Post letters: Air pollution, drug dealers and beggars, cycle for heart and support the joy of reading

PUBLISHED: 08:00 17 February 2019

School run parking outside a Barking school. Picture: KEN MEARS

School run parking outside a Barking school. Picture: KEN MEARS


Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Post readers this week.

Tackling pollution at school gates

Unmesh Desai, London Assembly Member for City and East, writes:

I was grateful to receive responses to my letter, “Be prepared for emission zone”, published recently by this paper.

Last week, one of my constituents from Barking, Mr Dumbleton, wrote in to the letters pages asking City Hall to “stop knocking diesel cars”.

It needs to be reiterated that, when rolled out in April, the Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) will require petrol, as well as diesel cars, in Central London, to comply with EU emissions standards.

The scheme is not designed to target just diesel cars, but all vehicles that have internal combustion engines that emit higher levels of NOX, CO2 and particulates. However, Mr Dumbleton is absolutely right to raise his concerns about poor air quality around schools in the capital. At City Hall, urgent measures are being put in place to significantly clamp down on this issue. Last week, the mayor awarded a portion of his £1.27 million green fund to help schools set up playground “pollution barriers”.

In addition, more than 1,500 schools have signed up to Transport for London’s Sustainable Travel: Active, Responsible, Safe (STARS) accreditation scheme, which encourages parents to ditch the car on the school run, and instead walk with their children.

Target ringleaders to combat crime

A Dagenham resident, full name and address supplied, writes:

The situation with drug dealing and beggars is out of control. While I will buy food for a rough sleeper who is frozen, there are “beggars” who are obviously plonked on the street to make money for a minder.

Until those at the top of the supply chain are brought to book the kids on bikes and blokes in nippy cars who are used to ferry the stuff will carry on.

I dread to think what it is like in large estates where the dealers are in charge.

Saddle up in aid of heart charity

Emma Day, cycling manager, British Heart Foundation, writes:

Did you know that the average shelf life of a hobby is just 16 months? In fact, the average person has three hobbies on the go, but we’re not so good at keeping them up.

Cycling is one of Britain’s favourite hobbies. Four in 10 of us own a bike yet the average UK adult hasn’t cycled in almost seven years!

When we spoke to people about their hobbies a fifth revealed to us that they don’t cycle more frequently because they believe they aren’t fit enough - and one in ten said they don’t have a reason to cycle or goal to aim towards

At the British Heart Foundation (BHF) we have the perfect goal to keep you motivated.

Sign up to one of our amazing bike rides and use your pedal power to fund research into heart and circulatory diseases.

Every year, heart and circulatory diseases including heart attack, stroke and vascular dementia kill over 150,000 people in the UK. Today, more than seven million people in the UK are living with these serious illnesses.

Knowing you’re contributing to finding new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat these terrible conditions whilst doing something that is enjoyable and good for your health will keep you cycling for longer.

So whether you’re a cycling novice or the next Chris Froome or Laura Kenny, we’re calling on you to put your stamina and calves to the ultimate test to help fund life saving research into heart and circulatory diseases, which kills one person every three minutes in the UK.

Whether you take on our flagship London to Brighton Bike Ride, the biggest and best charity bike ride in Europe, join Team BHF for the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 or take on one of the Nightrider series, there’s a ride to suit everyone. So gather your friends, family or colleagues and get in the saddle to help beat heartbreak forever by signing up to ride for the BHF in 2019 and fund life saving research

• To find out more about the BHF’s bike rides

Help others realise the joy of reading

Holly Smale, Book Aid International, writes:

My name is Holly Smale and I’m the author of the award-winning Geek Girl series, and more recently The Valentines.

I’m writing today to ask if you will help send books to people around the world who need them, by fundraising for Book Aid International on World Book Day, which takes place on Thursday, March 7.

Books changed my life. Without access to books, I would not have discovered the magic of getting lost in a story, or the power of loving and connecting to a fictional character. I would not have felt encouraged to my dreams of writing, and to eventually create stories of my own. And now, as an author visiting schools, I continually see the enormous impact books continue to have on young lives all over the UK.

Having seen and experienced the value of books, it is devastating to know that millions of children around the world have never even held a new one. This World Book Day, I am asking you to consider fundraising for Book Aid International.

Book Aid International is a brilliant charity that sends brand new books to thousands of libraries, schools, hospitals, refugee camps and prisons around the world.

In the last three years alone, schools have raised more than £350,000 by fundraising on World Book Day – that’s enough to send over 175,000 brand new books!

This year, we want to get more schools across the UK to take part. Just £2 sends another book, so no fundraising event is too small, and every single book could change a life.

Books could reach Syrian children struggling to learn despite the conflict they face, stock the shelves of a donkey-drawn library going from village to village in Zimbabwe or reach pupils in one of the world’s largest refugee camps in Northern Kenya.

There are many ways your school can fundraise on World Book Day – from dressing up as a favourite book character to holding a big Booky Breakfast, to something else entirely! Book Aid International has free resources to help you bring books to life while raising funds. Visit to find out more or call the charity on 020 77 33 3577.

This World Book Day, I hope that you will join me in supporting Book Aid International and help send books around the world to those who need them.

Happy fundraising!

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