What the latest consultation doesn't emphasise adequately:

consultation doc.jpg

Sometimes the information that's omitted or the emphasis that’s placed on other areas speaks volumes.

 

There’s a lot of weight placed in the Council’s consultation on road accidents, antisocial behaviour and the benefits the road closures will bring to some streets.

But vital information that adds balance to the argument and would enable the public to make an informed decision has been either left out or given less airtime.

Here are some of the points we think are vital when it comes to making a decision:

 

  • Children are especially vulnerable when it comes to pollution because their young lungs are still developing. Illegal levels of pollution (as are present in parts of Church St, Albion Road and Crossways) can stunt child lung development by 10%, leaving them more at risk of life-threatening respiratory illness.

 

  • The closures would cause significant traffic increases in Church Street, Albion Road, Crossways and many other roads and with that comes more pollution and higher risk of accidents.

 

  • The plans involve moving traffic from roads with low pollution levels (Walford, Beatty and Brighton Roads) to streets where pollution is already dangerously high.

 

  • Pollution will worsen at 6 primary schools (William Patten, St Mary’s, Grasmere, Newington Green, Princess May and St Matthias), at Stoke Newington School and at 6 nurseries (Coconut, N16 Tots, Monkey Puzzle, The Factory Children’s Centre, Beatty Nursery and N Nursery).

 

  • The document talks a lot about accidents in and around Walford Rd but fails to highlight the number of collisions in streets such as Church St, Crossways or Albion Rd. Little, if any, thought has been given to the ability of these streets to cope with the volume of traffic they already have, let alone more. In Church St, for example, the pavements are narrow and heavily used by families with small children. Businesses here say there are often road rage incidents due in part to congestion.

 

  • The stand alone pollution impact of these road closures at schools is much larger than has been stated in the consultation. That's because the Council modelled the air quality alongside plans to clean up the bus fleet. Actually the air at schools would have been getting cleaner; the road closures will undo that and make the air dirtier than it was before.

  • Contrary to the Council's claim that all schools will continue to meet the EU legal limits: St Mary's Primary is already illegally polluted and the grounds of Grasmere Primary WILL be tipped over the legal limit.

MITIGATION

The Council has some ‘mitigation proposals’ (attempts to reduce the impact of the extra pollution), such as green screens at schools, restricting Church St to low emission vehicles, school streets (closing streets behind schools to traffic at certain times) and widening pavements. 

  1. Green screens take years to mature and become effective. Cllr Jon Burke recently told this group he doesn’t consider William Patten’s green screen is good enough. None of the other schools yet have green screens.

  2. While school streets will be better than nothing, they won’t reduce pollution at these schools or do anything to mitigate for the extra vehicles. There is hardly any traffic on these back streets anyway. The source of the pollution is primarily traffic on the main roads at the front of these schools and the council’s plans will make that worse.

  3. Ideas like a low emission zone or widening pavements will take years to happen, if they happen at all. We hear phrases like ‘looking at’ a lot when it comes to Hackney Council. They’ve been ‘looking at’ moving the bus stop from the front of William Patten for over three years and it’s still there!

 

In the meantime, with no effective or immediate mitigation to deal with the extra pollution, residents and children will face years of dirtier, more harmful air.

 

 

There are other more rational, less harmful solutions such as timed road closures at night or creating one-way streets with traffic calming which the Council has been too quick to dismiss.

At a time when all the evidence from academics and experts in child health reveals just how harmful prolonged exposure to high level pollution is for children, and, knowing they're exposed to most pollution at school or on their way to school, Hackney's strategy of knowingly increasing traffic past primary schools and nurseries is perverse.

TRAFFIC INCREASES

 

Here 's what the Council’s independent consultants said the traffic increases would be if the road closures happen:

(bear in mind they took 10% of the traffic out of their calculations because they assumed the roads will become so bad that some motorists will decide to stop driving in the area)

 

  • Dynevor Road =122% increase in traffic

  • Albion Road (northern section – north of Barbauld Rd) = 16% increase in northbound traffic)

  • Albion Road (south of Howard Rd) = 37% increase in southbound traffic

  • Boleyn Road = 34% increase in traffic overall

  • Crossway = 18% increase in traffic overall

  • Matthias = 40% increase overall

  • Stoke Newington Church Street (east of Barn St) = 14% increase

  • Stoke Newington Church St 2 = east of Wilmur Place =  17% increase

  • Kersley Road = 12% increase

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