Cutting local air pollution vital for children's health

New research confirms that a number schools in Merton are less than 150m away from roads with dangerously high levels of pollution.Campaigning on missing air monitors in 2009
 
Children’s health could be seriously affected, according to the research by ClientEarth – an environmental charity that successfully brought a legal action against the Government for breaking clean air laws.
 
Studies have shown that the health of children living within 150m of illegally polluted roads can be affected by traffic-related air pollution.
 
“The evidence shows that air pollution has links to various health conditions and shorter life expectancy,” said local parent and campaigner Anthony Fairclough.
 
“Cutting air pollution isn’t just an environmental issue: it’s vital for people’s health. Even more worrying is that this research only looked at schools – I have a toddler – there are numerous nurseries, playschools and playgrounds near these roads too.”

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Parking charge hike for diesel vehicles - our view

Merton Liberal Democrats want fair parking chargesLabour-run Merton Council is proposing to increase parking charges in controlled parking zones for diesel vehicles. This will be £150 "surcharge" phased over 3 years. Instead of the normal £65 cost for a parking permit, the owner of a diesel vehicle will have to pay an additional £90 in 2017/18, £115 in 2018/19 and £150 in 2019/20.

Below is our response to the recent consultation.

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Wheelie bins & fortnightly collections - latest

We had a massive response to our survey about the Council's plans for multiple wheelie bins and fortnightly rubbish collections.

Over summer, Lib Dem councillor Mary-Jane Jeanes and the team worked to take up residents' concerns with the councillor in charge of the plans.  

We want a waste collection scheme that works for people, is good value for money and that increases recycling.

You can see our questions and the answers we were given here: http://bit.ly/wheeliebinQus

  • Looks like they plan on giving you two wheelie bins, a recycling box and a food waste caddy, whether you have room to store them or not. They said: “standardisation will be required to a large extent”.
  • They don’t really know why this new scheme would increase recycling. They said: “we expect to see” an increase of 4% (but they don’t say why or how).
  • They plan on only collecting nappies and other sanitary waste fortnightly. They said: “there should be no health risk from a fortnightly service”.
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Wheelie bins proposed (again) & fortnightly bin collections

Labour-run Merton Council has brought forward new plans to introduce wheelie bins in Merton, joining a scheme with three other London Councils. 

General, non-recyclable, rubbish would be collected only fortnightly, but food waste would be collected every week. It looks like paper and card being would be collected one week and glass, tins and plastics the next.

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Safer & cleaner streets - what we would do about it

Here’s our 5-point action plan to "Reclaim Our Roads".

There are a few simple actions that Shas Sheehan and local Lib Dems are calling for that would make a big difference.

1. Get serious about street cleaning
Merton Council should reintroduce street cleaning straight after refuse and recycling collections, and monitor the quality of the work.

2. Publicise the schedule of inspection and maintenance of gullies and drains
Information is key. Allowing residents to know when their road is up for inspection allows them to hold the council to account when their actions are unacceptable.

3. A joint working group set up to include Merton Council, Thames Water and the Environment Agency
This agency would look holistically at the cause and effect of poor drainage and vibrating roads, allowing for problems to be resolved before they become a thorny issue for residents.
At the moment residents are sent from pillar to post trying to find out which agency is responsible for problems in their road. This step would greatly decrease the amount of bureaucracy involved in finding out who is responsible.

4. Implement 20mph default speed limit on most roads, without roads humps
This would make roads safer, reduce air and noise pollution and mitigate vibration.

5. Enforce heavy lorry weight restrictions
This would further reduce vibrations and prevent damage to buildings in the immediate vicinity

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Reclaim Our Roads - breaking the chain of cause and effect

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Get serious on street cleaning

Merton's Labour, Conservative and Residents Association Councillors failed to support a Liberal Democrat call for action on street cleaning, at Merton Council's full meeting on 9 July 2014.

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