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Agenda item

Questions from Members of the Public


Question (a) from Rebekah Kelly to Cllr Champion, Executive Member for Environment, Air Quality and Transport:


The DfT has recently announced that they would no longer fund Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, and the Mayor of London has admitted that some of the schemes are not perfect and should be tweaked or removed. Will Islington Council scale back their plans to create traffic filtering schemes on 70% of Islington’s roads? And how will it be funded going forward?



Thank you for your question, Rebekah.


Our Council is determined to create a cleaner, greener, healthier borough, where we help tackle the climate emergency and support local people to take up active methods of travel.


Since the people-friendly streets programme started in June 2020 it has contributed to the council’s plans to transform the borough and our ambitions in multiple areas, including road danger reduction, cleaner air, and climate change; all objectives set out in our policies in the Islington Transport Strategy and Islington’s Vision 2030 (Net Zero Carbon) Strategy.


The Council has listened to local people’s concerns throughout, making changes where necessary, such as a new ‘Home LTN’ Blue Badge exemption policy trial in its low traffic neighbourhoods.


As this is an important priority for the Council, most of these schemes, and any future schemes, will be funded from council and external grant funding where available. Thank you again for your question.


Supplementary Question:

Which ones need removing or tweaking, what is the success criteria, has every trial become permanent? There needs to be a call for data to be audited.


There had been one issue with the interim report for Highbury and we apologise for that. Any areas that needed tweaking have been tweaked.


Question (b) from Richard Rieser to Cllr Khondoker, Executive Member for Equalities, Culture and Inclusion:


In light of the recent survey of accessibility of pavements I carried out in Mildmay, can the Council inform us what they are doing to ensure the multiple barriers identified, especially for disabled people, are being addressed across the borough?



Thank you for your question, Richard. We want to make Islington a more equal place and that includes ensuring that all local people can walk around the borough safely. Improving our streets for all residents, particularly those who experience restrictions on their mobility, is a key objective for the council as part of our people-friendly pavements programme. This programme will include dropped kerbs, tactile paving and decluttering, to make the borough’s pavements more accessible and inclusive for all.


We acknowledge the issues raised in your survey of pavement accessibility in Mildmay. Following our engagement on draft proposals for Mildmay Liveable Neighbourhood earlier this year, we are currently in the process of finalising designs for consultation on the scheme later this year. We are taking the recommendations into account as part of that process, so that we can identify locations to make accessibility improvements in Mildmay as part of the scheme.


Thank you once again for your important question Richard.


Supplementary Question:

Have the concerns raised during several consultations, where the needs of many individuals were seemingly overlooked in favour of bike riders, been addressed? Specifically, have measures been taken to address issues such as uncontrolled shrubbery, tree roots, and steep gradients on pathways, which pose challenges for pedestrians and individuals with impairments? Is the removal of these barriers being prioritized to ensure a more inclusive and accessible environment for all?



Thank you for raising all those points and we will take these into account as we develop the people friendly pavements.


Question (c) from Jonathan Ward to Cllr Ward, Executive Member for Finance, Planning and Performance:


In June 2019 the council declared a Climate Emergency. In November 2020 it published a Net Zero vision for 2030. Among other aims the plan was to phase out gas boilers in new-build homes. However, 4 years on, we can see the Climate Emergency not being taken seriously. The council is inexplicably building new homes on the Andover Estate that are heated with fossil fuel gas boilers. Why will these new homes be heated by fossil fuels and when do they plan to retrofit them with low carbon heat pumps?



Our Labour-run council is focused on tackling the housing and climate crises.

The council is committed to tackling the climate emergency and has been phasing out the installation of gas-fuelled heating systems in its new homes, in accordance with the aims set out in our Vision 2030 strategy published in November 2020. Our project at Vorley Road in Archway is an example of the design standards to which our new homes will be built – continuing our track record of delivering high-quality, energy efficient homes with lower energy bills and less impact on the environment. Air source heat pumps will provide the heating and hot water, delivering lower operational carbon emissions in our borough and greater comfort to the occupants.


The new homes under construction on the Andover Estate, which will deliver 36 much needed new council homes for local people, were designed earlier, with planning permission secured in 2017 and construction underway in 2021. The development includes conversion of disused garages into new homes improving thermal performance for the whole building as well as improvements to greenspace on the estate for everyone to use.


The Council continues to invest in all of our homes to reduce carbon emissions and residents heating bills. Recent success includes two waves of Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund adding insulation and other solutions to properties bellow band C EPC rating bringing in £3.5 million grant for a wider £8 million investment scheme. The Council has also successfully bid for £700,000 Green Heat Networks Funding to install a low carbon heating system in Bevin Court. This shows that we are committed to tackling the climate emergency while also providing genuinely affordable homes in Islington.


Supplementary Question:

Your answer is incomplete, what is the date for the retrofit of the new council houses to take away the gas boilers? In July 2020 there was an application for the Andover estate to reset the energy strategy. There are a multitude of reasons as to why these gas boilers should be removed. Aside from failing to address the climate emergency, these boilers will also cause increased bills to residents, how much financial support will the council give to the residents with these boilers?



I am not prepared to delay the completion of council homes desperately needed by families in Islington to carry out this work. We are committed to ensure we have energy efficient homes across Islington with new builds and existing stock. I am glad you are showing enthusiasm and interest but please talk with your colleagues, as opposition councillors voted against the budget in February, including a retrofit programme a new council build programme, as well as £1Million fund to those struggling with bills.


Question (d) from Rose-Marie McDonald to Cllr Ward, Executive Member for Finance, Planning and Performance:

Peabody is now including a second staircase in two of the tower blocks that will be constructed on the Holloway Prison site, in response to new fire safety requirements following the Grenfell Tower fire. What information do you have about the impact this will have on the social homes? How will this affect the size of the flats? Will the new flats still meet the needs of the 15,438 households on the waiting list, especially the needs of overcrowded families?



The Holloway Prison Site development will deliver hundreds of much-needed new genuinely affordable and social homes in the heart of our borough. We are pleased that Peabody has listened to the fire safety concerns, that I have personally raised with them, and the concerns of the local community and are now amending their proposals.


Two of these buildings are proposed in Phase 1 of the development and both buildings include social rented units, while a further building in Phase 3 would provide homes for shared ownership.


At present, the council’s planning officers have not had sight of the amended proposals. We expect to see the amended plans over the Summer.

Peabody has told us that they are hopeful that amendments to the plans will be limited to reductions in bedspaces rather than leading to the loss of whole homes or even bedrooms.


The current scheme will deliver 60 per cent genuinely affordable housing including 415 desperately needed homes for social rent.  We will do everything in our powers to ensure that Peabody holds good to this commitment in any amended scheme. 


Supplementary Question:

Islington Council had to take Peabody to court before to deliver social housing, will they deliver this time? Let’s make sure we deliver the best homes Islington ever had.



I am committed to make sure we get these answers, and I will make sure Peabody meet with everyone they need to and provide the answers we seek.


Question (e) from Tomas Fernandez Alfonso to Cllr Ward, Executive Member for Finance, Planning and Performance:

We now know there will be changes to the Holloway plans to include a second staircase in two of the blocks. It's key that the community has the opportunity to fully scrutinise the new plans for the social housing and for the women's space - how will LBI/Peabody make sure this happens? What will the scope of the new planning application be? What aspects will and will not be considered. When will the consultation period open and when will it close?



I am pleased that Peabody has acted on my concerns and those of the local community.


As I have said in response to the previous question, we are waiting for Peabody to submit amended plans and expect these to be submitted over the Summer.  We have not yet had sight of the amended plans.

The amendment of the proposals to include a second staircase in three buildings will require a planning application to be submitted. Once received, the planning application and all submission documents including the amended plans, will be available to view on the council’s planning webpages.  Public consultation will take place in line with the council’s procedures for consulting on planning applications and the relevant statutory procedures.  


Until such time as an application is received, we cannot say when public consultation will commence and close.


Supplementary Question:

The consultation process needs to be structured in a way that allows real views to be heard that have not been considered before. We as residents want to work with the Council to hold organisations such as Peabody to account.



I cannot say yet when the consultation will be, but I and other councillors will fight alongside you to hold Peabody to account.


Question (f) from Aya Husni Bey to Cllr Champion, Executive Member for Environment, Air Quality and Transport:


In Islington Council’s biodiversity action plan 2020 – 2025 you commit to: “Continually review use of pesticides and herbicides in public realm and housing and look to reduce where possible. Carry out trials for alternative chemical free weed removal options.” In light of Lambeth Council going pesticide free what are the barriers to doing similar in Islington?



Protecting Islington’s biodiversity is a top priority for our council. We have removed the use of herbicides in our parks and gardens with the extreme exception where invasive weeds are prevalent. There is no use of herbicides on tree bases or parklets and we have reduced its use on housing land. This is in conjunction with the council’s biodiversity plan, agreed in 2020.

As part of that plan, we are also aiming to increase Islington’s biodiversity by introducing more green space, new parklets and planters across the borough. Our Islington Greener Together programme, working with the community to introduce and look after new green spaces, is a key part of this.


Supplementary Question:

How are you addressing those barriers to phasing out pesticide use to protect biodiversity in our borough?


We will keep looking at alternative methods and reviewing other options to maintain the right balance.





Question (g) from Ben Pearson to Cllr Champion, Executive Member for Environment, Air Quality and Transport:


We know that walking and cycling, powered e-bicycles and public transport are specifically defined as sustainable transport modes by Islington Council, but electric motorcycles and mopeds currently are not. Electric motorcycles and mopeds don't contribute to congestion. Their air quality impacts from brake and tyre wear, and climate change impacts from manufacture and energy use, are similar to that of e-bicycles, lower than large e-cargo cycles, and far less than any public transport mode. Given these facts, it seems clear that electric motorcycles and mopeds would fit any definition of sustainable transport. On what criteria has the Council excluded electric motorcycles and mopeds from their list of sustainable modes, and what evidence do they have to support this?



Islington’s Labour-run Council is determined to create a cleaner, greener, heathier borough, supporting more people to take up active forms of travel and help tackle the climate emergency.


The council’s approach is to support and promote the use of walking, cycling and wheeling because of the multiple benefits these deliver.


The council encourages the use of regulated electric bikes including the electric bike hire schemes operating in the borough, however the larger electric motorcycles and mopeds are different to these as contribute more to poor air quality, create noise pollution and take up more road space when parked.  


We recognise that electric motorcycles are more environmentally friendly than fossil fuel-powered vehicles and as a result, offer a lower parking permit price for owners of electric motorcycles and mopeds. However, we do believe it is right to charge something for these parking permits.


Supplementary Question:

I was asking about the criteria that underpins the councils’ decisions that mopeds are not sustainable travel. The council is imposing baseless and irrational costs such as charging the same parking as an electric car for a 2-wheel vehicle. Does the council consider the lack of evidence for these charges an issue therefore will they be scrapping these charges?



Whether something is or isn’t sustainable doesn’t determine the charges and how these are treated by the council.




Question (h) from Rachel to Cllr Champion, Executive Member for Environment, Air Quality and Transport:


We are disappointed by the introduction, without prior consultation, of new parking charges for motorcycles in solo motorcycle bays where no charges had previously existed. Proper consultation is a vital part of Council decision making, in order to afford those affected fair opportunity to engage with the process, and to avoid unforeseen errors. For this reason, it is important that Councils make adequate efforts to advertise and reach out to groups likely to be affected. Does the Council regret not contacting motorcyclists or representative groups before the decision on charging was made, or advertising the proposal in such a way that responses from motorcyclists could have been considered prior to the decision?



As I mentioned in my previous answer, Islington’s Labour-run Council is determined to create a cleaner, greener, heathier borough, supporting more people to take up active forms of travel and help tackle the climate emergency.


The council’s approach is to support and promote the use of walking, cycling and wheeling because of the multiple benefits these deliver, and our parking permit policy is based on this.


As part of the statutory consultation process for a legal Traffic Management Order, a notice was published in the Islington Gazette and Tribune advising of the proposed £1 per day charge for Motorcycles in the dedicated motorcycle bays, the notice also advised that there was the standard 21 days for any objections to be submitted.


The decision to charge motorcycles £1 per day (reduced by 50% for Electric Motorbikes) was taken in response to the net zero carbon ambitions of the authority, Islington is very committed to providing a cleaner and healthier environment for our residents and promoting more sustainable and active modes of travel i.e., cycling and walking. We also offer Motorcycle annual, quarterly and monthly permits for these bays which would equate to 17p per day to park.


Supplementary Question:

There needs to be a suitable consultation on the new charges, councillors were refusing to meet with us which was disappointing. Does the lack of consultation mean these charges are baseless?


We have met and responded to many emails and have come to a fair and reasonable scheme.





Question (i) from Phil Edwards and Steve Jones to Cllr Turan, Executive Member for Health and Social Care:


Are councillors fully aware of reasons that Lambeth council removed GLL as managers of their sport and leisure facilities across their borough? What are councillors’ views on GLL’s management of Sobell ice rink, given the restricted opening hours compared to other rinks, and their lack of marketing?



GLL’s leisure contract with Lambeth had a natural expiry date of April 2023, having been in place for 16 years, it was extended twice for an additional 6 years. After that, Lambeth opted to bring the services in-house at that time, which reflected the direction of travel the Council had taken with other previously outsourced services and that their contract with GLL was not providing best value. Alternatively, Islington Council’s contract with GLL is one of the best in the country and brings in important revenue for the Council.

The ice rink at the Sobell was fully available for bookings, however, there hadn’t been a demand for many daytime bookings. The ice was marketed to the community alongside all other Sobell activities and included in marketing materials. As part of the consultation, we have reviewed the operations of other rinks by specialist ice providers, those learnings and findings will be factored into the decision-making process over the future of the Sobell and whether there are different ways to operate the rink that might address the significant financial issues that have been set out regarding the future of the rink.


Supplementary Question:

Any good rink runs from 5am to 1-2am for the ice to be sustainable. The Sobell rink was not used like that. GLL Stratham was the same and the council had to invest thousands to put these wrongs right. Sport is good for the community and provides direction especially for young girls, please can you not let this investment go to waste?



Thank you, we have had a consultation and have had responses, we are looking at these and it will take time. The government has cut 70% of the council’s budget and we have to fund services. We are trying our best to protect all sports in the borough, but this is hard with such a limited budget.


The Mayor advised that the time for questions had expired. The remaining questions received written responses, as follows:


Question (j) from Mahdis Farsi to Cllr Turan, Executive Member for Health and Social Care:


In 2021 GLL received £50M of support from the UK Government and local councils, following £64M of support received in 2020. As of 31 Dec 2021, GLL had increased its accumulated cash balance to £33.4M. Despite this tremendous financial assistance, GLL does not appear to have managed these funds appropriately and have instead run the Sobell ice rink into the ground by not promoting or maintaining it, restricting the opening hours (even after the lifting of all covid restrictions but more importantly prior to the pandemic also) and simply not increasing the entrance fees. How comfortable are Islington councillors with the way GLL ran the ice rink given the Council's financial support to GLL over the last 3 years?


Written Response:

As part of its Covid support, the Council agreed with GLL to defer the rent for an agreed period. The Council met regularly with GLL’s senior directors to understand their overall financial position as an organisation as well as the impact on the contract with Islington. The Council is satisfied that GLL have managed their finances effectively through an incredibly challenging period where overnight most of GLL’s income stopped because of the pandemic. GLL has recovered effectively but still faces huge challenges with the cost of gas and electricity increasing two and a half fold. GLL are a charitable social enterprise and do not make profits. All surplus generated is applied solely to a general reserve for the continuation and development of the society.

We do not accept that GLL has sought to run the ice rink into the ground. The flood was an unexpected event that has given us the opportunity to re-evaluate and re-think what the best offer for the Sobell is, given the challenges that we face.


Thank you for your question and I hope our response clarifies the position.


Question (k) from Ola Sendecker to Cllr Turan, Executive Member for Health and Social Care:


The annual carbon footprint of the rink was 125 tonnes, approximately the same as one return flight from London to Rome. This puts into perspective the real emitters of carbon, and carbon emissions are not a basis for the closure of this community sport infrastructure, which could be made more energy efficient. Given the rink could be run on renewable electricity, does the council consider the removal of a local community sport facility to be a fair decarbonisation strategy, particularly in the context of the continued proliferation of short haul flights?


Written Response:

You are correct that there are lots of other sources of carbon in society. Short haul flights as the example used is not something that Council has any control over, but this is. It is acknowledged that any new ice rink would have more energy efficient kit and that was considered as part of the key decision report. However, there remains the issue of financial sustainability as the principle driver of the increased costs of running the rink has been the increased cost of energy that remains high.


Question (l) from Pietro Barbagallo to Cllr Turan, Executive Member for Health and Social Care:


Fifty years ago, Sir Michael Sobell made a donation to establish a sports centre, including the ice rink, for the common good, social-purpose and wellbeing of the Islington community. We would like to ask the council what they think Sir Michael Sobell would want for the future of the sports centre.

Written Response:

The Council recognises the tremendous legacy of Sir Michael Sobell in enabling the establishment of the Sobell Sports and Leisure centre. Sir Michael’s legacy was to establish a community leisure and recreational facility and sports centre, without specific reference to an ice rink.  A lot has changed in 50 years both in the sports and leisure industry and the financial position of local authorities. As a Council we are determined to protect that legacy and ensure that the centre provides a wide range of activities and services to support all Islington’s residents to be active. That means providing different ways for people to be active outside of traditional sports but also ensuring a sustainable financial future for the centre to ensure it is supporting the health and wellbeing of Islington’s communities for the next 50 years as well.


Question (m) from Madeleine Beasley to Cllr Turan, Executive Member for Health and Social Care:

Meetings have taken place between the council and other experienced and lucrative Ice Rink operators who have shown interest in running Sobell Ice rink the same way they currently and successfully run other Ice Rinks in the UK. They are confident that Sobell can operate viably. What are the outcomes of these meetings and when will the results be made public?


Written Response:

The Council has met with two external, commercial operators and the Sobell Ice Skating Club and those discussions have given all parties a better understanding of some of the issues. It also visited an ice rink of similar size to gather more information about its programming, maintenance, and operations. The information and insight that officers have gained from these meetings were used to help inform the recommendations in the key decision report as part of the considerations for the future of the Sobell Leisure Centre. The Council has now made the decision to not re-instate the ice rink and proceed with the proposals for a new Active Zone and to work to develop a new programme of community sports and activities that are inclusive for all. The Council has published its comprehensive key decision report and supporting documents [here] which we invite you to review.


Question (n) from Charlie Nevile to Cllr Khondoker, Executive Member for Equalities, Culture and Inclusion:


The council’s EQIA report states that 74% of Sobell ice rink users are female, 60% are non-white, and 68% are younger than 30. This is far greater than the equivalent proportions within the general Islington population, so removing the rink would disproportionately affect young women and ethnic minorities. How does the council justify this social discrimination of removing the rink, and what evidence is there that teenage girls would prefer the proposed soft play facility?


Written Response:

Thank you, Charlie, for your important question. To clarify those figures, refer only to the learn to skate programme and not the wider casual skating which due to the nature of the bookings does not provide the demographic profile. We acknowledge that ice skating does have a higher use by female users.


The proposals are not a soft play facility, that is an element, significantly improving the previous soft play offer at the Sobell but a comprehensive Activity Zone, providing lots of opportunities to be active with trampolines, “ninja-warrior” style facilities, interactive sports pitches, and inflatables. This offer is more gender neutral, but the significantly greater capacity and engagement would lead to many more females and girls being active. We are still reviewing the outcome of the consultation, and no final decision has been made yet.


Thank you for your question and I hope our response clarifies the position.


Question (o) from Lucy Facer to Cllr Champion, Executive Member for Environment, Air Quality and Transport:


Upper Street is a main A road designed to carry higher volumes of traffic in and out of the city. It has red routes, limited parking and is mainly commercial. Liverpool Road is a B road and classified by the Department of Transport as a minor road. In addition, it has a cycle lane and residential parking. It has 2600 residents living on or immediately adjacent to it, with a high proportion of vulnerable people who are more likely to suffer chronic illness due to high levels of air pollution: half are living in social housing, 17.6% are disabled, 1 in 5 are under 19 and 10% are 65 or over. There is also a large secondary school with a sports field directly facing the road. Residents have long been highlighting the high level of traffic volumes and the number of unhappy residents was noticeable at the Barnsbury and Laycock liveable neighbourhood zoom call. However, no action has been taken to address the traffic issues and residents continue to suffer from high levels of air pollution and dangerous junctions. Pedestrians, cyclists and drivers report feeling that the road space is dangerous and in particular junctions where all three meets. Although it is a wide road there are lots of users contending for space making it a hostile environment but most of all for pedestrians. The proposed Liveable Neighbourhood for Barnsbury and Laycock must address the issues of traffic on the road, greening and small interventions such as banning lorries are welcome but will only reduce traffic by 370 vehicles and will not address the issues. With traffic levels on Liverpool Road North higher than the adjacent section of Upper Street and only 33% of residents owning cars, we ask the council's Liveable Neighbourhood proposals are robust and take bold action. Will the designs re-prioritise road users, filter traffic, invest in vulnerable residents, pedestrians and active travel?


Written Response:

Thank you for your question, Lucy. Our current programme of LTNs, school streets and cycleways aims to do this, with our future programme of Liveable Neighbourhoods aiming to extend this. The council is aware that there are existing traffic and safety concerns on Liverpool Road and across the Barnsbury and Laycock area, and we are taking this very seriously.


This is why the council has prioritised its work on the Barnsbury and Laycock Liveable Neighbourhood. A key part of this work, which is currently underway, is an assessment of how we should tackle those traffic and safety concerns. This will make a significant contribution towards our aim of ensuring that Islington is a cleaner, greener, and more welcoming borough.


The second phase of engagement on the emerging Barnsbury and Laycock Liveable Neighbourhood including Liverpool Road is planned for the autumn of this year. At that point there will be further discussion of the council’s plans for the area, and we look forward to sharing a range of draft proposals and seeking input and comments from all residents, business and stakeholders.

Thank you for posing your question and I hope that my response clarifies the position.


Question (p) from Eve Norridge to Cllr Champion, Executive Member for Environment, Air Quality and Transport:

Given that other London Councils, for example Lambeth, have demonstrated that weeds in public spaces can be managed without the use of environmentally harmful pesticides such as glyphosate, why is Islington Council still spraying glyphosate in our streets, will the Council commit to ending this harmful practice and, if so by what date?


Written Response:

Biodiversity is one of our top priorities. That’s why we have a really ambitious programme to increase trees, planting and parklets in our streets and this includes working with local people through Islington Greener Together and Trees for Streets.  And we are looking at how we link areas to form wildlife corridors.


But as is always the case in Islington where space is so constrained, we have to do what we can to get the balance correct.  In this case making sure our streets are clean of trip hazards and we maintain our pavements to make sure that they are accessible for people walking, wheeling and using other mobility aids is important too.  An officer has visited Lambeth, we remain of the view that currently the balance remains in favour of using a herbicide alongside other measures.


We are, however, continually reviewing what we can do to reduce our use. And it is the case that some of electric machines which are becoming available may assist us to go further.


Saying that, we have taken significant steps so far.

We do not use herbicides in our parks and greenspaces, except to tackle invasive weeds such as Japanese Knotweed.


We have reduced our use on housing estates, only using on hardstanding such the paved areas, where if left weeds can cause damage or present trip hazards and attract detritus. Caretakers do try to keep weeds down but that is very time consuming, and they have many demands on their time. To try to overcome that we are looking into the option of push along deweeder to see if that can assist.  We use bicarbonate of soda and hoses on moss growth.

We have taken steps to reduce the amount used on the streets. We do not use herbicide on tree pits or parklets our street cleaners have hoes and brushes; we are trialling the use of mechanical brushes which may be effective in some areas and where residents wish to weed their own streets we will support them to do so.  We are also looking at ways of increasing our support for community weeding.


However, there remains a need for weed removal and having looked at all options, we are very firmly of the view that the only sustainable alternative to herbicide is manual weeding, which is very time consuming, labour intensive and expensive. Budgets are under extreme pressure.

Where we do use herbicide, we use a system which is targeted in that it uses lasers to locate the plants which greatly reduces the amount used and the area impacted. Thank you very much for your work in this area.


Question (q) from Caroline Royds to Cllr Champion, Executive Member for Environment, Air Quality and Transport:


The NLWA has agreed to investigate the scope for Mixed Waste Sorting at its Edmonton site to maximise the recovery of recyclable materials before incineration. Could the Scrutiny Committee ask it report on progress, including any proposed actions?


Written Response:

Thank you, Caroline for your question. Our Council is determined to help tackle the climate emergency and increase recycling in the borough. Islington Labour’s manifesto last year committed to reaching 40% recycling by 2030 and we are taking action to achieve that.


We are continuing to work with the North London Waste Authority to increase recycling in Islington and they will be a key part of us achieving our goals. The NLWA is currently undertaking waste service modelling work, which includes different collection scenarios.  We will provide updates and progress reports as they come available, and work with the NLWA to implement changes where we can. I will also pass your question onto the Chair of the Environment Scrutiny Committee for their thoughts.

Thank you for posing your question and I hope that my response clarifies the position.


Question (r) from Anne Bentham to Cllr Turan, Executive Member for Health and Social Care:

Regarding the closure of Sobell ice rink, given the internal emails showing that the outcome of the consultation has been pre-determined, when will the council be reopening a legitimate consultation?


Written Response:

The council is grateful for all the feedback it received during the consultation, which closed on the 7 July. We’ve worked hard to ensure that as many people as possible, from a broad range of backgrounds, took part in the consultation. This resulted in 1,003 people contributing to the consultation, and we would like to thank the community for really engaging with this process.

The out-of-context email exchange that has been released relates to full and frank discussions about how local people and Sobell users could have the greatest say in the options available, while recognising the huge challenges associated with reinstating the ice rink.  Following these discussions – which took place before the consultation began – the council decided to have a fuller consultation, which included the option of retaining the ice rink, so that it could better understand people’s views before taking a final decision. 


The consultation has helped us better understand what local people would like to see from their leisure centre and will help us to start to shape the programme of sports and activities. Our consultation and extensive engagement with the local community has highlighted how well-loved a facility the Sobell ice rink has been. While 54% of the people that responded to the consultation said they would not be impacted by the ice rink not being reinstated, 36% said they would be impacted – and we listened carefully to their feedback which will be built into the design of the new offer to mitigate some of these impacts. We’ve also explored a range of possible ways to reinstate the ice rink but unfortunately the Council did not consider any of these viable. For these reasons, we’ve taken the very difficult decision to not reinstate the ice rink.


Question (s) from Tamara Cizeika to Cllr Champion, Executive Member for Environment, Air Quality and Transport:


Islington has a canopy cover of 25% - significantly higher than the England average of 16% - but residents want us to go even further with more trees on our streets. They want trees planted more quickly and many would like to plant trees themselves, in empty tree pits. What is the Council doing to support residents with this please? And what can we tell residents who want to do it themselves?


Written Response:

Thank you for your question, Tamara. Islington Council is doing all it can to tackle the ongoing climate emergency, by planting new trees, and introducing school streets for example. The Islington Labour manifesto last year pledged to ensure a net gain of 600 trees in Islington each year, and we are progressing towards this goal.


Residents can be more directly involved in our tree planting programme. We have a partnership with Trees for Streets to provide a tree sponsorship scheme for the borough.


Residents can go online and say where they would like to sponsor a tree, and during hot weather we often ask Islington residents to assist with watering freshly planted trees.


Tree planting in the Highway needs to be done by qualified contractors. Not all empty tree pits can be replanted because of a range of factors and every planting location needs to be properly assessed first.


Thank you for posing your question and I hope that my response clarifies the position.


Question (t) from Colin Keatley to Cllr Turan, Executive Member for Health and Social Care:


Many types of accommodation are unsuitable for people with long term needs. What opportunities are there for supporting people who do not want to live in residential, supported living or other formal care environments?


Written Response:


We always support people to live in accommodation that is right for them.  In addition to residential homes and supported living, there is a service called Shared Lives where people can live independently as possible in a family home environment.  It is a brilliant service that supports residents aged 16 and over to develop skills and meaningful friendships and relationships, living within their local communities.

Shared Lives carers are recruited from those communities. They are people who want to make a difference and give something back to their local area. Carers are paid for their time and supported by our team of co-ordinators. They all receive and can join a community of carers across Islington. The Islington service is seen pioneering as it provides opportunities for young people from the age of 16.  While most of the people they support have Learning Disabilities, the Shared Lives team are also working in partnership with colleagues in Camden & Islington Mental Health Trust to extend the offer to people in recovery from mental ill-health.


Question (u) from Buffy Sharpe to Cllr Bell-Bradford, Executive Member for Inclusive Economy and Jobs:


We know that there is a booming life sciences industry in London, with many hubs in the Islington area. While this is great for our borough and brings much needed well-paid jobs, how will the Council make sure that the jobs and wealth this brings benefits all parts of the Islington community, including the most disadvantaged?


Written Response:


Thank you, Buffy, for your question. We know Islington is home to world leading, growing industries. However, despite having these developments on the doorstep, the benefits of the knowledge economy are not shared with everyone – often disconnected from our local, diverse communities. Only 1 in 9 of the senior leaders in tech come from a Black, Asian or minority ethnic background, yet these residents make up over 40% of the population in London. In the Life Sciences sector, Black/African/Caribbean/Black British individuals occupy less than 1% of roles within the sector and just 9% of professionals are from a working-class background.


We are now working with central London boroughs to develop an inclusive programme for the Life Sciences sector. We have already secured nearly £1.5m to help local social impact businesses develop their services and products, so that they can benefit from this boom. We are also designing an apprenticeship programme so that new businesses coming to the borough can easily access our talented communities.


We have added a range of life science opportunities to our innovative ‘World of Work’ programme and are working with stakeholders to design clear career pathways for our young people into the sector. Through our planning process, we are negotiating a series of local benefits packages from the various Life Science developments – ranging from affordable workspace, skills programmes, guaranteed interview schemes, new jobs, and community innovation facilities. So far, over 1,200 people have participated in skills programmes, outreach events and world of work experiences; helped 60 people go into good jobs; and supported 13 people to start their own business. In this, 75% of participants from BAME backgrounds and over 60% of participants were female.


Through these types of progressive programmes, we will make sure to will open this exciting sector to our local people and local businesses.

Thank you for your question and I hope our response clarifies the position.


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