Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Global Day of Action against Waste and Incineration


I cycled up the Lea Valley Navigation today to the Edmonton Incinerator in Enfield. Today is 8th Global Day of Action Against Waste Incineration . The route was pleasant from Hackney Downs, passing canel boats and wildlife. As I got nearer to the incinerator I actually failed to notice the smell coming from the incinerator. I suppose because I was cycling, I simply failed notice the stench. Also, presumably because it was gradual, the smell simply didn't register. However, as I stood outside the incinerator it became apparent very quickly that there was a smell. Before long I felt a taste on the back of my throat. If I had to describe it I would say it was mixture of turps and cheap paint. The lady who took the photograph above said that she could smell the emissions from the incinerator at her home in Chingford. This corresponds to a story I read online about cases of asthma being unusually high for a middle class ward situated downwind in Chingford. For the moment, I can't find the link for that story but there are other reports of local health being affected: Here and here. What I intend to do is ring London Eco Park (yes I know!) to ask what causes the smell.
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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Video: The Hickson Triangular Display Unit as featured at Thornton Heath Festival



Sutton and Cheam candidate Peter Hickson at work!
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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Jim generates power from scrap metal!

New Addington's number one Green, Jim Clugston in the local paper.
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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Stop The Incinerator campaign gains momentum



It is becoming increasingly apparent that the desperate leaflet distributed by the Tories resulted from these articles. They are obviously becoming alarmed that resident groups are coalescing behind the Stop the Incinerator campaign. In an effort to limit any political loss they are accusing the Green Party of scaremongering by fabricating statements which can be proven to be untrue.
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Tory mob peddle dodgy leaflets outside Stop The Incinerator campaign launch

Local Greenpeace and CND activist Jim Clugston is challenged as he enters Ruskin House

Cllr Mike Moghul seems to think those attending the meeting were born yesterday

A good turnout for the first meeting. People from a wide range of backgrounds.

The panel, Becky Slater, Neil Pitcairn, Jonathan Essex, Shasha Khan, Paul Pickering (Chair).

As Paul Pickering and I approached Ruskin House - half an hour before the meeting was scheduled to start - we saw a group of men and women in sharp suits outside the main entrance to Ruskin House. I immediately clocked Cllr Jason Perry, cabinet member for Planning and Conservation, and then realised it was a group of Conservative councillors distributing their latest desperate leaflet. Cllr Mike Moghul was first to collar me as I neared the entrance . He actually started prodding me in the chest as he lectured me. The only line they could repeat was that there would be no incinerator in Croydon. Are they incapable of understanding that an incinerator a few hundred yards across the border in Sutton makes no difference. It seems everyone who entered the meeting was accosted by the Tories.

Before the meeting started Peter Hickson the Green Party candidate for Sutton and Cheam went back outside and asked the Tory mob outside Ruskin House if they would like to attend. They declined.

The meeting was excellent. Lots of good discussion about what exactly the South London Waste Plan entails and what are its implications. Jonathan Essex (Sustainable Redhill) spoke about the alternatives, Neil Pitcairn (UKWIN) about the successful campaign in Capel and Becky Slater (FoE) about the dirty truths. I spoke about the South London Waste Plan thus far and also about the politics behind the issue.

There was a passionate presentation made from the floor from Mike Dunne, Chair of Beddington Village Residents Association. He pointed out that residents he represents will struggle to ever sell their houses. There were observations made on how it is the disadvantaged that will suffer; i.e., the wards directly downwind are wards with lower levels of household income.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

'Stop The Incinerator' launch meeting tonight


14.09.09 for immediate release

PRESS RELEASE – Local residents, environmentalists (1) and Green politicians join forces to form ‘Stop the Incinerator’ campaign.

Following a less than transparent South London Waste Partnership workshop on September 7th, frustrated local residents, environmentalists and politicians are pressing ahead with an anti-incinerator campaign. The official launch will be on 23rd September, 7.30pm at Ruskin House, Coombe Road, Croydon.

The campaign calls for an immediate end to the South London Waste Partnership in its present form, a zero waste strategy, a comprehensive government commissioned study identifying the health effects of incinerators, an extensive information campaign to inform people of the importance of recycling and an immediate reversal of the European Parliament’s decision to repackage incinerators as ‘energy from waste’ plants.

Chair of the organisation, local resident Paul Pickering, said:

“The numbers attending the workshop indicate that people are still unaware about the issues surrounding this critical development and the impact it will have on their lives, their health and the value of their properties.”

The newly formed anti-incinerator group will become the latest member of the UK Without Incineration Network (UKWIN) which is the umbrella group of dozens of anti-incineration groups across the country. UKWIN (2) opposes incinerators for the following reasons:

  • It depresses recycling and wastes resources
  • Releases greenhouse gases
  • Is often forced through against strong public opposition
  • Relies on exaggerating future quantities of waste instead of strongly increased recycling and composting
  • Creates toxic emissions and hazardous ash
  • Poses significant health risks

Mr Pickering continued:

“To my surprise, we have found that the government’s planned roll out of incinerators is fostering similar campaign groups across the country. We are not the only ones worried.”

Secretary for the Stop The Incinerator campaign group, the Green Party’s Shasha Khan said:

“The key consultation was the first one, which was hardly publicized, because arguably, it has given the council the ticket it needed to procure. If the Green Party had not obtained the procurement contract, the council would not have been forced to make statements about the nature of the waste plan.

Mr Khan continued:

“The authorities have confused the issue for their own gain. On the one hand the Labour government is pushing forward with a new generation of incinerators across the country but on the other, Labour councillors are claiming to be anti-incineration. Also, the Conservative council are stating that they won’t build an incinerator, yet because of European legislation, pushed through by Labour and the Tories, these incinerators will arguably be masquerading as ‘energy from waste’ plants to get past local opposition.

“Given that the consultation has been a public relations masterclass that has left local people feeling uncertain, we felt it was important to start a campaign that could answer those questions that remain unanswered, based on precedents.

The campaign group’s web site can be found at www.stoptheincinerator.co.uk. There is bank of information already available on the site as well as an online petition.

The launch meeting will have guest speakers who defeated the proposed mass burn incinerator in Capel, Surrey earlier this year as well as other experts on this issue.

Ends

Notes:

(1) Members of Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace

(2) http://ukwin.org.uk/



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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Conservatives put gross inaccuracy on leaflet to dirty Green Party name.

I have made a complaint to the Met Police about the line, "Labour and the Green Party are deliberately scaremongering by pretending there is a plan to have an incinerator in Croydon at Factory Lane." The Green Party have never stated on a leaflet, press release, letter or even blogpost that there would be an incinerator in Factory Lane. We've always maintained that the most plausible location for the incinerator is Beddington Lane in Sutton. Every communication which discusses location states this. In an act of desperation the Tories have come out with this line to discredit the Green Party and the new Stop The Incinerator campaign. The fact the Beddington is just over the border in Sutton and it will be the eastern wards in north Croydon that will be affected (they are immediately downwind) seems to be overlooked. Hence the Tories have yet to say, ".....there will not be an incinerator that will affect Croydon."

Incidentally, Labour have done all that this leaflet states.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Lewisham Greens lauded in local paper

The comment I sent to the Croydon Guardian appeared in this weeks Green Guardian
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Friday, September 18, 2009

Local Greens proved right!

Link to online (Sutton Guardian) version

Back in February the Croydon Green Party modestly made public their concerns that the desired outcome of the South London Waste Plan was an incinerator, most plausibly in Beddington. Waddon residents were alerted to this eventuality in our By Election leaflet - something that the Labour party jumped on in disgraceful fashion. Privately members had calculated that Beddington was the most plausible site last year but it was difficult to make judgements public at such an early stage. As evidence mounted we did take the story to the media. We had even started a blog referring to Beddington. Well it seems from this latest article that Sutton council had their eye on Beddington too.

Regrettably, there's not much to cheer about with this prediction becoming a reality. The report even states that Sutton Council has the power to say 'no' and choose the Beddington Lane site.

Everyone concerned about these developments should come to Wednesday's meeting.
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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Running total on academisation in Croydon approaches £3m

If you add up the DCSF and Croydon Council's costs - total spend approaches a mind-boggling £3m. Its all about privatisation at whatever cost.

Coincidentally, just recently we hear that the government has now waived the £2m entry fee for new sponsors. This is an astonishing 'u' turn. The rules governing these schools are changing almost annually. Originally, academies were called 'city academies' because they were supposed to be solely for inner city areas. This changed allowing every school to become a target geographically. We were also told that every new academy would have brand new buildings but this is not happening either. Finally, we hear today that these private sponsors don't have to pump any of their own money in to take on a school. We've already heard that self interested private sponsors blur the boundaries of science and creationism in these academies. What next? Flat earthers? Cult leaders?"

When academies were first rolled out, the Labour government were accused of offering peerages to attract sponsors. I guess that's not necessary now as the inducement is in the deal itself: Take control of state school for free - the tax payer will pay the cost of transition. Don't worry if further expenditure is required on the school, the tax payer will take care of that too

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Is Croydon the unhealthiest borough in London?


Letter in response to the article which appeared on the front page of the Croydon Guardian

02.09.09

Dear Editor,

The headline, “Is Croydon being London’s unhealthiest borough?” certainly caught my attention. The report points out that Croydon’s consumption of beer and cigarettes is up -the highest in London – whilst purchases in fruit and vegetable have gone down during the recession. I for one would be interested to find out why Croydon has come top of this particular table.

Cllr Maggie Mansell is right to question how statistics should be interpreted. However, there are some general trends which may have led to these results which need exploring. In the long run an unhealthy borough will add pressure to Croydon NHS.

Firstly, is it right that supermarkets can sell alcohol so cheaply? Alcohol is one of the most harmful drugs – legal or illegal - available to us. The authorities have cowered to supermarket power and allowed them to sell alcohol as a “loss leader” to attract customers. Additionally, whilst there have been moves to cut tobacco advertising and sponsorship, there has been little or no attempt with regard to alcohol.

Secondly, the authorities have failed to recognise the importance of ‘prevention’ as well as ‘cure’ when it comes to health. This is a ticking time bomb for all of us because failure to change the emphasis will bankrupt the NHS leaving only those with the ability to pay access to healthcare. The root causes of ill health are not being addressed because there is a lack of joined up thinking. For example, the failure to provide a good local school for all children in Croydon, along with genuinely safe cycle routes, has meant that children are driven to and from school in the main. More vehicle journeys equals more pollution. Arguably, this coupled with the absence of a free healthy school meal for every child does nothing to reduce the record levels of childhood obesity and asthma.

Drug companies have provided us with some advancements, but failure to regulate the billions they spend on buying medical influence through sponsorship, gifts and free travel to overseas conferences is placing undue pressure on our doctors and nurses. Presently the NHS spends a massive £10 billion a year on drugs. Labour and the Conservatives both claim to be defenders of the NHS but the reality is there is no difference in their approach to health. They both want increased marketisation, a move towards a more Americanized system, a system that leaves 46m Americans without any form of health insurance.

I fear that unless there is genuine change, drug companies that profit from our ill health will be the only winners.

Yours sincerely

Shasha Khan

Croydon Green Party


Croydon is the unhealthiest borough in London, a new study shows.

Consumption of beer and cigarettes has doubled in the last two years and junk food sales are up by 40 per cent...............

Link to story online
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Monday, September 14, 2009

Waste Plan workshop is rubbish

Link to story online

The South London Waste Plan's workshop, in fact this whole consultation, thus far is a public relations masterclass: Offer only limited information in carefully managed stages; avoid answering any sensitive questions; ask leading questions in questionnaires to manipulate the outcome and avoid using alarming language. Of course, thanks to Labour and Conservative MEP's, incinerators don't have to be called incinerators any more they are now 'energy from waste' plants. The fact that 83 per cent of the heat produced is lost and that incinerators emit twice as much carbon per unit of electricity generated is conveniently overlooked.

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Comment invited re introduction of 'energy saving monitors'

Green Cllr Ute Michel with a smart meter/energy saving monitor

What difference does turning your TV off standby make?
Why should you only boil the water you need when using the kettle?

Taken from Croydon Council press release:

A trip to a Croydon library could help you cut household energy bills and save money. The Energy Saving Trust advice centre for London has partnered with Croydon’s library service to loan library users energy monitors to see how much they can cut their electricity bills and save money.

On top of the fantastic range of books, CDs and DVDs, library users will be able to borrow special devices – wireless energy monitors - which monitor how much electricity is being used in the home and how much it is costing.

Residents borrowing the monitors will instantly be able to find out which electrical appliances are costing them the most money to run.



I rang up Lewisham Greens and asked if these were the same as their smart meters. They are! In turns out that Cllr Sue Luxton originally thought of the idea and now it's being rolled out in Croydon!

Comment sent to papers:

“I am delighted to hear that this scheme is starting in Croydon’s libraries. This was originally the brainchild of the Green Party councillors in Lewisham, who were the first to trail-blaze this idea in London by making these meters available in every library in Lewisham.

“My colleagues in Lewisham have been raving about the benefits of this scheme for some time. It helps users cut their energy bills and their CO2 emissions by showing which appliances are the expensive energy-guzzlers. The device is very simple and clips on to wires from the electricity meter. You then take the separate portable monitor around your house to witness the changes in electricity consumption.

“These monitors are still too expensive for many households to buy, so it’s an exciting idea that using libraries in this way will make that technology available to all.”

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Thornton Heath Andy to drive around the world in a bio-truck


When I arranged to meet Team leader of the Bio Truck expedition, I didn't expect him to say he lived in Thornton Heath! YES, THORNTON
HEATH!


Phornten 'Eaf resident Andy Pag leaves tomorrow on a 12 month expedition around the world in his biotruck. His trip will take him through Europe to Istanbul, before heading to Iran, then China, followed by the Americas.

I met him this morning as he put the finishing touches to his vehicle. It didn't take long to realise that this former BBC employee was super knowledgeable about energy production. He showed me around the truck. I have to confess I was struggling to keep up with the physics of how everything worked. In order to stick to his target of two tonnes of carbon per person - the levels required if we are going to meet our targets in 2050 (presently 12 tonnes) - the vehicle has been designed to run on vegetable oil and hydrogen which comes from a solar powered hydrogen generator! Practically all the internal fitting out has been done with stuff he has picked up from freecycle, eg carpets and curtains. He's also got a compost loo. More details on his web site.

Bon Voyage Andy!


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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Activist Burn Out video


Climate Camp radio had a very interesting show on activist burn out. Its a phenomenon that activists ought to be aware of. I've taken a couple of short segments from the discussion.

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Chris Sciberras' letter in the local paper

"The tram works at East Croydon Station have presented Croydon Council with an opportunity to improve the vehicle exit from the station. The road exit via the NLA Tower is normally shared by buses, taxis and cars, resulting in traffic jams in the weekday evening rush hour and friday evenings when there are more pickups from the station. At these times it takes buses as long as ten minutes to leave the bus station.

The Croydon Green Party proposal is that buses and taxis use the NLA exit, and cars dropping off or picking up passengers turn round and exit via the entrance to the station as they are currently doing during the tram works. This would result in much improved bus journey times whilst still allowing taxis and cars to exit the station quickly. We ask Croydon Council to prioritise sorting out the traffic mess at East Croydon Station."

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Monday, September 07, 2009

Five things I learnt/realised at conference

The Autumn conference was down in Hove this year. I went along on Friday.

Five things I learnt/realised at conference:

1) Three (yes 3!) Bengali speaking candidates went for Green Party Executive (GPEX) positions. My parents were well impressed!
2) Caroline Lucas pointed out that in the 'Just Transition' panel that "environmental problems always affect the poorest the hardest" . She referred to Bangladesh and Hurricane Katrina. It occurred to me that parallels with the this concept could be made with locations for incinerators in this country.
3) Assistant PCS Secretary Chris Baugh indicated that questionnaires sent out to candidates during elections showed just how much in tune the Green Party was with the PCS .
4) The four letter word beginning with 'F' kept coming up.
5) If we don't genuinely take action to stop climate change, we could go down in history as the first species that monitored its own extinction.

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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Amelie cycles from St Malo to Lourdes to raise money for the Stop The Incinerator campaign

I received a text from local party member Amelie Boleyn yesterday saying she had finally made it to Lourdes. Her epic 550 mile journey started almost 2 weeks ago.

Her last few texts read as follows:

  • "Saintes (fallen a little behind schedule as got a puncture yesterday but all good now)"
  • "Blaye. Majestic garone medieval town. Truly gratifying after a wonderful winding 52 mile landscaped tour of the vineyards and magnificent chateaus of the midi Atlantic. Awesome day"
  • "Bazas. (cycled 72 miles today)"
  • "Really struggling today. Weather painfully hot and many hills. Skin blistering. Only just made half way, thank heavens finally made it to a town. Cooling body and head down now and poss will carry on to Pau when cooler tho think suspension on bike is going as keeps on creaking. Still in Catalan. Lourdes tomorrow."
  • "Almost. Yesterday knocked stuffing out of me. Could only manage 25 miles sun and heat unforgiving and hills tortuous. Am deep in Basque region now and they are passionate about their 'sport' bullfighting. Had heated debate in French last night on the subject :-@ anyway, weather more sympathetic today and much cooler. Only 53 miles to Lourdes."
  • "Lourdes"
WELL DONE AMELIE!!!!!! TRES TRES BIEN.
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FAIR IS WORTH FIGHTING FOR