The Air Our Sporting Youth Must Breathe

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The gross overdevelopment of the Lancaster Green area via the imposition of KALC has seen a crucial part of our much loved residential amenity disappear and our five-a-side football pitches moved to a new location under the Westway flyover and its associated sliproads.

Over the past few years our community has been abused and marginalised by both Labour and Tory Councillors and RBKC Officers, not least because of the Grenfell Action Group’s continuing efforts to highlight the dangers to health of leaving so many of our young people and children with no alternative but to play football and other sports directly beneath this major source of air pollution.

The Grenfell Action Group has previously blogged on this subject and we have appealed to the Council to undertake an air quality survey to measure levels of pollution at the Westway Sports Centre. We are particularly disappointed by the lack of commitment from Judith Blakeman and her poodles in the RBKC Labour Group who have done so very little to help expose this great injustice being perpetrated against their own constituents, most particularly those too young to speak for themselves in the corridors of power.

With the summer months now upon us, and the pollution levels in Central London set to rise with the temperature, the Grenfell Action Group has renewed its appeal to RBKC Council to honour the commitment that was made at the KALC Major Planning Committee to conduct an air quality survey at the Westway Sports Centre.

We have written to Councillor Coates, who lobbied hard on this issue as a member of the Committee, and asked him why the Westway air quality survey that was promised to our community, has not been carried out. We have provided copies (below) of the resulting thread of emails that clearly shows senior Council officers dragging their heels and pretty much refusing to act on this important issue.

Cllr Coates has informed us that he intends to bring this subject up at a full Council meeting if he doesn’t get acceptable answers to his queries, and we will hold him to that promise if the Council fails to follow through on its promise to measure the pollution levels at Westway Sports Centre. We would again remind our readers, and all Councillors or council officers involved in this affair, that unacceptably high air pollution levels at this location have the potential to seriously impact the health of our community, and particularly that of the many school children who have no alternative but to use this facility.  The Council’s own website contains information about lead poisoning, and other common forms of air pollution, that clearly demonstrates the hypocrisy of the same Council effectively forcing children to play football and other sports just meters away from the slip road of this heavily polluted motorway.

http://www.rbkc.gov.uk/environmentandtransport/airquality/effectsonhealth.aspx

When Councillor Professor Coates argued successfully for air quality testing at the Westway Sports Centre, and secured the Major Planning Committee’s agreement to this, we fully expected that the effect of the Committee’s decision would be to make air quality testing at Westway a ‘Planning Obligation’, without which the KALC project should not proceed. Clearly the Director of Planning (Mr Bore) took a different view of this. This leaves us wondering who, in the Royal Borough, decides what is, and what is not, a ‘Planning Obligation’? Is it the Major Planning Committee, which supposedly adjudicates planning applications, and grants or witholds planning permission on the evidence presented to it, or is it the Director of Planning who appears to have his own agenda, and the power to pursue it with impunity?

Shame on the RBKC Councillors who have sat on their hands while our children are forced to breathe high levels of vehicle exhaust fumes while playing sport, and shame on the RBKC Officers who refuse to do the right thing and measure, as promised, the pollution levels in the vicinity of the Westway sports pitches.

The Grenfell Action Group will not cease until we have exposed this ill-treatment of our community and we will bring great shame and embarrassment on RBKC Council when we do. Be warned!

 

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Thursday 22 May 2014

Dear Cllr Coates,

Please could you explain to me why no report has yet been conducted into pollution levels at the Westway despite one being requested by your good self (and a number of Opposition Councillors) and this being agreed by the KALC Planning Committee?

Thank you for your help with this matter.
Grenfell Action Group

Thursday 22 May 2014

Dear Mr Bore

I would be grateful if you could kindly advise me about progress with this matter and copy your reply to Grenfell Action Group

Best wishes
Anthony Coates
BSc, FRCP, MD, FRCPath, Professor of Medical Microbiology, Institute of Infection and Immunity, St George’s, University of London

Friday 30 May 2014

Dear Cllr Coates

I’ve now looked into this.

The Major Planning and Development Committee on 26 September resolved to request that the Bi-Borough Director for Cleaner, Greener and Cultural Services should arrange for a review of the air quality at the Westway MUGAs and prepare a report for the Chairman.

In response to your question I contacted the Director for Cleaner, Greener and Cultural Services and also the Director of Housing, who was managing the KALC project, to find out the position.

No specific measurement on the site of the MUGSs was carried out as part of the review; rather, reliance was placed on data from the monitoring station at Walmer House and a computer generated model from Kings College London. I attach an email from the Director of Housing to the Chairman of the Major Planning and Development Committee and a letter from the Director of Environmental Health to Sir Malcolm Rifkind who was himself acting on a letter from Mr Daffarn. These are self-explanatory.

Regards
Jonathan Bore | Executive Director | Planning and Borough Development

Friday 30 May 2014

Dear Mr Bore

I am surprised that no proper air quality survey has been performed. In principle, if the Major planning asks for such a survey, it should be done. If for some reason it was not done, what is that reason please. I think that you should know that if I do not get a proper answer to this, I will have to bring it up in Council

Best wishes
Sir Anthony Coates,
BSc, FRCP, MD, FRCPath, Professor of Medical Microbiology, Institute of Infection and Immunity, St George’s, University of London

Monday 2 Jun 2014

Dear Cllr Coates

The request was made by the Committee to the Bi-Borough Director for Cleaner, Greener and Cultural Services and it does not fall to my department to undertake or enforce this request; it was not included in any s106 or condition. You need to take the matter up with Ms Harris and Mr Austin; I have copied this email to them.

Regards
Jonathan Bore | Executive Director | Planning and Borough Development

Monday 2 Jun 2014

Dear Mr Bore

Thank you for your comments.
I look forward to hearing from Ms Harris and Mr Austin

Best wishes
Cllr Coates

Friday 13 Jun 2014

Dear Cllr Coates,

Please could you advise the Grenfell Action Group of the response to your request for a proper air quality survey from Ms Harris or Mr Austin?

Our community is fed up of having our children being poisoned by petrol fumes as a result of being forced to play football meters away from a major polluted motorway and we want the Council to honour their commitment to take accurate air quality survey of the impacted area.

As we have stated before, the Grenfell Action Group, will not rest until this matter is properly addressed by those with the power to do so in Hornton St.

Kind regards,
Genfell Action Group

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