Camden New Journal)
• CAMDEN Air Action is very pleased that the council is committed to reducing the air pollution that harms every single one of us in Camden; particularly the young, the old and those with existing health conditions.
We fully support Camden’s commitment to get below World Health Organisation limits on air pollution by 2030.
While your July 26 Letters was full of support for vital pollution-cutting measures, your front page reported warnings that shutting off traffic will pollute side streets, (No entry! Backlash at plans to shut off Judd Street to cars, July 26).
This suggests both a misunderstanding of science and experience, and a short-sighted desire to value convenience over our long-term health and the health of our children.
The pollution generated by motor vehicles in London is in proportion to the amount of traffic, with diesel vehicles being particularly dangerous. Improving air quality starts with reducing the number of vehicles driving into, through, or within, Camden.
Closing Judd Street does three key things.
First, it makes driving a car in the area less convenient. This is surely right: driving must become less convenient if we are to do it less. Adding five minutes to a five-minute journey will put us off needless car journeys and will encourage those who use cars for convenience to use public transport, two wheels, or our own feet.
Second, it makes space for separated cycle lanes. These are essential to encourage those who are currently too scared to cycle. Family cycling requires separate lanes, a crucial “carrot” to encourage us out of our cars.
Third, while new queues will no doubt appear in some places, the argument that this just increases pollution is a fallacy.
Research (see Traffic impact of highway capacity reductions: assessment of the evidence, S Cairns, C Hass-Klau & PB Goodwin, 1988; cited in Reclaiming city streets for people: chaos or quality of life? European Commission ec.europa.eu/environment/pubs/pdf/streets_people.pdf) shows journeys get substituted, queues disappear, and pollution levels drop.
Camden Air Action urges anyone concerned about air pollution issues to join this campaign and to encourage the council to do more about air quality, not less; making their feelings known at: cleanaircamden.commonplace.is/
Camden Air Action