'Green wall' would end Beaufort Park pollution nightmare

Angry residents of Beaufort Park demand protection from the pollution of the North Circular Road. 

Angry residents of Beaufort Park demand protection from the pollution of the North Circular Road. - Credit: Alex Robinson

Anxious families on the edge of Hampstead Garden Suburb are demanding action to protect their homes from air pollution from the North Circular and A1.

Campaigners are petitioning Barnet Council to put in place measures including a "green wall" which could limit the impact of emissions from the roads, which surround the Beaufort Park apartment complex, near Henlys Corner. 

Alex Robinson, one of the people leading the campaign, said he first became aware of the scale of the problem around eight years ago. 

"My brother, a respiratory doctor, said I really should get a filter for my son's bedroom. It made me realise this is a really difficult situation. We're so close to both the North Circular and the A1, and really badly affected," he said.

"What's really obvious is that in other places around these roads there are green barriers, if you go down Falloden Way towards Highgate, for example".

Alex's son Raphael, 17, added: "The air pollution is one thing that lockdown one made very clear. It felt such a lot better when no-one was travelling. With my asthma, it feels like there's always that risk of an attack."

Alex has written to Barnet Council, and compared the situation to that faced near to the South Circular Road on the other side of London - where in January a coroner ruled air pollution contributed to the death of nine-year-old Ella Kissi-Debrah. 

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He wrote: "Ella died because she lived within 30 metres of the South Circular. Beaufort Park is within thirty metres of the North Circular."

Henly's Corner - the junction between the A1 and the North Circular - is a "focus area" of Barnet Council's Air Quality Action Plan.

Cllr Gabriel Rozenberg (Lib Dem, Garden Suburb) told this newspaper he wants Barnet's environment chief Cllr Dean Cohen to visit Beaufort Park.

He said it is "shocking" that residents have to put up with such high levels of air pollution.

He added: "Residents have told me, for example, that they can't even have their windows open. 

"This has to be dealt with now - we need to see designs being drawn up in straight away."

Alex added that the aim would be to help protect the whole area, including children at Brooklands School. 

Barnet Council said it has been actively planting trees around Beaufort Park, as was Transport for London.