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Q&A: My Redbridge - Chris Gannaway, vice-chairman Aldborough Hatch Defence Association

PUBLISHED: 17:00 14 September 2018

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Chris Gannaway, 70, is the vice-chairman of the Aldborough Hatch Defence Association and London Wildlife Trust Redbridge representative.

What is your connection with Redbridge?

I have lived here all my life and I have been connected to the nature of Redbridge for the last 40/50 years. Growing up in such a green borough spurred on wildlife interests.

What’s the best thing about working or living in the borough?

I think the green open spaces, they are the most important. We are lucky to live in a London borough endowed with such richness.

People have got access to fresh air, away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Health and wellbeing are linked to having this sort of access. We have lots of habitats and lots of people don’t realise there are farms in Redbridge as well as woodland.

What one thing would you change about the borough?

I don’t want to see more houses that would mean more green belt lost. It is one of the big things said a lot that London has to expand- but has it?

When I was a lot younger you had the green belt legislation come in and new towns being created outside of the green belt.

If we are committing ourselves to an increased population I think that London shouldn’t keep expanding. The only alternative is for people to commute into London – you can’t get a quart into a pint pot.

Use three words to describe the borough.

Green, multi-cultural, tipping-point

Who is the most inspiring person you know?

David Attenborough- even though I have never met him I’ve seen him from afar. His pure and utter eloquence when talking about the natural world- the man is a gentleman but he is passionate.

I have met Chris Packham a few times. He is more down to earth and a crusading, inspiration person. He takes on some bold projects and he has done a lot of work in Malta and places like that for the protection of birds. On the 22 of this month, he has organised a walk for wildlife in central London - you don’t get many presenters that would do a thing like that.

What new law would you introduce if you were prime minister?

As part of this Brexit situation they are talking about a new environment act and I would make sure it has really got teeth. We have seen a massive decline right across the spectrum of all species - enough is enough we have to turn back from the brink and bring wildlife back into the nation.

In Redbridge, a local nature reserve, Fairlop Waters, is being taken out the hands of vision and large vehicles will be allowed to drive through it. It has a lot of species between the two different habitats and it’s a bit like putting a road through a rainforest. If I were prime minister I would make sure this couldn’t happen.

If you were the editor of this paper what issue would you focus on?

I would focus on people’s interaction with the environment. From carbon monoxide poisoning to car usage right the way through to how ecology is changing due to man-made usage. People need to know we can’t have business as usual.

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