Features

How low can we go?

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A consultation on an initiative to make Wanstead a Low Emission Neighbourhood launches this month. Councillor Paul Donovan urges you to have your say in making the area cleaner and greener.

We are lucky to live in Wanstead – a green area, with parks, trees, waterways and open areas. There are, however, many environmental challenges. These include worsening pollution, climate change and loss of biodiversity. Redbridge Council and local people are seeking to address these challenges together.

Wanstead is fortunate to have a burgeoning environmental movement looking for ways to improve life.

Modern transport systems face many obstacles in seeking to improve ways of getting around, whilst also ensuring that the planet on which everyone depends for life is not destroyed in the process.

There are moves afoot to address some of the problems of pollution and traffic congestion in the area. The council is encouraging electric cars, with charging points being installed across the borough. There are also plans for more cycle hangars.

The Low Emission Neighbourhood (LEN) scheme is being introduced – based on the London Mayor’s target of getting 80% of journeys to be by foot, cycle or public transport by 2041.

LEN for Wanstead goes out to consultation from January and is supported by all Wanstead councillors. It is aimed at making life better for those three types of travel. Objectives include improving air quality, creating safe areas around schools and safer junctions, reducing rat runs, providing a wider range of transport options, improving station access, encouraging safe speeds and generally improving the urban environment.

In addition to this scheme, there is the Ultra Low Emission Zone being brought to the area by the London Mayor in 2021. This will also help to make the air cleaner.

There is, of course, still much to do. The plans of London City Airport to expand its operations is not conducive to a cleaner, greener environment. Redbridge, together with a number of other councils, has expressed its opposition to the plans. But people also need to take personal responsibility: drive and fly less, and think about the environment and people around us.

In Wanstead, we are lucky to have a community that really is concerned about the environment and keen to engage with change. Change is on the way, so make sure you are part of it by getting involved in things like the LEN consultation. There is also the great work of local groups like Cleaner Green Wanstead, Wanstead Climate Action, Friends of Wanstead Parklands and the Wren Wildlife Group – all are keen to welcome new supporters. Together, we can make a cleaner, greener Wanstead.

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Councillor Paul Donovan