13 May 2009

Air Quality at Further Risk in Lewisham Town Centre?

At the last full Council I tabled a question for the Deputy Mayor about the Lewisham Gateway and the likely impact on air quality. It's question 12 - I've reproduced it below:

Question by Councillor Walton of the Deputy Mayor
What measures have been agreed as part of the Lewisham Gateway to alleviate the acknowledged decrease in air quality that will arise as a direct consequence if this scheme is built?

In terms of mitigation of construction impacts on air quality the applicant submitted a draft Construction Code of Practice (CoCP) as part of the planning submission and a condition was imposed requiring the submission and approval of a full CoCP incorporating identified measures (and others as appropriate) prior to any work commencing on site. Full details of any plant will also be required to be submitted and approved by the local planning authority prior to commencement to ensure that residual air quality impacts are acceptable. The developer would also be required to pay a sum of £50,000 towards the installation of an air quality monitoring station within the town centre to monitor air quality.

The scheme also proposes low levels of car parking, cycle parking for each unit and a restriction on future residents applying for parking permits within the Controlled Parking Zone along with the active promotion of more sustainable modes of transport to reduce reliance on private motor vehicles.

The applicant is required to submit for approval both site wide and individual travel plans to set out how this would be achieved and to monitor and review the plans.

The officers' report in 2007 was a lot more blunt than the Deputy Mayor. His report on air quality states (see para 7.6.9)

"The environmental statement states that there are no
mitigation measures available other than those already designed into the
scheme (i.e. the promotion of more sustainable modes of transport to
reduce road traffic) and as a consequence there is considered to be a major
residual adverse impact."

However what appears to have been forgotten is that under the current Mayor the expansion of the bus network in London has essentially been stopped - as was revealed by Cllr Darren Johnson in a question to the other Johnson at City Hall.

As a result of this, the Deputy Mayor is now attempting to get an answer to the question of what could happen to air quality in Lewisham should the Gateway go ahead and the buses as originally planned simply don't turn up.

My reading of the original officer's report is that this could be bad news for the future occupants of the Gateway.

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