John's blog headlines
The Highways Agency is undertaking a public consultation on its plans to widen the M4. In our area this means a proposal to use the motorway's existing hard shoulder as an additional lane.
By bringing the heavy traffic on the motorway closer to the homes and gardens of local residents, this will result in additional noise and air pollution for the hundreds of local residents, who live alongside this busy motorway.
The only protection offered by the Highways Agency against this additional noise and air pollution is little more than a wooden garden fence.
I was hoping that the Highways Agency would use this opportunity to respond positively to the requests I have made on behalf of local residents for some time now that an acoustic barrier is erected to protect residents living near the motorway from the mounting traffic noise and also that a barrier of natural vegetation is planted to help reduce the air pollution emitted by the lorries and cars on the motorway.
I am urging local residents and local schools and community groups located in the areas alongside the motorway to join with me in calling for a proper strategy to tackle the threat of increased noise and air pollution if this scheme goes ahead, including the erection of effective barriers.
Information on the Highways Agency consultation on M4 widening can be found on http://www.highways.gov.uk/roads-projectsm4-junctions-3-12 or telephone the Highways Agency on 0300 123 5000.
Please do all you can to demand that in this project the appropriate protection put in place for our community.
Press Release: Campaign for Air Pollution Public Inquiry
John Mcdonnell MP has been campaigning for an air pollution public enquiry for some time now, and is very pleased with the European Court of Justice decision.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has today ruled that the UK government must take urgent action over its failure to tackle air pollution. Around 29,000 people die early in the UK each year as a result of air pollution – more than traffic accidents and passive smoking combined. The action was bought against the UK Government by Client Earth.
This landmark ruling, the ECJ’s first ever on the effect of the Air Quality Directive, will determine what action the UK courts take against the government. It will also set a ground-breaking legal precedent in EU law which could pave the way for a series of legal challenges across Europe where governments are failing to protect people from air pollution.
The directive requires member states which have failed to meet air quality limits to draw up plans to achieve them in the "shortest time possible". However, UK government plans will not meet nitrogen dioxide limits until after 2030 - 20 years after the original deadline.
Diesel fumes are the main source of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) - a harmful gas linked with heart attacks and asthma.
The Ruling can be seen here and states that the UK Supreme Court must take action to enforce air quality limits ruling ‘where a Member State has not complied with the limit values and has not applied for a postponement of the deadline in accordance with the prescribed conditions, it is for the competent national court, should a case be brought before it, to take, with regard to the national authority, any necessary measure, such as an order in...
Press Release: 3981 Households Revealed to be in Fuel Poverty in Hayes and Harlington Constituency
John McDonnell MP Urges Secretary of State to drive forward the major energy efficiency programme promoted this week by Age UK
John McDonnell has written today to Ed Davey, The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, to express his distress that so many of our elderly people are experiencing such poverty and having to make start choices between eating and keeping warm during the winter months.
In his letter to the minister John pointed out that there are 3981 fuel poor households in Hayes and Harlington, which is 11.2 per cent of all households in the constituency.
John said ”Winter can be a big worry for many older people as it brings with it a range of concerns, from high fuel bills and housing that is hard to heat, to health problems and hospital admissions. According to the recent report by Age Concern every winter, one older person dies every seven minutes from the cold weather. Many more older people become seriously ill due to living in a cold home. The majority of these deaths and health problems could be prevented if everyone lived in a warm home. Many older people who are faced with the stark choice between heating or eating end up rationing both, with disastrous effects on their physical and mental health and wellbeing. I consider it an indictment on our society that we allow older people to die or experience severe illness because they cannot afford to heat their homes and have to choose between eating or staying warm.”
Age UK believes that the most effective way of reducing the numbers of older people living in fuel poverty is to significantly improve the energy efficiency of our housing stock.
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