Bonnington Square, Vauxhall

bonnington_square.jpgBonnington Square is an inspiration. Just seconds from the busy main roads around Vauxhall station stands a community-lead garden which spills out with infectious abundance on to the surrounding roads. Every opportunity to plant under trees has been taken, road corners transformed in to islands with palm trees and lush green planting. The results of this effort is a haven away from the urban traffic just at the end of the street. The plants naturally help to clean the air by trapping sticky particulates and converting CO2 to O2 for our benefit. It’s a beautiful, tranquil environment which make you want to be outside. Some tips perhaps for making Brentford a greener place to live…

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Caroline Russell’s walk along the A4

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Friday 1 Sept 2017 Caroline Russell came to Brentford with colleagues from the GLA and representatives from TfL to meet with local residents. The aim was to look at the A4 in particular as part of a study for the transport committee for Greater London, asking ‘what makes it difficult for people to walk or cycle to work?’. The major crossings at Windmill Road, Ealing Road and Lionel Road were looked at, with special attention given to children getting to school.

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The results from the walk will contribute to a wider study on major roads in Greater London and we hope to see some improvements on the A4 crossings over the coming months.

Living Streets walk at the Museum of London

Thurs 17 August Living Streets held a walk of the streets around the Museum of London as a demonstration of ‘psychogeography’, how we feel in a place, do we feel safe, is it an environment you want to be in?

Up on the high-rise walkway with space dedicated to pedestrians it was easy to feel safe and distant from the traffic below. We were asked to take note of how we felt when the open walkway became enclosed with no outlook. The way-finding signs for the Barbican were well placed on the high rise section above the street so that people could find where they were going. Continue reading

Meeting with JCDecaux

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Thursday 3 August 2017 Air Quality Brentford met with JCDecaux, TfL and Hounslow Council at the Outdoor Advertising Company’s prestigious Art Deco offices on the Golden Mile. We discussed the possibility of using their advertising space in downtime to raise awareness of the unnecessary pollution caused by idling cars. JCDecaux already use standard stop-start technology on their vehicle fleet and train their drivers to switch off their engines when at a standstill for vehicles without this technology, both for environmental and economic benefit. They have 4 electric vehicles which they plan to increase by a further 6 in the coming year. Continue reading

Alternatives at London Motor Show

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4-7 May 2017 Several of us went along to the London Motor Show in Battersea Park to check out the alternatives to diesel and petrol vehicles. Many thanks to Neal Romanek for putting together this article about the event with reviews of the BMW 3i, Nissan Leaf, Hyundai Ionic and Tesla’s Model X:

The London Car Show boasted over 150 cars on display, from a classic 1930’s Napier-Railton racing car to the London debut of the McLaren 650S supercar. There were talks, Q&A’s and book signings with guests like Hollywood stunt driver and former Top Gear “Stig”, Ben Collins, and racing driver, TV personality and fashion model Jodie Kidd. Glamour is essential in selling us things that are bad for us and car advertising is no different. It’s been said that the automobile really only exists as a way to sell petrol. That all the stuff we love our cars for is secondary to its purpose as a device for consuming fossil fuels. But amid the selfie’s taken alongside the petrol powered muscle cars, low-emission and electric vehicles had surprisingly high visibility. Continue reading

Tesla and Nissan at Brentford Market

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Sunday 23 April 2017 We invited Tesla and Nissan to showcase their fully electric vehicles at Brentford Market for World Earth Day to help promote alternatives to diesel and petrol vehicles. Tesla brought along their Model X sport utility vehicle with vertically opening rear doors, and the ability to seat 7 passengers comfortably. This car can do zero to 60mph in as quick as 2.9 seconds, has all wheel drive and a 100kWh battery providing 351 miles of range. It takes just one hour to fully load the battery with one of Tesla’s own super-chargers, available at various service stations and Westfield and Heathrow. This particular model starts at around $68,000. They also have a Model S saloon and the Model 3 available next year will be their most affordable car coming in at around $38,000. Nissan brought along their LEAF hatchback, starting at a more modest £26,000 which fully charged can do a range of 155 miles. It has no internal-combustion engine or a traditional gearbox, so it has far fewer moving parts to maintain. The cost of electricity is far lower than that of petrol or diesel. This car will fully charge for 8 hours over night from a station at your home and be ready to drive the next morning. Both cars drew a lot of attention in different ways, they complemented each other perfectly and gave us a snapshot of the range of possibilities out there for cleaner vehicles and the differences in affordability. Continue reading

A closer look at Brentford’s air pollution

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Air Quality Brentford are taking a closer look at the results from the air quality recorded at the A4/Glenhurst Road monitor. The results are available for all to see at http://www.airqualityengland.co.uk, select LB Hounslow and create graph. We think it’s important for more local residents to be aware of the high peaks in NO2 and PM10 emitted by diesel vehicles throughout the day. To help raise awareness we are making our own screengrabs of the results and publishing these on twitter every day @agreenerlondon

Air quality is measured as an annual average and the legal annual average for Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) is 40 ugm and hourly there should be no more than 18 exceedances of 200 ugm per year. The legal annual average for Particulate Matter (PM10) is 40 ugm-3 and over a 24 hour period no more than 35 exceedances in a year over 50 µg m-3.

The example above shows the results for 9 March, a beautifully sunny day but the levels of NO2 only dipped below 40ugm at 4am and midnight – this is however still legal as the limit hasn’t gone over 200ugm. This toxic gas is invisible but you can probably smell or taste it in the air. Both Nitrogen Dioxide and Particulate Matter are harmful to humans, these very small particles are breathed in to the lungs and even enter the bloodstream affecting our immune system, and we need to start taking a little more notice of these very high levels of pollution. The levels of Particulate Matter on this day were illegal as they were over 50ugm.