Air Ambulance, Thames Water, Divestment and Air Quality
Up, up and away with the London Air Ambulance Service.
The London Air Ambulance is a vital resource, helping Londoners get to hospital in life-saving minutes, rather than hours. They’ve saved countless lives. But like the rest of the Health Service with is being systematically starved of cash, the LAS needs support. Rotary Clubs across London have raised fund to buy the LAS a helivan, which both assists their roadside work, but in addition goes into schools, to raise the profile of the amazing work done by the NHS and the LAS, and why it needs our support. It was a privilege to be allowed up to the helipad on top of the Royal London Hospital, to hear more about their work – and to wear Viper’s helmet.
Working with Thames Water has formed a key part of my work as both local Assembly
Member and chair of the Environment Committee. Visiting sewage works to see the
problems caused by wet wipes, holding them to account at scrutiny sessions for their failure to stop leaks or fix them quickly when they do happen, as well as scrutinising their proposals for London’s water supplies for the next 80 years have all been part of my work. In addition,
I’ve visited the Thames Tideway sites and discussed the impact of their works and how they
could minimise this.
Climate Change and Divest London
I was pleased to welcome Divest London to City Hall. Along with others, I lobbied for divestment from fossil fuels to be included in the Labour Manifesto – which it was. The Mayor has appointed new people to the London Pension Fund Board and the direction of travel is strong – a 50% reduction achieved already in fossil. City Hall is behind many Labour-run Councils, due to the 8 wasted years under a Tory Mayor, but is now powering forward. I have insisted that the Environment Committee summon Heathrow 3 times to meetings, to try and explain why they feel their expansion plans will not cause more climate change, noise and air pollution – they remain unconvincing. I also commissioned work through the Environment Committee on Domestic Energy & Fuel Poverty – as a result, the Mayor produced not only a Solar Action Plan, but established a fund to support Community Energy Groups and a Fuel Poverty Action Plan.
Air pollution played a big role in our election campaign – and Sadiq and I have not stopped working on this at all. Putney High Street’s poor air quality had been brought to public attention by the work of the Putney Society, the London Sustainability Exchange. The Mayor chose Putney as the first place to get all bus routes switched over to the cleaner buses - and the reduction in air pollution meant that in 2018 Putney High Street broke pollution legal limits at the end of March, instead of very early in January. However, this reduction is simply not enough – the air is still polluted. Cleaner buses and the Toxicity Charge must be followed by the Ultra Low Emission Zone and cleaner taxis.