January newsletter: Welcome to 2024!

3 min read
Cyclists pass Thornhill school. One of them has a child in a bike seat on the back.

What’s happening in Barnsbury & Laycock?

2024 will be an exciting year for Barnsbury and Laycock – it’s the year in which we’re due to see improvements to our local streets to make them safer, healthier, greener and fairer. The first phases of public engagement are complete and the initial proposals have been published. While there is no official consultation ongoing right now, you can still email your councillors to express your support.

Please don’t assume that this scheme is a done deal; expressing your support is vital to ensure that we make the most of this once-in-a-generation opportunity to make real improvements to our local streets. The final designs for the Liveable Neighbourhood are due to be published in the spring and there will be a formal public consultation before any decision is taken to implement the proposals.

Why is this important?

  • We want our kids to be able get to school and home safely 
  • We want to live in a safe, pleasant, healthy environment
  • We want streets to be safe for everyone

What’s happening elsewhere in Islington?

The Highbury Low Traffic Neighbourhood was made permanent in December. The final monitoring report found that traffic within the LTN reduced overall by a remarkable 76%, traffic on boundary roads reduced overall by 4% and traffic on nearby roads beyond the boundary reduced by 10% to 59%. A Highbury resident was quoted in the Islington Tribune: “It’s made a real positive impact on the area, the roads are safer, quieter and more pleasant. The atmosphere is much livelier… and there’s more of a neighbourhood community feel.”

  • The Cally Liveable Neighbourhood public consultation is expected to start soon.
    Much of the Cally is filtered and is effectively already a Liveable Neighbourhood. Still, the proposals for greening and the cycle track along Copenhagen Street will be transformational.
  • The Mildmay Liveable Neighbourhood public consultation on final draft proposals took place in autumn 2023. The Council is currently considering the feedback received and should soon announce what measures will be implemented. If approved, they have said they aim to start implementing the scheme in “early 2024”.
  • Plans for Healthy Neighbourhoods in Bunhill and Dartmouth Park are also under discussion.
  • Plans for the cycle route C50 via Penn Road were consulted on last year, with a final announcment due soon.

It’s exciting to see these ambitious improvements rolling out across the whole borough, so that more and more people benefit from lower traffic, safer streets and a healthier environment.

Supporter Letter

A recent letter from a supporter that was published in the local press:

As we surface from a frenetic festive season, the new year can seem dreary and dull. But January’s slower pace offers an opportunity to plan for the year ahead.

The media is awash with ‘New Year, New You’ articles that advertise ways for self-improvement: gyms, vitamins, diets and cosmetic surgery. These ‘wellness’ adverts suggest happiness and well-being can be purchased, and the more we consume the better we’ll feel. We also know that we consume and waste too much, so how can we live happy and sustainable lives?

We can start by considering our current consumption habits. Sustainability is the use of resources that can continue forever, without running out or causing harm and just a few small sustainable changes can have a huge impact for us, our community and the environment.

The air we consume is polluted. However, we can all improve air quality easily by making walking and cycling part of our daily routines. Shop locally on foot, by bike or public transport. This reduces pollution from delivery vans and our wonderful local businesses deserve our support. If you must drive, then don’t idle your engine. Every minute of idling creates the equivalent of 150 balloons of harmful emissions, wastes fuel (money) and can result in a fine. Walking and cycling saves money, and keeps you fit and warm on these chilly days!

Improvements to our homes reduce pollution. Switching to sustainable energy reduces the harmful effects of gas or woodburning. Contact the council about insulating your home, double glazing and solar panels which reduce fuel bills and improve air quality.

The elections are coming up, so write to your MP and ask them to prioritise improving air quality. After all, air pollution is a health crisis which results in 9,400 premature deaths in London per year.

This year, why not ditch ‘fast fashion’ and enjoy pre-loved clothing from the many great second-hand shops in Islington? It’s cheaper, more environmentally friendly and allows you to create your own unique style.

Why not get creative in the kitchen? Eating more vegetables instead of meat is good for your health and the environment. Farming for meat production causes river and air pollution and has contributed to the UK being one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world, with many species threatened with extinction.

Buying seasonal food is sustainable too, it tastes better and it’s cheaper: www.eatseasonably.co.uk have produced a handy guide. 

These ideas for New Year’s Resolutions are achievable and sustainable ways to save money, get fit and healthy.

As always, thanks for your support!
Barnsbury & Laycock Community Streets