On Thursday night the councilâ€™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 Kingâ€™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 Residentsâ€™ 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.