Choose your own way to cut Barnet's air pollution

6 April 2017

Air pollution around Barnet has reached poisonous levels in many places, with average Nitrogen Dioxide readings well above legal limits near many schools and in other busy areas. Following an appeal by Barnet Green Party, local people have come up with lots of great ideas for battling the smog. In the absence of any serious proposals by Barnet Council, you can help by taking action on some of the suggestions below:

 

Steps everyone can take to reduce emissions:

  • Walk, cycle or use public transport for local journeys and leave your car at home.

  • Don't leave your car engine running when you are parked

  • Avoid using your car for the "school run" to drop off and collect children

  • Support head teachers in campaigns against other parents using cars for the "school run" to drop off and collect their children

  • Set up or help lead school 'walking buses' to supervise groups of children walking to school together rather than being brought in their parents' cars

  • Make transport arrangements a factor when selecting a school for your children

  • Swap your petrol or diesel car for an electric one or do without a car altogether.

  • Switch to car club membership instead of owning a car

  • Hand out stickers promoting leaving cars at home, turning engines off and other pollution saving ideas

  • Encourage local car dealers to promote small cars instead of the gas guzzlers so widespread across Barnet

  • Campaign for the installation of more electric battery and hydrogen cell charging points in Barnet

  • Look around Barnet for suitable locations for new cycle lanes, eg where pavements are suitable, and report them to Barnet Council

 

Steps that schools can take to reduce emissions near their school:

 

 

  • Grow hedges or living walls to filter air pollution around their school

  • Ask parents to avoid using cars for the "school run" to drop off or collect children

  • Ask parents to bring their children to school on foot, by bicycle or via public transport

  • Set up or help lead school 'walking buses' to supervise groups of children walking to school together rather than being brought in their parents' cars

  • Ask parents and prospective parents to make transport arrangements a factor when selecting a school for their children

 

 Steps Barnet Council could take to reduce emissions:

  • Charge diesel cars more to park.

  • Discourage local garages from selling diesel vehicles

  • Convert all council vehicles, eg dustcarts, to low emission engines

  • Encourage taxi drivers and private hire firms to switch to low-emission vehicles and to switch engines off when stationary

  • Impose a 20 mph limit on Barnet's residential and shopping streets. 20 mph limits reduce emissions because cars drive more steadily instead of frequently revving up then braking at the next junction or oncoming car.

  • Introduce more cycle routes, ideally like the very successful cycling super highway in central London

  • Upgrade existing cycle lanes to make them feel safer, eg by installing kerbstones between the vehicle lane and the cycle lane and by designating more sections of pavements as cycle lanes where the paths are wide enough.

  • Arrange for more electric hire cars to be based in Barnet, like the two at Barnet House

  • Arrange for the installation of more electric battery and hydrogen charging points around Barnet

  • Encourage car sharing, eg by people working in the same building

  • Make companies in Barnet pay a fee for parking spaces, to discourage employees from taking cars to work

  • Encourage companies in Barnet to help or sponsor staff to walk, cycle or use public transport to reach work

  • Support heads of local schools in campaigns against parents using cars for the "school run" to drop off and collect their children.

  • Encourage parents to make transport arrangements a factor when selecting a school for their children

  • Make sure that developers at the many current property developments in Barnet have genuine schemes to deter car use, eg by installing secure cycle storage facilities in buildings

  • Discourage wood burning stoves, which can emit much smoke

  • Encourage the installation of solar panels on rooftops (they can be very worthwhile in Barnet – I have the receipts to prove it)

  • Introduce a congestion charge for non-resident vehicles passing along Barnet's main roads and in heavily-polluted areas like North Finchley, Brent Cross and Whetstone High Road

 Steps the Greater London Authority and Transport for London could take to reduce emissions in Barnet:

  • Make underground services, buses and trains more frequent. How can more people use public transport if local tubes, buses and trains are already completely full during rush hours every day?

  • Introduce extra bus routes, eg bring in a direct bus service from East Finchley and North Finchley to the Royal Free Hospital and to Hampstead

  • Convert more buses to low-emission engines

  • Revive the scheme for an orbital light railway around London