News, People, The Last Word

The Last Word: Alice Tate-Harte, painting restorer

Alice Tate-Harte is a painting restorer and local Mum living in Forest Hill.  She set up Clean Air for SE23 this year and is a campaigner on air quality and greening London.

How long have you lived in the area?

Only one year but I know the area really well and have lived in SE London for 15 years.

What brought you here?

Friends, good schools and a nice community.

What has changed most during that time?

Air pollution has become a big thing in the press recently and I started to find out more about it. I was familiar with how Air pollution affected the old paintings that I work on, but I didn’t realise how bad it was for our health.  People are also getting more aware and concerned about climate change and want to know what they get can do to help.

What do you most value about the area you live in?

The fantastic green spaces and woodland, the swimming pool and the library and the interesting old buildings.  I also value the community spirit, diverse people and a caring community.  And of course The Forest Hill Society who have saved all the great things about a Forest Hill, including all the planting in the station forecourt.

What one thing would you change?

Less cars! People use cars more in South East London because public transport isn’t as good and there are many families with kids to ferry around. To entice people out of their cars we are campaigning for greener streets, safe cycling lanes and “school streets” where streets are closed around schools at pick-up and drop-off.

Do you know your neighbours?

Yes they are lovely and are helping me with the campaign.

Do you belong to any groups?

I started Clean Air for SE23 earlier this year. It’s a grass roots group and we’ve teamed up with the Forest Hill Society Environment Committee and Street Trees for Living to improve the air quality in SE23 and surrounding areas. Check out the facebook group and the Forest Hill Society website; we’ve got a growing membership and we’d love you to get involved.

Lewisham is really active and other groups like Climate Action Lewisham are working really positively and effectively with the council to make the borough greener. Other areas have had success in improving their areas (Deptford Folk, Clean Air for Catford, Cleaner and Greener Bromley and Beyond as well as Mums for Lungs) are doing excellent work.

If money was no object…

I’d get proper safe cycle routes put in on all roads!

Area’s best kept secret…

The secret bar under Leaf and Groove bookshop.

Pub or Cafe?

Guinness and Irish music night Blythe Hill Tavern.

Where’s your favourite place to walk?

Sydenham Hill woods.

When I want to relax…

Going swimming solo!

www.foresthillsociety.com

facebook group is Clean Air for SE23