In the sixth of a series of articles following the progress of the Wanstead Environmental Charter, Councillor Paul Donovan (Wanstead Village, Labour) looks at how the council’s Local Implementation Plan will help.
The Wanstead Environmental Charter has been gathering pace since its launch at the start of May. Most of the local schools attended the launch and signed up for the principles of making Wanstead a cleaner, greener place. Each has been taking things forward, with Wanstead High School working toward the internationally recognised Eco-Schools Green Flag award.
Litter pickers continue to clean up the area – maybe one day people will stop dumping the waste in the first place.
There has been great support for the charter from The Stow Brothers, who hosted the launch and promotes the campaign on its front window and with the distribution of the leaflet. We need more businesses to follow their example. The charter organisers are looking for support for flowering boxes for street railings. There is also the aim to cut waste and free Wanstead High Street of single-use plastic.
On the council side, there are exciting developments with the publication of the Local Implementation Plan (LIP), which seeks to put the London mayor’s transport strategy into action. The overall aim is to get 80% of travel to be by foot, cycle or public transport by 2041. The LIP is being rolled out neighbourhood by neighbourhood. The guiding principles are cutting speeds, by introducing 20 mph zones, bringing in one-way streets and narrowing junctions. Rat running is to be addressed by using traffic calming measures, deploying planters to close cut-throughs and introducing one-way streets.
Walking and cycling will be encouraged, with better, safer routes. In the case of cycling, hangars to store bikes will be available. There will be a big increase in electric charging points to encourage electric vehicles. There will also be more parking permit schemes, plus school streets to address pollution.
These are the broad principles but it will be for residents to shape what exactly they want via the upcoming consultation process. In Wanstead, it is intended to roll out some of the ideas next year. It is this type of imaginative thinking that offers a real way forward. There are parts of our borough that look like concrete jungles – whether that be shopping centres or streets, where the majority of front gardens have been paved over. Key, though, to success is community involvement. These ideas can only progress when the community has bought in and participated in the process. It has to be the community totally involved in bringing about change, not something being done from outside.
So, things are moving forward with the charter agenda, but key to all progress is community involvement. Please come forward and be part of the change.