Friday, 20 October 2017

Moth & Bat Night at Welsh Harp October 26th 6.30pm-8.30pm



Booking essential as numbers limited: ccullen@wildlondon.org.uk or Daniella.Levene@thames21.org.uk

WAKE UP CALL: Nearly half of Londoners worried about city's dangerous air pollution


From the British Heart Foundation

Londoners welcome T-Charge, as BHF warns of dangers of air pollution for capital’s heart health

Nearly half (45%) of Londoners are worried about living in the city due to dangerous levels of air pollution, according to a new poll from the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

The statistics reveal that 81% of Londoners believe the current air pollution levels are putting their health at risk and over a third are put off running (37%) or cycling (38%) in the city because of the potentially deadly air.

The BHF is today highlighting the need for bold action to clean up London’s air, as estimates show that globally, 80 per cent of all premature deaths from air pollution are caused by heart and circulatory disease.

Research shows that both long-term and short-term exposure to air pollution can make existing heart conditions worse and can increase the risk of a potentially fatal heart attack or stroke amongst vulnerable groups.

The poll also found:
• 94% of people in the capital think cleaning up London’s current level of air pollution is important
• Nearly a third (28%) of Londoners don’t want to sit outside in the city
• One in five (19%) Londoners are put off shopping on London High Streets because of air pollution
• 17% of Londoners are put off visiting local parks
• And 12% said the pollution puts them off visiting London’s iconic landmarks

On Monday, London Mayor Sadiq Khan introduces a new daily Toxicity charge or ‘T-charge’ in central London in order to reduce dangerous fumes from polluting vehicles and make London’s air safer.

The air pollution in London has breached legal limits for years and it’s estimated that in 2010 there were nearly 9,500 deaths across London associated with air pollution exposure3, many of which would have been caused by heart and circulatory conditions.

The charge will affect vehicles every week day that don’t meet the minimum exhaust emission standard, or were registered pre-2006.

The BHF’s poll found that over 70% of Londoners support the daily charge of £10 which will operate on top of, and during the same times, as the congestion charge.


Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive at the British Heart Foundation, said:
“Dangerous levels of air pollution in London are putting the heart health of the general public - particularly those with heart disease - at greater risk of a heart attack or stroke.
“We urgently need to protect Londoners from inhaling deadly air – particularly from small particles in diesel fumes, which our research shows increase the risk of a potentially deadly cardiac event. 
“It’s extremely concerning that London’s toxic air could now force people to consider relocating, or avoid being outside.
“This is a wakeup call to how concerned the people of London are about the air they breathe. The Mayor’s toxicity charge is a step in the right direction, and we look forward to the introduction of a full Ultra Low Emissions Zone in 2019 which will help to further clean up London’s air.” 
Air pollution contributes to around 40,000 premature deaths in the UK each year, many of which are from heart attack and stroke.

BHF researchers have found that tiny particles in diesel and petrol fumes can damage our heart and circulatory systems.

These particles stop blood vessels relaxing and contracting, which increases the risk of clots, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. However, worryingly nearly half (44%) of Londoners are unaware of the danger air pollution poses to the heart.

The BHF is committed to working with the Government to ensure that the most effective measures to clean up the UK’s toxic air are implemented.

Find out how the BHF is fighting back against heart disease at bhf.org.uk

Hampstead & Kilburn CLP 'outraged' over expulsion of Moshe Machover



Hampstead and Kilburn Constituency Labour Party have strongly backed demands for the reinstatement of Moshe Machover who was expelled from the party for alleged anti-semitism and support for another party.

Hampstead & Kilburn CLP  passed  the motion below overwhelmingly on October 18th: 58 for, none against and 8 abstentions.
The motion is to be sent to the leader of the Labour Party, the National Executive Committee (individually), the National Constitutional Committee (individually), the Head of Disputes and Professor Machover.
This CLP is outraged that:
·         Professor Emeritus Moshe Machover has been expelled from the Party.  Professor Machover is Jewish and Israeli, the distinguished co-founder of Matzpen, the socialist organisation which from the 60s to the 80s brought together Arab and Jewish opposition to the illegal occupation of Palestine;
·         the Head of Disputes has accused Prof Machover of writing an “apparently antisemitic article” according to the new IHRA definition, and further accused him of “membership or support for another political party, or a political organisation with incompatible aims to the Labour Party”.
This CLP notes that:
·         The Chakrabarti Inquiry found that the party’s “. . . complaints and disciplinary procedures . . . lacked sufficient transparency, uniformity and expertise . . .” and called for “the vital legal principles of due process (or natural justice) and proportionality”.
·         The IHRA definition is being monitored by Camden Council to ensure that it is not used to stifle free expression and criticism of Israeli policies.
·         Prof Machover who denies the accusations, has not been given the opportunity to challenge neither the accusation of antisemitism nor his alleged support for another party or organisation.
·         This expulsion is a frightening precedent in a party which is working to be more democratic and called for, in the words of its leader Jeremy Corbyn, ‘support to end the oppression of the Palestinian people, the 50-year occupation and the illegal settlement expansion’.
This CLP therefore calls for:
·         Prof Machover’s expulsion to be immediately rescinded; the letter informing him of his expulsion to be immediately rescinded; and for any allegations against him to be investigated in accordance with due process to take place so that he is given the opportunity to challenge the claims of the Head of Disputes.
·         And further calls on the Labour party to protect the right of members to contribute to the political debate across numerous platforms, without expressing support for other political parties or views contrary to the values of the Labour party.
 

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Barnet campaigners against new school on Green Belt land urge attendance at October 25th Planning Committee

Opponents of plans to build an Ark secondary school on Green Belt land in Barnet are urging residents to attend the Planning Committee on October 25th at the Town Hall.

The item appears to have been added late to the meeting agenda and of course occurs during the Autum half-term holiday which may affect attendance.

The plans are now for a secondary rather than an all-through school and officers are recommending approval. If approved it will be subject to Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London and the Secretary of State.

The conclusion to their report LINK states:

-->
.        17.1 The application seeks permission the comprehensive redevelopment of the site to provide a new 6FE secondary school, accommodating up to 1200 pupils. It is acknowledged that the development represents ‘inappropriate development’ on green belt land and as such is only justified if very special circumstances exist.

.        17.2  Recent appeal decisions from the planning inspectorate have accepted the need for school places can be a very special circumstance which could justify inappropriate development on green belt land. In this case, officers consider that there is an overwhelming and demonstrable need for secondary school places within the borough which is clearly demonstrated within the school places data within this report. The Council’s Education Department have been unequivocal in outlining this need and it is clear that the need for secondary school places is especially pertinent given that it results from an exceptional increase in primary school intake and thus those additional children that will need the secondary school places are already in the school system.

.        17.3  It is important to note that even if the nearby Totteridge Academy were brought up to full capacity then there would still be an overwhelming need for the secondary school places which this development would deliver. In planning terms, further expansion of TTA would not be sequentially preferable to the current proposals given that such development would entail further green belt encroachment as opposed to the current scheme which represents previously developed land.

.        17.4  The special circumstances are reinforced by the lack of alternative sites that are available to facilitate development that could meet the identified need. The sequential assessment carried out in support of the application is considered to be robust and clearly demonstrates that all other sites of an appropriate size are unavailable, unsuitable or unviable with regards to providing a secondary school that would meet the identified need.

.        17.4  The development would not have an unacceptably detrimental impact on the openness of the green belt which is demonstrated by the visual impact assessment submitted by the applicant. The scale and height of the development steps down to integrate with the surrounding development and in this regard it is considered that it would not be visually incongruous within its context.

.        17.5  Subject to conditions, the development would not have an unacceptable impact on the amenity of the surrounding residential occupiers in terms of daylight, sunlight, overshadowing, privacy, outlook or noise.

.        17.6  One of the primary concerns arising from the consultation exercise was the potential for the development to have a detrimental impact on surrounding highway conditions in terms of traffic congestion, traffic safety and parking. In order to mitigate the impact of the development on the surrounding highways, the junctions of the A1000/Underhill and Underhill/Barnet Lane would be remodelled to ease traffic flow. A new right turn lane would be installed at the Underhill/Barnet Lane junction whilst comprehensive remodelling of the A1000/Underhill would allow for two lanes of traffic to travel in each direction which would significantly ease existing capacity problems. The S106 would require a contribution from the applicant towards the cost of the junction works which is commensurate with the level of impact that would arise from the development. The outstanding costs of the junction works would be met by the Council. The junction works would be implemented prior to the occupation of the development. On this basis, it is clear that the proposed highway improvement works would address both existing traffic congestion and the additional traffic impact that would arise from the development. Officers are therefore clearly of the view that there should be no grounds for refusal of the application on highway grounds.

.        17.7  in terms of parking, a parking survey was submitted as part of the Transport Assessment which assessed the projected impact of the development with regards to parking stress on the surrounding streets. Based on the projected modal split, the parking survey demonstrates that there is adequate existing capacity to accommodate any overspill parking not accommodated for within the on-site car park. Nevertheless, the applicant is committed to enter into a School Travel Plan as part of the S106 which would commit them to meeting car use targets. Should these targets not be met then a further parking review would be triggered which may necessitate a CPZ review which would mitigate any additional impact which may arise.

.        17.8  Officers consider that the planning obligations sought through the S106 Agreement would mitigate the impacts of development where necessary.

.        17.9  Having regard to all of the above and making a balanced recommendation, officers consider that the development is acceptable and as such approval of the application is recommended.

.         

19.0 Recommendation: To approve application ref: 17/4840/FUL subject to the conditions and planning obligations outlined and subject to referral to the Mayor of London and the Secretary of State.

Elizabeth House residents told to Evacuate rather than Stay Put in the event of fire


Octavia Housing have updated residents in Elizabeth House, Wembley, on fire precautions at their building.

The most important change, especially in the light of Grenfell, is that they should evacuate in the event of a fire rather than stay put:

CURRENT SITUATION – A CHANGE IN EVACUATION POLICY
On Wednesday 11 October the Fire Brigade visited the building because they have recently reviewed their national approach to buildings that have Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding.
They asked for an updated Fire Risk Assessment in light of their new guidance and we are in the process of collecting the information they now need but in the meantime, as a short term measure, the fire evacuation policy has been changed.
In the event of a fire, residents should leave the building immediately. This is a change from the Stay Put policy that was in place.
While we have been told that this may only be a temporary change, we have visited Elizabeth House to speak to residents and you will have seen letters and posters informing you about this change. We have also increased the numbers of 24/7 fire watch wardens in place. The cost of these additional measures will not be passed on to residents. We are also looking at longer term solutions which may include increased CCTV.
We want to reassure you that we will continue to act upon all advice from the London Fire Brigade or our experts and we will keep you informed.
CLADDING WORKS UPDATE
An approach to replacing the cladding has been agreed with the contractor.
The replacement system needs to be tested in full by the Building Research Establishment (who have been responsible for doing the testing of cladding that has been going on all over the UK over the last few months) before we can start the job of replacing cladding over all the building.
There are a lot of buildings that are affected all over the UK and so there is a wait for tests but in the meantime, we can start a small pilot project to replace cladding at ground floor level and on the communal terraces situated on the ground, 2nd and 10th floors. This will speed up the process for works on the rest of the building when we get the necessary approvals.
Preparation work will be happening from October 2017 to do further tests. We plan to start pilot works in January 2018 and we expect that the rest of the works will start in May/June 2018. These dates may change depending on how quickly the required tests can be done.
VISITS TO PROPERTIES
Following advice received from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) we need to visit every property in Elizabeth House and carry out an inspection. This will enable us to:
   Check resident’s’ ability to evacuate the building independently so that we can inform the Fire Brigade if anyone will need extra assistance.
   Check balconies and flat entrance doors to ensure they are safe and free from fire hazards and flammable materials
   Ensure all residents know how to check their smoke and heat alarms
These visits will begin the week commencing 16 October and will take between 15-30 minutes. If you would like us to visit you at a particular time, please let us know by emailing enquiries@octavia.org.uk or calling our Customer Contact Team on 020 8354 5500. In order to manage the visits, please let us know by 5pm on Friday 20 October. It is vital that we are able to gain access to your property to carry out these important checks. If you are not at home when we visit and would prefer to arrange a convenient time for us to visit again, please contact our Customer Contact Team on 020 8354 5500 or enquiries@octavia.org.uk.

How will we spend £3.1 million Community Infrastructure Levy in Wembley? What about other areas?

CIL available for distribution in each area
The Community Infrastructure Levy (a levy on development projects to provide support to the community) has yielded the following amounts for different areas of Brent:

Harlesden £206k
Kilburn & Kensal £471k
Kingsbury & Kenton £395k
Wembley £3.1m
Willesden £218k

Readers may have their own comments on the different amounts allocated to each area.

Each area has an agreed set of priorities on which the money can be spent:




Brent Council set out the application process:
A scheme will not be funded unless it meets all essential criteria. The shortlisting criteria for projects are as follows:
  • Meets the terms of the CIL Regulations  (2010) as amended
  • Has community backing
  • Supports, and where possible mitigates the impact of, the development of the area
  • Reflects the priorities of the Council & CIL Neighbourhood
  • A one-off scheme that does not require additional revenue funding in its delivery or its operation ( or identifies how additional revenue funding may be met)
  • Benefits the broadest section of the community
  • Offers value for money 

The Head of Planning and Lead Member for Regeneration, Growth, Employment and Skills, will rank all project proposals received for each CIL Neighbourhood by the submission deadline, according to how well they meet the shortlisting criteria, and a shortlist of projects to fund will be agreed. Projects that are not shortlisted will also receive notification and may request feedback on their proposals.
 Applications have to be in by December 1st 2017. The application form can be found HERE.



Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Hopkins lambasts Cricklewood Freight Hub Horror


 Ex-councillor Alison Hopkins has lambasted the plans for a rail freight superhub next to the A5 in Cricklewood.  Today is deadline day for submissions to Barnet Council - go to LINK to make a comment. Please make sure you include your email address on the online form.

Hopkins wrote:

This is a truly appalling plan which will blight the lives of tens of thousands across Barnet and Brent. It is, of course, not planned for the leafy glades where the wealthy live in Barnet, but right on the border with Brent, where the less well off, the ordinary and the down right disadvantaged live, work and go to school. 

As well as the dump already planned on the doorsteps of Dollis Hill, with hundreds of lorries a day, Barnet now plan to impose a polluting miasma of choking dust on us. A few hundred yards from an infants school, NEXT to a college, and behind a supermarket? The A5 is already the most polluted road in London: this adds yet more muck, with more ill health and more early deaths. 

It’s about time Barnet listened not only to its residents, but also to its neighbours.Brent is as badly affected by the mess you are creating all along the A5 - and yet, you do not reply to emails, you spread misinformation at so called consultation meetings and give the nod to appallingly damaging plans like this. 

In summary: this proposal is wholly unacceptable on the grounds of pollution, massive traffic increases and the utterly adverse effect on real people with real lives.

Brent Labour Group punish John Duffy, outspoken Brent councillor - Labour whip removed

Cllr Duffy
In a dedicated meeting of Brent Labour Group held on Monday maverick councillor John Duffy  was deprived of the Labour whip for an indefinite period.

In what one informant described as an ugly meeting reminiscent of a kangaroo court, Duffy was accused of  bullying and bringing the Labour Group into disrepute.

Cllr Butt's allies ensured that a compromise proposal, for a shorter period, was defeated. Duffy's recent criticism of Brent's CEO, Carolyn Downs, appeared to have played a part in the move as well as his revelations concerning Brent's management of its waste services. LINK

Duffy, who was not selected by Labour for the May 2018 elections, has just only six months left as a councillor.

I do hope that this does not prevent Cllr Duffy continuing to speak 'Truth to Power' despite "Power' trying to silence him.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Cllr Duffy launches consultation on improving Brent Council's environmental services


Previously published on Wembley Matters 0 Springtime flytip Chalkhill

Cllr John Duffy (Labour, Kilburn) has returned to the fray over Brent Council's policy on the environment and particularly fly-tipping and littering enforcement.

He is starting a consultation with residents which he says will try and improve environmental services and hopefully stop or change the £35 bulky waste charge and start a schools initiative. All parties are welcome to comment.

He has publicised his initiative on his blog Kilburn Calling LINK and this is an edited version.
In an email to all Brent councillors he says:

Dear All,

I am asking for your input into improving the environmental services available in Brent. I wonder have you a moment  to comment on the issues below.
From my observations Brent Environmental services are often very good, but are very inconsistent and have lacked direction.
It is also clear that the Cabinet continues to waste precious resources and I believe they have no enforcement strategy or are aware of the tactics needed to ensure implementation of an enforcement strategy. The Brent cabinet believe it’s easier to pick the ratepayer’s pocket, than look for solutions. The cabinet have struggled to make environmental enforcement against fly-tipping a priority and relied on unnecessary price increases to cover -up their lack of direction. I find it astonishing that the cabinet continue to Laud over their Zero -tolerance(ZT) policy which waste £100k of precious resources boosting they have issued 6000 FPN ( 99% on fag butts). They do this while concealing  the fact  Fly -Tipping went up by a staggering 32% at the same time.
I am sure I can speak for many resident in Brent when saying if the local police started a ZT policy against burglaries in Brent and arrest 6000 burglars, and at the sometime burglaries when up by 32%. No one would think that was a success most people would call it a failure, however the Cabinet seem to think the opposite.
I believe we need to re-prioritise Brent’s enforcement policy from the sound bite Zero-Tolerance (ZT) into what used to be called Smart Enforcement  which means the policy will be judged by improvements in cleansing out comes (less fly-tipping) not by how many FPNs have been issue.
Enforcement needs co-ordinating of all resources available from the council, the contractor and residents. It is important we seek Value for money to protect and improve the Environment and the cabinet should not treat the residents as a Cash Cow.
The cabinet have continually raised environmental taxes, if you have a Green Bin you pay an extra £20 and an extra £35 for bulky waste collections (allowing for only one collection PA) is £55.That is the equivalent of a 4% rise in council tax this year alone. Some costs are reasonable but other are needless and wasted on paying private contractors to sit outside tube station fining people who drop dog -ends before they get on a train. Instead the cabinet should be investing in a intergrated Environmental Enforcement strategy.
One of the biggest mistake the cabinet made was having no consultation with residents or councillors
What I am suggesting is listed below.I am putting forward these suggestions for consultation with residents. Once  the consultation is complete I hope to gain enough support to call a special meeting of the council in November/December to discuss and implement some of the suggestion and hopefully reconsider the £35 cost for Bulky Waste collections.
ENFORCEMENT AND ANTI  FLY-TIPPING STRATEGY 
(1)      MAPPING    
Firstly we have to analyse the 17000 fly-tips we had last year and remove any duplication, we then have to map the hot spots in each ward (or Village) where the there is consistent fly-tipping dumping.
(2)      SIGNAGE / WARNING LETTERS / ENFORCEMENT NOTICES 
Our no Dumping Signs,Warning/Information letter and Enforcement Notices need overhauling and updated. All information needs to be A (Accurate) B (Brief) C (Clear) with a Direct Enforcement contact email and telephone number should be showing. All correspondence   should seek to be ABC.
(3)      ZONAL IMPROVEMENT PATROL (ZIP)
The government legislation allows us to keep all income we receive from fines, with that income we should fund at least two ZIP team this team will deal with consistent areas of dumping. These teams will be on top of existing officers  and should be self funding via the income from the FPNs. 
All zone one (High streets or roads with a transport hub) with a time -banding collections service should be visited at least twice a week  for inspection and where possible at least one of those should be the week-end where the foot-fall is higher 
(4)      OFFICERS TRAINING
All officers should be generically trained to deal with enforcement. The service over the last year has had the wrong priorities and has been side-tracked away from Fly-tipping have concentrated on Section 87/88 of the EPA (Littering FPN)
Officers should also be trained and use
Section 33 (Depositing waste)
Section 34 (Duty Of Care)
Section 59 (Private Land )
Section 46 (Domestic Bins)
Section 47 (Commercial Bins)
Section 90 (Litter Controls Areas)
or any legislation which has replaced them

This will give Officers the knowledge to deal with a wider range of problems of areas behind shops Neasden, Edgware Road, Hassop Rd and Waterloo passage as some examples.
(5)      Follow -up enforcement
Many of the problems are reoccurring problems. Brent’s officer’s do a good job on their initial visit and clear -up the fly-tips and many issue FPNs to perpetrators. However where they often fail is the follow-up monitoring, it is important we have re- inspections on persistent hot spots and they should be carried out once a week for the first 6 months and once a month for the following 6 months, before the job is signed off. Its is important we do not just temporarily remove the problem, its important we solve the problem.
(6)      Schools and Education 
One of the great failures of the Cabinet and the Labour group is the neglect of environmental education of our young people. Whether it be on issues from graffiti, litter, air - quality or recycling , they have been neglected . This is clearly a wasted opportunity. What I am proposing is a yearly environmental award. This award will paid for by a community chest of say approx £25k PA and will be funded by contractors who have environmental contracts with us. The Brent Environmental Award (BEA)  involve all schools all schools would be sent a Environmental bundle ( litter pickers, tabards, environmental books etc) the older students would become “Brent Environmental Champions” and offered (Environmental) work experience with our contractors or the council along with other rewards and opportunities .The Younger ones would become “Litter Detectives” and learn about their local environment  and how they can improve it. I attach  a poem that was sung by some London schools (including one from Brent) which I produced some time ago.
We need to work with our Head teachers to draw out how the (BEA) can be used in the classroom , schools are also major resource to spread information, to get out anti-littering and fly-tipping and general environmental information out to parents.
(7)      Bulky Waste 
The decision of the cabinet to introduce a cost for a bulky waste collection needs to be reviewed. I believe this decision is bad economics and bad for the environment. It would appear that the decision is purely to raise money and to cover up the inefficient service and the cabinet failure to monitor it. The fact is the residents had already paid for a free service in the street cleansing contract . At a time when fly-tipping is going up by 32% PA, residents need to understand the logic of how this policy will help control fly-tipping or increase income.
(8)      Recycling 
Again this is one of the areas the cabinet have neglected. It was once the holly grail of environment but has been ignored .The council moved from a once a fortnight collection to a once a week collection and the recycling tonnage has hardly increased and overall our tonnage is down. This again is about the cabinet making the environment a priority. Tonnage can be improved by a number of ways, but mostly i believe it by information and reward. We need to analyse the wards that are failing to recycled and target them.
(9)      Street Cleansing.
Street cleansing performance is in my opinion of a good standard, however we need to be more open and have independent surveys  carried out. At the moment we are self-monitoring. The council and the contractor carry out monitoring. Monitoring of our high streets is not done out of hours or at the weekend when the service often fails. I believe we need to employ an independent company like the Tidy Britain Group or another Council to monitor our services and provide us with independent surveys.
As I have said before many of Brent’s services are street cleansing are often good but can be improved. The issue above are some of the areas we can improve in. I would appreciate any input you can put into this If you can reply to CLLR.JOHN.DUFFY@BRENT.GOV.UK. and call the email IMPROVING SERVICES.



Boundary Commission proposals would mean Brent represented by 5 MPs but oly 2 with a majority of Brent wards

The Boundary Commission's proposal for revised parliamentary constituency boundaries were published today. They are unlikely to be approved due to Labour opposition and that of some Tory MPs who would lose outif the proposals were implemented.

If they were to be approved Brent would be represented by five different MPs compared with the current three (Tulip Siddiq, Dawn Butler and Barry Gardiner). Only Wembley and Willesden and Shepherds Bush constituencies would have a majority of Brent wards. Only Wembley would be Brent wards only. Full details HERE


Comments on the proposals have to be made by December 11th 2017. Go to https://www.bce2018.org.uk/