Kew Gardens Community Open Week (free tickets)

April 2022 Kew Gardens got in touch with us to invite us to their Community Open Week which runs from 7-11 May this year. This is a week of special free events especially set up for community groups to take part in and enjoy. Entry to the Gardens and all Community Open Week activities are included. 

As you are on our Air Quality Brentford mailing list (and part of the group…) you are entitled to take part in this event and to get in to the gardens for free. We’ve been told that you can gain access just by letting a member of staff at the gates know you’re there for the Open week, where you’ll be admitted entry and directed to the ‘Welcome tent’ should you want to know about their activities.

Take a look at the wide range of activities here:
https://www.kew.org/learning/community-and-access/community-open-week

The A4 hedge has been planted!

February 2022 Air Quality Brentford was set up in Spring 2016 to see if we could make some positive change, as residents, to our air quality in Brentford. One of our first ideas was to add more greenery along the A4 and in 2017 we began discussions with TfL to plant a hedge along the residential part of the A4 next to Middlesex Court and Glenhurst Road. Following many meetings and discussions we’re delighted to report that in February this year the hedge was planted. This is part of our campaign to #MakeBrentfordGreener.

We want to thank TfL for all their support with this project and we look forward to seeing the hedge grow and for it to help mitigate traffic noise and pollution along this busy stretch of road.

ClientEarth and Mums for Lungs

16 November 2021 Last week ClientEarth organised an event with Mums for Lungs and Little House of Science where speakers talked about the specific effects of illegal air pollution on the small lungs of foetuses, babies and children and the ways in which they are campaigning for action to achieve clean air in the UK.

ClientEarth then talked about a possible new kind of legal action against the UK Government for failing to ensure safer cleaner air. Here are some notes taken from the meeting:

Last month, MPs voted against an amendment to the Environment Bill that would have committed ministers to set targets to reduce levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), one of the most harmful pollutants, to within World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines by 2030 at the latest. The amendment then lost in a very tight vote in the House of Lords. The final version of the Bill was finally agreed in the House of Lords last night and will now become law as the new Environment Act.’

A very disappointing outcome but ClientEarth say it’s still important to keep going because:
‘To start with.. calls for stronger legislation resulted in clean air being included in the Environment Bill in the first place. This then resulted in the UK Government committing to setting two new legal targets for PM2.5, as well as some improvements to the local air quality system for councils. These are no mean feats under the current circumstances.’

‘And, while the government has so far refused to set ambitious parameters for these targets in the Environment Act, you still have the opportunity to shape these through the upcoming target setting process. This should be done by October 2022 and will include a number of opportunities for you to push for ambitious targets to tackle toxic air.’

They suggest:
‘You… pass on our calls for stronger action to address toxic air pollution to your family and friends, drop your MP a quick email, share your experiences of living with air pollution with us or perhaps even provide a quote for a journalist.’

‘Since 2010, air pollution has been at illegal levels across the UK – and people’s health is suffering as a result.’

This is why ClientEarth is joining law firm Hausfeld to explore a legal case to seek compensation for people who have been suffering the real life impacts of illegally polluted air and push the government to better protect people.

Air pollution is associated with a huge range of health issues including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and respiratory infections. Despite this, the UK Government has persistently breached its duty to protect people from illegal air pollution.

They are organising another online event and this is the link to join it and find out more about this potential legal challenge and how you might be able to take part:

Date and time: Monday 29 November, 8 – 9pm on Zoom
Registration details: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/how-could-you-go-to-court-for-clean-air-tickets-209203773117

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions about how to join the webinar.

Further Reading·
Effect of Exposure to Traffic on Lung Development From 10 to 18 Years of Age: A Cohort Study·
Association of Improved Air Quality with Lung Development in Children·
The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs website·
British Lung Foundation​·
AirText​·
London Air Quality Network​

Co-op funding: help us raise some pennies!

We are delighted that the Co-op have chosen Air Quality Brentford to be part of their Local Community Fund, making us eligible for funding from 24 October 2021 until 22 October 2022. It’s quite fun seeing the pennies mount up: last week we had accumilated 4p and the current total is 55p! We will use any funding to maintain our planting projects across Brentford (do let us know if you’d like to get involved with these).

Anyone can sign up to our local cause, for example if you have friends or family in other parts of the country, and it can be used at all Co-op stores (not East of England Co-op).

🌼 First you need a Co-op membership card which can be purchased for just £1. You can sign up for a card here.

🌿 Then you can link to our cause profile page here: https://membership.coop.co.uk/causes/60264

🌸 To receive rewards/funds you need to swipe your membership card when you pay at the til.

For every £1 you spend on selected Co-op branded products and services, 2p will go into your membership account.
The same amount will support community organisations and local causes like ours.

So far the Co-op have raised £84 million and helped 25,000 community projects with funding.

Container Brentford station South side

Sunday 25 April 2021 For a couple of years now we have wanted to have a planter to brighten up the south side of Brentford Station, as the ones on the north side have done so well in greening up the area. We’ve been working with South Western Railways to find a suitable location and container for this purpose.

Syon House thought they had a container we could use, however it was broken – they’ve been amazing, donating 9 large containers for our past community planting projects. Instead we contacted Hilliers, the new garden centre at Syon, which opened this week, and they were able to find and donate a very large plastic tree container. Many thanks to them for arranging for the container to be delivered to Syon for us, it’s perfect. We used polystyrene from Currys PC World to line the bottom, and top soil from a resident’s garden to fill it up.

Staying within current Covid restrictions we managed to plant up the container amidst lots of very interesting railway works happening at the same time. Local residents are helping to look after the new container.

Engine Off Every Stop springtime campaign

Tues 23 February 2021 Hounslow Council invited us to a webinar hosted by campaign group Idling Action London who are helping to raise awareness of unnecessary idling of vehicles with their Engine Off Every Stop campaign which runs from 22 February til 23 March this year – look out for our adverts on billboards across London, on radio and online. The Idling Action Project has been running since 2016. Now in its fourth phase it is jointly led by the City of London Corporation and the London Borough of Camden. The campaign is funded by the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund.

This short video which demonstrates how much pollution is created by a car idling for just one minute:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMDFyB5XXJQ&feature=emb_logo

The campaigns encourages drivers to switch off when pulled over as this is the easiest way to protect public health and make an immediate improvement to local air quality. They believe that if drivers were aware of the pollution created by idling and the dangers of that pollution, they would switch off.

All 31 London Boroughs are taking part in this initiative and during the webinar there were presentations from Camden, Lambeth and Newham Boroughs, which have tackled the issue of idling with enforcement officers and raising awareness particularly within schools, as this pollution has been shown particularly to affect the lungs of children and the elderly.

There is a whole range of tools, activity packs and posters on their website for Schools, Businesses and other organisations to download for free and get involved in raising awareness of this issue.

Local printers OctInk kindly printed some No Idling car stickers for us last year and we still have some left to give away for free – if you’d like one please email airqualitybrentford@hotmail.com

Tour de Plants

Feb 2021 This Springtime we’re suggesting a route for you to walk, scoot or cycle around Air Quality Brentford’s community planting projects. The spring bulbs we planted in November are already flowering. This is part of our campaign to #MakeBrentfordGreener to help improve our air quality locally, increase biodiversity and encourage residents to green-up space in their own front gardens, balconies and window boxes. This year has shown just how important green spaces are for mental health and a feeling of well-being and even the smallest space can make a big difference.

❤️ Please get in touch if you can volunteer some time to look after the projects nearest you. For watering in hot months and an occasional tidy-up, email us at airqualitybrentford@hotmail.com

🌼 Post us your favourite plant, tree, insect, or pockets of greenery 🐝❤️🦋🐛🐞🌺🌿🌻🌷🌸🌼🌲 while on your travels #MakeBrentfordGreener @agreenerlondon

A little more info…

🐝 1. Brentford station/Orchard Road – South Western Railway gave us permission to plant daffodils on the grassy slope to the north side of the station. The slope used to attract a lot of rubbish from train passengers, and the flowers have managed to deter the throwing of litter. We also liaised with SWR to plant up two containers on the station platform and four outside the station. The slope opposite the Kings Arms pub is also on SWR land and we look after this as well as the planters on Orchard Road near Mercury House. Further info here, here, here, and here.

🦋 2. Boston Manor Road shops – Hounslow Highways gave us permission to put planters outside the shops here to brighten up this area outside the newsagents and across the road outside the dry cleaners. Orchard Road residents help to look after the plants here and at Brentford Station. Further info here.

🐛 3. Eastbourne Road walkway – we liased again with Hounslow Highways for this area which was in need of some greenery and these planters are looked after by local residents. Further info here.

🐞 4. Hamilton Road – we worked directly with the newsagent, pub and hairdressers to add some greenery to this road. This area also used to attract litter. Local residents take care of the plants here. Further info here.

🌺 5. Netley Road shops – Hounslow Highways gave us permission to use planters in this location to brighten up the public area outside the shops. Local residents and the nearby shops look after these plants. Further info here.

🌿 6. Tree saplings on Green Dragon Lane – Lampton 360 gave us permission and worked with us to plant over 100 tree saplings as part of the Mayor of London initiative to plant 100,000 trees across London. We planted most of them on this site and over 30 at Mercury House and these will be relocated in to the green spaces of some of the estates in Brentford once they have reached a suitable size. They were planted two years ago and are beginning to look quite leafy in the summer and have gained a good height. Further info here.

🌻 7. Brentford High Street, outside Watermans Court – in partnership with the Co-op Housing Association we got permission to plant in to the 10 empty brick planters outside the residential development bordering the High Street. Horticultural students at Capel Manor College designed and planted up the containers as part of their final term at the college. We could do with some extra assitance to water these planters in the hot months of the year – can you help? Further info here.

🌷 8. Brentford Market Place – we received a grant from Hounslow Council to green-up Market Place. It took a while to decide on the lovely Corten containers and we got them custom-made for us in ‘Covid times’ which led to some delay, however the containers have made a positive difference to this public space. We look forward to seeing the plants grow throughout the coming seasons. Local residents and businesses look after these plants. Further info here.

🌸 9. Brentford Gauging Lock – working with The Canal & Rivers Trust we used containers donated to us by Kew Gardens to green up the central island at the Gauging Lock. Volunteers at the lock help look after the plants by watering them in the summer. Further info here.

❤️ Air Quality Brentford is a community group, we are all local residents who volunteer some time to care for our environment. Thank you for any donations towards maintaining these community planting projects in the future.
Air Quality Brentford
Account number: 76622207
Sort code: 600323

A thank you to Brentford care homes

brentford care homesSummer 2020 As a small gesture of thanks and recognition in these strange times, we gave a couple of plants to Maryville Care Home on Upper Butts, and to Harnage House on Clayponds Lane. Potted plants to Care Homes was Mayor Tony Louki’s idea to thank Care Homes for their work during the pandemic.

Brentford Market Square community planting project

brentford market square planting project 8aug20
Saturday 8 August 2020 With gardening gloves, trowels, sun cream and protective face masks at the ready, we were finally able to complete the community planting project for Brentford Market Square, two years after applying for funding. To answer a few questions: no they don’t have wheels, and yes they are here to stay!!

Huge thanks go out to all of the volunteers who helped on the day, there was an enormous amount of work involved and many hands really made the task lighter. One team of people filled cars and vans with 120 bags of soil sourced from a resident’s garden, plus over 100 plants, and another team unloaded everything at the Market Square end. Continue reading