Residents near the Waldo Road Recycling Centre are suffering from increased traffic congestion, air pollution and the smell of rotting rubbish. From our residents' survey of over 200 local residents, 85% said that traffic congestion was a major concern and 74% said the smell was an issue. And things are going in the wrong direction - 78% said the traffic had got worse in the last two years and the number of complaints about the smell to the Environment Agency is 6 times higher than in any of the previous 4 years. The bottomline is that the site is not being well managed and local residents are paying the price.
Traffic has increased in the area. The resulting congestion makes life difficult for people travelling in the area. But the congestion is also having a serious impact on air quality as vehicles sit in queues. More than 40 residents volunteered to have an air quality monitor installed, and we chose three sites close to the centre. These monitors have been installed and you can see live readings here - www.freshairbromley.org.uk. Over the short period of time the monitors have been active we've already seen some high readings with PM2.5 levels regularly exceeding World Health Organisation guidelines.
PM2.5 is the smaller particulate matter that can cause long term damage to health as it's so small it can by-pass our bodies' protection and enter our lungs and bloodstream. We will need readings over a longer period of time to get the data we need but initial readings indicate that residents’ concerns regarding air quality are well founded.
Bromley Liberal Democrats have spoken to residents, installed air quality monitors, consulted with experts and asked questions of various authorities.
There are some immediate steps that can be taken to alleviate some of the problems experienced, but in the long term the Lib Dems believe that if the council can't fix the problems at the site then the site must be moved to a more suitable location. There is no reason for the site to be in such a densely populated area, and it's time to look for an alternate site or sites that better service the residents of the entire borough. This issue is a key part of our local campaigning.
We have an action plan that includes steps that can be taken immediately.
We call on Veolia to:
- Start monitoring air quality and to share the live data with residents so we can see that the situation is improving and - crucially - that it continues to improve (we don't want any temporary fixes)
- Take regular measurements of the noxious gases emitted from the site and share this information with residents so we can continuously monitor and measure the impact of steps to improve the smell
- Restrict the hours that heavy vehicles can use the site - specifically avoiding early mornings
We want Bromley Council to urgently take steps to reduce the amount of traffic congestion on Homesdale Road, to improve air quality and make the road safer for all road users. We call on them to:
- Install enforcement cameras on the yellow box junction immediately (this has been recommended by the council’s traffic engineer but is not due to happen until January 2022).
- Urgently consider other traffic calming measures including a 20 mph speed limit to immediately relieve the traffic congestion near to the centre
- Until the congestion is relieved to a satisfactory level and until there is a significant improvement in air quality the council must reintroduce a booking system for users of the centre
Within the next 12 months we call on Bromley Council to:
- set up more micro recycling centres across the borough and to better communicate what can be recycled where across the borough - to reduce the number of visits by residents and make it easier for residents across the borough to recycle
- waive the fee for collecting bulky items from households (which will also help with the problem of increased fly-tipping)
- look at the possibility of moving the household waste management to a different site (household waste doesn't need to be processed on the same site as a recycling centre).
The time for dithering from Bromley Council is over, it's time to take action and fix this problem for residents.