We want to take a smarter approach to bin use, collections, recycling and waste management. For some converted flats we need to offer shared larger bin use; to reduce the number of bins in use so that there is a maximum number of black bins. Too often there are missing bin collections, when this happens there should be a simpler method to notify the contractor for collection next day. There should be more mini-recycling centres which are sympathetically camouflaged into the street scene. There needs to be an easy access number through SMS to leave a registration number or a photo of a fly-tipper in action with increased fines for those vehicles that are tracked down. There should be 1 free collection of large items for all council tax payers and a low £5 cost for all other occurrences. The garden waste collection should be supplemented with a voucher system so that residents can request a garden collection at a low £1 cost through the online system if only needed occasionally.
Parts of Camden including Swiss Cottage suffers under some of the worst air quality across the nation. Nitrogen Oxide & Carbon Monoxide is a silent killer and this cannot be ignored. Finchley Road, is one of the most used, most polluted streets in the city: and we need to resurrect a previous initiative on improving the Finchley Rd. Instead of a grey river of pollution, we need to see Finchley Road becoming a Green Boulevard passing through our ward, with luscious, dense and refreshing perennial, low cost planting schemes. There is plenty of space for this in the middle island and pavements. This will abate air pollution and soak up car fumes and will have a positive effect on the noise and air pollution from which all residents on Finchley and the surrounding area suffer. We can set a new green benchmark for the rest of London.
The majority of our schools have an air quality at an illegal level sometimes with annual limits exceeded in a matter of weeks. With the majority of car journeys passing within 100 metres of a school, children’s health and their future is being threatened. We can begin to tackle this by supporting projects in every school to set up pupil-managed planted air pollution barriers. This will not just increase the air quality but also educate the children about the possibilities of living in a greener city and the joys of gardening. We can invest in green walls where space is a premium and start green roof initiatives which enhance ventilation systems. Reducing pollution will have a positive impact on our children’s health but also increase educational outcomes, with the absence rate dropping by upto 50%. Better educated kids are the key to a prosperous future, society and economy.
A Greener Camden
London decided to become the world’s first National Park City: but it will need to be delivered. New developments should be held to account: to protect as many existing trees as possible; deliver additional trees and high-quality usable green spaces; limit impervious surfaces and have a strategy for sustainable urban drainage and soakaways. Camden, with its wealth of green spaces should form an integral part of London’s B-Line to protect bees and pollinators. Local Guerrilla Gardening initiatives should be encouraged to take the place of former council maintained planting schemes. Veteran trees are under threat of being cut down too often in our neighbourhoods: having taken decades to grow their effect on biodiversity and on air pollution is too important. Considered and consistent pruning to keep the trees at a manageable structure and size benefits the mature tree and sustains it for a longer life. Such continuous management will balance the need of the buildings and pavements nearby and so ensure that mature trees are incorporated into an online plan: so all residents know their effect.
Tree types and native species are important to the overall sustained plan. Hampstead Heath and other large green spaces can sustain large and vigorous trees; the paved streets can have mid-sized and evergreen trees whilst shared, front and back gardens can be planted with fruit trees. We should also encourage more foraging on the Heath.