Councillor’s meeting lights up the vanity of the bonfires

Our environment correspondent, PAUL LUSHION, takes a look at just what some councillors are doing to improve air quality (Spoiler Alert: it’s not very much)

Efforts to improve air quality are likely negated as the council pays to burn rubbish at Beddington Lane

There’s yet more proof, if proof is needed, that politicians take people for fools.

Labour councillor Jamie Audsley has organised a meeting for residents in the north of the borough tomorrow to “shape the way forward for tackling air pollution in Croydon”.

This from someone who is part of a Labour council that builds primary schools so close to some of the most polluted roads in London that their pupils, some as young as four years old, need to be kept inside almost all the school day in buildings which require hermetical sealing from the toxic air outside.

Audsley is also part of a council whose leader broke a solemn election promise to blow open the contract details of the Beddington Lane incinerator, which is about to begin full operation, burning thousands of tons of rubbish all day, every day, pumping out potentially poisonous particles into the atmosphere for the next 25 years.

Perhaps even Audsley, as he embarks on his clean air crusade, had cause to wince yesterday when his council Labour group leader, Tony Newman, was so swift to embrace the pollution-increasing possibility of a second runway at Gatwick.

The public’s participation in events like Audsley’s get-together tomorrow seem naive when the council doesn’t even deliver on previous promises to clean up Croydon’s polluted air.

There is another … ahem… burning example. It is a year now since the council promised to cut pollution by banning day time bonfires

How one councillor has tried to organise a hot topic meeting, while voting through measures which do little to improve air quality, if not actually making it worse

What progress has been made with that?


A Freedom of Information request from Inside Croydon has revealed that “Engagement on the proposal is planned for early 2019.”

So no action at all for at least 18 months.

No wonder people think politicians’ promises are worthless.

It seems that the whole bonfire regulation thing was nothing more than a charade, to give the appearance of doing something. A vanity project for a cabinet member or senior council official, if you like.

Much like tomorrow’s public meeting. Just more hot air…

Asked about what plans there are to deal with bonfires on commercial properties, the council official who drafted the answer clearly has a sense of humour. “Information not held,” they stated baldly.

So if you’re expecting some great revelation at tomorrow’s meeting about how humble ward councillor Audsley is going to improve air quality where you live, our advice is… don’t hold your breath.

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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