I know that traffic congestion has continued to cause havoc for many people across the constituency this week. I understand how frustrating this is. My team and I have been working hard to raise concerns directly to Transport for London and Richmond Council to try and alleviate some of the disruption.
MANOR CIRCUS ROUNDABOUT
I witnessed the severe congestion at Manor Circus roundabout first-hand when I visited the site earlier this week. Following my visit, I reached out to Google Maps and Apple to request that they re-route drivers using navigation services away from residential streets. Both services agreed to implement these changes, which I hope will limit some of the impact on residents.
Yesterday, I held a meeting with councillors and TfL to discuss the congestion issues. TfL has decided to close off Sandycombe Road for vehicles travelling southbound between Raleigh Road and the A316 in order to reduce congestion. This change will come into place this evening. Due to the current works at Manor Circus, the clearance time between traffic signals has been extended to ensure that all the vehicles have exited the roundabout before traffic can enter from another point. By removing Sandycombe Road as an exit point, TfL believe that congestion will ease as cars can enter the roundabout more frequently.
I am aware of the high levels of pollution caused by idling cars on residential roads, such as Windham, Raleigh and Gainsborough. As a result, residents have understandably felt trapped in their houses and I was very concerned about the impact of pollution on Windham Nursery School. I have also been concerned about access for emergency service vehicles due to the stand-still traffic.
It has also been decided that works will finish on 22nd December and resume in early January to allow for a Christmas moratorium. TfL has stated that the roundabout will be back in use by the start of January, which will allow the flow of traffic to significantly improve.
TfL gave assurances during our meeting that they are working to limit the disruption caused to residents and are keeping decisions taken regarding Manor Circus under constant review.
ROADWORKS IN NORTH KINGSTON
I am also aware that Kingston residents are experiencing major traffic delays due to multiple roadworks taking place simultaneously.
I have been in contact with SGN Gas who have been working on Clifton Road since May - they apologise for the traffic delays and state that the works will be finished by Friday 6th October.
I have also reached out to Thames Water regarding the repairs near Derwent Avenue. These works have now been completed and the road has been reinstated. During these repairs, Thames Water discovered a further potential issue on the pipe near the Robin Hood roundabout. I understand that this has been causing a severe amount of traffic in the area. Thames Water have stated that this pipe is now fixed, and the road works will be cleared by Sunday night.
COFFEE MORNING IN EAST SHEEN
On Thursday morning, I hosted a coffee morning at the Sheen Lane Centre for residents of East Sheen. We discussed several local issues such as the Stag Brewery development and its potential impact on traffic flows, the closure of Hammersmith Bridge and traffic congestion resulting from the Manor Circus roundabout works.
Attendees also expressed disdain at the Prime Minister's decision to water down crucial green commitments, which includes delaying the ban on sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles and scrapping insulation targets for private rentals. I share my constituents' anger at this announcement, which is not only damaging for our climate but also for business. Instead of rowing back on policy commitments, the UK should be leading the way to embrace green technologies. As Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Business and Treasury, I regularly speak with businesses who stand ready with the skills, capital and innovation needed to decarbonise energy, industry and transport, but they are lacking leadership from the Government.
I took a number of actions for attendees away from the coffee morning and I am grateful to everyone who came for sharing their thoughts and questions.
PARLIAMENTARY RECEPTION - WOMAN, LIFE, FREEDOM MOVEMENT IN IRAN
I was pleased to host a breakfast reception in Parliament this week to mark the one year anniversary of the tragic death of Masha Jina Amini at the hands of the Iranian 'morality police’. The event was also an opportunity to reflect on the 'Woman, Life, Freedom' movement which erupted in the wake of Mahsa's death, and to honour the brave people of Iran.
We heard moving speeches from Alicia Kearns MP, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee; Javaid Rehman, UN Special Rapporteur of Human Rights in Iran; Sasha Deshmukh, CEO of Amnesty UK; and former Iranian detainee Anoosheh Ashoori.
The event was well-attended by MPs from all political parties which emphasised the unity within Parliament to stand up for the people of Iran in their fight for freedom. In particular, we are calling on the Government to proscribe the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organisation. The IRGC has used intimidation, forced disappearances, torture, and executions to spread terror across Iran. The group has also made direct threats towards British citizens and supplied weapons to violent regimes across the world.
I have a large Iranian community in my constituency and therefore I am very pleased that I could show my support and solidarity by hosting this event. I am committed to representing the concerns of my Iranian constituents in Parliament and will continue to press the Government to take further action.
BUSINESS LDN CONFERENCE
On Wednesday, I was invited to speak in a panel discussion at a conference hosted by business advocacy group Business LDN. The topic of the discussion was 'What will the next Government do for London?'. We covered a range of different policy areas, including housing, transport, climate and business. I expressed that I believe ULEZ has been a huge missed opportunity to revolutionise public transport across London and expand the network so that everyone has the option of leaving their car at home.
All panellists agreed that political stability at the heart of central government is a necessary condition for developing successful policy to address the big challenges that face our city.
KINGSTON PARENT-CARER FORUM
I was very pleased to attend a Steering Committee meeting of the Kingston Parent-Carer Forum on Wednesday. The session was a fantastic opportunity to hear feedback from parents on their experiences interacting with support services for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) in Kingston.
I was particularly struck to hear that there is currently a period of uncertainty post-diagnosis, during which parents are left without sufficient guidance on how best to support their children and where to seek advice. I will continue to listen to the concerns of the Parent-Carer forum and make representations on behalf of my constituents to see what can be done to address this issue.