East London pupils ask drivers to make the Parkwise Pledge

Students from Becontree Heath schools are asking parents to switch off their engines if they have to drop off their children by car as part of a campaign to make the local environment cleaner and safer.

The schools and students are encouraging parents to make a ‘Parkwise Pledge’ to turn off idling engines, to be considerate about where and how they park, and also to make one trip on foot or by bike each week.

Alice Carroll, Deputy Head, at Grafton School, explains: “It would be fantastic if all of our pupils and staff could walk or cycle to school, but we know for some it is necessary to come by car. For these families, we are asking them to make the Parkwise Pledge. We hope it will create a safer, more pleasant environment for our pupils, their families, neighbouring residents, and all other road users.”

In addition to learning about the Parkwise Pledge, pupils at nearby Robert Clack Lower School participated in a street design workshop. This involved learning about different design models, observing collection time at their school and discussing possible ways forward. They also took part in the consultation on proposed changes to Tenterden Road, which many pupils felt is crowded and unsafe.

Year 8 student Emile Zubkute said: “It’s nice to see people working hard to make the school a safe place to be and an enjoyable environment.”

And, Angel Omoregie said: “The workshop was interesting because we could go out and speak to students coming out of school and ask them about their experience of traffic in the local area. The workshop was good because it explained everything and how the area will be improved.”

Victoria Spashett, Be First Project Manager for Becontree Heath Low Emission Neighbourhood, said: “Around 150 balloon’s worth of polluting gases are churned out a minute by idling engines. So, our message to drivers is simple – cut out the smoke – it makes us choke!”

During the morning peak, one in four cars on the road are on the school run and a YouGov poll in 2018 found that more than two-fifths of UK children in urban areas are concerned about air pollution near their school.

The Parkwise Pledge and walking and cycling promotion is part of the Greening the Fiddlers, Becontree Heath Low Emission Neighbourhood.

Work starts on truly affordable, energy secure homes

Building work has started on 63 new homes in one of the most affordable developments in London.

Councillor Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, who was at the site in Oxlow Lane in Dagenham, said: “It’s great to see work get underway on these new homes for local people.

“The rents will be among the lowest in London and with the new heating system, which will keep down energy costs, these homes will be among the most affordable in the capital.”

Rents for the new homes will start from around £160 a week for a one bedroom flat at today’s prices and they will be heated by an air source heat pump – meaning they will be gas free.

Cllr Rodwell said: “Due to a volatile political climate, gas prices are rising so it’s even more important now our homes are energy secure.”

The 63 homes will consist of 19 one bedroom, 29 two bedroom and 15 three bedroom flats. The development will be 100 percent affordable with 35 per cent on London Affordable Rent.

Jake Robson, Development Manager at Be First, said: “We are happy to start work on another development which will provide great, green and affordable homes for local people.”

John Moore, Mulalley Managing Director New Build said: “Mulalley is proud to be working on the Oxlow Lane project for Be First, delivering much needed high quality, sustainable affordable housing to meet local needs.”

Building work is currently scheduled to be finished by December 2023.