Open letter to Barnet Council, London urging them to declare a climate emergency

Subject: Open letter to Barnet Council, London urging them to declare a climate emergency
From: Dr Joseph Piper, paediatric doctor
Date: 30 Aug 2019

Over 60 of my colleagues at Barnet Hospital signed a petition in support of Cllr Schneiderman's proposal that, in line with over 220 other councils (of all political parties), Barnet Council should declare a climate emergency. As health professionals we deal with conditions that are exacerbated by poor air quality.on a daily basis. We are therefore very disappointed that the Council declined to support the motion (Barnet Times Aug 8).

Air quality data shows that a significant number of the schools in the borough are afflicted by poor air quality. This diesel particulate pollution is now known to shorten life expectancy and be an important factor in a third of all child asthma cases. We are disappointed that the environmental actions of Barnet Council - such as planting trees and installing electric car charging points –were used to justify rejecting this proposal. These measures do not even begin to address the immediacy of the problem. That our councillors cannot set aside their party differences to such important matters affecting the health of residents, especially the very young and the old, is beneath contempt. Hence we are signing this open letter as health professionals for the council to urgently reconsider: The health of everyone is at stake, as stated in the Lancet 2018 Countdown on Health and Climate Change:

The 2018 report of the Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: shaping the health of nations for centuries to come