Advertiser letters: Volunteers needed and clean air

Red Cross volunteers helped victims in the Grenfell Tower fire emergency. Picture: PA IMAGES

Red Cross volunteers helped victims in the Grenfell Tower fire emergency. Picture: PA IMAGES - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Letters, contributions and comments sent in to the Advertiser this week.

Help needed in an emergency

Simon Lewis, head of Crisis Response, British Red Cross, writes:

The British Red Cross responds to an emergency every four hours in the UK - from fires, extreme weather and flooding, to national emergencies including acts of terror. However, it’s not just emergency services and the government that can help.

According to a new report published by the British Red Cross and Aviva, the large majority of people (88 per cent) in London say that if an emergency happened in their community they would want to get involved, yet more than half (52pc) of people would not know what to do if a disaster struck.

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In partnership with Aviva, we are calling on people across London to sign up to a new scheme called community reserve volunteers, to help create a national network of 10,000 people ready to help.

Last year we faced an unprecedented number of major emergencies including in London and Manchester. These incidents brought tragedy to so many people, but we also saw remarkable acts of kindness, as people and businesses rallied to help.

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Everyone has a role to play when disaster strikes, even the smallest act of kindness can make a huge difference.

So please sign up today at

Give access to the Clean air Fund

Unmesh Desai AM, City & East London, writes:

After dither and delay, I was pleased to finally see the government publish its Clean Air Strategy this week.

It is absolutely unacceptable that local people in Tower Hamlets continue to be exposed to toxic levels of air. According to the latest data, air pollution causes over 9,000 premature deaths every year, so it is clear that a government intervention has been long overdue. However, the government’s plans to clean up our air still do not go far enough, failing to address the main source of illegal emissions in London: cars and lorries.

The Mayor of London has led the way on this issue, introducing robust measures to tackle vehicle pollution such as the T-Charge, cleaner buses on the worst polluted routes and from 2019 a bigger and more ambitious Ultra Low Emission Zone.

It’s good the government are finally following the mayor’s lead, but they must take more urgent and comprehensive action before more lives are unnecessarily cut short.

They should start by taking stringent measures to get the most polluting vehicles off our roads – and allow London access to the Clean Air Fund.

After all. Londoners pay for it so why can’t they have some of it?

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