Bios for Air Pollution Event

Brent Connects Kilburn

Air Pollution

21 September 2016, 7-9pm, London Interfaith Centre, Salusbury Road


Aaron Kiely

Aaron is a national campaigner at Friends of the Earth, the environment charity.

He currently coordinates Friends of the Earth’s air pollution work. Previous to this he was a lead organiser of the largest climate demonstration in Britain last November and campaigned against fracking in the north-west.

He has expertise in equalities, higher and further education. Prior to working for Friends of the Earth, he was the Black Students’ Officer at the National Union of Students.

Oliver Lord

Oliver is Deputy Air Quality Manager at the Greater London Authority. He leads on a number of the Mayor’s initiatives to cut transport emissions in the Capital, including electric vehicle infrastructure, taxi licensing and road user charging schemes.

Before this he worked at Transport for London, where he delivered several projects and initiatives to encourage sustainable travel. Most recently, he was responsible for developing transport strategy and policy, with a particular focus on the environment, including the Ultra -Low Emission Zone. He previously specialised in Environmental Psychology at the University of Surrey.

Jennifer Barrett

Jennifer is currently managing teams responsible for Environmental Protection, namely nuisance control, contaminated land and air quality. This includes ensuring the council is compliant with current legislation and controlling activities which could be harmful to residents and/or the environment.

Jennifer is lead officer for the provision of the council’s Air Quality Action Plan.

Tony Kennedy

Tony is Brent’s Head of Highways and Infrastructure. He is responsible for the planning, design, consultation and construction/maintenance of the boroughs Highways and Infrastructure. This includes optimisation of modal transport share, improving road safety and minimising congestion, managing the highway network on a daily basis and maintaining the highway infrastructure through planned and reactive maintenance programmes.



Update on Islamia Primary School.

(Brent Council) In April 2016  the Yusuf Islam Foundation (the Trust) informed the governors of Islamia Voluntary Aided 2FE Primary school and the Council that they do not see the development of the planned new build school on the Salusbury Road site as consistent with their ambition to develop the Trust’s independent secondary schools. The market rent which the Foundation was seeking from its Islamia Primary School as recompense for providing the additional land would have been unaffordable for Islamia Primary School and would have quickly led the school into financial difficulty.

·         The Trustees also informed  the board of governors and the Council that they remained committed to honouring an original agreement which allows for a 1FE maintained Voluntary Aided primary school to operate on its Salusbury Road site.

·         Governors sought advice from the Council on the timetable and process for a reduction to 1FE. They were advised that consultation will need to take place in the Autumn Term 2016 for a reduction to 1FE to take effect from September 2018. The Council has not received any confirmation from the school or the Trust that they intend to consult on a reduction to 1FE next term. The decision to reduce to 1FE would be made by the board of governors not the Council.

·         There has been no formal request for the Council to secure alternative premises for this voluntary aided school. There are currently no suitable sites available

·         Officers have informed the Trust that these actions give us cause for concern and that we will be seeking legal advice. We have done so and have also asked the Trust to provide the requisite legal documentation in relation to their oversight of Islamia Voluntary Aided Primary School. To date this has not been forthcoming. We will now be seeking to meet with the Chair of the Trust and the Chair of the Governing Body.  We will update members following these meetings.

·         The current use of Winkworth Hall by Islamia Primary School to accommodate 2FE will therefore need to continue beyond 2018.

Parking Changes in Brent

Changes to the way on-street parking permits in Controlled Parking Zones are managed in Brent have been agreed by Cabinet.

In April and May of this year, a major public consultation took place to seek the views of Brent residents on suggested reforms to on-street parking around the borough.

These changes will help manage the high demand for on-street parking, reduce traffic congestion and improve road safety, provide convenient and affordable parking for visitors and businesses, and enable more residents to park near their homes.

Having taken on board feedback from well over 3,000 residents, the proposals put to the council’s Cabinet included recommendations to freeze Pay & Display charges borough-wide, safeguard the popular Visitor Household permit to assist residents requiring care and support, and introduce a new daily permit for local businesses – allowing them to park anywhere in Brent whilst making deliveries or carrying out building work.

Plans to support school parking have also been agreed, aiming to assist local schools to recruit and retain key staff.

In order to give owners of diesel vehicles enough time to respond to recent revelations about increased pollution risk, Cabinet agreed to delay introduction of a pollution surcharge for diesel car permits until October 2018.

Other agreed changes include plans to simplify the resident parking permit scheme to provide a clearer incentive to switch to lower-emission vehicles, and to increase visitor charges for stays of longer than 2 hours, in order to contain the very high demand for parking spaces across the borough.

Councillor Eleanor Southwood, Cabinet Member for Environment, said:

“I’m really grateful to everyone who took part in this consultation, which is the first time we’ve looked at parking permit arrangements in a comprehensive way. Residents made it clear that they want to see the council better manage our limited parking spaces. Whilst I understand that increasing charges is never popular, I believe that these changes give us a real opportunity to tackle the huge demand for parking across the borough.”

“These changes also make clear our commitment to work closely with residents, businesses and schools to encourage more sustainable transport wherever possible, keep traffic moving and take steps to improve air quality and reduce our carbon footprint.

“We’re committed to making Brent a borough that is accessible for everyone and this includes ensuring that residents and their visitors can find a parking space when they need one.”

Remembering Jo Cox MP

We’re all still coming to terms with the tragic death of Jo Cox this week. I’ve been lucky enough to have met Jo and her husband and my thoughts are with him and their children at this awful time. I think Jonathan Freedland said it well when he wrote that “if you inject enough poison into the political bloodstream, eventually somebody will get sick”.

In my six years of experience as a local Councillor I’ve seen members from all parties work hard to represent and improve their communities. Yet I’ve also seen terrible abuse at public meetings or on social media. Increasingly you feel that ‘politics’ is a negative term and something to be avoided when in fact our democratic ‘political’ system allows us to freely debate and discuss the organisation of life in this country through legitimate elected representatives that we can replace.

Politicians may not always get it right and are as guilty as anyone to human fallibilities but to have them inaccessible and hidden due to security demands will be further tragedy. Meanwhile we should all look to continue Jo’s legacy and in particular her campaign for Britain to accept more unaccompanied child refugees

Event – Remembering Srebrenica – 10th July 2-4pm Brent Civic Centre

During the Balkans conflict of 1992-1995, the Bosnian town of Srebrenica was declared a UN Safe Area in 1993, under the watch of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR).

In July 1995, General Ratko Mladić and his Serbian paramilitary units overran and captured the town, despite its designation as an area “free from any armed attack or any other hostile act”.

In the days following Srebrenica’s fall, more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were systematically massacred and buried in mass graves. Thousands of women, children and elderly people were forcibly deported and a large number of women were raped. It was the greatest atrocity on European soil since the Second World War.

This July we will be marking this day, remembering what happened and ensuring that the lessons and rejection of hatred is something we take with us into the future.

Please join us at the Brent Civic Centre to hear from survivors of the Genocide.

Have Your Say on Parking in Brent

Residents, schools and businesses are all being encouraged to take part in a borough-wide consultation on proposed changes to how on-street parking is managed in Brent.

With significant pressure on demand for parking spaces across the borough, we are seeking the views of everyone in Brent on how the demand for parking spaces can be better managed. A consultation questionnaire was launched earlier today (13 April 2016) so you can have your say.

Cllr Eleanor Southwood, Brent Council’s Cabinet Member for the Environment, said:

“Parking is always a hot issue. We only have 33,000 car parking spaces for the 56,000 homes in controlled parking zones in the borough, which creates huge pressure. This wide-ranging consultation is a real opportunity to address the problem.”

“We’re committed to making Brent a borough that is accessible for everyone. Finding ways of better managing on-street parking will ensure that people who need a parking space can find one.

“Through this consultation, residents, businesses, schools and visitors alike can have their say on proposals for managing demand for spaces.

“We want to work with residents, businesses and schools to shape up a new approach that will encourage the use of more sustainable transport where possible, keep traffic moving and continue our efforts to improve air quality across the borough.

“Your views will be vital in helping Cabinet decide on the way forward. I’m keen to hear a wide range of opinions and would encourage anyone who would like to have their say to do so before the consultation closes in May.”

The consultation will end on 10 May 2016.

Uniting against hate

In March I travelled to Bosnia with the charity ‘Remembering Srebrenica’ in my role as Lead Member for ‘Stronger Communities’ in Brent. It was both a shocking and sobering visit. To learn about the horrors that happened in Srebrenica, just a two hour flight from London, is a powerful reminder of why we must reject those who practice the politics of division, intolerance and hate.

As someone who grew up in Brent, which has the most diverse population in Britain, it was particularly poignant. Here we celebrate our diversity and see it as a strength but one that we must continually fight to protect and preserve.

An estimated 8,000 people from the town of Srebrenica were killed in a 72-hour period back in 1995. The youngest victim was reportedly a two day old baby who was found with multiple gunshots to the head. After the Holocaust we said ‘never again’ but in Bosnia there were both concentration camps and mass slaughter on religious lines.

The visit was part of a delegation organised by the charity ‘Remembering Srebrenica’ of Councillors and practitioners from the police, academia and armed forces from across the country. Over three days we visited the graveyards of those who were killed and met with survivors and their families. Dr Waqar Azmi OBE, Chairman of ‘Remembering Srebrenica’ which has taken over 950 people out to visit the site over the past three years, explained that the purpose of the delegations were for people to see the “consequences of hatred and take ownership of that knowledge”. One survivor of the war told us how he’d witnessed “what man does to another man that an animal would never do to another member of its species”.

Community cohesion means a rejection of hate of any sort. We must not, we cannot sit quietly. A Bosnian photographer who chronicled the Genocide in Srebrenica urged members of the delegation to “take a bit of our pain and teach people about it’. On the visit, terrible story followed terrible story. People were killed for having Muslim names. A survivor who was tortured by his own former teacher wrote that ‘war unleashes a beast within all of us’. A former Bosnian soldier told me that “where logic ends, Bosnia begins”. One survivor we met was 17 years old when the massacre happened. He was captured and shot three times in the stomach and once in the arm. He managed to escape but such was its trauma that he only went public with his story twenty years after the event.

Across England and Wales, hate crime rose by 18 per cent from 2014-2015. In Brent, Islamophobic attacks increased eight-fold last December compared to the same month in 2014 following the terrorist atrocity in Paris last year. Thankfully these numbers are still very low and our Borough Police Commander, Chief Superintendent Michael Gallagher, is right to explain that “the rise in these offences is due to Muslims feeling empowered to come forward and communicate with police. The Muslim community is very well integrated here and the main thing is for people to be alert but not alarmed.”

However, we must all be alert to attempts to divide our communities and challenge those who do so. I look forward to working with Brent residents to mark ‘Remembering Srebrenica Day’ on July 10 this year in Brent Civic Centre. Last year we launched a pioneering ‘Stronger Communities’ strategy that set out a vision for tackling complex challenges such as hate crime, radicalisation and child sexual exploitation by working with communities and residents, alongside professionals within the statutory services, to develop a community-based approach. Later this year we look to host Louise Casey, who has been commissioned by the government to look into integration, in the Borough as part of a day long workshop looking at these issues. In Brent we love where we live and are determined to show the country the way in demonstrating our stronger communities.

Cllr James Denselow, Cabinet Member for Stronger Communities