A Community Network for Bowes Park and Bounds Green
Air quality is a current and ongoing concern in our area -The London Evening Standard last week headlined the impact of North Circular Road pollution on local school children. So we are delighted to feature this guest article from Caroline Russell, London Assembly Member (Green Party) who reports on the recent Air Pollution meeting that took place at Bowes School.
I was impressed by the people I met in Enfield and their dedication to reducing air pollution and improving their neighbourhoods when I attended a public meeting at Bowes School on the 12th January. The turnout on a cold and rainy January evening was inspiring and I was struck by the way that people wanted help from the Mayor to give them good options as alternatives to driving.
People called for crossings so they could get across this massive north circular easily on foot. It’s no wonder people get in their cars when the streets feel like, and are designed as, motorways
There was real passion and depth of feeling, as campaigners, councillors and council officers discussed actions needed to reduce air pollution and tackle congestion.
It was clear everyone was fed up with the traffic clogging their road and people on those roads carrying the bulk of through traffic were particular keen to find solutions.
People also wanted bus lanes and protected bike lanes along the north circular and solutions for side roads that avoid pitting the residents of one road against residents of another. Filtering the side roads to cut out rat running and provide more people friendly places could be a solution.
It was brilliant to hear Clare Rogers from Better Streets for Enfield talking passionately about school gate play streets and low traffic neighbourhoods and good to hear her ideas getting such a positive reception – I do hope they can be brought in.
This week I questioned the Mayor about the way his new walking and cycling commissioner will work and suggested a visit to Enfield to learn from residents about what’s needed to help people drive less.
It was good to hear Councillor Daniel Anderson explain that Enfield Council wants the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to extend beyond the North Circular, to include the whole of Enfield.
It is so important that Enfield and other parts of outer London are not left out. I am determined not to let that happen and it is an issue I will continue to raise with the Mayor while his plans for ULEZ and other pollution-cutting measures develop.
In summary, I came away knowing that people need London level policies to support traffic reduction, local polices to make the streets safer and people friendly and above all we must know that we can trust the air we breathe.
I would like to thank everyone who was involved in the meeting for inviting me. If we all work together we can improve air quality in Bowes and Enfield.
'I was impressed by the people I met in Enfield and their dedication to reducing air pollution and improving their neighbourhoods...'
Residents in Brownlow Road applaud the actions being taken by the parents and community regarding Bowes School in relation to air pollution and the recent publicity for this in ES. However we are rather less happy about the continuing campaign - Warwick Road want their road closed to traffic. Some of you may remember the petition about this last year signed by hundreds of local residents who resisted the closure of WR.
This closure would result in diverting all the traffic down BR. Some days it is impossible for us to walk down our own street due to the toxic fumes from idling traffic the length of the road. The situation in BR in the last few weeks while WR was temporarily closed was horrendous. The chaos has fortunately been captured on cameras that were installed in BR for one day by LBE.
We would like to work together with residents in this community to deal with the traffic problems in a way that works for everyone. We believe that LBE's policies of closing roads in this area has contributed to the current problem as more and more residents want their roads to be closed to traffic.
As Caroline says 'It was clear everyone was fed up with the traffic clogging their road and people on those roads carrying the bulk of through traffic were particular keen to find solutions.'
...but closing the right turn onto NCR at Warwick Road is in our view not a solution.
Any ideas for ways we can work together to solve the traffic situation in this area would be much appreciated. Please help us move this debate forward in a way that will benefit the whole community not just individual roads at the expense of the lives of others.
In response to the above comments by Liz Wright, I must correct some factual inaccuracies. The residents of Warwick Road are not campaigning to have 'their road closed to traffic'. They are simply campaigning for the council to reconsider its own proposal, a right-turn ban only at the junction with the A406 (just one of 4 possible traffic movements at this junction). Brownlow Road currently enjoys a right-turn ban from the A406 onto it, which Warwick Road does not. The Brownlow Road petition referred to was in response to the consultation process about this proposal, and it numbered 78 in total. The 'chaos' resulting from the unexpected total closure of Warwick Road (owing to recent waterworks) cannot be compared to the possible effects of a carefully controlled traffic scheme. We are all concerned about air pollution in the area and need to work together to tackle it.
Thanks for your clarifications. The comprehensive Enfield Council consultation regarding a right turn ban at the junction of Warwick Rd onto the North Circular resulted in the proposal being firmly rejected by a significant majority of residents, for good reasons. Democratically speaking my expectation is that this specific proposal is off the table. Nevertheless no-one underestimates the impact traffic volumes are having on our area. I'd be very interested to hear what alternative solutions you have to propose so that we can 'work together' as you suggest?
Matthew, in what way was there a democratic decision to overturn the proposed right turn ban? That is news to me. If such a process was carried out today, I think you would find that most of the residents in the Bounds Green quadrant would be firmly in favour of a right turn ban. As far as I am aware, the reason the right turn ban was thrown out was because a number of Brownlow Road residents threw a hissy fit at the local councillors who caved in.
The reality is Brownlow road is a B road and as such is designed to take traffic from Bounds Green down to the North Circular. Warwick Road is not and nor should it be seen as a "relief road". The significant increases in traffic over the last few years are down not only to the widening of the A406 but also down to the implementation of an obsurd traffic management system which meant that the likes of Stanley Road, Ollerton Road and Evesham Road are now closed to traffic. The responsibility for this falls in the hands of the former mayor, Enfield/Haringey Council and TFL for making a complete pigs ear of the local traffic ecosystems.
In Warwick Road despite the presence of visible signs we still have HGV's blatantly breaking the law, and many hours of traffic congestion in a road that was never designed to take the current volume of traffic.
I feel at pains to point out that none of the residents in Warwick Road have ever said that the road should be blocked off, although I do feel as neighbouring roads have been given this privilege there is no reason why we shouldn't have the same. However, it would be nice to see some sort of compromise as Martha has pointed out and all the affected residents working together to come to an amicable solution.
Sanjay, if I may I'll deal with your points in turn.
The decision was democratic because the council consulted residents. All residents in the 'Bounds Green quadrant' were consulted and had an opportunity to vote. The result of the consultation was clear, the majority of local residents are not in favour of a right turn ban from Warwick Rd onto the North Circular. The letter received from the council was clear on the reasons and I have previously quoted it on this site:
"A letter from Enfield Council received today confirms that the proposal to ban the right turn from Warwick Road onto the North Circular has been rejected by a large majority of the local residents who responded. The main objections given were:
Lack of a convenient alternative route for residents affected by the banned right-turn
Concern that the problem was simply being relocated onto Brownlow Road.
The council conducted their own assessment and concluded that the introduction of a right turn ban would lead to additional traffic on Brownlow Road, which is already congested at peak times."
The outcome of the consultation was published in October 2016 so the consultation is current and reflects the current position of local residents. On this basis I disagree with your comment that "most of the residents in the Bounds Green quadrant would be firmly in favour of a right turn ban". They don't and have expressed this, let's not have a second referendum on the same issue.
Regarding the comment about the reaction of Brownlow Road residents - if anyone was 'throwing a hissy fit' I'm not aware of it. People may have exercised their democratic right in a consultation and acted in their own interests and if so then that's fair enough. If people disagree with each other then we need to work the problem together, however my observation would be that we won't find common ground if people try to resurrect a proposal so soon after it has been firmly rejected. We need to explore new, different ideas.
The North Circular scheme was widely consulted and as you say has resulted in the road design we currently enjoy (not much!). The priority is to keep the North Circular flowing, I can't argue with that, it's for utilitarian and economic reasons. The restriction of movements onto and off the NC (especially right turn bans) is essential to this, however there have to be some right turns or there will be gridlock There are some winners and some losers in this. If you live here, you have to live with an urban motorway down the road, it could look like it does in Edmonton, would you want that for the community? If you do, you'd need to find a few hundred million quid. The current design was all laid out in the (democratic) consultations at the time.
Brownlow Rd carries three bus services and needs to flow. Disruption on Warwick clearly disrupts Brownlow. Perhaps we've got the best of a bad job?
This one may be controversial - I do see queuing traffic on Warwick sometimes, but only ever at peak times and even then it's rarely that I see a major problem. From my own personal point of view the argument that Warwick Rd needs any significant intervention is far from proven - we are all seeing the effects of a rise in traffic volumes. Brownlow and other roads are affected much, much worse. We do need to enforce the weight limits better though, but didn't Warwick Rd residents campaign to have traffic calming measures (road humps) that were installed at the time of the North Circular scheme, removed?? Bizarre! I'd start by campaigning to get those reinstated.
I understand that residents of Warwick Rd have not said the road should be blocked off, (that proposal wouldn't get very far). There are very good reasons why it shouldn't be the case and why other roads have been closed. Any 'compromise' won't fly if it tries to use this as a starting point. Rather residents of Warwick Rd should recognise that proposals for a right turn ban will adversely affect neighbouring roads via what could be perceived as a purely selfish transfer of a micro-problem (resulting from a previously consulted, democratically validated set of choices) onto others, totally clogging up Brownlow Rd in the process (which is already suffering worse than Warwick is) and in doing so be totally unacceptable and unfair. That is why, in my opinion, residents currently oppose it and will continue to do so.
If someone has reasonable ideas about what can be done, I am sure a local consensus can begin to be built and I would be glad to be a part of it.
Mark, the councillors told us in November about the pressure residents of Brownlow Road where putting on them. I am sorry but there really isn't a compromise here really is there.
As I said before, I am not convinced the process was effectively communicated (I have not seen any of this paperwork). This is the sort of matter that should have been handled on a door to door basis. I am also convinced that if the majority of residents in the Bounds Green quadrant voted again having been presented with the facts, that the outcome would have been a resounding majority towards Warwick Road not being designated as a relief road. I really think this should be revisited again.
It is clear to me that the councillors are quite apathetic to the plight of Bounds Green residents, it doesn't matter where you live. We have a communication from Councillor Brett that pretty much says, we have traffic problems down my street/area so it's ok for Bounds Green to have similar traffic issues.
Your comments on the traffic in Warwick Road are totally misinformed. There are pictures all over Facebook of the traffic jams running the length of Warwick Road. There is even a photo of cars driving through the green adjacent to Tewkesbury Terrace to jump the queue of traffic waiting to turn left!
That's even before we start to look at HGV's that blatantly flout the law and drive down the length of Warwick Road. I am sorry again I will re-iterate Warwick Road was never designed to handle the same levels of traffic as Brownlow Road. Yet at times before Christmas, that's exactly what happened. There is a serious accident waiting to happen down Warwick Road, the speed bumps do not serve their purpose. Do we need to be talking about a young or older person being seriously injured before people actually do something about this problem. Never mind the pollution, is that what the residents want?
The only place I can see selfishness coming from, is from those that live in Brownlow Road. When you purchase a property on the main trunk road, from Bounds Green to the North Circular what do you expect!
I found a copy of the LBE letter setting out the results of the consultation re. Warwick and have attached it here in case you are interested to read it.
I think its important to be sympathetic to our neighbours on Brownlow Rd. I've long been a supporter of introducing innovative traffic calming measures on Warwick Rd, although I live on a road adjacent to Warwick and I'm not aware of any new proposals or the petition you refer to.
Petitions are great but as someone who's had an interest in these issues for a number of years it's the proposals and solutions I'm most interested in. Do the petitioners offer any alternative ideas that support a community level debate?