LETTER: Kids’ pollution protest was not anti-cycling
PUBLISHED: 10:00 31 March 2017 | UPDATED: 10:53 31 March 2017
Jessica Learmond-Criqui, of Hampstead, NW3, writes:
It is typical of the cycling lobby that they see children protesting against pollution as an attack on them.
There is a tradition in Hampstead of children protesting – see march against 29 New End and to free Nazanin Ratcliffe, both of which can be found in previous copies of the Ham and High.
The children in the photo are standing on the very road on which TfL will force 475 extra cars per hour. Their playground in also on this road, just behind where they are standing. Many will walk along this road to and from school. Students of their school range from 2 – 7 years. Justin McKie’s comments that he does not believe this number of cars will come through Hampstead is borne out of ignorance.
CS11 includes the biggest intentional road block in North West London’s history which 10 lanes at Swiss Cottage being reduced to 5 lanes. Given the WHO Chief’s confirmation that 600,000 children die every year from pollution, why does TfL consider that “short term” congestion and pollution as a result on our narrow streets with not less than 55 school sites is acceptable to these children? The lives of our children should not be traded in an elaborate and over zealous scheme which shows no sensitivity to the vagaries of North West London.
In addition to protesting against CS11, the children were protesting against HS2 and the 70+ daily lorry movements which the Royal Free Hospital are directing at the bottom of their garden and along their classroom windows in their attempt to enlarge their empire by building another building in the wrong place. The children are not just protesting for themselves and their school friends, but also for the children of other schools in the area who have pupils from the age of 3.
Camden Council accepts that if they took the EU Air Quality Directive literally, they would have to stop all development in Camden because of the impact of lorry movements but they are just not going to do that.
It is hoped that the community will come together to preserve the health of the next generation and at the same time, protect the iconic and unique architectural and educational heritage of Hampstead.