to it.
‘We need more air quality monitors, we only have 15’ ‘We are not measuring PM2.5’ - why not?’
Haringey Council could do more to educate our residents on illegal idling
‘Could we get some stronger legislation and posters on people sitting in their cars with their engines on idling.’
‘Could Haringey issue anti idling messaging out to all businesses. Insist they do the impacts of idling training’
The incinerator burns 90% of what is in our black bins. It is a major contributor to our poor air quality, especially for children that live close to it. An incineration strategy for waste locks in a high-waste culture whilst polluting our air and atmosphere.
Haringey black bin waste is being sent to the Edmonton incinerator https://stop-edmonton-incinerator.org/
Could councils take greater responsibility in alerting people to high pollution incidents and high pollution industries?
‘Currently TFL is left to do that but during the two summer smogs we had this summer in August and September the council didn’t use their communication channels to warn people. ‘Seems crazy they can talk about roads but not the air above them.’
‘east of the borough is neglected/discriminated against in terms of funding infrastructure and initiatives as compared to places like Crouch End and Hornsey.’
‘I’m concerned about the impact of pollution from the Redcorn Ltd scrapyard where 28 local authorities are sending cars to be scrapped. Terrible fumes and noise.’
‘Lambeth get air quality alerts’
Do our residents know what the Haringey’s plans and targets are for reducing pollution and do they know this will require change from everyone?
‘We need organisations to start to bring down pollution levels.’ ‘We need management of traffic coming through the borough’
We need an education programme to counter the aggression and ‘culture wars’ that are stoked on social media when councils try to implement infrastructure for walking and cycling
‘I have a concern for children’s health, community divisions and aggression over the issue of Clean Air’
‘Need to change mindsets - how do we do that - through both a combination of carrot and stick measures?’
‘how do we reach those who are not in this conversation, and will likely not join something like this? A vision for how we want things to be...we probably all do share common needs - clean air and concern for air quality.’
Councils need to enforce environmental degradation and motoring offences better
‘A few of our participants were very concerned about the lack of ENFORCEMENT BY THE COUNCIL, there’s little point having rules if they’re not being enforced. A need for whistleblowers at big construction sites - using old dirty vehicles with fumes and diesel pollution.’
We need more local companies that can provide a Green Recovery
‘Support start up companies that can offer local solutions to monitoring traffic offences and support the hiring of cargo bikes for families to trial.’
‘More cycle lanes, more trees’
We also need to protect our rivers from run off of particulate matter - this requires traffic reduction
‘We need to make a clearer link between air and water pollution. Vehicle waste from cars - especially tyres, but also exhaust and battery waste - runs off the road into the surface water system. Which ends up - from Haringey - in the Lea, affecting biodiversity and human diet (fish). Sustainable urban drainage systems (SuDS) offer a largely piecemeal response. Radical traffic reduction is therefore essential.’
9. Haringey schools could take more of an active role
Schools must inform their parents about air quality so that parents are dissuaded from driving to school. This must include the private sector as they have wide catchments.
‘The religious primary schools create a big school run problem as they often draw their pupils from a much wider area’ This also applies to selective and fee-paying schools.
School Streets by definition involve partial street closure - Haringey need to rapidly improve their plans for School Streets to match other boroughs
‘It's a priority to keep pollution away from schools’
‘It’s not a great record comparing Hackney with Haringey’ ‘Haringey’s school streets are a ‘pale imitation’
‘Proper school streets require street closures’
10. We need to greater community involvement through Neighbourhood Meetings and People’s Assemblies on other topics too
We need more democracy not less, we need our council to engage not shy from deliberative democracy as it can unlock change.
‘Neighbourhood Meetings, true community engagement with the council. People’s Assemblies are being modelled here today. All voices need to be heard.’
‘We need Citizen’s Assemblies not short term political terms in office’
Q1: Having heard from the experts, what are your concerns and needs around the air you breathe - for yourself, your family, and for your community?
Q2: How would the solutions suggested impact on your life and what could we do to make them work? And what do we need from other groups such as our council, TFL, our government etc to make them work?
These were the questions we asked the participants in the assembly. Above, is the collective response. We have attempted to capture and report this conversation as accurately as possible.
Feedback on the process:
‘This has been a very well-conducted group, organised and interactive. Thank you to organisers and fellow-participants. Sharing easily accessible scientific data at local level (pollution watch) regularly and systematically might help build a better-informed public.’ John Miles, Noel Park
‘Great discussion and great ideas. This reveals the need for more democratic engagement between council and communities... The solution is co-production’ Cllr Hakata, St Ann’s
‘this is such a great webinar and so well designed. You have set a high bar in how to properly engage people and share information. Well done.’ Leesa, Tottenham
Questions for the Speakers (from the chat) that we didn’t get time for on the day
Further Questions for Ian Mudway:
Should ULEZ inside N and S circular be brought forward from Oct 2021?
In Haringey we have a concentration of 22-odd charcoal burning restaurants on Green Lanes in a stretch of road of under half a kilometre...Are you aware of any particular risks associated with concentrations of charcoal burning for cooking?
How do we get people to care? It seems people will sacrifice their health and their children’s health for car convenience?
Are there many studies that look at the possible link between increasing mental health issues in teens and young people and their exposure to air pollution? Most have to walk on main roads and take public transport to get to schools.
Is there a link between air pollution and Migraines?
Do you know of an app for cyclists that give less polluted cycle routes based on live data, with audio directions? CityMapper and CleanAir don't work very well. If not, are you aware of an app that is in development?
Taxi drivers need to be aware of the poor air quality that they are exposed to. Research on this does exist, but maybe more studies and awareness can be achieved?
Electric vehicles also contribute to exported emissions and pollution - is there any information about the battery production / manufacture of these vehicles?
How do you tackle (British?) driver antagonism to cyclists that makes that fear a real consideration for new cyclists (especially older women)? There is an almost pathological dislike of cycling (and pedestrians to be honest) by many London drivers
What can we do to influence traders? Many local pressure groups that are pro-car such as traders groups have been given this kind of information many times over the years but “gut feeling’ and anecdote always trump these facts from Liz
Is Living Streets working with PSA/PTAs to get these groups pushing for change?
It’s important to define “main roads'' as Haringey is a series of Edwardian suburbs and many of the so-called main roads were also meant to be fully residential (e.g. flats above shops). Such roads are often inhabited by poorer (non-car owning) residents who already live with astronomical levels of pollution. I don’t want an LTN at the expense of kids on West Green Road or Green Lanes
Further Questions for the Council
I have been impressed by Camden Council’s implementation of new cycle lanes since March. Why has Haringey done hardly anything to enable cycling in the Borough?
Could councils take greater responsibility in alerting people to high pollution incidents? Currently TFL is left to do that but during the two summer smogs we had this summer in August and September the council didn’t use their communication channels to warn people. Seems crazy they can talk about roads but not the air above them?
Can we tackle road congestion where it is making emissions high, such as in Tottenham on 67 bus routes?
Curious about Haringey’s 15 air quality sensors - a council officer told me recently that Haringey had zero PM2.5 sensors and hoped to get one online later this year.
What is Haringey’s objection to closing school streets? If they told parents why this was needed, this would help with behaviour change.
How are school streets implemented for schools on busy roads? Can it be done?
Is it possible to reduce through-traffic by giving permits only to residents?
How much of our traffic is from out of borough?
How can we best utilise the £1.2 million we did receive from TFL/DFT? Can we have more transparency around the bids?
Is there a way we can make the schemes cheaper? Our LTNs were much higher than other boroughs.
How did other boroughs manage to deliver schemes at speed?
How can we help this borough catch up and deliver more LTNs - as a community group how can we help, as residents how can we help, as on board businesses how can they help?
I’m very curious about the School Street plans - can these be done as per most other boroughs, where the whole road is physically closed/closed using ANPR - not just the small section outside a school gate at the end of a cul-de-sac?
Regarding the Incinerator:
● Incentivise low waste businesses.
● Run education programmes that support local greengrocers and farmers markets - measures to going plastic free
● There are more options than burning or landfill. A mechanical biological treatment facility can be built
● NLWA has not investigated sorting machinery for black bags, taking out recyclables. Because there is no profit in it. Haringey is a stakeholder but is not pushing this.
● As soon as a piece of plastic is Produced, it is polluting the environment. Even recycling plastic is using fossil fuels
● The recycling symbols on packaging needs standardising
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