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Recorder letters: Parking at schools, tech poverty, Silvertown Road Tunnel and Covid

PUBLISHED: 08:30 27 September 2020

While parents are not allowed to park outside primary schools, the same restrictions do not apply to secondary schools. Picture: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

While parents are not allowed to park outside primary schools, the same restrictions do not apply to secondary schools. Picture: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

PA Archive/PA Images

Letters sent in from Recorder readers this week.

Ban cars outside senior schools

S Ellis, Heaton Grange, Romford, writes:

We are now within the second week of the return to school and it didn’t take too long before the sound of car horns and exhaust fumes filled the morning air, contributing to the full blown emergency the Newham mayor, Ms Fiaz, warned us all of this time last year.

We once again have the spectacle of gridlocked roads leading to and from Brampton Manor Academy School.

Ms Fiaz said, and I quote: “There is no do nothing option – people are dying and this administration is determined to play its part in tackling the world climate emergency,” etc.

Newham Council and Ms Fiaz have managed to stop parents taking their children by car to infant and primary schools with the car restrictions near the schools, but not the senior schools, which is a bit perverse as parents of smaller children probably need to be able to drop off at one or more schools, whereas senior school pupils are or should be capable of getting to school on their own. It’s not as if TfL have made it hard for them with the extra buses for their use only.

If they were serious about tackling the air pollution, they would be stopping the parents, the taxi drivers and all other car drivers dropping off children at the school gates of Brampton Manor or any other senior school.

The powers that be should also be stopping the mayhem in the grounds of Newham University Hospital, as the car drivers have to drop off as near as possible, even if it means stopping/parking on the zebra crossing whilst people are trying to cross or doing five point turns in front of hospital staff, ambulance drivers and bus drivers going about their business of getting to work.

Technology is changing so fast

A Stratford resident, full name and address supplied, writes:

Lenin once said there are decades when nothing happens and there are decades that happen in weeks.

Who would have believed Covid-19 would have changed so much of the way we lived at the start of 2020, especially digital, first cashless payments and face masks? I have written about digital poverty before so I was interested in the Recorder’s story about disadvantaged people who don’t own smart phones, who are unable to use the NHS app.

This is important not only because of Covid-19 but because this app allows people to check in at venues or to use public transport.

The worry is that if you’re in a disadvantaged group and don’t have a smart phone you will stopped from travelling or doing the things you enjoy. At the moment we can sign in to venues using pen and paper, but will that always be the case?

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The government is also talking about a digital ID card and digital health passports, so I think the issue of digital poverty is becoming even more urgent and there are real fears in disadvantaged groups that we could find ourselves shut out of society if we can’t afford or understand how to use smart phones.

Things are changing fast and if decades are happening in weeks, who knows what it will be like this time next year.

Cancel polluting tunnel now

Caroline Russell, London Assembly member, writes:

The mayor has not been straight with Londoners. Last year he told us Silvertown Road Tunnel would cost £1 billion, in March it was £1.2bn, and now we finally see what TfL will actually pay and it’s heading for £2bn. This is outrageous.

I have stood alongside many communities in opposing this tunnel, which would run a belching, polluting road through the heart of some of London’s most deprived areas.

The real financial cost has been hidden to avoid further opposition from the public and local politicians.

When my predecessor on the Assembly first started opposing this scheme in 2012 Transport for London described the cost as being about £600m, we are stratospheres above that now and TfL will be saddled paying for this.

The mayor should have been clear about this cost implication for TfL from the start. As things stand, he should do the decent thing and cancel this polluting motorway tunnel now.

Covid situation is clearly worsening

Cllr Peter John, chair of London Councils, writes:

With tighter restrictions being brought in across parts of the country, it is clear the situation around Covid-19 is worsening.

It is essential that all Londoners pull together and take action to keep themselves, their families and their communities safe.

We must all remember to frequently wash our hands, wear face coverings in enclosed spaces, including in shops and public transport, and to keep at least two metres apart from others wherever possible. If we have symptoms of Covid-19 we should immediately self-isolate and get tested.

We must follow the “rule of six” and not meet in groups of more than six people, including people in our household or support bubble, indoors or outdoors.

It is vital that London’s testing capacity is boosted so that Londoners have timely access to Covid-19 tests, as well as ensuring they self-isolate to stop transmission of the virus as soon as they have symptoms. We are alert to the ongoing situation and will not hesitate to take extra measures if necessary.


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