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Why must I travel outside Islington to have a park picnic without fumes?

01 June, 2018

Aftermath of a sunny weekend at Highbury Fields

• AFTER this year’s long winter, it is so disappointing not to be able to enjoy Highbury Fields on sunny days due to clouds of smoke and fumes from barbecues.

Despite repeated complaints from residents, citing dangers to people’s health and the environment, Islington Council has refused to revisit its 2011 decision to allow barbecuing in its parks.

At best, the council is silent. At worst, it repeats the statement that allowing barbecuing is “fair” because people who have no gardens can enjoy the parks.

The council seems to be blind to the fact that many residents, such as myself, live in flats without gardens or balconies and are now forced out of the very parks we support through our council taxes.

On sunny days, I have travelled out of my way to Clissold Park, where there are numerous people enjoying picnics of all kinds – without a barbecue in sight. Why is this not an option for Islington?

Islington has become an outlier within London. Hackney and Camden do not permit disposable barbecues (which, in addition to fumes and smoke, create waste that cannot be recycled and leave burned patches of grass) and limit barbecuing to specific sections of their parks.

Haringey provides information about the pollution caused by barbecues on its website. Other boroughs ban barbecuing altogether. What is the council’s justification for going against the grain to uphold a bad decision?

It’s ironic to see Labour expressing its disappointment over the government’s proposed clean-air strategy while at the same time Islington’s Labour Council seems determined to support local pollution at all costs.



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