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Clear the air on how we can tackle pollution together

06 March, 2020

AS the climate crisis looms over us it is more important than ever that the government and local authorities promote the installation of cycle lanes and pedestrianise roads choked by traffic spewing out deadly emissions.

It is all part of a need – if the planet is to survive – to disempower the fossil fuel industries and bring about global decarbonisation.

But everyone should be involved and feel their views are being considered.

Unfortunately, Camden Council does not seem to have caught up with the times. Generally, public consultations on planning matters or traffic changes are often conducted so ham-fistedly that residents who feel they should be consulted aren’t, and those who don’t need to be – some of whom live outside the borough – are.

It often becomes a merry-go-round leaving too many residents disenfranchised.

A letter this week from Nick Harding on the traffic scheme now being introduced in Prince of Wales Road illustrates the sort of problems the Town Hall seem unable to solve.

He wonders – quite rightly in our judgement – why his objections had to fail simply because he lives 240 metres from the site, a distance too far to allow him to take part in a public consultation.

The verdict was ultimately delivered by the Local Government Ombudsman.

But the residential zone governing the area mapped out for the public consultation would have been drawn up by council officials – and here lies the nub of the problem.

On what basis were the “red lines” of the zone drawn up? And were the residents in the surrounding area of Prince of Wales Road involved, however marginally, in any discussions on the scheme at its very earliest stages? Preliminary investigations suggest the boundaries covered by the public consultation were too narrowly focused – in the main – on the residences, private houses and blocks of flats in Prince of Wales Road.

We trust lessons will be learned here by the council.

Two scandals

WHICH is the biggest scandal – the government’s treatment of the Windrush generation, or the bullying claims by civil servants?

In our opinion – and here we agree with the journalist Amelia Gentleman who exposed the fallout from the Home Office’s creation of a “hostile environment” policy – Windrush is the greater scandal. Its roots go back to the old days of the Empire and the ideology it spawned.

But this is not to decry the storm brewing over the failings of the Home Office and the way civil servants, high and low, are treated.

But apart from the valiant efforts by Ms Gentleman, the mainstream media appears to comfort itself – with relative silence on the Windrush scandal.

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