Category Archives: news

Air Pollution Map

As London experiences another bout of High Air Pollution, it is worth pointing out that Particulate Matter and NO2 pollution varies greatly depending on traffic volumes.

In November 2014, ICAG partnered with Healthy Air, an initiative by Client Earth, the organisation who has won a ruling at the European Court against the British Government for failing to implement policies to lower illegal levels of air pollution.

Our goal was to measure NO2 pollution in South Islington.

Here are the results and our Executive Summary:

ICAG - Air Pollution results table
ICAG - Air Pollution results map

Executive summary

  • The Islington Cyclists Action Group and Healthy Air have partnered in an initiative to measure air quality in South Islington.
  • The area chosen has been earmarked by the Council to improve conditions for people who wish to travel by bicycle.
  • The Council has received £2,000,000 from Transport for London to provide safe cycling infrastructure on three important routes in the area:
    • An East-West route from Mount Pleasant to De Beauvoir Town, named Quietway 38
    • An East-West route along Old Street and Clerkenwell Road, which represents the busiest cycling route in the Central London Cycling Grid
    • A short North-South stretch, which requires amelioration of a crossing of the arterial City Road
  • The Council aims to spend the money installing safe infrastructure without any alterations to motor traffic flows
  • ICAG maintains that filtering motoring traffic at key places is a very inexpensive way to reach two important goals:
    • Increase the level of actual and perceived safety of cycling
    • Improve air quality to the benefit of all users of the relevant roads: people on foot, on bikes, on buses and people working in shops and offices facing these roads
  • Islington Council has published its Air Quality Strategy 2014-17  which shows (page 20) that
    • Old Street breaches safe levels of NO2 by 70%
    • There has been no improvement in the past three years
  • Islington Council has a duty to implement measures as soon as possible, to bring air quality to safe levels.
  • ICAG’s opinion is that some of the best cycling routes (determined by desire lines) are marred by rat running by motor traffic. This has detrimental effects not just on the safety of people on bikes but especially on the health and safety of everyone who lives or walks on these streets.
  • ICAG has therefore taken samples on a number of roads, to contrast the air quality on rat runs  with truly calm residential streets. The results have confirmed ICAG’s concerns: namely:
    • Clerkenwell Road and Old Street, the main East West corridor, used by thousands of daily commuters on bike registers pollution levels which are 50% higher than the EU safe levels (40ug/m3 of nitrogen dioxide). The European Court of Justice has ruled in November 2014, that the UK Government has to take measure as soon as possible to bring air pollution below the annual limit
    • The residential rat-runs, some of which have been designated as Cycling Quietways, also experience pollution above the legal limits
    • Only areas which have been filtered to prevent through traffic have safe air quality
  • In other words, in April 2013, the Mayor has presented a Cycling Vision, with the admirable aim of making cycling appealing to all Londoners. However, many of the routes chosen (following established desire lines) for the Central London Cycling Grid experience unhealthy levels of air pollution.
  • It is therefore critical, morally unavoidable and mandated by law that Transport for London and Islington Council take appropriate motor traffic reduction measures to ensure that Londoners can engage in active travel without impairment to their health.

Cycle Safari held on Sunday 26 April

Start of the Safari Ride 2015
Start of the Safari Ride 2015

Many thanks to everyone who attended, and all those that helped organise and marshal, our Cycle Safari on 26th April.

It showed how relaxed, enjoyable, and sociable cycling can be. Many people, including young children, want to cycle more, but don’t always feel it is safe to. So along the ride we showed best practice examples of ways of improving streets for cycling in the area, and all were bewildered that the council aren’t currently proposing what works. There was a huge amount of support for our more ambitious proposals for Transport for London funded cycle routes.





Anyone aged 8 to 80 can join us for on a slow ride discovering the best and more “unloved spots” for cycling in Islington.

Transport for London is giving millions of pounds to Islington Council to improve cycling in the borough, We’ve seen the designs for the first routes and they’re not really good enough; not safe enough, particularly for families.

The Cycle Safari is a fun way to remind Islington Council to do more and be more ambitious with what they can achieve with the money.

Also, dressing up is recommended!

The ride will begin from Freightliners Farm, in Sheringham Road, Holloway, at 10am on Sunday April 26, with various stops along the route ending back at the farm for food, free bike maintenance from Dr Bike and live music from Pedal Folk.

The route:



We look forward to seeing you there.

Don’t forget to invite your friends and family on facebook 

Stay tuned for updates on the campaigns we’ll be discussing.

Any questions, tweet @islingtoncycle or email alison.dines(at)

For more info about the farm, click here


Take action: Please tell TFL to maximise measures in Mildmay

KHWG Village
Coming soon to Mildmay? With your help King Henry’s Walk really could be like this. A big thanks to Vinita Dhume from Levitt Bernstein for providing this image.

The issue:

Transport for London latest “Cycle Superhighway” is planned to run along quiet back streets in parallel to the west of Kingsland High St between the City and Tottenham.

The proposals touch the edge of Islington, crossing Balls Pond Rd, up Kingsbury Rd, along St. Jude St and up Boleyn Rd before turning into Wordsworth Rd.


The small problem is, they are not quiet enough: Boleyn Rd and Crossway (becoming King Henry’s Walk) carry huge numbers of cars and lorries making them very unpleasant to cycle on.  And to be fair to Cycling Commissioner, Andrew Gilligan,  he recognizes there is scope to improve this stretch.

So what’s the solution?

To get space for cycling, we need to separate people on bikes from through motor traffic. We need to filter the busy streets to get the rat running vehicles away from residential streets and onto main roads, such as Balls Pond Rd and the A10.


Please write to  and tell them that their plans aren’t nearly safe enough. They need to reduce rat running on Boleyn Road, Mildmay Road, St Jude St, and King Henry’s Walk by installing trees or bollards. They also need to create a fully pedestrianised plaza on King Henry’s Walk. We would also really encourage TfL to enhance the public realm with more bike parking, seating, and urban greening to maximise the benefits of this cycling scheme for all Mildmay residents, not just long distance commuters.

(see featured picture by local design firm Levitt Bernstein of what it could look like).

If you would like to respond to the full consultation, please click here.

Filter map.Milldmay
4 bollards or trees planted in the road at the green stars is all it takes. There would need to be some flexibility to ensure buses can easily get through Boleyn Rd, and local buses elsewhere. Local traffic could access every building, but not drive through.

These 4 simple things will make Mildmay a calm, safe haven for walking and cycling.

Purple: Through traffic Blue: Bus route Green: Safe routes for walking and cycling
Purple: Through traffic
Blue: Bus route
Green: Safe routes for walking and cycling

What is more, at a stroke, Islington Council and TfL could dramatically reduce pollution in this area and bring it down to safe levels.

Mildmay Pollution
A current map of pollution. The excessive rat running along Crossway and King Henry’s Walk creates an obvious red/yellow diagonal line. Green is “legal”. Where it is yellow or red, Islington council have a legal obligation to take action..

The scheme was presented to the local community at a Mildmay Ward Partnership meeting last week. The overwhelming view of the room was incredibly positive. The only comments were that there needed to be even more seating all around Mildmay and how important secure bike parking is. We totally agree!

A slightly more detailed presentation can be viewed here.

We would love to hear your thoughts, either to address concerns or get ideas for further improvements we should be asking for in Islington. Please email tom(at)




Before and after. Which would you prefer?

KHWG Village






Avoid Highbury Corner!

Cyclist using the cycle lane
Cyclist using the cycle lane

We are concerned about the safety of cyclists and pedestrians using the Highbury and Islington roundabout during the present road works; TfL have asked us to contact cyclists using this roundabout.  Our advice is to avoid the area if you can; we remain concerned that the diversion on the roundabout puts cyclists in a hazardous position as they pass motor traffic entering from Holloway Road.  We would like to see the former protected area for turning into Highbury Place  reinstated and improved.

TfL suggest ‘Southbound’ cyclists should use the Caledonian Road diversion and they say those seeking to exit the roundabout use Highbury Place should use the diversion along Corsica Street.   You are very welcome to leave comments at the bottom of this page.  As the photograph illustrates, passing the entrance from Holloway Road can be hazardous.

Night shot
Night shot

We are in discussion with TfL to try to improve the layout for walkers and cyclists.
The road works are expected to last till about August 2015 while the Post Office (which is now closed) is demolished. The layout will then revert to the previous one. Sometime later the rail bridge will be replaced. We’ll keep you up-to-date with the plans as we find out about them. This is a link to the TfL site giving the current details.

Contraflow pedestrian!
Contraflow pedestrian!

It is startling to see the risks that some pedestrians are taking at this roundabout.  Where did she come from?  Where is she going?

Meanwhile here are some clips from Cycleoptic (copyright Steve Nattrass), taken 2 February on a sunny afternoon – not rush hour, showing that the roundabout is not for the faint hearted cyclist. The one taken at night was shot on Wednesday 26 February 2015, when it was a ‘Match night’ – Arsenal playing at home.

Angel Canal Festival 2014

This was the 26th Canal Festival;  we’re sure we’ve been at the last 16! We won’t be able to attend the Gillespie Park Festival; it didn’t happen this year as the volunteer organisers were overcome by red tape and didn’t feel equal to the task.  The Cally Festival was on the same day as the Canal Festival and we couldn’t do both!

Alison makes Jono laugh; we're showing off our new banners.
Alison makes Jono laugh; we’re showing off our new banners.

We are at last “on brand” with the new banners showing our new logo which harmonises with all the other LCC local groups.  We were also handing out our new business card, which also sports the new logo and the new ‘strap line’ – safer streets, cleaner air, happier people.

Once the sun came out we attracted lots of interest.
Once the sun came out we attracted lots of interest.

As always maps were in demand although they are over 2 years out of date.  We look forward to new maps that will show the Central London Grid and Quietways in Islington – although Quietway 38 (which is parallel to  the route of the 38 Bus) is slated to be one of the first, we’ll have to wait some years before it’s all completed.

Anita and Alison are giving infomation and more...
Anita and Alison are giving infomation and more…

We were pleased that many of the people who stopped were already LCC members.  But we were able to let many people know about the training the Council offers – see this page.  Some people had just bought a bike and were enjoying the reliability of their commute.  We let them know that it’s important to have a  good lock and where not to lock their bike up!

There was lots of chat about what ICAG,  LCC, TfL and the Council could or could not do.  We understood that there is a petition ‘going the rounds’ that is asking for cycling to be banned on the canal where it passes through Islington.   Clearly something we need to take action on!

We’d like to thank Alison, Anita and Jono for running the stall.  Thanks also to John who made a cameo appearance, bearing cake!

We hadn't seen this sign before - let us know where the rest are!
We hadn’t seen this sign before – let us know where the rest are!

Have you seen these signs?  Do you know the routes?  Use the comment form below, please!




Our feeder ride to RideLondon Freecycle

in_contentPoster design by Eliza Southwood –
Like other LCC Borough Groups, we will be running a led ride to RideLondon Freecycle.  It may be hot on Saturday so you may want to bring water and/or sun protection.

Gather this Saturday August 9, from 10.00am for a 10.30 start at Highbury Fields – War Memorial End. We will lead a safe ride for families and inexperienced cyclists to St Pauls. You’ll be able to explore the extra attractions in the city (new this year) and a slighty longer traffic free journey passing many famous London sights. See the pdf here PRL_FreeCycle_Route_Map_2014. There’ll be a return from St Pauls at 3.00pm.
If you haven’t used your bike for a while have a look for some hints here.
A few tips about cycling with lots of others…
o stop at red lights unless directed through by marshals
o leave enough room to stop, a bike distance apart from each bike
o give way to pedestrians
o no overtaking
o no need for signalling (handled by leaders and marshals)
o cover brakes at all times
o Children (with accompanying adults) and slow riders will be asked to be at the front of the ride
o We will try to keep the ride wide and short – think elephant not cheetah!

New census data argues for more active street designs.

Our roads are designed for driving, but we walk and cycle far more.

Last week, new census data was released highlighting where people work and how they get there. Then the wonderful people at CASA.UCL made a map for us simpletons to easily see what is happening.

The data is quite extraordinary. Having crunched the numbers, its clear that the overwhelming majority of Clerkenwell and Bunhill residents walk and cycle than get the bus or drive.

  • 6483:   Walk or Cycle
  • 3335:   Bus
  • 234:      Car or Taxi

Of course, this isn’t a completely full travel picture: we all vary our travel routines, and it’s just working age adults commuting, but it is undoubtedly indicative of general trends.

There are two lessons from this fascinating data set:

1. Many journeys by bus and car could easily be walked or cycled (proven by our neighbours making the same journeys).

2. There is now an overwhelming argument to use TfL’s £2m to make cycling and walking the most convenient, obvious modes of travel in the area. Islington Council pioneered 20mph zones, and now they have a strong mandate to develop the most liveable streets in London.

With careful planning and a few planters or “modal filters”, we could cheaply and easily re-focus our streets to reflect the growing demand for active travel. Our planned layout can be seen here:

Please get in touch to add your voice of support for our plans, or to hear more about our work, please do get in touch through or