Councillor Sharon Holder and Councillor Wesley Harcourt presented the report proposing the Clean Air Neighbourhoods programme seeking to reduce many of the impacts of poor air quality and improve the health of residents. It proposed a range of measures and public realm area improvements, including new trees, greening, sustainable drainage systems, pedestrian safety improvements, cycling facilities and traffic access restrictions.
The Cabinet received four valid deputations on the proposals and each representative was permitted to address the Cabinet for 5 minutes.
With the Leader’s permission Mr Leo Murray was the first speaker to present his deputation. He represented W6 Safe Cycling Families, comprising 114 parents who cycled locally with their children. He offered their welcome for the Clean Air Neighbourhoods plans and were thankful for the Safer Cycle Pathway on King Street. As people felt safer, the number of people cycling on the local streets had increased considerably. They greatly appreciated the Council’s efforts to reduce the motor traffic to make local streets safer and lessen the air pollution.
Mr Murray stated that their three key priorities going forward were:
· the Weltje Road / Rivercourt Road delta was not working well for cyclists due to heavy traffic, particularly around school gates times. Ideally these roads should be closed to through traffic at the start and the end of the school day, He asked it his could be implemented as part of the Ravenscourt Park CAN.
· more cycle lanes on key main roads such as Wood Lane, Uxbridge Road and Goldhawk Road.
· School Streets to be included in the plans.
The Leader thanked Mr Murray and asked Ms Natalie Lindsay, representing Wandsworth Bridge Road Association, to present her deputation.
Ms Lindsay noted their appreciation for the Council commitment to addressing the serious problem of air pollution in the borough, which affected every resident, and their support to the initiative of Clean Air Neighbourhoods. However, they were concerned that the safety of pedestrians and cyclists risked being overlooked in the scheme, both on boundary roads and within the zones. They asked that the treatments of boundary roads on the plans also took into consideration the road safety of pedestrian and cyclists. Likewise, to prioritise changes to the road that would protect users and encourage local drivers to cycle instead of driving, while improving the air quality. They urged the Council to give equal importance to traffic calming measures within CANs to control speeding.
The Leader thanked Ms Lindsay and invited the third speaker, Ms Nikita Crocker, representing Hammersmith & Fulham Clean Air Parents, to present her deputation.
Ms Crocker stated that Clean Air Neighbourhoods was the first step in recognising and tackling the danger of the levels of pollution caused by car dependency, especially on children who were at greatest risk. They asked that the Council looked beyond today and also considered plans for the future. They appealed for the Council to consider measures to mitigate against short local trips to offer the required protection to children going to and returning from school. The implementation of School Streets had been successfully tried and implemented elsewhere. She noted that 96% of primary school children and 76% of secondary school students were from within the borough. Therefore, School Streets should be included in the plans as they could change the habit of driving to school and encourage children and parents to feel safe to cycle instead.
The Leader thanked Ms Crocker and invited the fourth speaker, Mr Casey Abaraonye, representing Hammersmith & Fulham Cycling, to present his deputation.
Mr Abaraonye spoke in support of the Clean Air Neighbourhoods as it tackled air pollution, which affected everyone’s health in multiple ways. However, he noted that the proposal needed to go further and be looked in conjunction with other factors. He noted that the majority of children going to the local schools lived locally. He added that the majority of traffic collisions happened within the proximity of the local residents homes, therefore local traffic should not be blocked without looking at other mitigation factors. In conclusion, he stressed that the Council should prioritise the safety of people in public spaces.
The Leader thanked Mr Abaraonyeand noted that many of the things discussed by members of the deputation were in common with the proposals in the Clean Air Neighbourhoods plans.
Councillor Ben Coleman thanked the four deputations for their comments. He assured that the Council was considering a whole range of public realm improvements, such as sustainable drainage, new trees, greens, pedestrian safety improvements, cycling and traffic access, repurposing street spaces, which were all part of the Clean Air Neighbourhoods plans. It was also looking at tacking energy use and demand in the future. Currently the Council was looking at the way traffic operated across the borough by implementing trial schemes for a period of 6 to 18 months while consulting throughout the trial period with residents and making changes where necessary, like in South Fulham. At the end of the trial period if successful the Council would decide to make the scheme permanent. The Council’s ambition was to reduce many of the impacts of poor air quality and improve the health of residents.
The Leader reiterated that the effect of air pollution had substantial effect on the health of residents. The Clean Air Neighbourhoods aim was not only about clean air but also about safer streets and a better place to live. In term of School Streets, it had not been implemented yet due to technical issues, such as lack of resources and a limited team. But it would be included as part of this plan with the schools’ input. The cycle lane was meant to be finished in 2021 but it was delayed by one year also due to technical problems.
The Leader proposed creating a working group with residents led by Bram Kainth, the Strategic Director of Environment, to bridge the communication gap by explaining the Council’s plans and to receive residents insights. His Chief of Staff would contact some of the deputation members to organise this working group.
AGREED UNANIMOUSLY BY THE CABINET MEMBERS:
1. To approve the borough wide programme of Clean Air Neighbourhoods within the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham (Appendix 1).
2. To delegate responsibility to the Strategic Director of Environment for decision-making and defining the parameters of the Clean Air Neighbourhood programme in consultation with the Deputy Leader of the Council, Cabinet Member for Public Realm and Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Ecology.
3. To delegate responsibility to the Strategic Director of Environment to amend or modify the programme in consultation with the Deputy Leader of the Council, Cabinet Member for Public Realm and Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Ecology.
4. To delegate responsibility to the Strategic Director of Environment for implementing projects to clean the air and enhance the public realm in consultation with the Deputy Leader of the Council, Cabinet Member for Public Realm and Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Ecology.
5. To delegate responsibility to the Strategic Director of Environment to approve the making of Experimental Traffic Orders for the purpose of implementing the experimental phase of the Clean Air Neighbourhoods in consultation with the Deputy Leader of the Council, Cabinet Member for Public Realm and Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Ecology.
6. To delegate responsibility to the Strategic Director of Environment to approve the making permanent of any Experimental Traffic Orders for the purpose of implementing Clean Air Neighbourhoods subject to the outcomes of public engagement, data collection, monitoring, and analysis, in consultation with the Deputy Leader of the Council, Cabinet Member for Public Realm and Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Ecology.