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Ealing and Northfield

Horn Lane residents make their case at scrutiny

On Thursday night the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee met to discuss the issue of pollution in Horn Lane. The Labour transport and environment spokesman, Cllr Bassam Mahfouz, and a couple of the Labour committee members seemed to think that this was not a good use of their time but ten local residents turned up and three of them spoke very well about the poor air quality of their neighbourhood.

Coincidentally on Thursday King’s College London announced:

On Wednesday 15th May 2013, the monitoring site on Horn Lane, Acton became the first location in London to breach the National Air Quality Strategy (NAQS) Objective for PM10 for the year. The NAQS objective allows a daily mean PM10 concentration of 50 ug m-3 on not more than 35 days per year. Provisional measurements indicate that PM10 on Horn Lane has been above this threshold for 36 days during 2013.

The meeting heard from Cllr Mahfouz that in spite of his pique the council was proposing an Air Quality Summit for Horn Lane that brings together the council, the Environment Agency and Transport for London. This was a new idea. One not heard at cabinet on 23rd April. One not heard when Cllr Bell arranged for West Acton Residents’ Association to meet officers on 14th May. I think we can assume that the combination of the call in and residents concerns have galvanised Cllr Bell into action. He has been in contact with his old boss Chris Smith, who is now chairman of the Environment Agency. Good.

The officers speaking at the meeting were surprised when the committee disagreed with their view that the summit should be for officials only. The committee recommended that representatives of residents and local councillors should be involved too.

A good night for residents I think.

2 replies on “Horn Lane residents make their case at scrutiny”

Good old Labour democracy in action: make platitudes to represent the working man (i.e. the residents of the Horn Lane area) then support big business at the expense of the members and the residents. I wonder what the real reasons are for not wanting to address the pollution? As V.I. Warszawski would say: “Follow the money”.

On further reflection, what is the source of this pollution and how can it be remedied? It seems that PM10 describes big particles of pollution that are between 2.5 and 10 micrometers (from about 25 to 100 times thinner than a human hair). What might the sources of this be:
a) A large waste transfer station situated off Horn Lane (where rubbish collection trucks and skip operators empty their vehicles before the rubbish and building waste is sorted and then trans-shipped by road and rail outside London for dumping into landfill.
b) High levels of traffic on the Horn Lane which is quite narrow and built up for a road with that volume of traffic.
c) Local businesses in the industrial areas around Horn Lane.
d) The railway line that runs from Paddington to Reading.
The solution to a) may be to move the large waste transfer station elsewhere, to b) to limit vehicular traffic to lorries of 12.5 tonnes and under getting the big-particle producing diesel-burning artics away from the area, replaces diesel-burning buses on this route with new-tech hydrogen burning buses as being used elsewhere in London, to c) introduce a rolling monitoring study and programme of business premises emissions ranging from local chip shops to chemical plants to identify culprits and enforce the implementation of emissions filters particularly on historical plant that was commission before such filtering became usual, and to d) to campaign for electrification of the busy diesel-driven commuter services running between Reading, Maidenhead, Slough, Ealing Broadway, Acton Main Line (situation on the Horn Lane) and to Paddington thereby improving air-quality through a whole strip of Ealing.
Plenty there that Ealing Council could do, and just think of the health impact of such a pregramme as well: less respiratory disease and fewer related complaints.

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