This week (10-16 May) is Mental Health Awareness Week and the theme outlined by the Mental Health Foundation for 2021 is ‘nature'. During the height of lockdown in 2020 Jon Cruddas MP contacted the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care urging the government to put in place a comprehensive and strategic plan for mental health support.

Millions of people are now facing financial insecurity as a by-product of the pandemic and many will have been adversely affected by prolonged spells of social isolation.

A Greater London Authority report published in May 2020 highlights that more than half of all deaths within London attributable to emissions from waste incineration facilities occur within just nine boroughs. The research clearly shows Barking and Dagenham and Havering as having the highest concentration of particulates and other harmful emissions as a direct result of incineration.

Rainham Village has suffered repeated flooding in recent months. Many residents in Brookway, South Hall Drive, Stirling Close and nearby roads had flood water enter their homes causing damage to property and long lasting disruption and distress to families.

At the end of December it was announced that the store Tesco Rainham Extra will be one of the first Tesco stores to have Electric Vehicle (EV) charge points installed. This means customers will be able to get full charge, for most vehicles, in around one hour.

During first installations the focus was on mainly 7KW (fast) chargers, which are free for customers. Tesco are now focusing on delivering a number of 50KW (rapid) chargers which are available for customers at a small cost, in line with market rates.

In November 2020 plans were approved by Barking and Dagenham Council to develop the land between the A12 and Padnall Road, providing 219 much needed new homes. The plans were met with opposition from a number of local residents who primarily raised concerns about the impact on the environment and biodiversity in the Padnall Lake area.

In 2019 London City Airport undertook an extensive 16-week public consultation on their draft master plan which proposed airport expansion and a change to operating hours. The plans raised a number of concerns which ranged from increased noise pollution in flight path areas to issues of air quality. Jon Cruddas MP was contacted by many constituents during the consultation period and met with London City Airport to discuss their concerns.

Thursday 8 October is Clean Air Day 2020, and this week Barking and Dagenham put out their Air Quality Action Plan for public consultation. The Plan aims to introduce a number of innovative measures to reduce emissions across the borough, improving the health of all residents. The consultation is now open and closes on Monday 30 November.

Have your say here: https://oneboroughvoice.lbbd.gov.uk/air-quality-action-plan

On Wednesday 1 July Barking and Dagenham Council launched its first ‘Wild & Free in LBBD' photography competition which runs for two months (July and August). Taking inspiration from The Wildlife Trusts ‘30 Days Wild' and the National Trust '50 things to do before you're 11¾' the competition aims at encouraging greater engagement between young people and the natural world.

Jon Cruddas MP writes a monthly opinion piece for the Romford Recorder. This month (June 2020) Jon has shared his thoughts on the campaign against the Belvedere waste incinerator, air quality, human health and the climate emergency. The column is due to be published on Friday 12 June, but in light of World Environment Day 2020 Jon has agreed with the RR to share today (June 5). See below.

*STARTS*

Over Easter the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy took the decision to approve development of a second mass waste incinerator at Belvedere. Jon Cruddas MP who launched a campaign against the proposals back in 2018, making official representations and raising a petition of over 2000 local signatories has said: "we knew going into this fight that waste incineration has more than doubled under the Tories, it was always going to be an uphill struggle."

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