Is Kensington really safer than Battersea? The answer may surprise you

Kensington Chelsea

A multi-million pound divorce case in the High Court had to consider an interesting London question this week, the relative safety of some neighbourhoods.

A woman fighting her ex husband for a settlement that includes a £5 million house in Kensington told the court that she felt ‘frightened’ when she left the area. She had rejected alternative homes suggested by her ex valued at around £2.5 million in the ‘less opulent’ areas of Shepherd’s Bush and Battersea.

But was her faith in the security of the Royal Borough misplaced?  As the couple remain anonymous it’s not possible to look at the exact locations of all the homes involved but the crime rates for the different boroughs may offer some surprises.

Affluent and exclusive Kensington and Chelsea has a crime rate of 121 offences per 1,000 residents, according to data from the GLA.  It’s the fourth highest rate in London and well above the city average of 84.

Shepherd’s Bush is in the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.  It neighbours Kensington and Chelsea and has a slightly lower crime rate of 113 offences per 1,000 residents.

The more secure option may have been the Battersea home.  Battersea is in the borough of Wandsworth where crime is well below average at 72 per 1,000 people.

The judge, Mrs Justice Roberts, ruled that the alternatives put forward by the ex-husband were in ‘respectable and established family residential areas’.

She said: “Even allowing for the fact that she clearly has an anxious personality, I am not persuaded that any of these areas can be characterised as unsafe or inappropriate, devoid of the kind of amenities usually associated with areas occupied by professional families and others.”

The judge decided that the woman needed a housing fund of £2.5 million not the £5 million she was asking for.

If safety is her utmost concern then she might consider boroughs where the crime rate is less than half that of Kensington and Chelsea. Harrow has the lowest crime rate in London – just 50 crimes per 1,000 residents.  In Bexley the rate is 52 and in Sutton it is just 56.  None, of course, are as fashionable.

Crime rate

Source data

See also

London Borough Profiles












Tube Delays: Central Line

tube speeding pastThe Central Line suffered the highest level of delays of any line on the Tube network in 2014/15. Apart from industrial action, which happens in one off events, the biggest cause of delay was train fleet problems. This accounted for more delays on the Central Line than any other.

Transport for London measures delays in what it calls Lost Customer Hours (LCH). These are calculated by multiplying the delays in minutes by the number of passengers. TfL records all delays over 2 minutes. It uses the financial year from April to March and splits the year in 13 equal periods for performance measurement.

Data in the London Underground Performance Almanac for the last full year shows there was an average of 410,144 Lost Customer Hours per period on the line. That is 29% higher than the second most delayed line, the Jubilee.

LCH Central

Over the past 10 years as Lost Customer Hours have been reduced across the network the Central line has remained a persistent offender. It has shown the least improvement in all lines since 2003/04.

The Central Line opened in in 1900 and its flat fare of 2 old pennies from Bank to Shepherd’s Bush earned it the nickname of the Tuppenny Tube. In the 1990s it became the second line after the Victoria to introduce automated operations where the train is largely controlled by a computer system monitored by a driver. Unlike the Victoria Line, automated operations are not a significant cause of lost hours on the line.

Source data

See also

Central Line leads the lost hours league table of your Tube delays

Strikes are a commuting disaster, but what delays your daily Tube journey?

Passenger data reveals busiest stations where Tube strike will hit hardest

Tests suggest NO2 pollution levels may be higher at child height

Pollution cars 2Levels of damaging nitrogen dioxide may be higher than official readings show and may be much at much higher levels at child or buggy height, according to a cycling campaign group.

HFcyclists, a campaign group based in Hammersmith and Fulham decided to take their own NO2 readings around the Hammersmith gyratory system and Shepherd’s Bush Green. With the support of the environmental legal group ClientEarth they set up tubes to monitor NO2, which are produced particularly by diesel engines.

Official readings are taken at a height of 3 metres. They placed tubes at different heights at 2 locations. The campaign group found that readings were significantly higher closer to the ground – up to 30% higher at 0.5 metres, the height of a child in a buggy and 25% at 0.8 metres, the height of a pram or a small toddler


Graphic: HFcyclists/ClientEarth

All their readings were in excess of the EU regulatory limit. As reported by Urbs, all but 2 London boroughs are in breach of legal limits and a recent study by Kings College said that NO2 was responsible for 9,500 deaths a year. The same study found that the number NO2 related deaths in Hammersmith and Fulham was one of the lowest in the city.

HFcyclists acknowledge that their modest test over a two-month period earlier this year should be seen as no more than indicative and the proximity of the Hammersmith flyover may have affected the height distribution of NO2. They say that they will continue to monitor to obtain more robust data. But the results raise further concern about the effects of nitrogen dioxide levels in London, particularly for children.

Source data

See also

Nearly 9,500 deaths a year – study reveals impact of air pollution

Most boroughs fail on legal limit for toxic gas that could harm health

Emission targets at risk as growing population hits greener city plan