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Whitstable Moan: The effect of delivery office closures on air quality in Canterbury.

Updated on September 16, 2016
Whitstable Views profile image

CJ Stone is an author and columnist. He appears regularly in the British press. Currently he has a column in the Whitstable Gazette.

Royal Mail sorting office, Military Road, Canterbury
Royal Mail sorting office, Military Road, Canterbury
Cllr John Gilbey
Cllr John Gilbey


According to the Climate Change Act 2008, there are legally binding targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of 80% by 2050.

2050 is a long way off and most of the councillors with responsibility for meeting the targets will be long gone by then. That must be why John Gilbey, the ex leader of Canterbury City Council, thought that it wasn’t all that important.

As he said, “the levels of air pollution are not that bad and only just over the top.”

So that’s OK then. I wonder if the same rules would apply were I engaged in the much less harmful practice of smoking marijuana in the privacy of my own room? Could I argue in the courts that my levels of smoking weren’t that bad and only just over the top?

Could I quote Mr. Gilbey’s line on climate change by saying that marijuana smoking is not the biggest issue facing us, and that I will take practical proper action, although I doubt that I will ever stop smoking?

The law, it seems, only applies to certain people at certain times.

Air quality

Meanwhile, air quality levels in Broad Street, Military Road and Sturry Road were already in breach of the law before Herne Bay and Whitstable delivery offices closed between 2012 and 2013, since when all of the postal workers in both offices are forced to commute to work, instead of cycling or walking as many of them did previously.

Up to 100 extra postal vans exit the offices at around the same time and Whitstable and Herne Bay people have been made to drive to Canterbury to collect their undelivered packets, instead of walking to their delivery office as they were able to do before.

The Royal Mail claim that they are reducing emissions. The trick they are playing here is that they are only counting their own emissions and not taking into account the extra emissions caused by their own staff and customers driving to and from Canterbury.

But I guess it doesn’t matter. We can all take Mr Gilbey’s view. We’ll be dead by 2050 and climate change will be someone else's problem.


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    • 2patricias profile image

      2patricias 5 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      This could be an example of the quality of local councillors. I will leave others to say whether that is good or bad quality.

    • Whitstable Views profile image

      Whitstable Views 6 years ago from Whitstable, UK

      Hello Mervyn: I beleieve that Cllr Gilbey is a climate change sceptic and has even challenged his own leader on the Conservative Party position on climate change. So there's not much hope for us down here.

      Thanks Bob. As I said in the above comment, our council are even behind official Tory Party policy on this issue.

      Thanks for your comment Emily. Not sure I'd go so far as to characterise Cllr Glibey as a pro-Nazi, but he's certainly an ostrich.

      Just realised that both Emily and Mervyn have used ostrich analogies. That must mean something.

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      Emily Shirley 6 years ago

      C.J.Stone has summed up the situation well. We are being royally let down in Canterbury by a leader and flock who have no regard for climate change, air pollution or the closure of the post office collection offices in Herne Bay and Whitstable. Canterbury politics has a shameful history of being reactionary-Churchill for example was terribly worried that East Kent would collaborate with the Germans should we have been invaded. This is because Canterbury had a number of pro Nazi marches leading up to the war! Now, we have a gaggle of ostriches who apparently know better than world experts and who happily and dangerously keep their heads well below ground.

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      diogenes 6 years ago

      He is no doubt taking advantage of the "Green" conservatives having practically abandoned their stance on emmisions, saying, more or less, that as they can't stop China doing it, we might as well carry on as well. So much for leading by example.

      Take care Chris...Bob

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      Mervyn Evans 6 years ago

      Is Cllr.Gilbey aware of what is happening. Being a Cllr they do sometimes put their head in the sand.