Zooming in on Chiswick with John Todd
Chiswick Homefields ward councillor on doing his job virtually
As someone designated by the NHS as a “shielded” candidate I've found it difficult to adjust to the related restrictions. As a distraction both my garden and allotment are now in pristine condition. The weather has been quite remarkable too. I've now adjusted to the new council regime and seen no evidence of reduced service.
Zoom and Microsoft Teams have come to my rescue. Hounslow Council will hold its first virtual meeting on 14th May when the planning committee meets. Our Conservative group meets frequently via this medium and once a week we hold a meeting with the executive crisis team of Hounslow Council. Other similar virtual meetings I've attended include the governing body of Chiswick School and the Chiswick House and Gardens Trust (CHGT).
I'm the SEN-D governor at Chiswick School and frequently liaise with Claire the SENCO and her colleague Wanda who keep me fully briefed so I can update my fellow governors. Laura, the headteacher, continues to do an excellent job in providing online education, supplemented by teacher contact.
Xanthe, our new Director at CHGT, has a most difficult role. The Trust relies on commercial activities, including weddings, to fund its activities and maintain the site to a high standard. Covid-19 has meant most bookings have either been postponed or cancelled. Vegetables and flowers from the walled garden have been provided to the Hounslow community support hub which are much appreciated by the recipients.
Casework remains diverse as ever. A resident in one of our houses in Feltham decided to hire a mini JCB and expand his rear garden by removing trees from an adjacent common and then build a fence on his new unilaterally decided boundary. I was contacted by a local resident as she couldn't get a reply from her local councillor. Officers quickly attended and are restoring the original boundary fencing line.
I was delighted to help Philippa of Chiswick Covid-19 Mutual Aid Group regarding a resident who required assistance over various matters. There's an excellent video on Chiswick Buzz where she is interviewed explaining what they are doing. A really committed team. They can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Air pollution measurement
I'm frequently asked for local pollution levels especially in Chiswick High Road. Our monitoring team advises as follows:
Live monitoring data for LBH is available from this site.
Current data for the Chiswick Monitoring station, near the George IV Pub, is available here.
In addition, we get monthly reports from all our automatic air quality monitoring stations across the borough which are available here
I wanted the W4 data displayed on the side of the Chiswick monitoring station but my idea was rejected. Another alternative site is Breathe London (breathelondon.org) which has sophisticated pollution measurement readers in Devonshire Road and throughout London.
I noted that, although air pollution has reduced post the Covid-19 shutdown, there were a number of days when ‘moderate' warnings were issued. I closely follow the PM 2.5 (fine particulate matter) level in W4 because of its clearly confirmed link to reducing lung development and performance in children. I've now found an explanation which may assist. From the Breathe website:
‘The Breathe London network exhibits variability of PM 2.5 levels, but at this stage there is no clear reduction or evident association with the reduction in traffic. London experienced pollution episodes from 25 to 27 March and from 8 to 12 April with elevated PM 2.5 levels, which have been captured by the Breathe London network. These increases were likely due to wind blowing in industrial and agricultural pollution from mainland Europe, as well as wood burning for the March episode.'
The Old Chiswick Preservation Society (OCPS) does a great job protecting the Eyot. It's a real nature reserve which has recently had some unwelcome human visitors who were caught out by the quick rising tide and had to be rescued by the RNLI.
In their informative spring bulletin the OCPS mentions: “We cannot be sure which birds nest on the Eyot, but probably far more than we realise. All of the following can be found on this part of the Thames. The locals nest first (including Cetti's warbler, which used to migrate but no longer seems to), and then the summer migrants arrive.
“Here is a list of likely Eyot nesters: Reed warbler, Cetti's warbler, whitethroat, blackcap, willow warbler, chiffchaff, robin, blackbird, song thrush, mistle thrush, blue tit, great tit, coal tit, nuthatch, wren, reed bunting, chaffinch, goldfinch, greenfinch, tree sparrow, house sparrow, magpie, green parrot, green woodpecker, greater spotted woodpecker, lesser spotted woodpecker, pied wagtail, grey wagtail, moorhen, coot, mallard, teal and wigeon”.
An incredible list.
Councillor John Todd
CONTACT YOUR LOCAL COUNCILLORS
All council meetings, including surgeries, have been cancelled. Your local councillors are, however, still available to take up your concerns so please get in touch:
Chiswick Homefields ward
Cllr Patrick Barr
Cllr Gerald McGregor
Cllr John Todd
Chiswick Riverside ward
Cllr Michael Denniss
Cllr Gabriella Giles
Cllr Sam Hearn
Turnham Green ward
Cllr Joanna Biddolph
Cllr Ranjit Gill
Cllr Ron Mushiso
May 3, 2020