Friday, April 21, 2017

How to handle dog poo.

Nothing beats that 'feeling' of stepping in dog poo. That immense grief is something we've all experienced. Yes of course  there are bigger issues to discuss in the forthcoming county council election, but the relatively small issue of  unscooped dog poo left by irresponsible dog owners, be it on a pavement, playground or field, is something that is a bother to us all.

The division of Banstead, Woodmansterne and Chipstead is blessed with miles and miles of beautiful countryside. However, good walks can be spoilt by unscooped dog poo. A number of local residents have mentioned the poo on view in the fields behind Lakers Rise. I have to confess the levels of poo are almost a disincentive to actually go for a walk in that area.

Like many mums and dads walking to the local school with their kids, I find myself having to keep an eye on dog poo on the pavements. Then one mum suggested there needed to be an easier way to alert us all of unscooped dog poo. Her light-hearted suggestion was a hi-vis paint, administered via an aerosol can, that can be sprayed directly on to the dog poo.

The idea shouldn't be dismissed out of hand. If you think about it, yes there are potential fines for irresponsible dog owners that should act as a deterrent, but enforcement is practically non-existent, especially when the police are experiencing cuts and other resource limitations.


Then I heard about a Brighton man who had bought over 100 'poo flags' on eBay and planted each one in a dog poo he found in a piece of green space outside his home. What is more, the local authority supports his scheme!

I wonder what people would think if I bought some flags and did the same in the fields behind Lakers Rise??


Woodmansterne Green Belt Residents Association AGM

I went along to last night's WGBRA AGM. It was interesting and enjoyable, with lots of friendly people in attendance.

The meeting started off with a presentation by Sandra from the KEEP OUR ST HELIER HOSPITAL KOSHH. It was a hard hitting opening to the AGM and it certainly caused a stir. Representatives from KOSHH are fantastic campaigners. They get everywhere. One even made a presentation at the Stand Up To Racism rally.

Towards the end of the meeting the Conservative Councillor Ken Gulati took questions, Much of the discussion revolved around planning applications on Green Belt land. This prompted me to lodge objections when I got home.

I got a chance to ask Cllr Gulati about the mulchy ice rink that developed last autumn and winter on the pavement at the bottom of Rectory Lane. We all had to slip, slide and sludge our way through as there was no other route. Other residents agreed with me and suggested that fallen leaves never used to cause this problem but cuts to street sweepers coupled with the installation of the mobile phone mast and crucially, the ancillary box beside it were contributory factors. To my surprise it seemed Surrey Council didn't know anything about the issue!!


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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Piece in the Thornton Heath Chronicle

Here's the article:

If you’ve driven along Beddington Lane recently to go to Asda or Wickes, you might have noticed a huge construction site which dominates the nature reserve known as Beddington Farmlands. Some describe the construct as an Energy from Waste plant. I prefer to call it an incinerator, as does the Environment Agency who issued a permit for incineration to Viridor, the waste contractor that won the £1billion contract to operate the site.
The incinerator will burn all the domestic, commercial and industrial rubbish that is collected in Croydon, Sutton, Kingston and Merton and beyond for 25 years. This includes any recyclables which end up in black bin bags.
In 2018, when the site becomes operational, an off white gas will be spewing out from its twin 100m chimneys. Much of the gas is water vapour, but even Viridor’s own Air Quality and Human Health Assessment report identifies nitrogen oxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, arsenic, mercury, lead and carbon monoxide as air pollutants within the plume. 
Furthermore, the prevailing SOUTH westerly winds mean much of the air pollutants and harmful ultrafine particles will be dumped over Thornton Heath.
Barely a week goes by without another fact about air pollution. The latest statistic is 40,000 people die prematurely due to dirty air. What if it was dirty water??
You may be asking was there any attempt to stop the incinerator? Well over the last 8.5 years a number of us battled hard, risking arrest at times, but sadly in 2013 a High Court challenge I led was defeated.

Nevertheless, action continues and a protest is planned for May 10th 2017. For more information please visit or search Stop the South London Incinerator in Facebook. 
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Sunday, April 09, 2017

Croydon standing up to racism

Occasionally, Croydon makes national news for the wrong reasons. On Friday 31st March, Reker Ahmed was subject to vicious attack in Shrublands. Friends who live in other areas of London heard about it and contacted me.

On Saturday 1st April the BBC News at 10pm decided to cover stories on
  • Gibraltar/EU 
  • Landslide in Colombia
  • a Nottingham woman abducting her two sons
There was no mention of the incident in Croydon which had left a child fighting for his life. Why did the BBC focus on the Nottingham abduction instead of the incident in Croydon??

On Sunday 2nd April BBC News at 10pm did carry the story. 

Yesterday Stand Up To Racism organised a Unity Protest in Croydon. 

I went along and met some familiar faces, including Elaine Garrod from Croydon Green Party.

Spot the difference

Chair of the local party Peter Underwood, Elaine and I were all uncomfortable about the use of the word 'FIGHT' on placards. I think 'UNITE & RESIST' would have been more appropriate

A local Kurdish speaker at the protest said that he had gone to see Reker Ahmed in hospital. Apparently, he smiled when he told him that a collection had nearly raised £50,000.

Elaine and I were interviewed by a reporter from The Canary. The article mentions a tweet by Katie Hopkins. I now appear in the same article as Katie Hopkins. Beware, I may dine out on this. 

EDIT: 10th April

Prompted by the comment from 'Anonymous' below, I have done some more reading on what happened in Shirley. An article in the Financial Times  discusses how different people are interpreting the attack. Was it racist? Well, one the individuals involved has been charged with 'racially aggravated grievous bodily harm'  Did the fact that Reker identify himself as an asylum seeker make the difference? We will find out when the case goes to court.
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Standing up for what matters