June 2018 E-Newsletter
High rise fire safety - a year on from Grenfell
We have reached the first anniversary of the Grenfell disaster, and grieve again for the 72 people who died, as well as those who were injured and bereaved in the worst residential fire in modern British history. The horror of the fire, the shambles of the aftermath, the failure to adequately house all those made homeless is rightly the focus of our immediate attention. However, tens, if not hundreds of of thousands of people living in high-rise buildings nationwide have also been affected and, as it has become increasingly clear that many of the assumptions that had been made about fire-safety were wrong, the implications will be felt for many years to come. Thankfully, Westminster has taken action to remove cladding from the six 20-storey block Little Venice estate (which most of us know as the Warwick estate) but across the country, progress in removing cladding from tower blocks has been painfully slow. It was only last week - 12 months after the Grenfell disaster- that the government finally committed to providing money for cash-strapped councils to make progress on fire safety without compromising other vital repairs and maintenance work. Meanwhile, we *still* don’t how many private blocks are affected, nor where the (disputed) responsibility will lay for paying to remove cladding in leasehold blocks. Although we will not know for certain how the Grenfell fire spread in the way it did until the official inquiry reports, there is no reason to delay making progress either on improving fire safety in existing blocks, or making sure that flammable cladding is never again used in new buildings. Even the fact that this second point has to be made is astounding, yet the recent report into building regulations post-Grenfell by Dame Judith Hackitt did not go that far, prompting a storm of outrage, and a hurried promise by the Government to consult on a ban after all.
I wrote an article for the Guardian in response to the Hackitt report, explaining why a ban on the use of flammable building materials may not be enough, but is an essential starting point. You can read it here.
Along with ward Councillors, I have been kept closely informed of Westminster Council’s actions on fire safety locally, and have, of course, pressed the Government on funding support and clarity around the legal issues, such as those relating to leasehold properties and the installation of sprinklers. Do feel free to contact me if you have any specific questions I may be able to help with.
As I have said on many previous occasions, I deeply regret the outcome of the referendum and am absolutely clear that it is in Britain’s best interests to minimise the damaging consequences by negotiating to remain within the Single Market and the Customs Union. Worryingly, however, over the last couple of months, the negotiations over how we leave have once again become bogged down in attempts to finalise outstanding areas of disagreement in relation to the divorce settlement. The question of how to avoid a hard border in Ireland goes to the heart of the problem. It was set aside in March but the current impasse will have to be overcome soon if the negotiations are not to stall or even break down entirely. The EU has been clear that sufficient progress has to be made on the border issue by the EU Council summit in late June, in advance of a solution being agreed at the October Council summit. This is itself the final such summit before the draft withdrawal agreement must begin its process of ratification in both Europe and the UK.
There is no solution to the Irish border issue that does not involve some form of customs union between the EU and the UK. That is because without a customs arrangement that ensures no tariffs, differences in cross-border VAT, customs checks or rules of origins checks (as well as the need for regulatory alignment in other areas currently facilitated by our participation in the single market) infrastructure would have to be placed on the border. Imperilling the basis of the Good Friday Agreement.
In February, Labour put forward a new, comprehensive UK-EU customs union as a negotiating priority. But the Conservatives have refused to soften their red line in this area and are now gripped by an internal argument between two customs arrangement options that they first outlined in a ‘Future Partnership’ paper published on 15 August, but which we have known for some time are not feasible or practical. The first is a ‘customs partnership’ between the EU and UK. It is untried and untested. By the Government’s own admission, it would take at least five years to implement and it would be ripe for abuse. It was roundly rejected by the EU last year, not least because it would require EU member states to completely reconfigure their own national customs systems. The idea is not simply “blue sky thinking”, as the Secretary of State described it in September last year; it is pie-in-the-sky thinking. For once, Boris Johnson is right – the idea is “crazy”.
The second is a “highly streamlined customs arrangement” or what has recently been badged as ‘max fac’. This position would involve both sides agreeing to implement a range of measures to minimise frictions to trade, together with specific provisions for Northern Ireland. It would therefore require a range of measures, including unproven “technology-based solutions”. According to the Chief Executive of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, it would take three years to put in place and would still result in friction on our borders. As he made clear recently when giving evidence to the Treasury select committee, it would also create extra bureaucracy that could cost business up to £20bn a year!
In her Mansion House speech in March, the Prime Minister claimed that both these customs arrangement options were serious and merited consideration, but they were nonetheless widely derided. The EU immediately ruled both out as non-starters which makes it even more incredible that the Cabinet continue to discuss both options as if they were realistic propositions. Meanwhile, time is running out- hence the suggestion that the Government may look to negotiate customs and regulatory alignment beyond the currently envisaged transition period up until 2023 – an option that was again immediately ruled out by the EU who maintain that a ‘stand still’ transition must be comprehensive (i.e. including continued participation in the single market and with full ECJ jurisdiction).
The truth is that the Government have absolutely no idea about what to do about the issue of customs and the Irish border. The fall-back that surfaced in the EU Commission draft legal text published on 28 February—namely, that Northern Ireland should go into a customs union with the south and that the UK border should be shifted to somewhere in the Irish sea—is clearly unacceptable. The Prime Minister quite rightly made it clear that no UK Prime Minister could accept such an outcome. Hence, the Irish border issue remains unresolved.
Last week, the Prime minister announced plans to publish yet another Brexit white paper, setting out for the first time in detail (and over a year after triggering Article 50) what Britain is seeking from its future relationship with the EU. That would suggest she finally plans to make a choice, but it doesn’t mean that the Cabinet is united on the issue, and there will first have to be agreement on what to put in the policy document, including a plan for a future customs relationship!
VOTING ON THE LORDS AMENDMENTS TO THE EU WITHDRAWAL BILL
This is how I have responded to people writing to me about the EU Withdrawal Bill - as of Tuesday afternoon!
The House of Lords defeated the Government fifteen times during the Lords stage of the EU Withdrawal Bill, and it is these fifteen amendments we voted on this week. I supported them in the Commons. Many of the amendments build on those we pressed in the Commons during the Bill’s Committee Stage, including amendments relating to a customs union, enhanced protection of existing rights and protections, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, limiting the scope of the sweeping delegated powers in the Bill, and guaranteeing a meaningful vote on the draft withdrawal agreement. The most important one is, in my view, that granting Parliament a meaningful vote on the final deal in the autumn. We cannot be presented with a choice between a poor deal and a catastrophic ‘no deal’ scenario, for which the Government has not prepared and which would have devastating consequences for jobs and communities. Given the extent to which ‘taking back control’ was a key theme for those campaigning for a ‘leave’ vote in the 2016 referendum, I am less than convinced by those who now argue that Parliament should not assert its right to shape this most important of decisions.
I strongly believed that it is in our national interest to remain within the EU, and campaigned for that result in the referendum. The next best alternative is for us to remain part of the Customs Union and the Single Market, and I will be supporting those Lords amendments which come closest to securing those objectives, including the amendment on the EEA. The Government has proposed a compromise on the Custom Union to buy off their rebels, so it may be that the crunch vote on this will come later, when the Customs Bill and the Trade Bills return to the Commons in the next few weeks. It is worth saying, however, that the only way any amendment would be successful is if (almost) all opposition MPs and around 10-15 Conservative MP rebels vote in favour.
(NB Since drafting this, we have had the first batch of votes and lost each one. Importantly, the government appears to have made a concession to their backbenches regarding Dominic Grieve’s proposal for a version of the ‘meaningful vote’ in order to avoid defeat, and we can now expect a fresh vote next week. We will have to see whether it represents something substantial or whether the putative rebels lost their best opportunity earlier today..)
In addition, you may be interested to know that I raised these specific points on the two recent occasions on which I had a Question to the Prime Minister:
Ms Karen Buck (Westminster North) (Lab)
Q14. We must continue to have the closest possible relationship with the single market if we are to avoid taking a major hit on our economy, but time is rapidly running out for us to negotiate a bespoke new deal. What possible reason can there be for the Prime Minister not giving Members of Parliament the earliest possible opportunity to vote in this place on the European economic area? 
The Prime Minister
This House has had and will continue to have many opportunities to debate these issues in relation to the European Union and the United Kingdom’s future relationship with it. There will be not only the meaningful vote that has been promised, but the voting on the European withdrawal agreement and implementation Bill that will come before this House and on a number of other relevant Bills for our Brexit.
Ms Karen Buck (Westminster North) (Lab)
Q10. Ministers will today discuss the two customs arrangement proposals first put forward last August. The first is untried and untested. The second relies on unproven technology. In any event, neither will be ready by the time they are needed, and both have been written off in Europe. Why, with just six months to go before a draft Brexit deal is signed off, are the Government still considering options that we all know are not feasible? 
The Prime Minister
We are very clear that we are going to leave the European Union on 29 March 2019. We will be leaving the customs union, and we want to ensure that we can have an independent trade policy. We also want to ensure that we deliver—we are committed to delivering—on our commitment to having no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, and that we have as frictionless trade as possible with the European Union. There are a number of ways in which that can be delivered—[Interruption.] There are a number of ways in which that can be delivered, and if the hon. Lady is so interested in the whole question of a customs border, she might like to ask her Front Bench to come to a decision on what the Labour party policy actually is on this.
The secret life of London’s mega-basements
I provided some information and comment on this fascinating recent study into London’s mega-basements, by the journalist David Batty. You can read the story here.
Maida Vale Studios - join the campaign
The BBC is to withdraw from and sell the historic Maida Vale Studios.
The BBC's Maida Vale building was acquired in response to the rapidly increasing requirements of broadcasting in the early 30s. Built in 1909, Maida Vale Studios were orginally the home of the Maida Vale Roller Skating Palace and Club, seating 2,650 people and proud possessor of its own orchestra balcony. The Palace only lasted three months however, and for the rest of the decade the building was occupied by a variety of companies.
In the 1930s it became home to the BBC Symphony Orchestra, but was also a standby centre of the BBC radio news service during the Second World War. Like Broadcasting House, the site had to be repaired after taking a direct hit during the London Blitz. The BBC Symphony Orchestra, still uses the Maida Vale studios for both performances and recordings of classical music. It can hold more than 150 musicians, a choir of over 100 and an audience of 220. Overall, the building houses a total of seven music and radio drama studios. Outside its classical music remit, it was famously home to John Peel's BBC Radio 1 Peel Sessions, and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, famed for its realisation of the Doctor Who theme tune. In 1994, the Beatles album 'Live at the BBC' was released, with most of the material having been recorded at Maida Vale. Several other albums, sometimes named after the studios, were recorded in studio MV4. Van der Graaf Generator released an album called Maida Vale in 1994. Portions of October 1990 and September 1991 sessions by Nirvana were released in 2004 on the band's 'With the Lights Out' box set. In 2006 the group Hefner released an album called 'Maida Vale', which was recorded here. The White Stripes included their version of the Dusty Springfield classic 'I Don't Know What To Do With Myself', recorded for The Evening Session in MV4 by Miti Adhikari on their album 'Elephant'. In 2002 Andrea Bocelli's 'Sentomento' was made here. The label Maida Vale Records, a subsidiary of Cooking Vinyl, has a policy of releasing material from various radio stations.
Westminster Labour launches campaign to save BBC Maida Vale Studios
From the beginnings of radio through to rock and roll, Maida Vale has been at the heart of the nation’s cultural heritage. From the Beatles to Beyonce, every significant pop artist has recorded here. Not only that, the studios also welcomed classical music, light entertainment and the pioneering Radiophonic Workshop. It’s no surprise that every mention of the studios begins with the words iconic or legendary.
Councillor Geoff Barraclough , Labour Councillor for Maida Vale ward said:
“We are concerned that the BBC will try and demolish the Studios to build yet another row of soulless corporate apartments.
We need to safeguard London’s heritage and Maida Vale Studios need urgent protection
- Westminster Council should immediately designate the building an Asset of Community Value
- Historic England should list the building as soon as possible
If the BBC really are to leave, it’s important that the building is preserved and renovated. It should be put to a new use that fits its historic place in British popular culture and enriches the area in which it stands. This is public land. So, if any part of the site is used for housing, at least 50% must be affordable.
We are calling for the BBC to run a full consultation on the future of the Studios, soliciting ideas from the local community as well as the world of arts, theatre and music to create a new use for Maida Vale. This should take the building’s story forward and build on its legacy to create an iconic and legendary facility for future generations.”
If you are interested in knowing more and joining the campaign to save the Maida Vale studios, please just e-mail me back saying:
Save Maida Vale Studios
You can sign the petition here
I chair the All Party Parliamentary Group on Legal Aid, and our last meeting was dedicated to the impact of financial pressures in the criminal justice system.
The rule of law and access to justice are towering pillars of a healthy and functioning democracy. Yet, these principles and every aspect of the criminal justice system is under threat. Each week, we hear news of another trial collapsing due to lack of resources or cases being adjourned because of problems with the courts.
In 2016, MPs were told by the Public Accounts Committee that the Criminal Justice System was at breaking point. It has faced huge cuts in the fixed fees payable to those defence barristers who carry out publicly-funded work in the Crown Court under the Advocates’ Graduated Fee Scheme (AGFS); cuts that, proportionately, have far exceeded those imposed on public service providers in any other sector. These are the very same barristers who are working tirelessly under an ever-increasing workload for fees that haven’t changed over a twenty year period. Without their commitment, and their continued goodwill, the system that we are all so proud of, will cease to function. The result is that there are now real and pressing concerns about the viability and sustainability of practice for many at the Criminal Bar, and about whether the Bar will be able to continue to recruit and retain the practitioners needed to do this vital work for the future. Those from less privileged backgrounds, from different ethnicities must be able to see a viable future, a life for them, at the Criminal Bar in order for our Justice System to work properly.
In 2015 the Bar started to negotiate a new scheme for payment of fees with this Government, asking at the outset for further investment to be made in Legal Aid. The Government insisted throughout on “cost neutrality with the result that there is no provision for payment for consideration of disclosure under either the old or the proposed scheme and by 2019/20 there will be a £600m reduction in an already meagre and inadequate budget for the Ministry of Justice. In planning more cuts and bringing into the force the proposed fee scheme, Ministers are further crippling a legal system already on its knees and are doing members of the legal profession and the public a huge disservice.
With dumping and over-flowing bins becoming almost a fixture in parts of the borough, and especially around ‘hot spots’ in Maida Vale, Harrow Road and Queen’s Park, it is clear that we need more effective enforcement. Some of this dumping is done by local residents, of course, but the nature and scale of the problem also suggests that flat clearances are also a feature, possibly linked to the high turnover in our large stock of private rented properties. I have been complaining and asking for help from Westminster Council since 2015, but whatever is being done isn’t working.
The local Labour councillors have now put together a ’10 point plan’ to curb the fly-tippers. Let me know what you think- about the problem and possible solutions.
Labour launches 10-point plan to tackle rubbish dumping in Westminster
Labour Westminster Councillors have launched a 10-point plan to tackle the current dumping epidemic across Westminster.
Labour say that the current Council approach to tackling dumping needs to change to respond to the massive increase in furniture, household goods and other material being dumped on the streets.
In no particular order, Labour’s 10-point plan includes:
- Better ways of reporting dumping - the current Council ‘Report It’ system doesn’t really work with a mobile phone. One resident told us his experience:
“A month or so back I tried to report a litter problem in Park Street. The system defaulted to Hyde Park Street and nothing could get it to change to Park Street. I even exited and started again with same result. Consequence is I've given up am not likely to try again.”
Another resident said:
“It has a number of very irritating rules about how good my password should be. It asked for my national insurance number. Not sure why. Then you try and add a “case" and you can’t. It’s terrible at the moment. Problem with launching it half-cocked is that people will try it and then give up and never try it again. As there is little upside to reporting it needs to be easy to do. In any event, probably ought to be iOS app so that location is automatically reported and you can add a picture.”
- Monitoring Twitter posts - Twitter has been full of examples of rubbish dumping pictures across Westminster, often with the @CityWestminster address. But the Council’s twitter account is not monitored so no action is ever taken as a result. So, how about a Council-monitored Twitter account?
- Better enforcement - the current policy of ‘warning people’ isn’t working. The City Inspectors should be able take a much harder line. Fines are only given on the second offence, but this is treated as a first offence so there’s a 50% discount. The Council should make it clear that there is zero tolerance for dumping and should levy fines on the first offence and drop the 50% discount
- Weekend working - City Inspectors work Monday -Friday yet there’s no doubt that offending goes up at the weekend at the same time as the Council’s ability to enforce dumping takes a couple of days off. The Council needs to think smart - Perhaps the Council could empower Traffic Wardens to take photos and issue fines for those seen dumping?
- Improved publicity – The current ‘warning signs’ are simply ignored. The Council should introduce prominent signs with the following message "3 people were fined £150 this month for leaving rubbish here - don't dump". This would get across the message that people do get fined for dumping.
- Use cameras to identify the dumpers – CCTV cameras located at dumping ‘hotspots’ do stop dumping. There was a long-standing furniture dumping problem at the corner of Harrow Road and First Avenue which was stopped by locating a CCTV camera there. This should be the norm at all dumping ‘hotspots’
- Introduce a speedier bulky goods refuse collection service – currently residents wait up to 10 working days (2 weeks) for a collection. One resident wrote:
“I am trying to dispose of large items legally and responsibly using the Council, it is most unhelpful. Not only do Veolia (contacted via the Westminster council site) charge over £20 but they then refuse to pick up for over a fortnight, even though they take full payment at time of booking. No wonder people leave their unwanted furniture etc. all over the streets.”
Another resident tweeted:
“Recently booked bulky pickup thru Westminster site. Two minute process Easy. Got multiple texts as reminder of pickup too. Only downside was 1-2 week wait for collection.”
Expecting people to store unwanted beds and fridges for two weeks before they are collected by the Council is totally unreasonable and impractical for the vast majority of people. Most people living in flats do not have the space to store bulky goods. And these days, people expect a much swifter service than the Council is providing.
- Cut the cost of bulky goods collection – it currently costs £24 for 5 items plus £5 per additional item. Introducing a ‘first time free’ policy would surely encourage more people to have their rubbish collected?
- Introduce a Saturday service - Westminster does not have a ‘municipal tip’ where residents can take their recycling or bulky refuse. The nearest ‘tip’ is in Wandsworth at Smugglers Way. And while it might be convenient for those living in south Westminster it is not convenient for residents of Marylebone, St John’s Wood and Paddington
The Council should introduce a Saturday bulky waste service to enable residents to take their waste to a parked refuse freighter at a number of locations across Westminster. There could also be a smaller vehicle to collect electrical items and scrap metal, household appliances like cookers, fridge/freezers, washing machines, TV's, monitors and computers.
- Introduce a Landlord service - With the growth of renting and increasing turnover of tenants, many landlords take the opportunity of redecorating and providing new furniture when leases come to an end. The Council should provide a paid-for service for landlords to enable them to dispose of unwanted items when tenants are moving out. The Council can promote this through managing agents, housing associations and City West Homes
“The increase in rubbish dumping on the streets needs to be tackled head-on with more use of CCTV and tougher action against those responsible, together with improved services to give residents more options for getting their unwanted furniture collected. The Council also needs to improve its on-line reporting options so that action can be taken to deal with dumping issues quickly and effectively”
Let us know what you think.
A large number of constituents wrote to me to express their horror at the killings on the Israeli - Gaza border during the recent protests. I raised this in the Parliamentary statement:
Karen Buck Labour, Westminster North
The Minister speaks of balance, but no balance has been expressed by the US Administration, who have rightly condemned Hamas but said nothing about the carnage unleashed on civilians by the vastly superior IDF. The Minister has said that the UK disagrees with the United States Government’s position, but will he undertake to convey to them urgently the fact that their failure to be unequivocal and make absolutely clear that the level of violence was unacceptable will simply delay any political solution to this crisis?
Local people lose out as Housing Associations sell homes at auction
My analysis of sales at auction by some of our local Housing Associations formed part of a major story in this week’s Guardian:
"Housing Associations have made at least £82.3m from auctioning homes in five London boroughs since 2013, according to figures seen by the Guardian. Analysis by the Labour MP for Westminster North, Karen Buck, shows that Westminster, Brent, Camden, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Kensington and Chelsea sold 153 properties at auction through Savills estate agents – with more than half in Westminster where sales totalled £36.4m. The true figures are likely to be much higher as the data only covers sales made by one agency. The auctions are part of a wider trend of some Housing Associations selling off social housing in expensive central London to fund new developments, which tenants say are unaffordable or far removed from their families, schools and work.
Buck says: “I’m dealing with a family who are statutorily overcrowded and in the highest medical priority and I haven’t been able to get them moved in over eight years. That’s because Housing Associations [in general] say they don’t have the stock in the area and yet they’re still selling off homes.”
Nationally, sales of Housing Association social homes to the private sector have more than tripled since 2001, with 3,891 social homes sold in 2016. Overall, more than 150,000 homes for social rent have been lost since 2012."
You can read the whole story here.
Air Quality Ultra Low Emission Zone
Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, has confirmed the expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone up to North and South Circular roads from 25 October 2021. Strict emission standards will also apply to buses, coaches and lorries across the whole of London from 26 October 2020. Both schemes will lead to emission reductions across London and more than 100,000 residents no longer living in areas exceeding legal air quality limits in 2021. The ULEZ is to begin in Central London from 8th April 2019. It will cover an area 18 times larger than the Central London Ultra Low Emission Zone and will affect large numbers of polluting vehicles that don’t comply with strict emission standards. It is estimated that 100,000 cars, 35,000 vans and 3,000 lorries might be affected by the expanded zone and tighter standards every day.
These bold measures will deliver a major improvement to Londoners health by reducing the toxic air quality that is currently responsible for thousands of premature deaths and other serious conditions. Research demonstrates these effects disproportionately impact the poorest Londoners.
Recent studies by the University of Oxford have shown the health damage from cars and vans costs £6 billion annually to the NHS and society, with the bill from London vehicles totalling £650 million a year.
Expanding the ULEZ beyond Central London and strict standards for heavy vehicles across London will result in more than 100,000 Londoners no longer living in areas exceeding legal air quality limits in 2021, a reduction of nearly 80 per cent compared to without expansion. All areas of London are expected to see reductions in pollution, including on the North and South Circular Roads and only 4 per cent of roads in Outer London are expected to exceed legal limits in 2021.
The expanded zone will be managed in the same way as the Central London ULEZ, which is being delivered in April 2019, 17 months earlier than planned and will operate on top of the Congestion Charge, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Drivers within the expanded zone using non-compliant vehicles will pay a daily ULEZ charge of £12.50, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. These include:
- motorbikes that do not meet Euro 3 standards
- petrol cars and vans that do not meet Euro 4 standards (roughly the equivalent to not being more than fifteen years old for cars in 2021)
- diesel cars and vans that do not meet Euro 6 standards (roughly the equivalent to not being more than six years old for cars in 2021)
Across London diesel buses, coaches and lorries will need to meet the Euro 6 standard.
Following an extensive consultation, the Mayor will also tighten the standards for the most polluting heavy vehicles including buses, coaches and lorries across the whole of London from October 2020, using the same boundary as the existing Low Emission Zone.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Tackling London’s lethal air and safeguarding the health of Londoners requires bold action. Air pollution is a national health crisis and I refuse to stand back as thousands of Londoners breathe in air so filthy that it shortens our life expectancy, harms our lungs and worsens chronic illness.
“I promised hard-hitting measures to tackle our shameful air pollution and today City Hall is confirming the next stage of our plans to expand the Ultra-Low Emission Zone up to the North and South Circular roads.
“We’re doing everything in our power to tackle this issue and are starting to see improvements in air quality with the wide-ranging action we’ve taken already on tackling the most polluting cars, and cleaning up our bus and taxi fleet. An expanded Ultra-Low Emission Zone, in conjunction with the Central London ULEZ, will really help transform the air that millions of Londoners breathe.
“Some motorists will need help switching to greener transport options, which is why City Hall are urging Ministers to deliver a diesel scrappage scheme to get the dirtiest cars off our roads and offer drivers a fair deal, especially the many diesel drivers who brought vehicles thinking they were more environmentally friendly after Government advice.”
The public consultation on expanding the ULEZ standards was the largest ever recorded by TfL and showed staunch support for the Mayor’s proposals, with 56 per cent supporting or strongly supporting the expansion of the ULEZ boundary from Central London and 74 per cent backing the new London-wide emissions standards for heavy vehicles.
The Mayor listened carefully to feedback through the consultation and has decided to give disabled tax class vehicles and specially adapted private hire vehicles until October 2025 to replace their vehicles. This gives these vehicles an extra 6.5 years from the start of the central London ULEZ or 4 years from the start of the expanded ULEZ to comply. Similarly, charities have been given a longer period of time to replace existing minibuses. They will have a two-year sunset until October 2023.
Sadiq has already strengthened the ULEZ standards to include a particulate matter standard after recent health data revealed that every part of London exceeds recommended World Health Organisation air quality guidelines for PM2.5.
by a further 28 per cent across London, so this expansion is a huge step towards protecting the health of all Londoners.”
The Mayor is working with TfL to ensure London’s public transport lead the way in low emissions. TfL is no longer procuring double-deck pure-diesel buses and instead only procuring hybrid, electric or hydrogen buses, with all buses meeting the new standards across London by 2020. TfL will only allow new taxis in London that are zero-emission capable and newly manufactured private hire vehicles will need to follow suit from 2020.
The Mayor also announced he is supporting a major new study into the health benefits of reducing toxic air pollution on more than 3,000 primary school children in polluted areas of London and Luton. Research has found that some children in London are breathing in air so damaging that it is affecting the development of their lungs.
The study will test how policies like the Ultra-Low Emission Zone can improve the growth of children’s lungs and reduce chest symptoms, comparing London children whose schools are placed within the ULEZ zone with children in Luton whose schools are in traffic-restricted zones.
Local Round Up
Support your local youth services
Any donation you make towards the @AvenuesYouth79 between 11th (today) and the 15th (Friday) of June your #Donation will be #Doubled by @ChildhoodTrust as part of their #SummerGive18 #RT
Some of the other issues my staff and I have been dealing with recently include:
1. Taking up the concerns about the impact of delivery vehicles in Monmouth Road, Bayswater.
2. Illegal parking and inadequate lighting in Elmfield Way, where there continues to be a dispute between Westminster Council and the NHS over the ‘adoptions’ of the road, and therefore where the responsibility lies for management and upkeep.
3. The poor state of the playground in Alfred Road, next to Westminster Academy.
4. I joined the Paddington Law Centre on the annual ‘Legal Walk’, helping raise money for their essential advice and advocacy services.
5. The children from Edward Wilson school designed my Eid card for 2018 (they’ll also be designing my Christmas card), so I popped in to hand out some prizes and subject myself to a gruelling hour of tough questions!
6. The fourth of our ‘round-table’ sessions to prepare for the local roll-out of Universal Credit brought together housing providers, advice agencies, Shelter, the Council and the DWP to share contacts and try and iron out problems in advance. It’s going to be really important that anyone experiencing difficulties gets help as early as possible so please use my office as well as Citizen’s Advice, Z2K and others if you need assistance.
7. A trip last weekend to the ‘Kindred Studios’ open day was a revelation! This project has taken over the now vacant former City of Westminster College site in Saltram Crescent, W9 and opened their doors so local people could see the incredible work being done by small creative businesses. The founder/Chief Executive has now written to me with more information:
After a two and a half years in a 14,000 sq ft building in Ladbroke Grove, we lost our lease and moved our 90 members to a newly vacated site belonging to City of Westminster College. The new larger site offered the possibility to expand our project which now includes 175 artists (mostly living within a 2 mile radius of studios), a professional development programme for college students aimed at giving students hands on real life experience of the creative industries and a community engagement programme which involves our neighbouring families and schools.
We are now working with 4 local primary schools, offering a whole variety of very engaging hands-on workshops delivered by our own resident artists and are building a community garden in which we can further extend our educational offer
I have 850 applications from local artists and more coming in every day. Our mailing list is growing and we are attracting the attention of other creative businesses who want to support us. Maida Hill is, indeed West London is, a buoyant creative neighbourhood and I feel that what we are doing here is really needed on so many levels.
Wishing everyone celebrating today ‘Eid Mubarak’
Thank you for reading and your comments are always welcome.
Karen Buck MP
Promoted by Robert Atkinson on behalf of Karen Buck MP at 4G Shirland Mews, Maida Hill, London, W9 3DY. The information used to supply this email is for the use of Karen Buck and will not be passed on to any third party organisation.