Which underground line is the most polluted in London?

The Central Line is one of the most polluted underground lines in London according to research by the Financial Times.

The investigation measured fine particles – known as PM2.5 – which can penetrate into the lungs and have been linked to heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and respiratory infection.

Air in carriages on sections of the Central Line was 8 times above safe limits recommended by the World Health Organisation.

Other lines in the top 10 of the most polluted include the Northern, the Victoria, the Jubilee and the Bakerloo.

“Fine particles of dust, metal, skin and clothing fibre have built up in the tunnels over a century of use, leaving a toxic miasma that is stirred up by passing trains and inhaled by passengers,” according to the article by Camilla Hodgson, Leslie Hook and Steven Bernard.

Jenny Bates, an air pollution campaigner at Friends of the Earth, told the FT: “These are shocking, worrying findings. We know particulates are the most dangerous of the air pollutants. We must sort out this terrible level of bad aor. It’s absolutely essential for the health of anyone using the Tube.”

Read the full investigation by the Financial Times here.

Commuters express concern about proposed Central Line timetable changes

Transport for London (TfL) have announced changes to the Central Line timetable which are likely to impact services from Wanstead.

The changes were revealed in the following email to passengers sent on 29 October 2019:

Regular commuters immediately took to Twitter to express concern. The tweets prompted South Woodford Councillor Michael Duffell to request an urgent extraordinary meeting of the Redbridge Council Committee which scrutinises TfL.

Rory Stewart bids to be Mayor

The former Conservative Party leadership candidate Rory Stewart has announced a bid to be the next Mayor of London.

Mr Stewart has said he is standing down from his seat in the Commons and has resigned from the Tory Party.

“Our leaders have become so bad at listening to the people… Instead, they have retreated to a madhouse of mutual insults in the Gothic shouting chamber of Westminster, pitting one group against another – rich against poor, London against the rest, Brexit against Remain – and all the time getting further and further away from compromise, practical solutions, and the centre group. And this is why I’ve decided to stand, not for party, but as an independent,” he writes in an open letter to the Evening Standard.

Mr Stewart has run a humanitarian foundation in Afghanistan and served in the diplomatic service in Iraq.

Excessive noise levels prompt industrial action

Central Line drivers who are members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) will take industrial action next month following a dispute about noise levels.

The Jubilee, Central, Northern and Victoria lines are set to be affected after 95% of union members supported the action.

“It is appalling that RMT driver members have had to resort to a programme of industrial action in order to force London Underground to take the issue of excessive track noise seriously,” said Mick Cash, General Secretary of the RMT.

“This is an issue that impacts not only on our members but on the travelling public as well and the union is absolutely determined to ensure that the company don’t drag their feet for a moment longer.”

Drivers will “drive trains in manual mode at an appropriate reduced speed to mitigate the creation of excessive noise and to alleviate the distraction, discomfort and anxiety caused in the affected areas” claim the RMT.

Transport for London (TfL) have said that the health and safety of staff and customers are its “first priority” and that they have “already agreed to provide a broader range of ear protection to drivers who wish to use it alongside plans for longer-term solutions to this complex issue.”

Noise levels have been a problem on the Central Line for several years as reported by the Ilford Recorder in 2017 and The Wanstead Post in 2018.

The industrial action is due to start on Thursday 10 October 2019.

Meeting about expansion at London City Airport

A new date has been announced for the public meeting about expansion plans at London City Airport.

The event will now take place on Thursday 3 October 2019 between 19.00 and 21.00 at Wanstead Library.

A Draft Master Plan published by the Airport in June 2019 outlined plans including a change to the current cap on flights, an increase in the number of early morning and late evening flights and an end to the current 24-hour closure of the airport at the weekend.

A meeting organised by Cann Hall Area Residents in July included robust contributions from many of those affected by the airport and coincided with the launch of a campaign against the proposals by HACAN East.

#improvethecentralline

In 2018 The Wanstead Post spearheaded a campaign to #improvethecentralline. The intention was to encourage interested parties – such as Transport for London, the Mayor of London, Central Line management and staff as well as passengers – to come together to address problems and find innovative solutions. The campaign culminated in a meeting with Caroline Pidgeon, Chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee and Chris Taggart, Head of Line Operations, to discuss the most pressing issues.

Since then the Central Line has had good and bad days. When the service runs it can be excellent but when things go wrong it can be truly appalling. After speaking with staff, you are often left with the impression that a sense of complacency permeates the running of the line and there is a general feeling that the situation will never improve.

According to the Socialist Worker website, members of the RMT Union who work on the Central Line are “fighting against chronic understaffing, imposed rosters, management bullying, inadequate welfare facilities and local agreement breaches” and have planned a 24-hour strike due to start on Tuesday 3 September 2019. There is no doubt that if the strike goes ahead utter misery will be caused.

This is an undesirable turn of events for management, staff and passengers because any strike will cause nothing but suffering. Harsh management or unrealistic aggressive demands by unions achieve little and negatively impact hard-working commuters. There needs to be a new collaboration between all involved, a renewed desire to work together and get things done, a refreshed positive energy to make a difference and move on to a better future for all those who work on or use the main arterial route through the greatest capital city in the world.

Public meeting in Wanstead

Redbridge Council have announced there will be a public meeting in Wanstead to discuss expansion plans by London City Airport.

The event follows a robust discussion organised by Cann Hall Area Residents in July and the launch of a campaign against the proposals by HACAN East.

A Draft Master Plan published by the Airport in June 2019 outlined plans including a change to the current cap on flights, an increase in the number of early morning and late evening flights and an end to the current 24-hour closure of the airport at the weekend. This follows the controversial concentration of arrival and departure routes in 2016 which resulted in a five-fold increase in complaints from local residents.

The public meeting will take place at Wanstead Library on Thursday 5 September 2019 at 18.00. Tim Halley, Director of Infrastructure & Planning at London City, will speak and answer questions from residents.

**Update: 4 September 2019**

This meeting has been postponed.