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Should I move? Now? (Worries about London pollution but need to be in London for work)

(8 Posts)
user1471777414 Tue 27-Oct-20 11:34:44

Hi everyone, I would really appreciate your kind input on this.

I'm a first time mum and we have recently had a beautiful baby girl during lockdown (now 5 months old).

I live in Zone 1/2 as I need to be close to several South London hospitals for work (I'm an NHS worker and do on-calls where I get called back in the middle of the night so need to be within 30 mins of several hospitals, and then expected to be back at work in the morning! So proximity is quite important).

We have a 2 bedroom flat , which is getting a bit small with all the baby stuff ( we knew we'd need more stuff, but didn't know how much stuff!). Our street (an A road) has also gotten increasingly polluted due to change of some policies (ULEZ driving people towards us, recent changes in local routes).

It's getting me a bit sad that every time we take our baby out for a walk, I'm worried about the effect of the pollution as it's so bad you can literally feel it on your face. Yesterday, after just a short walk , she had a grey booger in her nose and I felt so bad.

With covid and most of our activities being outdoors, I just feel like perhaps we should move. It would be very difficult to move to the countryside due to work requirements. I thought perhaps somewhere like Forest Hill or Dulwich would be close enough to my work places, but slightly less congested and closer to some bigger parks. However it seems that everywhere in London has pollution worries too.

What is making me hesitate is that I may return to my home town in 3 years (at the end of my contract here)- so wondering if it would be financially wiser to stay put.

I know that there is a stamp duty holiday so I wasn't sure if now would be the best time to move.

I guess I would appreciate some insight into the cost of moving, the current market... Would London houses get cheaper as people move out to the countryside (I already have several friends doing this!). I know no one knows the answer but thought a discussion would help.

Thanks everyone in advance.

OP’s posts: |
JoJoSM2 Tue 27-Oct-20 11:55:10

Will the air be that much better in Dulwich or Forest Hill? It definitely gets much better further out. I’m in zone 5 and when I go into zone 1, there’s so much difference that I can literally smell the pollution when I get off the train. I think it would make sense to look further out if anything. In you get a call out in the middle of the might, there shouldn’t be that much traffic slowing you down anyway?

In terms of properties, you’d need to weigh up selling and buying costs to see if it’s worth it. On the one hand, it seems like hassle but on the other, three years is quite a long time to live somewhere you aren’t completely happy with.

DespairingHomeowner Tue 27-Oct-20 12:47:13

I’m taking a very unpleasant hit on my price to move from a flat to a house in London. I’d think about seeing what offers you get (you can just get valuations from agents as a start point) then see if you want to move

Prices of flats are probably at a low point, but equally a baby in a flat is not easy

gingerbreadfox Tue 27-Oct-20 14:23:31

What's your max commute length? Some lovely places surrounding London. Chelmsford (Essex) is 30 minutes train into Liverpool Street. Shenfield (on the same like) is ever closer.

Can you buy an air purifier for indoors so at least you don't have to worry about air quality while at home?

inchyra Tue 27-Oct-20 14:47:16

You need to live near trees, which act as a pollution barrier.

Or you could move to higher ground - when we visit friends in North London, for example, the air is distinctly fresher.

JoJoSM2 Tue 27-Oct-20 17:01:05

londonair.org.uk/london/asp/annualmaps.asp

Here’s pollution mapping. I suppose that being away from main roads and near tree would help but overall the air just seems to get better as you get to lower density, less congested areas.

diddlediddle Tue 27-Oct-20 17:08:35

In three years you may well have been through another pregnancy and/or have another baby breathing the pollution.

I don't think there's a right answer but you need to decide how big a factor the pollution in right now. If you need to move you may as well move now/ASAP and get a new job.

Obviously millions of people live in polluted areas. There is evidence that it is harmful to health but obviously hard to tell to what extent. Look at pollution maps but probably with the radius you need there won't be anywhere sufficiently better locally.

20mum Tue 27-Oct-20 17:41:12

@JoJoSM2Thanks for the link to pollution

@user1471777414 I do know the area, and agree with others that maybe prices could do all kinds of things, so could availability, and saleability, which doesn't help I know, but if there was ever a time to look before you leap.....

I agree with the other suggestion that an air purifier is a great idea. Outdoors, of course, there isn't much you can do except avoid main roads and head for trees.

(And add your voice and enthusiasm to environmental campaigners and every effort to turn cities green. It isn't only trees, all green planting is a help, ideally green walls, roofs, balconies and window boxes, roof gardens, hedges as high green walls, ivy to turn a fence into a wildlife boost as well as an air cleaner, and more, including of course long grass. And push for people to be banned from offices, especially the houses of parliament, to avoid all non essential travel and the resulting pollution, and free the roads and public transport for essential use. )

For yourself, thanks to virus you won't be out of place wearing a mask. For baby, there must be a way to keep the worst out of her face. I've seen people cover the buggy opening with a muslin cloth or similar. While she is still little that would work, and then there are child masks.

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