CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

How to safely reopen communities

22 May, 2020

• WHILE the number of coronavirus daily infections might be thankfully decreasing, we now need to turn our attention to how we safely reopen our communities.

The first part of this must be a focus on socially-distanced travelling, as people begin to spend more time outside of the home.

This is critical not just for residents but for our key workers getting to and from work.

The UK government has announced a £250million fund for local councils to complete urgent active travel plans.

This funding is being released now in recognition that work is needed in a matter of days and weeks, not months or years, if we are to keep people safe.

As home to the Royal Free, one of London’s largest teaching hospitals and one of the UK’s foremost hospitals in the fight against Covid, Hampstead must surely be one of the areas most ripe for such immediate investment.

Although the scheme is specifically for Covid-related support, it’s important to see this as part of the wider strategy for Hampstead.

Prior to Covid Hampstead was plagued by traffic: most of it generated by commuters and the school run, not local residents, who just bear the brunt of it.

The Hampstead Neighbourhood Plan clearly sets out public support for measures that reduce traffic congestion.

Councillors have already received a raft of emails generally supporting action to encourage walking and cycling – alongside electric vehicles, which are vital to reduce pollution, too.

However, what we need now are the specific schemes to achieve this. As councillors we are working with residents, associations, groups, and businesses to make sure every good idea is brought into the mix.

Speed is of the essence, so please get in touch today via maria.higson@camden.gov.uk, so that we can co-create a Covid transport response.

CLLR MARIA HIGSON
Conservative, Hampstead Town ward

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