Donnachadh McCarthy: ‘Our parks among the most polluted in London’

News Desk (15 December, 2016)

"Car fossil fuel pollution is one of the biggest threats to our kids"

11037News columnist Donnachadh McCarthy

First our schools, then our streets and now a third report says even Southwark’s Parks are among the most polluted in London.

ASIopendata.com/London air have published a map, showing nearly all of Southwark’s parks and open spaces in centre and north of the borough are breaking EU safety limits.

These include Burgess Park, Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park, Tabard Gardens and loads of others.

Car fossil fuel pollution is one of the biggest threats to our kids – stunting lung growth for life and lung cancers and heart diseases among adults.

It is killing over 9,000 people in London every year.

Thankfully, another report from the NHS provides advice to Southwark on how to tackle this lethal threat.

  1. Invest in protected cycling lanes. Southwark have not built a single protected cycle lane for over a decade.
  2. Introduce 20 mph limit.  Well done – Southwark has done this, but police refusing to enforce it properly.
  3. Install thick shrubberies and trees along borders of parks to stop lethal pollution from roads poisoning the air in them.
  4. Do NOT enclose green spaces with high buildings, which lethally traps the pollution.

Southwark has a pretty poor record on this.

It moved the kids play area in Camberwell Green next to Camberwell Road.

It built new outdoor gym on Albany Road right next to polluted road.

It redesigned Burgess Park entrance to allow Old Kent Road pollution to flood into the park.

It cut down North Camberwell Open Space shrubberies bordering Wells Way, not once but twice!

It bulldozed protective shrubberies on New Kent Road open spaces.

Huge areas of Peckham Rye Park are wide open to the busy polluted roads running alongside it.

Planners are insisting that parks in the centre and north of the borough are turned into pollution traps by demanding they be hemmed in with new tower blocks.

Southwark needs to get an urgent handle on this.  Get planting with those parks shrubberies immediately and clean out our lethal planning department.

Get in people who care about local children’s lives and not simply profits for global property developers.

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