Friday, 30 September 2011

Anthony Hilton, Evening Standard: "The real culprits are the politicians..."

Link to Evening Standard

"Speaking at a conference organised by the Channel Islands Stock Exchange [so marked down somewhat on credibility], Jon Moulton of private-equity firm Better Capital observed tartly that the real 'predator' [described by Ed Milliband] was the Government, and the most damaging short-termists were the politicians. None seemed capable of articulating a long-term vision for the country, never thinking beyond the next election and what had to be done to win it.

"[The previous government] encouraged the voters to take on more private debt and cynically expanded public-sector debt to create a feelgood factor, which they hoped might help them to win the next election and extend their term in office.

"... His fear for the future is that the world's investors will notice that UK government debt was falling neither as far nor as fast as George Osborne said it would, but instead was heading towards 100% of GDP. ... There could be a rude awakening, when overseas investors realise the UK is not the safe haven they had perceived it to be."

Will Hutton, The Observer: "The ailing euro is part of a wider crisis. Our capitalist system is near meltdown"

18 Sept. link:

"A 1930s-style crash threatens us and our financial partners. Collective action is the only solution."

"Capitalism is best conceived and practised, runs the theory, by hunter-gatherer bankers and entrepreneurs owing no allegiance to the state or society.

"This is nonsense. Business and the state co-generate wealth in a system of complex mutual dependence. Markets are beset by mood swings and uncertainty which, if not offset by government action, lead to violent oscillations. Capitalism without responsibility or proportionality degrades into racketeering and exploitation. The prospect of limitless pay is an open invitation to bad, or even criminal, behaviour. Good capitalism cannot happen without referees to blow the whistle or robust frameworks in which markets can function; neither is reliably created by capitalism itself, hence the role of democratic government."

Evening Standard: "Don't treat people like rubbish, warns Pickles"

Link to Evening Standard

"Town halls that fail to bring back a weekly refuse collection will be treating local residents 'as rubbish', Eric Pickles said today.

"The Communities Secretary warned councils after announcing £250million to support weekly collections, rather than fortnightly ones. He was forced to defend the new incentive, however, as green campaigners said it could lead to a slump in recycling."

BBC: "Minister 'means business' on carrier bag levy for Wales"

Link to BBC Wales

"Environment Minister John Griffiths says the Welsh Government 'means business' on the carrier bag levy.

"He said shopkeepers who do not comply will be fined, although a lighter touch will be taken with enforcement in the first three months.

"Shoppers in Wales will be charged at least 5p for single use bags from 1 October. It is the first UK nation to introduce the charge."

Link above for details on Welsh Assembly web site

Link to earlier news item.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Daily Telegraph: "Never mind the global economic collapse: what about plastic bags???"

Link to Daily Telegraph

"Cameron's ultimatum to supermarkets yesterday was perhaps his most cherishable lunacy yet:
"Britain’s biggest supermarkets are today given an ultimatum by the Prime Minister: radically reduce the number of plastic bags you hand out by choice, or I will force you to by law.

David Cameron warns that unless stores deliver ‘significant falls’ over the next 12 months, they could either be banned outright from giving out single-use bags or be legally required to charge customers for them.

The Prime Minister says it is ‘unacceptable’ that the number of single-use carrier bags rose last year by 333 million – a 5 per cent increase from the previous year. Environmental campaigners say the bags, used for only 20 minutes on average, take up to 1,000 years to degrade."

Recycling rate in Tower Hamlets: 88%!

"The London Borough of Tower Hamlets has a recycling rate of 26.4%. Many residents recycle much more than this by living more sustainably. This household has a recycling rate of 88%. 

"Tower Hamlets currently spend £2,317,043 a year on landfill tax, which will increase to £3,861,739 by 2014, if the recycling rate stays the same."

The Guardian: "Sorry, but this trader's banking confession was no prank"

Link to The Guardian

"This week, an insignificant market trader and self-proclaimed financial self-help guru, Alessio Rastani, rocketed to stardom after speaking frankly on the BBC about the collapsing market and his plans to make money from it. We Yes Men heard about it right away, because soon after the broadcast, people started emailing from all over the world to congratulate us on another prank well done. They couldn't imagine that a real trader could possibly speak so candidly about the market, so they assumed Rastani was one of our posturings.

"He wasn't. Rastani is small potatoes, but he's a real trader. And he said nothing that would suggest otherwise; he simply described what he does, more honestly than a true insider would, but quite accurately."

Haringey Journal (2), and Haringey Independent

 (Click on the images to enlarge, and usually again to magnify)

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

PackagingNews: "Plastics recycling breakthroughs unveiled"

Link to PackagingNews

"Wrap has announced that it has identified methods of recycling black plastics, complex laminated plastics, plastic films, and polypropylene (PP) that would typically be destined for landfill.

"Wrap Closed Loop Economy director, Marcus Gover, said:
"There have been, and there are still, barriers to overcome, and Wrap will continue to work closely with the industry to develop these new methods and technologies, so that, in the future, local authorities can offer their residents a way of recycling even more of their plastic packaging.”

Mr Mustard: "Recycling - Will this little initiative really make much difference?"

Link to Mr Mustard

"A new campaign has been rolled out on the roads of Barnet, aimed at raising awareness of the economic benefits of recycling.

"Funded by 'Recycle for London' (RfL), new banners have been added to 10 of Barnet Council’s refuse collection trucks, highlighting how much money residents have saved over the course of the last year.

"... The recycling rate of Barnet isn't 'an excellent achievement'. Recycling 33% of waste against a possible 70% is a diabolical performance. In Barnet Council, it is normal to miss targets by such a wide margin and think it a reason to celebrate."

Another day, another travesty, in Broken Barnet

Link above to 'Broken Barnet'
for Barnet's Cabinet Resources Committee
(don't get too excited)
Mr Reasonable: "The Art of Rubber Stamping - A Barnet Masterclass"

Monday, 26 September 2011

Thursday 29 September: Muswell Hill Sustainability Group meeting

Link to web site
(Leave out the 'www')

8pm on Thursday 29 September 2011

"A lot of people have joined since our last General Meeting, so the agenda takes a broad sweep of current activities, and invites discussion of future projects and requirements, not necessarily in the order below..."

  1. What we do and where we are going: an overview
  2. Membership, newsletter, festivals and fairs
  3. Website
  4. D-I-Y workshops and farm food boxes
  5. The Orchard Meadows project
  6. The Muswell Hill Low Carbon Zone
  7. Pinkham Way
  8. En10ergy and its future projects
  9. What we need from our members.
Email for details of the meeting.

Barnet Times: "Barnet and Enfield environmental group oppose planning law changes"

Link to Barnet Times
"ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners, who fear changes to planning law will create a free-for-all for developers, took to the streets of Enfield on Saturday.

"Members of the Barnet and Enfield Friends of the Earth group explained their concerns to residents and provided them with letters of objection to send to their MPs."

BBC: "Talking bins trial set up in London and Liverpool"

Link to BBC web site

"Famous people could be congratulating you for throwing your rubbish away responsibly in talking bins. The 25 litter bins will be installed in central London in October, and some will be set up in Liverpool.

"If successful, they could become a permanent fixture."

Sunday, 25 September 2011

The Sell-Off of Barnet Council Continues: the short-list

Link to report of 'Broken Barnet'

"As mentioned previously, seven bidders were invited to participate in the dialogue process. We now have four bidders, because three - Avarto UK, CSC Computer Sciences UK and IBM - withdrew prior to their first meeting. (Mrs Angry comment: Oh dear: three bidders dropped out ... was it something we said? Funny about IBM, especially. Is it that One Barnet is really becoming too toxic for some companies to touch? But don't worry: there are still four clients sitting on the sofa, waiting to see what we have to offer their jaded appetites ...)

"The four the Council met with this week are
  • BT, (well f*ck me, who would have thought it?)  
  • Capita, (never!) 
  • HCL Axon consortium (who? Tender fodder? Ah, seems they are awfully keen on SAP systems - you're in luck here in Broken Barnet, friends ...) and 
  • Serco (yawn ... no surprise there ... )  

While the withdrawal of any bidder is regrettable, it is common in competitive dialogue. (Running away as fast their little legs can carry them ...) Their decisions were strongly influenced by the amount of time, commitment and resource that companies have to commit to the competitive dialogue process, and other competing commercial opportunities. (Aha. Mmm. Didn't want to risk their spotless reputations for a night of passion in Broken Barnet.)"

'London Reconnections': Starting to tunnel Crossrail

The future tunnelling site, looking east at Royal Oak, Paddington.
(The Westway viaduct is top left.)
Click above for 'London Reconnections' web site

"Sandwiched between the Westway and the Hammersmith & City Line is Crossrail’s Royal Oak Portal – the point from which central section tunnelling will start in the west, and the point at which trains will enter or leave the tunnelled section."

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

[Reposted] Thursday 22 September: Another NLWA meeting. Plus: From Our June Correspondent

at 3pm

The agenda is here,
and a posting after the meeting is here.

A report about Pinkham Way to the meeting (subtitle: "Blame the Riots"):

This report brings Members up to date on the Authority’s joint planning application with LB Barnet for the development of the Pinkham Way site, and the current planning policy context.
It is recommended that the Managing Director and/or the Planning Adviser are given delegated authority to approve written representations in relation to the remaining stages of the North London Waste Plan process, in consultation with the Chair, and to participate or approve arrangements for others to participate on the Authority’s behalf in the Examination in Public.
(1.1) Members were advised of the general background to the proposed waste facility at Pinkham Way at the last Authority Meeting when it was noted that a planning application had been submitted to Haringey Council but that it had not yet been validated.
(1.2) Further dialogue is on-going with Haringey Council in order to determine the precise next steps that are necessary in order to take the matter forwards. The full and final list of issues to be addressed for validation, and the Authority’s position in relation to these, is still emerging however, so it is not yet possible to provide a clear and definitive picture. The need of the Haringey Council planning team to suddenly re-locate offices as a result of the disturbances in Tottenham has added to the timescales, but it is currently expected that validation may be possible within six to eight weeks.

(1.3) As part of this process the application is being developed into a “hybrid” application such that parts of the development will be in outline (principally the buildings) and other parts will be in detail.

(1.4) Members will be kept up-to-date at future Authority meetings as matters progress.
(2.1) The London Plan has recently been finalised, so the London-wide, regional policy context is now settled.

(2.2) At the sub-regional level, the Pinkham Way site has been identified as suitable for waste use within the proposed submission version of the North London Waste Plan (NLWP), the development plan document for waste in north London. The NLWP is being developed by the seven borough councils in the Authority’s area in their separate capacity as local planning authority for their respective areas.

(2.3) The final round of NLWP public consultation has recently been completed; of particular note within this was the London Mayor’s acceptance of the principle of the use of Pinkham Way for a waste use. [Our emphasis.] The seven boroughs are now finalising the final submission version that will be submitted to the Secretary of State so that a Planning Inspector can conduct an Examination in Public to determine if the NLWP is legally compliant and ‘sound’. Given that the NLWP is due to be submitted to the Secretary of State at the end of October 2011, this will mean that the Examination in Public will be held in February/March 2012, with publication of the Inspector’s Report in May 2012.

(2.4) Haringey Council has expressed concern that determining the Authority’s planning application for Pinkham Way before the NLWP process is complete may lead to claims of prematurity, so the Authority has agreed to a delay in the determination of its application until after May 2012, when the Planning Inspector’s report is due to be published.

(2.5) The Authority has previously made representations to the NLWP consultations and expects to be invited to make written and oral contributions to assist the Examination in Public process and in order to present its views. This is likely to be necessary against deadlines that are not compatible with the normal Authority meeting cycle, so it is recommended that delegated authority is given for this purpose.
(3.1) It is recommended that the Managing Director and/or the Planning Adviser are given delegated authority to approve written representations in relation to the remaining stages of the North London Waste Plan process, in consultation with the Chair, and to participate or approve arrangements for others to participate on the Authority’s behalf in the Examination in Public.
(4.1) The Financial Adviser has been consulted on this report and has notes that the approved budget provides for these activities. However, the budget for the Authority’s planning activities will be reviewed (along with all other financial needs) within the more detailed third budget review that takes place as part of the December Authority cycle.
(5.1) The Legal Adviser has been consulted on this report and has no legal comments to add.
Er, that's it.

 And from the last meeting, on 28 June...

 (The NLWA 'Standard', first edition)

Item 17: Pinkham Way document:

Head of the NLWA, David Beadle, wanted to bring members up to date. "The application was still being validated, and there would be information only at this stage," he said.

Brian Coleman:
"I would like to thank the officers for all their work, and for the excellent Pinkham Way newsletter. I want to encourage officers to dispel the nonsense that has been circulated about the site, and all the nimby politics."
Chair Clyde Loakes:
"I would like to thank David [Beadle] for producing the Pinkham Way leaflet.

"Some issues could have been dealt with a little better." [Ouch!]
Brian Coleman:
"Which MPs have been contacted about Pinkham Way?"
David Beadle:
"All of them [presumably in the seven boroughs]. We organised a meeting, but they didn't all turn up. They are being approached on a one-to-one basis."
The Pinkham Way report was 'noted'.

Item 19: NLWP Report (NWLA submission)

"This follows all our previous responses. We are now mostly concerned about Pinkham Way, household waste recycling centres [drive-in places, open to the pubic], and Edmonton.

"An important matter is the exact definition of 'SRF'.

"We need more time to complete our response."
['SRF' is Solid Recovered Fuel, the main output of Pinkham Wood. The NLWA wants to issue £4-billion-pound contracts for "25 to 35 years", starting with:
  • one of a current NLWA short-list of three companies for the main contract, the output of which is ...
  • 'SRF', which - until now, at least - has been tightly specified. This SRF is then sold to ...
  • one of another three short-listed companies, which will burn (new-style incinerate) the stuff.
Possibly, the SRF specification is 'evolving', to allow non-incineration disposal (for instance, certain treated SRF can be land-filled, since it creates virtually no methane, or can be used for structural (even load-bearing) landscaping, and for road material).

Or, it could be that the NLWA wants to protect itself, in case it awards the same company both contracts. Why bother, it maybe thinks, to exactly define the intermediate SRF?

It is probably for another reason. Anyway, we cannot penetrate the NLWA bureaucracy to know, and we have to rely on the colour of the smoke coming from the Edmonton incinerator.]


Brian Coleman [about Pinkham Way]: 
"We should stop politicians getting on bandwagons. It is usually the LibDems. Now it is my own party."


Going Places:
Councillor Melvin Cohen (Barnet):
"Why does it say this here ... and yet here it says ... ?"
[He was querying an obscure point in one of the documents, which he is told is "a mistake", and will be changed. Obviously he is the only NLWA member to have bothered to read it.]
Out of Sorts:
Councillor Clyde Loakes (Waltham Forest):
"... Thank you for [a particular] remark; it helps maintain what is left of my political career!"
[On the other hand, which political heavyweight does 'The Guardian' turn to, on Thursday 30 June? "Clyde Loakes, vice-chair of the Local Government Association's environment board, said: 'Organisations have the right to issue leaflets, but street leafleting could lead to heavy amounts of littering, costing councils a great deal of money to clear up. This would be detrimental to areas, and lead to a poorer quality of life for residents'."]

or link to HOME (see all posts).

The Guardian: "The new Met chief ... had made a gross misjudgement"

Link to The Guardian

"The new commissioner of the Metropolitan police is barely in his post, and already he has been forced into a screaming, rubber-burning U-turn of an order that takes most holders of public office years to achieve. If he had been in the job much longer, he would probably now be fending off demands that he leave it. For the Met's pursuit – halted dramatically this evening – of a Guardian reporter for the crime of revealing the truth about the phone-hacking scandal, coupled with its abuse of a law designed to safeguard national security, represented a misjudgment so gross, it should have counted as a sacking offence.

"... The Met should realise the damage it has inflicted on itself. Morale at Scotland Yard is said to be lower than at any time since the Stephen Lawrence inquiry; apparently the force feels humiliated. Perhaps this fed a desire for revenge against the newspaper that dragged its failings into daylight. But the attempt to hound reporters in this way will have only weakened the Met's reputation further, entrenching its image as the outsourced security department of News International, jealously guarding that company's secrets and lashing out at those who break them."

Link to previous post.

Barnet Residents Forum and the Temple of Doom

A report from the pen of Mr Mustard ...
"Mr Mustard had not been to the Friern Barnet 'All Saints Arts Centre' before, and was looking forward to it. He had visions of it being like the Old Bull Theatre, but more modern somehow.

"... [Eventually Council Officers] did appear, and found some chairs, and set up some tiny uncomfortable chairs in a filthy, dark (no-one knew where the light switch was) junk-filled room. ...

"... Finally the meeting was over.  Hurrah. Then Julian Silverman told everyone that the next meeting was at the Greek-Cyprio Centre in Britannia Rd N12, on 4 October at 7pm, and you can ask what you like and have an unrestricted discussion. Cllr Salinger looked really confused at this point, and turned for guidance to the Democratic Services Officer on her left for guidance, but none was forthcoming. That's because it's the Alternative Residents Forum, Councillor - you really should keep your ear closer to the ground. It has been organised by the 'Barnet Alliance for Public Services', as they want to debate 'One Barnet' and other matters. You are welcome to go along, and see what it is about. Mr Mustard hopes to. It is nothing to do with Mr Mustard, who is completely independent of any organisation, and has his own agenda."

A report from the quill of Mr Reasonable ...
"After last night, it is apparent that Barnet Council have stepped up their campaign to destroy democracy in Barnet. Well guys, we are made of sterner stuff. Your tactics will not work.

"... The Chipping Barnet residents forum was held at the All Saints Centre on Oakleigh Road North. ... 'Perhaps it’s been cancelled,' another lost resident said. With not a single sign, and a hall full of young children practising judo, that was a very natural conclusion to come to. ... The elderly gentleman and I hobbled our way down the alley, crutches at the ready through a well-hidden door. Now I know the Council is hard up, but frankly I was shocked that they felt this venue was suitable. Dingy, dirty and difficult to negotiate, it was completely unsuitable as an accessible venue.

"... A run through the follow-up from last time, and we were finished. A thoroughly unsatisfactory meeting. No, we couldn’t ask about many of the things that really bother people in Barnet. The cut to services for the elderly, the problems with personal care budgets, the huge risks associated with One Barnet outsourcing, the profligate waste on consultants. No, they are dangerous questions and must never be talked about."

A report from the keyboard of Mrs Angry ...
"The irresistible attraction of this event, of course, was that it was being held at the All Saints Arts Centre, the lair of naughty banner-snatching vicar, and chum of Brian Coleman, the Reverend Adrian Benjamin.

"Most of the residents who arrived for the Forum never found the place, and would not have been able to fit in anyway. Hats off: confuse the enemy - a brilliant strategy for further discouragement of engagement of the electorate with the democratic process. Mr Pickles would be so proud.

"The next Forum, we understand, is being held in a phone box in an undisclosed location, in the middle of the night: residents will just have to guess where. Frankly, it makes no difference if any residents attend or not: no real issues are allowed to be discussed, after all, and any important decision has already been made.

"Mrs Angry's attention, always easily distracted when statistics are trotted out, noted that out of the gloom now emerged a familiar white-bearded figure in a long gown. No, it wasn't Father Christmas: it was Father Adrian Benjamin. The desperate tapping from the banner cupboard immediately ceased. Rather fittingly, as we were debating the merits or otherwise of low levels of lighting, the Rev. decided to turn a few switches on, and dispell some of the gloom in the room. 'And the Lord said, let there be light, and there was light' said Mrs Angry, rather more loudly than she intended. Father Benjamin chortled, and waved jazz hands about like an old trouper."

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Talking about bad smells, over at Barnet Council ...

Link to Mrs Angry's 'Broken Barnet' tales of woe

(There are many previous postings from Mrs Angry about the Metpro affair. The picture is of last year's 'Friern Barnet Summer Show', where strangely, the Mayor of Barnet's limo was escorted by a security company that has been given £1.4-million pounds by Barnet Council over five years, without any sort of contract.)

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Police Stupidity: "Official Secrets Act to force Guardian journalists to reveal Milly Dowler hacking source"

(Previous Stupidity: cartoon courtesy of The Times)

Daily Telegraph:
"Phone hacking: Guardian journalists told to reveal Milly Dowler hacking source"

"Journalists who helped to expose the phone hacking story could be forced to disclose their sources after the Metropolitan Police said it would seek a court order under the Official Secrets Act.

Link to Daily Telegraph
"The Guardian newspaper last night accused Scotland Yard of launching a 'vindictive and disproportionate' attack on journalism and said it would resist the “extraordinary demand” to the utmost.

"The Metropolitan Police is currently running two inquiries into allegations of phone hacking by the News of the World and claims of corrupt relationships between reporters and police officers."

"Tom Watson, a Labour MP and member of the culture, media and sport select committee, said:
“It is an outrageous abuse and completely unacceptable that, having failed to investigate serious wrongdoing at the News of the World for more than a decade, the police should now be trying to move against The Guardian which exposed this scandal.”

The Guardian:
"Threat to press freedom"

Link to The Guardian
"The latest threat to press freedom comes not as a result of the crimes of News of the World journalists, but from the foolishness of police officers charged with investigating those crimes. They have reached for the blunderbuss of the Official Secrets Act (1989) in a misguided attempt to obtain access to the sources of the information about the hacking of Milly Dowler obtained by Guardian journalists in their coverage of the scandal.

"... If the attorney general is inhibited from acting, and the police refuse to take advice from the DPP, then the matter will proceed to court. The journalists may be faced with the unhappy dilemma of having to consider whether to destroy their notes, were the court to [rule against them]. If they have promised their source(s) confidentiality, no doubt they will do so, and go to jail for contempt of court. 

"That will be an ironic tribute to the stupidity of Scotland Yard – a police service that fails to investigate criminal hackers, but puts in jail the journalists who exposed them."

Friday, 16 September 2011

Tuesday 20 September: Barnet Residents Forum Meeting

Link to Barnet council web site

Tuesday, 20 September, 6pm
All Saints Arts Centre, 122 Oakleigh Road North, London N20 9EZ

A reminder of Barnet democracy, from 4 July, is here.

15 Sept: 'Broken Barnet' web site:
"Residents Forum:
A farce - and in your face"

Link to 'Broken Barnet'

"... A local resident, let's call him Ray, stood up now to speak, with real feeling, about the use of Barnet parks for events, and the scandalous fact that charges were not waived for the abandoned Finchley Carnival.

"Mr Richardson, who had listened to the comments of Mrs Angry and of the Carnival organiser, in regard to the inequality of treatment given to Friern Barnet Summer Show and to Finchley Carnival, suggested he would investigate the matter, and respond in writing.

"When you investigate the matter, asked Mrs Angry, there is another issue I would like you to consider ... Is there not a potential conflict of interest in the fact that the Cabinet member for the Environment, Councillor Brian Coleman, is also the chair of directors of the Friern Barnet Summer Show, which allegedly had its charges waived?

"Ah. Silence, and an inscrutable expression of the face of Mr Richardson. Well, we look forward to the written reply to that one, don't we, citizens?"

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

The Guardian: "Shortlisted designs for a new generation of electricity pylons"

Plug into 'The Guardian'

"Scale models by six finalists in a competition to imagine what Britain's new electricity pylons might look like have gone on display at the V&A as part of the London Design Festival

"With more than 88,000 pylons in the UK and a need for new transmission infrastructure, the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Department of Energy and Climate Change and National Grid called on architects, designers, engineers and students to come up with designs that balanced energy needs and visual impact."

Daily Telegraph: "Slop buckets don't smell, finds survey - but users fail to cut food waste"

Link to Daily Telegraph

"As part of their ‘zero waste’ policy, the Coalition want food waste to be converted into energy, rather than dumped in landfill. In some council areas this will mean introducing separate food waste collections. It is also claimed that forcing people to collect food scrap separately will make them realise how much is wasted.

"However, the poll of more than 1,000 houses found no significant difference in the perception of the amount of food thrown away, between respondents with a food waste collection and those without. 

"Julian Kirby, FOE waste campaigner, insisted people do throw away less when slop buckets are brought in – but because they do not monitor the amount of waste thrown in the bin before, they do not notice the difference."

[Reposted] Thursday 15 September: Bounds Green & District Residents’ Association AGM

"The fight for Pinkham Wood is probably the most serious issue to be faced by Bounds Green residents in a generation!

"However supportive one might be towards the problems associated with the disposal of London’s waste, it is hard to understand how anybody could possibly think it acceptable to place a huge waste processing plant, possibly the largest in Europe, in the middle of a residential community in North London. 

"Of course, the behaviour of the people behind this monstrous plan clearly demonstrates that they are fully aware of the absurdity of their proposals. The senior management of the North London Waste Authority refuses to attend public meetings.   

"The Board of the North London Waste Authority (including elected representatives from Haringey Council) happily sought planning permission for Pinkham Wood before the democratically constituted government public enquiry has considered the suitability of Pinkham Wood as a site. This is all ample evidence of the unthinking, uncaring attitude of those in whom we have placed our trust, that they will manage our civic affairs with care and consideration.

"Perhaps most telling of all is the contempt with which we have all been treated.  

"Despite, we understand, a number of meetings between the NLWA and Haringey planners, the NLWA has submitted a deficient outline planning application, which the Haringey planners are struggling to validate. Weeks after its submission, the NLWA appears not to have been able to satisfactorily answer the Haringey planners questions, even though it has had years to prepare its submission.  "One is left with the impression that the NLWA is a hugely arrogant organisation, which has demonstrated its incompetence at the first hurdle. How we can expect the NLWA to properly manage and control an international waste operator, highly experienced with billions of global revenues, when it cannot even submit a simple planning application properly! 

"Notwithstanding the recent success in convincing Haringey Council, Barnet Council and the NLWA to pause the outline planning application until after the public enquiry, the threat of this plant remains very high, and the local community must remain vigilant, and ready to take the next steps towards defeating this monstrous plan. 

"We urge you to come to the Bounds Green & District Residents’ Association AGM – see details below – and get an update on the situation. We hope to see ward councillors from both Bounds Green Ward and Alexandra Ward – so come and meet your local representatives. Non-members also are very welcome."
Bounds Green and District Residents’ Association
Annual General Meeting
Thursday 15th September 2011, 8pm
Scout Park, Gordon Road, N11 2PB

Evening Standard: "Architects float walkway plan"

Link to Evening Standard

"A futuristic floating walkway is set to be built on the Thames in time for the Olympics.

"The walkway would be in two sections, between Millennium Bridge and Southwark Bridge and between Cannon Street railway bridge and Tower Bridge."

BBC: "Trains are a rich man's toy, says transport secretary"

Link to BBC web site

"British railways are a 'rich man's toy', Transport Secretary Philip Hammond has told MPs.

"He said it was an 'uncomfortable fact' that trains were already used by the better-off, and said some fares were 'eye-wateringly expensive'.

"Commuter season tickets are set to rise by about 8% on average next year - an above-inflation increase, which is part of the government's plan to reduce the cost of the rail network to the public purse.

"Stephen Joseph, of the 'Campaign for Better Transport' said: 
"Philip Hammond's description of rail fares as 'eye-watering' must lead the minister to reconsider the steep fare rises currently planned by government.

Far from being simply 'a rich man's toy', trains are also vital for many of those on more moderate incomes who need to get to work, and the government will price many off the railways, if it carries on with its plan to increases rail fares at three per cent above inflation over the next few years."

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Tuesday 13 September: Enfield Council Area Forum

Bowes, Palmers Green and Southgate Green Area Forum 
Tuesday, 13th September, 2011, 7.30pm
Bowes Church, Palmerston Road, N22 8RA

(picture: Christine Matthews)
Items on the agenda include:
  1. Pinkham Way waste processing development
  2. Southgate Town Hall redevelopment proposals
  3. Notting Hill Housing Trust building and refurbishment plans
  4. The August riots/disturbances: an invitation has been extended to Superintendent David Tucker.

Pinkham Way application on hold
Tuesday 19 July 2011

The submission of a plan to build a waste processing plant in Pinkham Way has been put on hold, following intervention by Haringey Council. Haringey Council has lobbied the North London Waste Authority about the lack of detail in its current proposals.

The council also argued for consultation on the plan to happen once an independent planning inspector has tested the detail of the wide-ranging waste plan for north London.

The NLWA has agreed to the council’s demands, which will see them now submit a detailed planning application for consultation with residents, and consideration by the council’s planning committee after the inspector reports in April 2012.

Councillor Alan Strickland, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Social Inclusion, Haringey Council has promised to hold a far-reaching and thorough consultation programme, once the planning application has been validated and lodged. He said: 
“We’re determined to ensure we have a fair, open and transparent process, based on good quality information. We’re pleased the NLWA has responded to our lobbying on this.

We’ll run an extended consultation with exhibitions and public forums in Haringey, Enfield and Barnet to make sure everyone is fully informed. I’ll be working closely with all councillors to make sure residents are kept up-to-date with what's being proposed, and I will ensure that all voices are heard.”

The full agenda is here.

"Who chairs the meetings?
They are always chaired by a local Ward Councillor.
What gets discussed?
Councillors and local public bodies inform and consult on local issues including those raised in previous Forums. You have an opportunity to speak to them on issues related to improving your local area.
How many people attend?
On average 20 - 25 people attend each Area Forum. However, meetings of up to 60 people are not uncommon - the more the merrier.
Do the make a difference?
They can make a very real difference. All manner of local concerns on issues ranging from traffic lights to pot holes have been addressed over the last few years as a direct result of being raised in an Area Forum.
Why do your Councillors think Area Forums are important?
'This is a good opportunity to meet your Councillors and raise issues directly with them. I value the opportunity offered by the forums, as one way to get resident feedback and help me take up the issues that really matter to local people.'
'The Forum is a great opportunity to hear residents' views, and for them to get straight answers from Councillors and Council Officers. I've lost count of the number of local issues that have been raised, and successfully resolved, through my own Forum.'

So come along and get your voice heard. For further details please call Democratic Services on 020 8379 5119 or email:"
Councillors for these wards are:

Minutes of the June 2011 meeting are here.    

Minutes of the March 2011 meeting are here, including a presentation by the North London Waste Authority:
"The North London Waste Authority (NLWA) manages the disposal of almost one million tonnes of waste every year across seven north London Boroughs – Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington and Waltham Forest.
Almost a million tonnes of waste is produced in north London every year and this figure was rising. By 2020 it is estimated that up to 44% more waste, per year, would be generated.
Currently 30% of this waste is recycled; the rest is either incinerated or goes to landfill which is both expensive and damaging to the environment.
The NLWA has recognised that it needs to deal with its waste more effectively, both from an environmental and an economic perspective; prioritising waste prevention, recycling, composting and recovery over sending waste to landfill.
In partnership with its constituent boroughs the NLWA is seeking to achieve:
  • A 50% recycling and composting rate by 2020
  • A reduction in the amount of waste sent to landfill to 35% (of 1995 amounts) by 2020
  • Recovery of energy from 31.5% of rubbish by 2015
The NLWA is currently undertaking a competitive procurement process for waste services, which will shape the way in which they provide modern sustainable waste management solutions in the NLWA area. This procurement process includes the need for the Authority to identify and procure sites for new waste facilities within the north London area. The Former Sewage Treatment Works (Pinkham Way) Friern Barnet Treatment was identified for waste use.
The Pinkham Way site will receive and manage around a third of the waste currently produced in north London, but will be capped at 300,000 tonnes per year. The waste will generally be delivered from the collection rounds in Barnet, western Haringey and western Enfield. Waste from the other north London boroughs will be delivered to the NLWA's other sites.
A copy of the planning application will be made available on the NLWA and London Borough of Barnet's websites.
This was followed by a question and answer session:
In response to residents’ concerns in respect to possible odours and noise disturbance, David Beadle reassured attendees that the waste facility at Pinkham Way will be fully enclosed, with no sorting, recycling or treatment of waste in the open air, thereby dealing with noise and odour from operations. The buildings will be fitted with a complete air management system that includes filtration for managing odour and the site will comply with all required environmental standards.
In terms of traffic flow, a traffic assessment would be carried out. It was envisaged that the additional vehicle movements would only add a very small percentage to the number already using the road network in the area. Results of the traffic assessment would be indentified in the planning application.
In response to a query about the planning history of the proposed site, it was advised that Pinkham Way was previously used as the Friern Barnet Sewage Works in the 1960s and has remained empty and derelict since.
Further concerns were raised with regards to odour, noise and air quality. David Beadle advised that the Environment Agency and Haringey Council would regulate the operation of the site to ensure it complied with all relevant regulations. Prior to operation of the site, a range of detailed conditions would have to be agreed with Haringey Council (as the local planning authority) and a site management plan would have to be agreed with the Environment Agency. The operator would be required to comply with all these conditions."

These NLWA minutes seem to have been massaged somewhat; our own posting at the time is here (click on the picture below).  

Monday, 12 September 2011

Boundary Commission proposals leaked: Barnet unchanged; Enfield Bowes Ward moves to Hornsey and Wood Green

Link to document

"We are consulting on our initial proposals for a 12-week period, from 13 September 2011 to 5 December 2011. We encourage everyone to use this opportunity to contribute to the design of the new constituencies – the more public views we hear, the more informed our decisions will be when analysing all the views we receive. 

"38. In Haringey, we noted that the Hornsey and Wood Green constituency could be left unchanged, but in order to accommodate changes elsewhere, we propose to include one ward (Stroud Green) in the Tottenham constituency. We also propose to include one Enfield ward (Bowes) from the existing Enfield, Southgate constituency in the Hornsey and Wood Green constituency. 

"39. In Enfield, we noted that the borough was too large for two constituencies. We propose an Enfield Southgate constituency containing eight wards from the centre and west of the borough, including two (Bush Hill Park and Haselbury) from the existing Edmonton constituency. We also decided to create an expanded Enfield North constituency containing eight wards, including one (Ponders End) from the existing Edmonton constituency. 

"43. In Barnet, we noted that two of the three existing constituencies had electorates within 5% of the electoral quota. We do not propose to alter either the Chipping Barnet or Hendon constituencies. To increase the electorate of the Finchley and Golders Green constituency, we propose to include one Camden ward (Fortune Green)."

The Guardian: "First nappy recycling plant to open in UK"

Link to The Guardian

"Knowaste said the first site in West Bromwich will use state-of-the-art technology to recycle absorbent hygiene products (AHPs), sterilising and separating the materials to recover plastic and fibre that can then be used for making new products, such as roof tiles or plastic components and fibre based construction and commercial tubes. 

Roy Brown, chief executive officer of Knowaste, said: 
"This first site in West Bromwich represents the beginning of a £25m overall investment in the UK, that will produce capacity for handling about a fifth of the AHP waste stream - equating to a saving of 110,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year."

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Independent on Sunday: "Coalition braced for boundaries revolt - MPs may mutiny over changes to constituencies"

Link to Independent on Sunday

"David Cameron and Nick Clegg are braced for a collapse in coalition discipline, when dozens of MPs learn this week that their constituencies are to be axed.

"The redrawing of parliamentary boundaries, which will cut the number of MPs from 650 to 600, will ignite a political storm tomorrow, with government whips fearing that the prospect of being kicked out of the Commons could lead some MPs into rebellion for the next three years.

"MPs will be briefed on the plans tomorrow, before they are published officially by the Boundary Commission on Tuesday."

Saturday, 10 September 2011

The Guardian: "Ministers accused of 'hypocrisy' over relaxation of planning regulations"

Link to The Guardian

"All the government ministers pushing through a controversial relaxation of planning regulations have opposed developments in their own constituencies.

"The Guardian revelations leave the chancellor, George Osborne, and Eric Pickles and his ministers in the Department for Communities and Local Government accused of 'breathtaking hypocrisy' for saying major changes to planning laws are vital to boost economic growth and ease the shortage of homes, while fighting such developments in their own backyards."

In August 2010, Osborne was the first of 25,000 people to sign a petition against an energy-from-waste plant in his Cheshire constituency. He is also honorary president of a campaign against a second local incinerator.

Pickles, the secretary of state for communities and local government, also campaigned against a waste facility, a composting site at Stondon Massey in his Essex constituency, saying approval would 'open the doors for our county to become the waste dump for the south-east'.

Plus: "Planning policy minister faces strong opposition from Tory heartlands"

Greg Clark must win over his Tunbridge Wells
constituency, where councillor warns 
shift in planning law is 'political suicide'