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OPINION: Solicitor Jessica Learmond-Criqui says councillors must take a robust stand against CS11

PUBLISHED: 14:00 09 March 2017

Jessica Learmond-Criqui leads the protest march against CS11 last year

Jessica Learmond-Criqui leads the protest march against CS11 last year

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The WHO Chief has this week announced the link between air pollution and the deaths of 600,000 children

Why then is TfL channelling vast amounts of traffic into our residential side roads with Cycle Superhighway 11? Their latest prediction for our area is that CS11 will push up to 475 extra vehicles per hour (“PH”) into Haverstock Hill during morning peak, up to 200 extra PH on Belsize Lane and 100 extra PH on Frognal Lane, Frognal, Lower Terrace, Fleet Road, Lawn Road, Prince of Wales Road and in the roads between Fitzjohns Avenue and Haverstock Hill. Malden Road, Fleet Road, Haverstock Hill and Hampstead High Street are hit in the afternoon peak. Similar increases are forced into Kilburn and Primrose Hill with Albany Street being particularly hit, West Hampstead, Fortune Green and Swiss Cottage.

If Camden Council gives the green light to CS11, NO2 readings throughout North West Camden, stretching from Gospel Oak to Hampstead and Primrose Hill to Kilburn will worsen with toxicity impacting everyone, in particular the young. The folly and stupidity of the decision making around CS11 is leading to a crisis in air quality in our neighbourhoods.

The picture which TfL has given to the public during consultation is misleading because they refuse to show the impact of HS2 and CS11 together. With upwards of 800 lorry journeys a day with HS2 alone, plus the domino effect of 16+ years of a catalogue of road closures and diversions, TfL’s heat map omits the combined trauma. Taken with the cumulative impact of unco-ordinated planning policy for new major developments such as 100 Avenue Road and the huge SJW barracks project, we the residents are to face almost two decades of traffic misery all because CS11 displacement drives right through the epicentre of this road works ‘hell’ with its impact rippling for miles throughout Camden.

The Regents Park cycling lobby is pushing for Regents Park to become even more of a velodrome which will lead to the further dramatic, if not catastrophic, impact on local residents and on emergency vehicular access through the park.

This tragedy unfolding before our very eyes is based on the incompetence and arrogance of TfL who have failed to undertake appropriate impact studies before they announced their wish to proceed with the Swiss Cottage stage of CS11, by incorporating the inevitability, and now the legal certainty of HS2.

To those who say that this letter is from a few NIMBYs, we reply that it is on behalf of the unaccounted carers of 11,000 non-resident school children who go to school here, the over 80s who cannot travel on public transport, the disabled and those trying to access the Royal Free. The health of the whole of North West Camden will be adversely affected as they absorb fumes from the stationary and deflected traffic they will have to live with.

Other councils have taken a robust approach to cycle superhighways. Kensington and Chelsea won’t allow them. There is a strong element within Westminster Council itself that wants to call a halt to any further cycle superhighways until such time as those that have been implemented are proven to be as effective as TFL claimed they would be.

Will you, our councillors, fail to recognise your responsibilities to electors who, already deeply affected by HS2, will face a greatly exacerbated situation with CS11? Our challenge to you is to examine why you are in politics and whether you have truly considered the issues around CS11 or whether you have been subsumed into “the system” where the elite and special interest groups behind the cycling lobbies have subverted the democratic rights of the population.If you are truly representing the interests of those who voted for you, vote against this incursion into your and our human rights and invite TfL to work with you for a benign cycling scheme without the MORE malignant elements of CS11.

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