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Post letters: Cleaner air, MSG Sphere, suicide prevention and cycle for charity

PUBLISHED: 12:30 15 September 2019

Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz at the launch of the clean air consultation. Picture: ANDREW BAKER

Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz at the launch of the clean air consultation. Picture: ANDREW BAKER

Andrew Baker

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.

School run the most polluting

S Ellis, Heaton Grange, Romford, writes:

In the week that Newham Council and the mayor Rokhsana Fiaz were at Newham University Hospital launching a consultation on draft plans in a bid to tackle the issue of the poor air quality in and Newham, claiming, "This is not a problem. It's not an issue. It's a full blown emergency" (Recorder), we once again have the spectacle of gridlocked roads leading to Brampton Manor Academy.

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.

"I really want everyone to take park in this consultation, so we can design the best possible solutions to deliver safe air for us all to breathe, and start to tackle the emergency that faces our borough, our country and our planet."

If they were serious about tackling air pollution, they would be stopping the parents, the taxi drivers and all other car drivers dropping off children attending Brampton Manor Academy at the school gates. These children are of an age they should be capable of getting themselves to school.

Ms Fiaz should have waited a couple of days for her launch so she could have witnessed the morning mayhem at first hand, because not only do you have the gridlock all around Lonsdale Avenue, Boundary Road and New City Road but also all the extra traffic coming into the Newham University Hospital grounds to drop off, as near as possible, even if means stopping/parking on the zebra crossing whilst people are trying to cross or doing five-point turns in front of hospital staff, ambulance and bus drivers.

Traffic concern is not denied

Ian Sinclair, McGrath Road, Stratford, writes:

In his reply to my letter warning that the proposed Madison Square Garden (MSG) Sphere will likely create dangerous levels of overcrowding at Stratford station, I notice Lloyd Johnson, chairman of the Newham Chamber of Commerce, doesn't actually contest any of the evidence I presented from Network Rail's objection to the planning application.

Instead, Mr Johnson's attempted defence of the building of the MSG Sphere is largely content free, except for some meaningless, corporate-speak about "private sector investment" and "a positive vision for the future."

More importantly, the Stop MSG Sphere London campaign group recently discovered MSG had sponsored Newham Chamber of Commerce's 2019 Business Awards.

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Suicide rates are a priority

Dr Andrew Molodynski, mental health lead, BMA consultants committee, writes:

For those of us working in frontline mental health services it is extremely worrying to see a rise in suicide rates in the UK for the first time in five years.

According to figures published recently by the Office for National Statistics, there were a total of 6,507 suicides registered by coroners in the UK last year; that is equivalent to 11.2 per 100,000 people - up 11.8 per cent on the previous year.

In 2018, London had a suicide rate of 13.8 per 100,000 population for males and 4.1 per 100,000 for females.

Every suicide is a tragedy and devastating for families and friends; however, suicide is often preventable and more must be done to make sure this increase is not the beginning of a more sinister trend.

Demand for mental health care has been rapidly rising for a number years, but frontline services have not seen the investment so vitally needed in order to keep pace.

It is shameful that in the 21st Century patients are being failed by reduced services and longer waits for treatments, while frontline mental health staff continue to placed under more and more pressure.

This situation is not tenable for much longer.

While there has been some recent focus on suicide prevention strategies, there must be a greater focus on improving public mental health in the UK, with more investment for local services. A life-course approach is required, ensuring support for mental health during childhood, education, employment and into later life. It must now finally be time for kind words from health leaders to become actions - parity of resources and care, not of esteem.

Saddle up for charity ride

Matt McMahon, British Heart Foundation (BHF), event organiser, writes:

More than 14,000 people in London are killed each year by heart and circulatory disease and 620,000 people are living with its burden, so the need to fund life saving research into these devastating conditions is urgent.

We are calling on your readers to become British Heart Foundation (BHF) champions by taking part in the BHF London to Brighton Off-Road Bike Ride on September 21. With only a few weeks to go, over 2,000 cyclists have already signed up to take on the challenge and help save millions of lives across the UK.

The event will see floods of people joining forces as they cycle from Kempton Park Racecourse in London to Hove Lawns in Brighton. There will be something on offer for cyclists of all abilities, with technical sections to delight the off-road professional - but at 110km, the event also presents an achievable challenge for those new to the sport.

Find out more at bhf.org.uk/L2BOffRoad for more information.


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