Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.Donate to our crowdfunder
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for calling me to speak on this very important issue for residents of Putney, Roehampton and Southfields. As hon. Members have rightly pointed out, transport issues, social justice and climate action go hand in hand. My constituents know this only too well. I would like to outline some of the major transport issues they are facing, which are interlinked.
First, on Heathrow airport expansion, a third runway will stop us being able to reach our carbon emissions reduction target. It will be a disaster for my constituents in Putney and, as other hon. Members have said, across south-west London. Their quality of life and health will be blighted: some 260,000 extra flights a year deliberately routed over our green spaces, dumping carbon and particulates on important habitats such as Putney Heath as well as on residents; an increase in carbon dioxide emissions from air travel by 9 million tonnes a year; and 2.2 million people impacted by increases in aircraft noise.
For my constituents in Putney, those effects will be acutely felt. They will not have any daytime respite at all from aircraft noise on half of all days when planes are operating in a westerly direction. We will have planes flying overhead almost continually for approximately three days out of four. This will put an unbearable strain on the sleeping patterns and the health and wellbeing of my constituents. That is not to mention the inevitable increase in air pollution that a third runway and expansion will bring. Putney already suffers from some of the worst air toxicity levels in London. This is the last thing we need. In light of our legally binding climate change targets and the declaration of a climate emergency, I request that the Minister reviews the national policy statement and cancels the expansion plans.
Secondly, South Western Railway is causing endless misery for my constituents who rely on that service to commute and to get around. For two years, there have been frequent delays, cancellations and dangerously overcrowded services. I am glad the Transport Secretary has recognised the problem. I hope he will meet me soon to talk about next steps.
Delays on the District line have been terrible. The modernisation project must go on, but the upgrade has to be faster and we need a lift at East Putney station. The Alton estate in Roehampton is about to undergo a major regeneration, but that will work only if transport plans come in behind it. Otherwise, people will not be able to get to work and it will fail. Transport is not joining up with this regeneration, and I ask the Minister to look at the situation.
Finally, on air pollution, we need far more infrastructure for cycling. There just has not been enough in the whole of Wandsworth. I commend the work of Little Ninja and the Putney Society on this issue. Far more needs to be done.
In conclusion, my constituents will not accept any more half measures, half-hearted apologies or half-baked excuses on transport from either service providers or the Government.