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Air is getting better in Putney

Provisional data from both of Wandsworth Council’s pollution monitoring stations on Putney High Street suggest a major fall in pollution episodes as years of sustained investment in the heavily polluting bus fleet takes effect.

Between February and June this year the EU’s hourly nitrogen dioxide (NO2) objective was exceeded 6 times at the kerbside pollution monitor, compared to 742 times during the same six month period in 2016 and 640 times in 2015.

The council’s other high street monitoring station, which is mounted to a building façade further from the traffic, recorded zero hourly pollution episodes since the start of February. This compares to 200 last year and 135 in 2015.

Back in 2012 there were 1,213 pollution episodes during this six month period – so this year’s provisional figure would represent a 99 per cent fall.

Councillors stress that the data is provisional at this stage and that there is still more work to be done before residents are breathing consistently clean and healthy air. There were pollution episodes in January so the street has already breached the annual legal limit, which is set at 18.

The levels of fine particles (PM10) on the high street have remained within EU limits since testing began in 2009.

The fall in pollution coincides with the introduction of cleaner buses along the street which have been put into service since the council’s unique 2012 research project exposed the bus fleet as responsible for over 80 per cent of nitrogen dioxide build ups.

At peak times more than 100 buses per hour use this relatively narrow road, causing diesel fumes to quickly build up.

Soon after the publication of its 2012 pollution source study the former Mayor of London put Putney to the front of the queue for clean bus investment.

The new Mayor has continued to upgrade Putney High Street’s bus fleet, rebranding it as a ‘low emission bus zone’ in March of this year, but concerns have been raised about older polluting diesel buses being swapped onto other local routes, rather than being upgraded or replaced with cleaner models.

The council has also made improvements to Putney High Street’s layout and traffic signals to ease queuing, and a ban on delivery vehicles stopping to unload has been introduced to reduce congestion further.

Deputy council leader Jonathan Cook said:

“These provisional results are encouraging but our goal is to meet the EU pollution limit and we’re not there yet. It looks like our campaign to ban polluting buses from Putney High Street has had a major impact and our ban on daytime deliveries could also be a significant factor is cutting the congestion which contributes to pollution build ups.

“However we can’t accept older polluting buses simply being switched to other routes and we want assurances from the Mayor that he has stopped this divisive policy. Trading one community’s health for another’s is wrong and we want to be sure that polluting buses are being taken off our streets altogether.”

Wandsworth Council argues that removing diesel buses from London’s streets should be the top priority for the Mayor of London’s air quality strategy.

The council is now pushing for the removal of high emission buses from other pollution hotspots within the borough, including Clapham Junction and Tooting where buses represent a high proportion of the traffic flow.

How Wandsworth proved buses were the main pollution source

In 2009 Wandsworth Council installed its first air quality monitoring station on Putney High Street to develop an evidence base around the high street’s suspected pollution issue.

In 2011 the council installed a combination of automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras and video traffic counts on the street. The data collected was cross referenced with air quality readings to determine the exhaust emissions from each vehicle type for each hour of the day.

This unique study identified London buses as a major contributor to emissions of nitrogen dioxide.

In 2012 Wandsworth published this unique evidence base and worked with the Putney Society to lobby the Mayor and TfL for new investment in buses running down Putney High Street.

In October 2012 the Mayor and TfL started to upgrade the Putney fleet.

In July 2014 a report by King’s College London confirmed pollution levels dropped as a result of the investment in green bus technology.

Following further interventions by the council and Mayor of London, King’s College London confirmed pollution level have dropped by more than anywhere else in London.

In 2017 the current Mayor agreed to make Wandsworth a low emission bus zone.

This weekend is Ride London 2017

Published: 28/07/2017    Last Updated: 28/07/2017 14:57:39   

The whole route for the Prudential RideLondon events throughout the weekend of 29-30 July 2017 is unticketed, so everyone will be able to watch for free.
While the Mayor and his agencies are the custodians of Prudential RideLondon, the event is managed by the London & Surrey Cycling Partnership (LSCP), a partnership between London Marathon Events Limited (owners and operators of the London Marathon since 1981) and SweetSpot Group Limited (operators of the Tour of Britain).
Prudential RideLondon provides a fantastic platform to help fulfil The Mayor and TfL’s goal of encouraging more people to cycle more safely, more often. TfL anticipates tens of thousands of spectators and participants every year will take up regular cycling after each event. This will be achieved by creating massive engagement with participants, spectators and media alike.
There is no other closed-road event like it that combines the fun and accessible element of a free family ride in central London with the excitement of watching the world’s best professional cyclists race in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic and Prudential RideLondon Classique.

Wimbledon 2017

Published: 03/07/2017    Last Updated: 04/07/2017 12:56:40   

Wimbledon Tennis season is here.
Qualifying 2017: Monday 26 June - Thursday 29 June
The Championships 2017: Monday 3 July – Sunday 16 July
The Championships 2018: Monday 2 July – Sunday 15 July
The Championships, Wimbledon, commonly known simply as Wimbledon, is the oldest tennis tournament in the world, and is widely considered the most prestigious. It has been held at the All England Club in Wimbledon, London, since 1877 and is played on outdoor grass courts.
Britain's Andy Murray began the defence of his Wimbledon title with a straight-set win over Kazakhstan's Alexander Bublik on Centre Court as the opening game.
He won 6-1 6-4 6-2, despite a hip injury which disrupted his build-up.
Murray, the world number one, hit 29 winners and maintained his form either side of a rain break in the third set to win in one hour and 44 minutes.
The 30-year-old will face Germany's Dustin Brown - the man who beat Rafael Nadal in 2015 - in round two.

Happy Easter from the team at Chartwell Residential

Published: 13/04/2017    Last Updated: 13/04/2017 16:25:33   

Here's a lovely recipe from the Avenue Cookery School:
Hot Cross Buns

These Easter hot cross buns are fantastic crowd-pleasers for your Easter Dinner Party!


100ml milk, plus 2tsp for the cross
25g butter
250g strong bread flour
1 tsp. salt
40g caster sugar
1 sachet yeast
2 eggs, beaten and one for egg wash
30g sultana
25g mixed peel
½ orange, zest
½ braeburn apple, peeled finely cubed
1tsp ground cinnamon
30g plain flour, plus extra for dusting


In a saucepan heat the butter and milk until the butter is melted.  Let the mixture come down to body temperature and add the yeast and stir. Put the flour, salt and sugar into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in the warm milk and butter mixture with one egg, the sultanas, mixed peel, orange zest, apple and cinnamon, then bring everything together until you have a sticky dough. Tip onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Leave to rise in a warm place for 1hr or until doubled in size.

Divide the dough into 5 even pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth ball on a lightly floured work surface. Arrange the buns on a lined baking tray leaving enough space for the dough to expand. Cover with a tea towel, then set aside to prove for 1 hr .

Heat oven to 190C .

Beat the other egg,(egg wash!) and brush over the risen buns. Mix the 30g of flour with approximately  2tbsp of milk to make the paste for the cross .Spoon into a piping bag with a small nozzle. Pipe a line along each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create a cross. Bake for 15-20mins until golden brown.

Inspired? Check out our recipe book here.
Or learn to cook at our many cookery classes!


Low council tax and protected pubs - what more do you want?

Published: 31/03/2017    Last Updated: 31/03/2017 09:48:08   

Another south London council follows Wandsworth’s lead on historic pub protection

Last August Wandsworth became the first local authority to announce it was using planning laws to safeguard 120 of its most valuable and popular pubs – making it harder for developers to turn them into homes, offices or supermarkets.

It became the first council in England to publish ‘Article 4 Directions’ on such a scale meaning 120 valued local pubs could no longer be used for homes or another type of business without first obtaining planning permission.

The Selkirk in Tooting is included in the list of pubs to be protected
Without this change pubs could be turned into shops and other uses without planning consent under normal permitted development rights.

Now Southwark Council has adopted the same policy – further protecting and safeguarding the future of south London’s historic pubs and bars.

Strategic planning spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “Southwark should be applauded for making this move. We hope other London councils will follow suit and join us and Southwark in adopting new rules that help safeguard London’s pub trade.

“In recent years too many local neighbourhood pubs,  including many that were viable and thriving businesses, were quietly converted into shops or supermarkets because councils were powerless to stop them.

“Big retailers were able to take advantage of ‘permitted development rights’ which meant changes could be made without needing planning permission.

“The rapid growth of mini-supermarkets exacerbated the problem, with the major chains competing all over the country to find new outlets and often choosing to convert pubs rather than taking over retail units.

“Our breakthrough, now adopted by Southwark, was to take full advantage of recent changes in planning regulations to make sure 120 of our best loved pubs were covered by these Article 4 rules. New owners will need to ask the town hall for permission before being allowed to use the building for a different purpose.”

The 120 bars and pubs were chosen for their historic or architectural value and/or because they make a positive contribution to their community.

They include The Alma, The Ship and The Cat’s Back in Wandsworth, The Bricklayers Arms, The Arab Boy and The Railway in Putney, The Plough, The Falcon and The Beehive in Battersea, The Selkirk, The Trafalgar Arms and The Wheatsheaf in Tooting plus The Bedford, The Regent and The Prince of Wales in Balham.

A map showing the locations of all 120 pubs is available on the council’s website .

Some pubs that are currently closed have also been given protection, including the White Lion in Putney High Street and The Brewery Tap in Wandsworth High Street. It’s hoped this will give an added incentive to the owners to bring them back into use.

The Article 4 Directions were first published on 12 August 2016 and will come into force in August 2017.