Lets not forget, Urban Heat Island effect in London

As London experiences hotter and drier summers these are further impacted by the Urban Heat Island effect (UHI). The UHI can cause London to be up to 10’C warmer than neighbouring rural areas, particularly in Central London. This is a result of the sun’s rays being absorbed by hard surfaces rather than by the vegetation such as trees, plants and grass.


So it will be interesting to see to what extent present heatwave will acceded the one we had in the summer of 1976 is explained by not only climate change but also whether vegetation like trees, plants and grass coverage in the City has changed sufficiently via planning to help us shelter from the impact of the heat wave. If not, then we have to reappraise the planning system and whether it has acted to limit the impact of the Urban Heat Island in the past few decades with all the new developments it has approved.  


Heatwave of the summer 1976 to be surpassed soon….

Can anyone remember the heatwave of summer of 1976 in London ? – it was the hottest summer we had in living memory!
The extent to which its very likely to be over taken over the next few days, is illustrated well in the differences when comparing the maps below of hotspots in June 2022 and June 1976 though we still have July and August to run for a full comparison. And l don’t think l need to point out the probable explanation for the difference as well to you, as clearly the world is getting hotter. 
Global warming was only beginning to be acknowledged in academic circles in the late 1970s as the letter to  President Carter in the White House shows clearly suggesting the impact of human activity on the earth particularly from the industrialised world. 
Now almost 46 years on, we are still talking about taking measures at UN Conferences to stop the concentration of and total amount of CO2 emissions going further up in out atmosphere with all talk about limiting its impact to 1.5C arise around the world by 2050 sounding pretty hopeless when it could well already be between 2-3C in the near future.   As all the recent flash floods, flash fires around the world and temperatures of 50C plus in the Indian Subcontinent this year already illustrate very well are very likely now to be common events in the global weather calendar. Will this renew efforts on agreements and actions to limit climate change at COP 27 hosted in Sharm El-Sheikh by Egypt this coming November? 

“Big Table” building needs protecting

I was very sorry to see the Big Table business run by Kim and Steve for so long close in May 2022, after it had been saved by the local community a decade ago when Crossrail wanted to Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO).  So as to knock it all down for transformers to supply the energy on the tracks.  Furthermore, l had brought many mattresses from them over the years and my present bed frame was from their business on this unique premises! 

It also has a lot local history as it was originally built by Great Western Railway (GWR) as a coffee Tavern for its workforce. The 1901 coffee house near Westbourne Park tube station is the last remaining purpose-built Temperance Bar built by the Great Western Coffee Tavern Company.  The company ran seven such premises for use by railway workers as an alternative to the pub. 

So it was one of the first original coffee houses in London long before we had multinational coffee chains along all our high streets. And the basement of the tavern was originally known as Carlton Hall and was used as a venue for educational talks and meetings. So ideally it would be great to bring it back to its original use as a coffee house with a venue for meetings and community use as well. 


But in the meantime, we need to protect the building and the land immediately around it from any developer who may have other ideas of its use. In this respect the best way forward is either we get  the premises listed locally at least, so acknowledging its history and presence. Or registered it as a community asset at RBKC. It may of course be advisable to pursue both paths simultaneously. 

I am only sorry we did not proceed with listing it sooner particularly after the victory we had against the Crossrail CPO almost 10 years ago. Now the building has survived being demolished by Crossrail and the Westway being built over and under it,  so let us make sure the structure and history of the building survives its next use whatever that maybe.

Exodus from Central London?

So the initial figures released by ONS of total population in Greater London by borough via the 2021 Census during the COVID lockdown on-line, may well suggest that Central London is hollowing out. While people are are moving Eastwards as the infrastructure continues to improve in the East London corridor promoted by GLA strategically. Can this be true? 

The initial figures suggest that Central London boroughs like Camden, Westminster & Kensington & Chelsea populations have come down by 4.6%,6.9% and 9.6% respectively. While at the other end, the population of Londoners has increased by around 20% in Tower Hamlets and Barking & Dagenham incredibly over the past decade, stands to reason given the major works undertaken there since the recreation of the GLA. Putting these two things together, some have suggested on twitter that Londoners are moving out of Central London and heading East, but l for one don’t see any evidence of this at all. Rather its newer Londoners going to cheaper bits of London for housing. Like the Bangladeshis, a subject for separate blog once those figures are released. 

It’s more likely that that Census 2021 held in March of 2021, had been influenced more so by the COVID lockdown than is acknowledge yet. Whilst my part of Central London felt very full, it was apparent that those with second homes in the countryside had left for rather than stay in town.  So l would be keen to see the ward breakdowns of these figures, as the wealthy wards would have had a lot more residents with second homes and also the plush developments largely lying empty, as well. Such a bias should be quite easily identifiable. 

It is critically important, we get these figures right, as it could have major implications for future funding of the respective councils where the populations has evidently gone down! So let us establish the extent that people left London during COVID lockdown by ward breakdowns and even tally it against what records of people having second homes across the country from Central London. 

205 bus route changes does away with integrated transport

Incredibly the 205 proposed bus route changes along the Euston & Marylebone Rd does away with its links between four rail terminuses of KIng’s Cross, Euston, Marylebone, Paddington ( as well as numerous  connections between tube stations ) and thus any assistance for movement of passengers & their luggage between these rail stations. 




This appears to have been the least of the considerations made in these proposals, so you have to ask what happened to integrated transport links between rail and buses?

So l will encourage locals along the Marylebone & Euston Rd and transport organisations, to make their contribution to the TfL Bus Review consultation on the following link https://haveyoursay.tfl.gov.uk/busreview  and register their concerns on this route in particular. 

Stop bashing Bangladeshi’s voters


Recently on watching Sunday morning the BBC London Politics program (29th May 2022), there was a package on “family voting” that unduly concentrated on Tower Hamlets, that is Bangladeshi families. As for the Lord in the package, l am not sure who he is but l don’t remember him being elected to make comments like this at all.

The real question here is why focus on “family voting” in Tower Hamlets when Democracy Volunteers highlighted other cases in London Boroughs and across the UK in their Final Report on English Mayoral Elections 2022 stating it is “‘ family voting’ is a widespread activity across different parts of London and other parts of England as well ” So clearly not pointing the finger at Bangladeshi voters as the BBC had done so in presenting their package. 

This prompted a letter of complaint by myself the the BBC which got the following response below; 
This does to some extent acknowledge that the BBC have got the wrong end of the stick on this matter and what the Volunteers Democracy were saying in their report. 
So let us have a lot less bashing of British Bangladeshi voters on this issue by the main stream media. As such slurs don’t add up. 

“On the buses” or not for No 16!

The bus services in W9 have already been reduced if we remember that the No 414 has stopped going down the Edgware Rd from Marble Arch into W9 since last November and service levels on the No 16 reduced as well. The No 16 bus service also links the North of the City in Westminster with the South and of course Kilburn. So losing the 16 altogether is not on at all @TfL for W9ers at least. So l urge everyone to have your say on the Central London bus review  https://haveyoursay.tfl.gov.uk/busreview  being undertaken right now and suspiciously began the day before the extended bank holiday for the Queen’s platinum jubilee. And tell your stories about the No 16 and other bus routes you depend on. 


LFS response to July 2021 flood questions

After a pretty lousy scrutiny meeting on the floods last year by Westminster Council, where very little questions were asked of the London Fire Service, l decided to ask my own questions to them direct by writing to our local fire station for details of their flood calls on the 12th & 25th of July. As the reality is we are dependent on them when flooded with their pumping equipment to drain clean the floods immediately in our homes 


1.How many flooding incidents did you have to attend on the 12th of July in the City of Westminster (ideally broken down by post codes)? “Our data team have been able to provide some information related to the location of areas affected by flooding the flood incident type and the call data from the flooding incidents.  Please note the London Fire Brigade does not capture flooding data in the same way as we do for fire related incidents”. Please see attached graph above. 

 The data attached shows the following:

 12th – 13th July 2021

1,707 total calls to LFB where the word “flood” was used by Control within the free text description field. Of those calls, 869 individual incidents/attendances were recorded. Call records only, will not have an IMS (Incident Management System) incident type. The attached Excel sheet has three segments, one detailing all postcodes which had a flooding related 999 call, one sheet breaking down all IMS incident types and the third sheet is a list of all 999 calls by the time the call was made.

25th July 2021

1,312 total calls to LFB where the word “flood” was used by Control within the free text description field. Of those calls, 662 individual incidents were recorded. Call records only will not have an IMS incident type. The attached Excel sheet has three segments, one detailing all postcodes which had a flooding related 999 call, one sheet breaking down all IMS incident types and the third sheet is a list of all 999 calls by the time the call was made.” 

  1. Was there any difference this time from previous floodings particularly in Maida Vale in places like Shirland Rd? This particular area of London experienced Flash floods over a very short time period. No prior warning was given by any partner agency. Due to very high number of calls received, LFB declared a major incident. 
  2. The water receded quickly after 6 pm, for example the water was up to the window sills along Bristol Gardens and then dissipated in 10 minutes. What intervention was made by either the Fire Brigade or Thames Water? We believe that no actions undertaken by LFB would have had an impact to reduce the levels so quickly. The likelihood is that Thames Water could have potentially diverted sewer systems, hence the rapid dispersal in the time frame.
  3. Residents would like to know why the water subsidence was so incredibly fast. like a bath with    a plug hole despite it raining heavily still.  So it would be good to know timings in relation to        what action was taken for the “plughole” event. At the time of the Westminster Council Scrutiny        Committee on the 30th September 2021 the question was raised to LFB referencing the plug hole          scenario. It was discussed that there was video footage which would be sent across to LFB which        could help ascertain what might have been the cause of this. However, this was never sent through so  it is difficult to get a clear idea of what was occurring at the time.  It is possible that an attending          organisation could have lifted a works cover which would have assisted in the dispersal of surface        water
  4. Did the Fire Brigade lift only manholes? What was found in the way of obstructions in gulleys, manholes or drains? It is not standard practice for firefighters to lift work covers. Given the number of firefighters that attended on the day, we cannot confirm whether individual cases of this took place or not. As referred to in section 3, we understand that members of the public may have witnessed this and would welcome any more specific information to help look into this in greater detail.  

    6. At the Shirland Road Flip Kiosk just off the corner of Formosa St, was the amber light on at                  all? LFB do not have any factual data or information relating to this point.

    7. And was it a member of the Fire Brigade that made the decision to “unblock” something or not?          Or open a valve? Please see the response to question 4.

    8. More generally, we are looking for recommendations for the future. Do we need new systems to          notify London’s residents of general weather warnings, much earlier, particularly if specific local          areas are in danger? And finally, do you have any suggestions for better ways to protect                        ourselves?  What can we do in Westminster to prepare for the next event, and attempt to                      prevent  it? 

There is a range of information available on LFB’s website to provide support and advice to residents in relation to flooding. This can be accessed at the link below


This steers the public to flood warnings and advice on what to do in the event of flooding along with steps to help with preparation. There is also advice available on the Greater London Authority website:


The UK Government will shortly be launching an emergency messaging system, which is due to be available later this year: https://www.gov.uk/alerts.

Carnage of bus services in Central London cuts proposed

No 16 of the services proposed to be cut by TfL in response to the government cuts

We have already seen the impact of bus services been eliminated in W9 with the 414 not going beyond Marble Arch anymore since last November but the proposed reduction of 20 per cent of the bus service in Central London coming from TfL is more serious then we ever imagined, as TfL accepted “managed decline” of the services as outlined by the government. 

Of the 16 bus routes listed for the , we know how critical the No 16 is for going up and down the Edgware Rd and linking W9 with Kilburn and Victoria; the No 31 for linking W9 to Camden and Chelsea; and of course the No 24 bus for Pimlico.

So let us all get involved during the consultation that TfL are undertaking over the next six weeks, and show how residents of Westminster are going to be adversely affected by these proposed cuts to the form of public transport Londoners rely on more that the tube, the buses.  

The link to TfL Central London Bus Review is as follows https://haveyoursay.tfl.gov.uk/busreview

Great to see @Crossrail in Paddington but why did it take so long?

Now in my old school days in Paddington, l can vaguely remember the London Rail Study of 1974 suggesting the need for a rail link through Central London. When l came back to London and Paddington after college and my travels, the then Secretary of State for Transport Cecil Parkinson announced the government go-ahead for the East-West Crossrail in 1990.

Now that’s some 32 years after that announcement and 48 years after it was first conceptualised it has now become operational through Paddington. But why did it take such a long time to build this 100 km of new track at £19bn which is well over 3.5 years delayed and £4 bn over costs? In the meantime in other parts of the world, during the past decade of 2010-2020 in the Asian-Pacific Region over 44 new metro systems were opened. 

It’s quite clear that such delays cause substantial increases in costs. Our transport planning system clearly doesn’t function very well hence why major infrastructural proposals which get built come along once in a life time. So on this basis we won’t be seeing Crossrail 2 in my lifetime unless we see major changes in the planning and financing of mega new transport investment like a new metro system. 

Move over, financial and fiscal powers need to change to devolved government to be able to fund these programmes of investment