Solicitor tells Camden Council to stop approving ‘dangerous’ developments which breach its own guidelines

Jessica Learmond Criqui gives a deputation at a full council meeting on 18.04.16.

Jessica Learmond Criqui gives a deputation at a full council meeting on 18.04.16. - Credit: Archant

A solicitor and well-known campaigner from Hampstead has told the council it is in breach of its own guidelines on air quality and that it should not approve any more planning applications that will lead to an increased level of “dangerous” toxins.

Jessica Learmond-Criqui told a full council meeting on Monday that Camden should also cease discussions with Transport for London (TfL) over the controversial Cycle-Superhighway (CS-11) scheme, because she claims this will add significantly to the amount of deadly Nitrogen Dioxide (N02) in the air.

But Camden’s chief of planning, Phil Jones, said the council cannot simply stop processing planning applications.

Cllr Jones said that pollution levels in Hampstead were lower than in other parts of the borough - although he conceded that this was not the case on the main roads there.

Ms Learmond-Criqui said: “Finchley Road is used by 35 million vehicles, and CS-11 will see more than 200 more vehicles per hour being funnelled through he streets of Hampstead because Tfl are trying to narrow five lanes to three at Swiss Cottage. Hampstead has 12,500 children and 55 schools and pollution is a danger.

“Hampstead is exceeding safety levels for pollution.”

She added that the council is directly bound by its own Air Quality Directive and said that not enough was being done by Camden in order for it to comply with safety regulations.

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She said: “Camden should not improve any further applications for property developments, involving lorry movements which spew out nitrogen dioxide, if as a result pollution levels will rise.”

Ms Learmond-Criqui referred to the number of basement developments in Hampstead, many of which involve lorries, and said: “We would invite Camden Council to look closely at their construction management plans and not to approve any more given this imminent threat to Hampstead.”

Cllr Lazzaro P told Ms Learmond-Criqui: “I think you are addressing the right issue with the wrong strategy – the pollution in Hampstead is mostly caused by motor vehicles and you object to new cycle lanes which will reduce the no of motor vehicles

“You want essentially to prioritise private cars against over walking and cycling – why aren’t you campaigning for restrictions against motorists instead of against the creation of new cycle lanes?”

Cllr Jones said the council is currently consulting on clean air management with local people, and that tackling the problem of pollution was a priority across the borough, not just in Hampstead.

He said the council had raised “a range of detailed concerns” about CS11 about traffic diversions in Hampstead, and he expects these to be addressed, but does not think it would be in the interests of residents to halt all discussions on TfL.