Monday 23 September 2019

Buses contribute to dangerous air pollution in Kensal Rise claims campaigner

It seems counter-intuitive that clean air campaigners should aim some of their fire at buses - after all isn't good public transport one of the ways of addressing traffic pollution?

This is why I asked Fiona Mulaisho of Kensal Rise Residents Association to explain the issues for Wembley Matters  readers after she made a presentation at the last Council meeting:

1) There is an air related Public health crisis in Kensal Rise - in the Station Terrace locality which is most exclusively used by thousands of TfL diesel buses;

2) For the above area where Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)emissions from TfL diesel buses only were found to be almost triple the European Union's legal limit deemed fit for humams. This area  is heavily patronized by residents, shoppers, schoolchildren, bus users etc as there is a Tesco in the vicinity. These people are being involuntarily exposed to illegal levels of bus induced NO2.

Ark Franklin Academy on Chamberlayne is 1 of 50 worst polluted schools on London's most polluted roads in the Mayor of London's Air Quality Audit for schools 2018.

3) Brent Council needs to address this public health crisis immediately as exposure to pollution causes asthma, cancer, lung deformation, heart attacks with children and the elderly being the most vulnerable.

4) The Kensal Corridor Improvement scheme (KCIS) mentioned by Clkr Krupa Sheth in her response, and to be funded by TfL has no credible air pollution of congestion reduction measures, a real missed opportunity to address the longstanding and illegal air quality environment in the local area. There will still be 70,000 vehicles and nearly 12,000 diesel buses using Chamberlayne Road weekly.

5) The Kensal Rise Residents' Association, Clean Air for Brent, Brent Cycling Campaigb Group, Kensal Rise residents and local business are against the KCIS proposal to increase bus stands in the Station Terrace area - more bus stands = more diesel buses. 350 residents have signed petition opposing this bus stand proposal; 

6) 30 local Kensal Businesses have sent a letter to Brent Council and 3 Queens Park ward councillors objecting to the bus stand proposal and demanding for action on the very toxic and perilous air quality conditions along  the high street. (see below)

7) Instead residents and business want the Station Terrace area to be used for initiatives they would benefit the community, businesses and local economy and air quality environment I.e a weekly farmers market. They do not want the heart of their high street to be turned into a mini depot for TfL to increase and store more of its diesel buses, many of which travel to and from Kensal Rise more or less empty.

8) What I didn't say but implied is the Council is keen to get the KCIS money from TfL. However, given what we know about the serious air quality problems caused by TfL's 12,000 diesel buses, we are of stand strong that "Kensal Rise residents and businesses' lives, health and wellbeing are not for sale to TfL". And the Council should never put it's residents in this position. And it needs to take action on the bus induced air related Public health crisis.

Regarding Cllr Krupa's response:

1) There has been no evidence of analysis proffered with KCIS on how and by how much "congestion and associated pollution be reduced". We have asked for thus data and analysis but nothing forthcoming other than the response that "They just know!"

2) The highly illegal NO2 emissions were found to be coming from some of the newer supposedly cleaner buses  - Euro VI - in the Station Terrace area. Think diesel-gate but for buses.

3) There is a false belief within Brent Council that TfL is going to magic up a whole load of cleaner buses / electric. The fact of the matter is TfL has less than 250 electric buses and operates over 700 routes daily in London, each route assigned with 12 buses... do the maths! As at March 2019, TfL had a fleet of 9,142 buses of which:

A) 5,298 were 100% diesel;

B) 155 Electric; (it's got about 70 more since);

C) 2,669 Hybrid (Diesel and Electric)

4) The majority of TfL fleet will be diesel right up to 2038 when all buses will have to be zero emissions so we are in for the long haul with TfL!

OPEN LETTER TO TFL AND BRENT COUNCILLORS (Click bottom right for full page version)

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