The Grenfell Action Group has continued to lobby hard on the question of air pollution in the vicinity of the Westway Sports Centre, following the loss of our much-loved and well-used football pitches at Lancaster Green. We recently received the email below from Councillor Emma Dent Coad. We reproduce it verbatim here, with her permission, and without any additional comment from us:
I’m not sure what you hope to gain by writing to us all individually. It simply wastes our time; we are all working on this. We are also working on a mountain of casework that is difficult, time-consuming and often heart-breaking, so please be patient. We are just nine out of 54 Councillors, we are not full-timers like some of the Cabinet Members, but are pursuing this as much as we can in the face of the apparent determination of the Council to be unhelpful.
Our problem, as has been explained is that, despite the very clear commitment to pollution monitoring on site that was made at the planning meeting, we are now told there is no legal obligation to do this. I was sitting on the committee and supported Cllr Prof Coates (he is a doctor) in his insistence this should be done. I then voted against the development on the strongest grounds I could find, which was overdevelopment from the private housing development that is unnecessary and uses precious open space.
Here is what I have done re pollution monitoring:
- contacted Clean Air for London to see if they would be willing to bring their portable monitoring gear to Western Cross Route. Unfortunately their highly expensive kit is out of action and I can’t find out when or indeed if it will be fixed.
- spoken to the team at Imperial College who do the monitoring for the DEFRA site. However they only run the existing units that we know about and have no means to do additional testing.
- discovered that at the Edward Woods estate which is next to Shepherd’s Bush roundabout, that has just been totally refurbished and recladded (to what I hope would be a similar standard that will be achieved at Grenfell Tower), part of the objective was to protect the homes from air pollution
- discovered that at the monitoring station at Shepherd’s Bush roundabout, which is one of the worst sites in London, airborne pollution reached a staggering ’10’ for particulates during one episode earlier in the year.
All this adds up to a great deal of concern. The problem is to find evidence that this situation prevails at the relocated MUGAs. By a quirk of atmospheric pressure I am told that the area directly underneath the Westway does not have very bad air quality, as the pollution ‘drifts’. However I have no evidence of this either. It has recently been proved that air pollution is carcinogenic. The only issue is that we have to provide SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE of similar pollution at the precise location of the MUGAs, which at the moment we cannot. To make the point we must find a way to do this, otherwise it is simply conjecture.
Please add this link to a relevant recent blog where I make similar comments, and where a representation of the ‘Bad Air Day’ at Shepherd’s Bush roundabout is shown.
Until and unless the Council changes its mind, or we can find some funds to carry out a longish term monitoring process (as of course on a given day the pollution might be ‘not too bad at all’), we are somewhat stumped. However we have not forgotten and are still considering how to persuade the Council to honour its commitments. We have several ideas. We will not give up.
Emma Dent Coad
Councillor, Golborne Ward
Deputy Leader, Opposition Labour Group
RB Kensington and Chelsea