One of the little joys of winter is to wrap up warm and go for a reviving stroll in the crisp, fresh air. But alarmingly it might not be as beneficial as you imagine.
Ms Maggy Meade-King has been a resident of Highgate for 17 years and is currently the Chair of the Highgate Neighbourhood Forum. The HNF have spent the last three years compiling a neighbourhood plan and after many consultations with local businesses’ and residents they have found that the high levels of traffic keep coming up as a major issue.
Last spring they decided to take matters into their own hands and test the air quality. The results were shocking and revealed that Highgate’s main roads have illegal and health-damaging levels of air pollution.
‘We are lobbying the Mayor and TFL about getting hybrid, green buses up here, but high streets across London have the same problem and some are worse than ours’ Ms. Meade- King says.
‘We are also working with Haringey to try and get some green hopper buses that go around the neighbouring villages’
However as Ms. Meade-King explains it’s not just diesel buses that are causing the problem. Cars idling outside the local schools (and generally getting people out of their cars and onto buses and bikes) are also on the agenda to be tackled. The HNF is trying to set up citizen science projects so that children and parents alike can be educated about the situation.
It’s a long road ahead and not an issue that will not resolve itself quickly but Ms. Meade-King isn’t giving up easily, ‘If we can’t have fresh air, God help us all’.
Quick Fire Questions
What is your least favourite chore?
M: Oh dear there are so many. I’m not keen on ironing
If you could witness any event past, present or future what would it be?
M: Golly…I am very interested in history so don’t know where to begin [takes a few moments to think]… London was an amazing place in the 18th century…I think I would have needed to have been a man to enjoy it, but the ideas that were flowing and the making of the city we were to become… to be in those coffee houses and be part of that would have been very exciting.
What was the first tape that you ever brought?
M: Actually I’m record [laughs]
Like a vinyl?
M: Absolutely and I see it’s all coming back. [laughs] The very first I brought was ‘I am a mole who lives in a hole’, but the first teenager record was an EP by the Everly Brothers, which included ‘All I Have To Do Is Dream’ which summed me up at the time.
If you could only have one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?
M: Cheese on toast.
Are you a spender or a saver?
M: I’m both really. I saved so I could retire and now I’m more of a spender because the rainy day has arrived.
Monopoly or Cluedo?
M: Gosh, I can think of the rows they both cause. Cluedo is less problematic… the fights over Monopoly me and my brother had!