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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Fiddling Whilst Rome Burns? - Consultation on Haringey's New Draft Air Quality Policy

Anyone living n the post-2016 Britain that we currently inhabit will be all too sadly familiar with the concept of our democratic bodies fiff-faffing around the edges whilst failing to tackle the real issue. Dyed-in-the-wool environmentalists may say that they're all too familiar with this conundrum where air quality is concerned. Haringey Council is now setting out  its air quality plan for the next five years. Can it too be fairly accused of too little too late? Does its new plan dodge the real issues?

Like many of us, if asked, I'd say that air quality matters, but it's not something I get worked up about or have done much, if anything about. But like many, it's also hard for me to keep my head completely buried in the sand and the trajectory of the globe's environmental heath continues to worsen.

Against that backdrop I thought I ought to avail myself of the opportunity to review Haringey's Air Quality Action Plan that's up for consultation until the end of this month. 

The only reason I'd found out about the consultation was following-up a story in the Standard about cycling in London being at record levels. I wanted to see if there was any data about Haringey.

Once I'd serendipitously stumbled across the consultation (the way you have to in Haringey), my next hurdle was actually getting hold of the draft plan. The brief consultation communications can be easily located through search. These refer repeatedly to the draft policy, both the draft policy was nowhere to be found. Even the link to it on Haringey's website took me back to the consultation document. 

In response to my question about this, Haringey's PR minded Twitter stream unhelpfully trotted out a line about giving any feedback on transport issues to such and such an email address. However, my thanks to a member of the almost always very helpful and very responsive web team who fixed the issue with the link on the website within 10 minutes of my talking with him. Props!

So having got hold of the draft policy, I took a spin through it....and quickly felt rather unqualified to assess its quality. 

I can observe that parts of Harringay seem to have cause for concern and that the only monitoring of air quality in our area is on Green Lanes. I can read what the air quality measurements are. But I'm not really au-fait with what I'm reading.

What did strike me though is that the consultation document explains in piechartese that something like two-thirds of our air pollution comes from transport. However when I look at the measures proposed in the draft plan there seems to be precious little tacking this primary issue. With local sensitivities raised by the outcome of the Harringay Traffic Survey and the Wightman Road changes, this comes at a particularly trenchant time for us all. 

So, is there someone who understands these issues better than me? I have several question to the world at large.

  • Am I being too critical of the draft plan?
  • Is it wrong to expect our council to take stronger action on the primary cause of air pollution or would their powers be too limited and the effects be too diluted by our location close to the heart of one of the world's major cities?
  • How does the plan compare with what other city-based borough councils are doing?

The Haringey page for this consultation is here. Both the consultation pdf as well as the draft plan should be available from there. If you can't find them, I've dowloaded copies.

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Given the risk of death to plane loads of people and exhaust pollution poisoning the people they pass and the planet maybe if we're to sort out the air quality and traffic perhaps we need to start viewing any car driver making an unnecessary car trip in a residential area as acting dangerously or inconsiderately ;)

Well, yes there’s logic in that argument. I can’t deny that. So I’ll have to find it in myself to forgive myself each time I drive. (Still doesn’t let the bad cyclists off the hook though)

Ant.  Wasn't it you who objected to whataboutery ?



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