Thursday, January 28, 2016

Council answer football question with a straight bat!?


Last month local papers splashed on two Croydon councillors caught ball watching Crystal Palace playing Sunderland on their tablet during a full council meeting on a Monday evening. The story went national - The Daily Telegraph and The Sun covered it.

I spoke to an ex-councillor who had, "no sympathy for them because they could have sat on members seats under the public gallery" and thus avoided being caught with their shorts down.

At the time I felt Councillor Wentworth was in a tricky position as he was part of the 2014 intake, and thus should NOT be displaying such irreverent activity towards his constituents when technically a new recruit. Councillor Ryan on the other hand has a strong track record of hard work in Upper Norwood ward and could be forgiven for this indiscretion. I first stood against him in 2006. Back then his strong personal support resulted in his re-election whilst his fellow Labour councillors lost their seats.

I sent in a cheeky question which I think the councillor in charge of sport plays with a particularly straight bat!

CROYDON COUNCIL MEETING: MONDAY 25 JANUARY 2016 
PUBLIC QUESTION TIME 
WRITTEN QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC

From Mr Shasha Khan  
Councillor Timothy Godfrey Cabinet Member for culture, Leisure and Sport  
Question No. PQ037-16  

If the Football Supporters Federation started a ‘Keep league matches on Saturday afternoons’ campaign in support of children who can’t get to watch football games on Monday nights, and of course other groups, would this council back such a campaign?  
Reply  

The Council is supportive of making football and other sports accessible and affordable to all supporters particularly for young people.  
As a result of the commercial issues that professional football has including those from TV to meet their broadcasting requirements the trend has been to have some weekday matches particularly on a Monday.  
Saturday afternoons is the traditional time for football matches as it enables supporters to attend with friends, as family groups and as part of the Football Community.  
Costs of attending matches is also a key issue for supporters and the Council welcomes initiatives by football clubs including its home Club Crystal Palace FC to reduce ticket prices and increase access to groups including young people. 
The Council is also supportive of local clubs such as Croydon FC and Croydon Athletic FC and would support initiatives to increase attendances by local football followers. 



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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

8th Annual Eco-Disco


The young ones dancing at the Eco Disco

Last Sunday was Sutton and Croydon Green Party's latest Eco-Disco fundraiser held at the Oval Tavern in Croydon.

As usual an eclectic mix of music was played including:

The Ugly Duckling
Let It Go - Demi Lovato
When Doves Cry - Prince
Bellowhead
Bat Out of Hell - Meatloaf

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Friday, January 08, 2016

Cabinet member answers written question on waste

CROYDON COUNCIL MEETING: MONDAY 7 DECEMBER 2015 PUBLIC QUESTION TIME WRITTEN QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC


From Mr Shasha Khan

To Councillor Stuart Collins Cabinet Member for Clean, Green Croydon

Question No. PQ055-15

The Viridor landfill site at Beddington Farmlands has a license that ends in 2023. The South London Waste Partnership was formed to deal with its waste locally, within Croydon, Sutton, Kingston and Merton. Why therefore will all the SLWP waste, including Croydon’s, be sent to a site near Heathrow?

Reply

As you would expect, Croydon and the South London Waste Partnership work to manage our waste as sustainably as possible. In the first instance this means that we reduce, reuse and recycle as much as possible. For waste that remains, landfill is the least sustainable option for disposal. While the local landfill option is available at Beddington Lane, the boroughs continue to deliver waste here and at the same time construction has started on the Beddington Lane Energy Recovery Facility. Through the Partnership’s contract with Viridor, residual waste has consistently been diverted from landfill where possible and in 2014/15, 20% of the Partnership’s waste went to the Lakeside ERF. The Partnership is exploring options for waste disposal for residual waste during the construction period for the ERF as, now that the facility will be completed later than initially anticipated, it may be necessary to have an alternative provision in place; this could include sending more waste to an alternative ERF for a brief period.


I asked the above question because Councillor Nick Mattey has calculated that the landfill cell space at Beddington Farmlands has almost come to an end. This link  reveals just how much space Viridor secured in 2004 when they purchased the site. The Pennon Group (Viridor's parent company) article states 4m cubic metres of consented capacity was purchased. The license Viridor obtained allowed them to deal with 400,000 tonnes of waste a year. The maths suggest that by 2014 the site must be close to capacity.

One can argue, Viridor's tactic was purchase  the site, acquire the extension - knowing there was practically no spare capacity past 2015, and then switch to an incinerator with a view to telling the public they would get their country park in 2017 - 6 years earlier - as a sweetener.


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Monday, December 21, 2015

Private Eye carry incinerator article again



The current issue of Private Eye has yet another article about the corruption behind the South London incinerator. 

The full answer to the question asked by Baroness Jones is below:

From: Written Parliamentary Questions and Answers <NO_REPLY.HL.QASYSTEM@parliament.uk>
Sent: 09 December 2015 17:29
To: JONES, Baroness
Subject: Written answer to your QWA HL4157 received from Lord O'Neill of Gatley, HM Treasury
 
Lord O'Neill of Gatley, HM Treasury, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL4157):
Question:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how the grant from Viridor Credits to Holy Trinity Church in Wallington was audited by ENTRUST and what assessment they have made of environmental objectives that grant fulfils. (HL4157) 
Tabled on: 02 December 2015
This question was grouped with the following question(s) for answer:
  1. To ask Her Majesty’s Government how the grant from Viridor Credits to Twickenham Rowing Club was audited by ENTRUST, and what assessment they have made of the environmental objectives that grant fulfils. (HL4158) 
    Tabled on: 02 December 2015 
  2. To ask Her Majesty’s Government how the grant from Viridor Credits to All Saints Church in Kingston was audited by ENTRUST, and what assessment they have made of environmental objectives that grant fulfils. (HL4156) 
    Tabled on: 02 December 2015 
Answer:
Lord O'Neill of Gatley
The Landfill Communities Fund is a tax credit scheme. It allows landfill operators to gain a tax credit against 90% of the voluntary donations they make to environmental bodies for spending on certain prescribed objectives.

The prescribed objectives include:
  • the restoration of a building of historic interest or place of religious worship; and
  • the maintenance or improvement of a public amenity;
within the vicinity of a landfill site.

ENTRUST, the independent regulator of the Landfill Communities Fund assesses and approves applications for project funding to ensure they meet the objectives of the scheme. ENTRUST also carries out a programme of assurance under which a cross-section of projects are selected for audit to ensure they meet the prescribed objectives, and that funds are spent compliantly.

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Monday, December 14, 2015

Sian Berry and local Greens at the Beddington incinerator site.


In the foreground Tracey Hague. Behind her you can see the incinerator being built.

Last Friday Green Party Mayoral candidate Sian Berry came to our part of the city. Martyn Post, Maeve Tomlinson and I met Sian at Hackbridge station.

We took a couple of photos in the pouring rain, which are in this news story in the Sutton Guardian and then made our way to Beddington Lane tram stop to meet others.

It was at this point that the visit ended up inadvertently revealing two important issues:

1) One of our group said that she had walked up to a Viridor 'information office' on her last visit to Beddington Farmlands. So, we wandered along the road towards the site [see road in the picture above]. As we approached the end of the pavemented section of the road, we were greeted by someone I thought was a random Viridor employee. He turned out to be Andrew Turner, part of Viridor's PR machine. Inside Croydon has written about this here.

2) The foundation work being done on the new waste plant has brought home a realisation of just how close the incinerator is to the main road -Beddington Lane. The crane and excavation equipment is just a couple hundred yards behind, Green Party GLA candidate for Sutton and Croydon, Tracey Hague.

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

7 months later I get the legal costs bill.





I sent a press release out from the STOP THE INCINERATOR campaign on Friday 20th. It has already been published in the Adder and Inside Croydon. On a personal note, I am now anxious about what happens next. There is an argument that I don't pay the bill and risk a CCJ in an attempt to get a judge to rule that the £5400 shouldn't be paid because of that has gone on. As I type these words I just think it may be best to move on with regards the judicial review.  Yes, there are questions that need answering about corruption etc. but these two issues shouldn't be conflated.  More to the point, I haven;t got £5400 readily available. 

The Press release starts here: 

20.11.15

CORRUPT COUNCIL DEMAND MORE MONEY

Starts

Solicitors acting on behalf of Sutton Council have contacted Richard Buxton solicitors demanding that Shasha Khan pay costs of £5000 plus £400 in accrued interest within 14 days.
Sutton Council spent tens of thousands of pounds defending their decision to grant planning permission for the South London incinerator in the High Court. Normally the defendant can recover their costs if the judge rules in their favour. However, the member states of the EU have signed up to the Aarhus Convention which ensures all citizens are able to obtain access to justice on environmental issues. Under this convention, when the claimant, in this case Shasha Khan, is an individual, the recoverable costs if the High Court challenge is unsuccessful are capped at £5000.

The South London Legal Partnership sent an email with a copy of the court order to Richard Buxton on 16th November 2015.

Reacting to the demand, Shasha Khan said, “I am a bit stunned by the demand. I don’t have £5400 readily available. “

“As soon as Justice Sales refused permission for an Appeal back in late April I spoke to my (now former) solicitor about the £5000 capped costs that I was liable for. I was advised that there was a potential that the defendant wouldn’t come after the £5000. So we decided to wait.
“Seven months have elapsed and suddenly Sutton has decided to come after £5k, with interest! I am wondering if they’ve done this deliberately to accrue as much additional cash as possible – far better than putting the £5k in the bank. It’s like rubbing salt in the wound. I have continued to fight the granting of planning permission despite losing the judicial review. Since the decision in April, a whole series of damning corruption, intimidation and transgression revelations (1) have come to light about what went on behind the scenes, and we haven’t given up forcing Sutton and the South London Waste Partnership to come clean on their dodgy behaviour. Maybe this is their way of saying, ‘don’t question us peasant!’

“I have contacted the South London Legal Partnership but the ‘team leader’ is on annual leave and no one else can help me. This leaves me just 10 days to raise all the money.”

Ends




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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Pact with Labour

Labour selecting Jeremy Corbyn as leader has quietly excited many Greens. However, there are problem areas between JC and our party including: Trade Unions opposition to cancelling Trident, support for the coal industry and economic growth in a finite world.

Caroline Lucas has talked of a pact with Labour. Her open letter in the Independent had to be clarified a day later.


I haven't really thought about the idea of a pact with Labour. There are too many variables to consider including, Labour's Blairite wing (eg. Croydon North's Steve Reed MP).

However, I think Caroline's suggestion of Greens standing down to aid Labour in exchange for electoral reform doesn't go far enough. At the very least Labour should stand down in say five constituencies, including Bristol West in 2020. In return, Greens could, off the top of my head, stand down in say twenty constituencies -  a ratio of 1:5, to ensure 20 Labour gains. It is entirely possible that Croydon Central would be a seat that Labour would want Greens to stand down in.

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Saturday, October 10, 2015

How to start an incinerator





I've recently been editing the Stop The Incinerator web site. I've posted about the South London incinerator on dozens of occasions on this site. We are now getting a real idea of how & why the incinerator was pushed through. See here: http://www.stoptheincinerator.co.uk/?p=1520
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FAIR IS WORTH FIGHTING FOR