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The Old Politics of Claim & Blame Need to Die or We Will

RBWM Air Quality Petition Extinction Rebellion

Last night a petition was brought to Full Council that was looking for the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead Councillors to stop dilly dallying, recognise that Air Pollution is a major issue and to start doing something about it.

The ePetitioon secured 2,151 signatures. The lead petitioner requested it be debated at Full Council. The petition states “we the undersigned petition the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead to increase measurements of air polluting PM10 and PM2.5 particulates as soon as possible to multiple locations within all five Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) in the Borough”

The net effect was agreement at the end of the meeting that 3 more air pollution measuring devices would be purchased by RBWM next year and positioned where officers believe they are needed.

I believe this offer of 3 units, not in the paper, was helped by the petition and boosted by 400 residents protesting outside and Extinction Rebellion making their mark with 4 silent protesters, representing the end times, inside sealing the deal. Rather like the ghosts of Christmas yet to come in Scrooge but very much our future if we don’t stop procrastinating. Anything that looks like it threatens future votes is a big red flag to the cabinet!

I do hope the new testing devices measure PM10 and PM2.5 as requested by the petitioner and this is not just 3 more NO2 readers.

A positive step with sadly both the Tories and the Lib Dems looking to CLAIM it was them that got this result and the other is to BLAME for everything that is wrong with RBWM.

Appreciating that the Lib Dems have no real power and need to challenge the Tory majority who seem to relish keeping the opposition down. I’ve felt their wrath when stepping out of line, daring to secure the Vice Chair on the O&S Infrastructure Panel a couple of years ago.

If Cllrs didn’t behave in such a way and instead worked as a team, these very important issues wouldn’t take 4 years to take a baby step forward and would be resolved much quicker with agreements being reached, funding arranged and action taken.

The petition essentially came about because a resident, who had attended the last two Windsor Forum’s where the Air Quality report had been presented decided that enough was enough and submitted a petition. 

Windsor Town Forum – 27th Nov 2019

Windsor Town Forum – 25th Nov 2020

It feels like the ward Councillors had some input as the petition wording is very similar to the Motion put forward last year.

Full Council – 23rd Nov 2021

Part of the motion said “Agrees to increase measurement of PM10 air particulates from a single location in the Borough to locations within all five Air Quality Management Areas and start measuring PM2.5 air particulates in AQMAs.”

The Lib Dems put forward the above motion in Nov 21 which was defeated by the Tories with the leader, immediately back tracking after the meeting… all very spoilt child, we’re not voting for a Lib Dem motion but there might be repercussions, so let’s soften the blow. Cllr Johnson declared on social media he would write to the relevant Minister as proposed in the motion.

At the very same meeting last year the Conservatives brought the Corporate Plan 2021 – 26 which clearly states one of its goals as “Achieve the National Air Quality Objective (AQO) across all Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) by 2025.”

These show the measure of PM10 and NO2 as being 40 and PM2.5 being 20, along with other objectives.

So why couldn’t they just go with the Motion?

My question to Full Council was surely we should be looking at the total number of all the particulates added together as they behave as a team, not as individual molecules taking up a particular area. They are mixed together, like mince and onions on a plate…

full council 22nd November air quality

No Cllr answered my question. I guess I best ask a professional.

Please can we stop with the political bs and focus on residents’ needs.

Taking 4 years to get to a point that should have been so obvious and logical that we got on with addressing the issue straight away, after the Air Quality meeting in 2019.

Cllr Helen Price made an excellent, logical suggestion last night when we discussed Corporate Parenting, recommending that the Equalities Impact Assessment (EQIA) which is now included with each report, have a section on Corporate Parent. This was predictably batted away by the cabinet member!

The reality is Air Quality will very much impact our children, many before they are even born and so ideas put forward like Helen’s should not be pushed away but seriously considered within a few, say 4 weeks and not requiring 4 years to come to pass.

In order for RBWM to get resident support for the drastic changes which are needed, evidence needs to be gathered and so having 3 more professional air quality measuring devices that gather all the relevant toxic measurements is essential.

Good decision but only a baby step that has taken 4 years.

Can Councillors please make a New Year’s resolution to be more open and reflective in their decision making, thinking how our decisions are going to impact our children and grand children, park our egos at the door of future meetings and put our party politics to one side (enabling them for elections only) and make RBWM the best version of itself it could be.

Thank you.

Cllr Jon Davey

Clewer & Dedworth West

2 responses to “The Old Politics of Claim & Blame Need to Die or We Will”

  1. Hi Jon

    I fully agree with your remarks and comments…

    Best regards

    Jim Sibley

  2. Spot on. Jon
    John Diack

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