Monday, 30 April 2012

Barnet Bugle: "Andrew Dismore on his soap box in Friern Barnet, making final plea for votes"

Link to video

"Labour's GLA candidate for Barnet & Camden, Andrew Dismore makes a final, impassioned plea for votes from the left and right to 'kick out Brian Coleman'.

He refers to Daily Telegraph polling, showing he could be just 1% ahead of Brian Coleman:

'Barnet Eye' Exclusive Video: Interview with A. M. Poppy, Green Party Candidate for Barnet and Camden GLA

Also link to:

Chris Richards, LibDem GLA candidate, on Pinkham Way

(Chris Richards is the Liberal Democrat candidate for Barnet and Camden for the May 2012 London Assembly elections)

Pinkham Way waste disposal plant plans

"A number of local residents have contacted me about plans for a new waste plant on greenfield land at Pinkham Way N10. My colleague in neighbouring Enfield and Haringey Dawn Barnes has been campaigning hard against the plans, and I echo her criticisms and disapproval of the scheme, which are not thought through.

"In October, Lib Dem Mayoral Candidate Brian Paddick and Caroline Pidgeon Leader of the Lib Dems on the London Assembly visited the site, to hear from local residents about their key concerns. If local residents had been properly consulted, then it would have been clear that there is widespread opposition to this site.

Brian Paddick said:
"These proposals will put a massive waste factory in the middle of a community – on the doorstep of people’s homes and local schools. The planned location of the waste disposal plant threatens the health of local Londoners and will generate more than 1,100 additional vehicle journeys a day through one of the busiest junctions in London. Air pollution is the second biggest killer in London and these plans would see more traffic fumes, noise and smells from the factory 24-hours-a-day."
This area is clearly an inappropriate location for a waste disposal plant, and proper consultation of local residents would have demonstrated concerns. I and my Lib Dem colleagues will continue to oppose these plans, and fight for the interests of local people.

Growth of The Cycling Lobby! "10,000 brave the rain to tell politicians London is ready for a Dutch-style cycling revolution"

Link to London Cycling Campaign

"A herd of zebras, a boatful of sailors in oilskins, a pack of bandits on bikes, along with hundreds of families and children waving flags and balloons helped make the 10,000-strong Big Ride a spectacular success, sending a powerful message to the capital’s and the country’s politicians.

"The massive crowd, representing every age and background, braved at-times atrocious weather to be part of the UK’s largest-ever bike ride, supporting safer streets for cycling, organised by the London Cycling Campaign."

Link to videos, via Brent Cross Coalition web site:
"Cyclists: Henlys Corner and the Crossing of Doom

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Bowes Labour representation to North London Waste Plan Hearing

(starting Tuesday 12 June 2012)

Representation regarding
“Main Matter 4: Sites (Policy 2)",
"Specific sites",
"Pinkham Way"

Question: "To consider the assessment of the Site, including the scoring and whether there would be conflicts with neighbouring uses, the access arrangements, visual intrusion, air quality and whether the Site would meet the tests set out in Policy 2 for non-allocated sites"

Specific focus: Air quality
Councillor Alan Sitkin,
On behalf of Bowes ward Labour Councillors (link)

"The basis for our argument as to the Plan’s lack of soundness in its current form lies in the effects of additional traffic on the North Circular Road, if the Pinkham Way facility were to be implemented.

"There are already air quality problems in the area, as indicated on, which compiles data from the Bowes Primary School local monitoring station. Current statistics for 2012 indicate, for instance, that pollution levels this year already do not comply with the 'Government’s Air Quality Strategy Objectives', in relation to the annual mean for nitrogen oxide emissions.

"Non-compliance with this indicator, or in terms of PM10 particulate emissions, has also been observed in past years, with a certain number of days attaining 'high' pollution levels for [one or other] of these categories.

"Moreover, Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee affirmed on 11 November 2011, in relation to these very same Government standards, [stated] that they are already:
“putting thousands of lives at risk by trying to water down EU air quality rules instead of prioritising action to cut pollution on UK roads.”
"Adding several hundred daily vehicle journeys to this stretch of the North Circular Road necessarily augments these emission levels, and endangers the health of local residents. It would also put West Enfield’s air quality performance in a state of non-compliance with European standards in this area.

Pinkham Way (next to North Circular Road)

"Note that this same problem of air quality along the North Circular applies not only if the Pinkham Way proposal goes ahead, but also if the NLWP’s current alternative, namely, adding to the volume of waste treated at the Edmonton Eco-Park, were to be implemented. This is because the route that pollution-generating waste delivery vehicles would follow to deliver the extra waste to Edmonton involves the same stretch of the North Circular Road. Indeed, adding to the number of deliveries to Edmonton would also endanger the health of residents in the Eastern part of Bowes ward.

Edmonton (next to North Circular Road)

"It is for this reason that the Bowes Labour argument has always been that neither Pinkham Way nor Edmonton are acceptable sites for expanded waste processing facilities. Moreover, choosing one or the other would be inequitable, insofar as both options create further health risks for residents living in or around Enfield, even as other boroughs that are members of the North London Waste Authority would remain exempt from such damages.

Geron Way, next to A5 Edgware Road
(part of multiple site, and can be taken
to mean 'Staples Corner' in the text)

"It is our contention that the option of locating expanded waste facilities elsewhere in NLWA member boroughs must be revisited, and that a serious disregard for Enfield residents was committed when the current shortlist of potential sites was finalized in 2009. Our understanding, for instance, is that London Borough of Barnet might have sufficient room to accommodate the new plant, if no longer at Staples Corner, then further north. This would also be compatible with the principle that all producers of waste must accept responsibilty for its treatment."

Bowes Labour statement, Thursday 26 April:

Daily Mail: "Scientists successfully test engine for Skylon craft that can fly anywhere in four hours"

Link to Daily Mail

"The 270ft Skylon spaceplane would take off and land from a conventional runway, but fly 18 miles above the ground and out of the Earth's atmosphere at five times the speed of sound.

"Critical tests are now being carried out to make sure the Sabre engine - a hybrid that can operate like a normal jet engine but then switch to rocket mode - is faultless before its developers, Reaction Engines Limited (REL) based in Culham, Oxfordshire, can unveil it at the Farnborough International Air Show."

[Reposted from October] Two faces of Barnet politicians: one face Brent Cross, the other Cat Hill

Adapted from an item on the web site of Barnet's 'Mr Mustard':
"Move along now - no hypocrisy to see here! or nimbyism?"

"There is a proposed development by Middlesex University of their Cat Hill Campus, in the London Borough of Enfield. Here it is; it looks like a reasonable use of the space." [Link to Cat Hill campaign web site.]

 "[Yet] this massive Brent Cross development [below, already approved by Barnet Council] will cause horrible traffic congestion, and make Barnet a much less green borough."

"Barnet Cabinet Member, Councillor Robert Rams, commented,
“This development will have a huge impact on our residents. These proposed tower blocks are not in keeping with our community, and will put a huge strain on our services and roads.”
Which project was he referring to?

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Pop-up Friern Barnet Library, every Sat, 11 till 1: Pictures from today

Fox Lane & District RA: "Pinkham Way – extracts from article in Private Eye"

Link to Fox Lane and District Residents' Association web site

"The following extracts are taken from an article entitled 'Incinerators – Feel the Burn' on page 30 of the most recent Private Eye (6th -19th April):
"With dozens of new incinerators poised to appear all over Britain, why is the UK so far behind the United States in concern over possible health risks to the public? ..."
"... [There are] many reasons why we feel that, as an Association, we should support the Pinkham Way Alliance, along with many other concerned residents and organisations, against the proposal for an incinerator* at Pinkham Way."

[* More accurately, an incinerator-fuel production plant.]

BBC: "London bike rally bids to make cycle safety an election issue"

Link to BBC web site

"More than 5,000 cyclists have taken part in a rally aimed at persuading London's mayoral candidates to ensure roads are safer for those on bicycles.

"The four-mile Big Ride, through central London, was organised by the London Cycling Campaign (LCC).

"It wants the mayoral candidates to sign up to the 'Love London, Go Dutch' idea, which hopes to make the capital as safe for cycling as it is in Holland."

Friday, 27 April 2012

Saturdays: Visit the Pop-up Friern Barnet Library!

gif animator

"Your FBL Library Group kindly request your attendance for a morning of fun filled with games, laughter and book swaps and more, on the Green next to FBL, on Saturday 28th April, between 11am and 1pm.

"Our good friends at the BBC1 One Show will also be popping down to film our event, so we all look forward to a great day and welcome everybody!

"Why not bring a fun banner? Bring a book? Come in and join in the fun."

Thursday, 26 April 2012

"Giant toxic fire at North London Waste Plant, next to main-line railway to the north" (No. Just saying, just saying,...)

Link to DEMOTIX web site

"Scrapyard fire on Scrubs lane, next to Willesden Junction station. 40 firemen, 8 firetrucks needed. The blaze started at 2:50pm and kept going for over 5 hours."

Barnet Press

(Click on image above to enlarge.) 
Link to Barnet Press web site.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

The Independent: "Cameron can't easily dismiss the toxic trail to Murdoch's bid"

Link to web site

"We are living through a very British revolution. In the messy transition from one era to the next, the old familiar policies and strategies do not work any longer.

"... Normally I am wary of calling for cabinet ministers to resign. I supported Theresa May and Ken Clarke during recent media frenzies, but the emails and texts between Hunt's office and News International's well-respected Public Affairs figure are damning. 

"I can only assume that Mr Cameron declares effusive support for Jeremy Hunt, because he knows better than anyone that the Culture Secretary was delivering precisely what he had asked for, a grateful Murdoch empire."

North London Today: "Waste plant opposition chief vows to galvanise community"

Link to North London Today

"THE chairman of a campaign group opposed to the building of a waste plant in Pinkham Way, New Southgate, is determined to bring together the community ahead of a crucial meeting.

Bidesh Sarkar, who chairs the Pinkham Way Alliance, has told the Advertiser that in the run-up to the North London Waste Plan’s (NLWP) public hearing in June on the issue of building the plant on the border of Enfield, campaigners will be 'fundraising, raising community awareness and consulting scientific experts about alternatives to this plan'.

"The current proposals are to build a factory at the site which will make bricks [bricks?] from waste material, to burn at an incinerator elsewhere."

Recycling Wars prequel: "Episode III: Revenge of the Sheep"

Link to WRAP Wales (PDF report)

"This report examines the relative merits of the options that are available to local authorities in Wales for the collection and sorting of dry recyclable materials. The central focus of the work is around the long-running debate on the relative performance of co-mingled, two-stream and kerbside sort dry recycling collection systems in relation to the Welsh Assembly Government’s sustainability objectives."

"A key objective of Towards Zero Waste, the overarching waste strategy document for Wales, is for 70% of household waste to be recycled by 2025. This objective will be underpinned by statutory recycling targets for individual local authorities. 

"In this context, ... consultants were commissioned by WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) on behalf of the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) to examine the relative merits of different dry recycling collection systems in relation to WAG’s sustainability objectives. 

"The study considered co-mingled, two-stream and kerbside sort collection systems, taking account of the overall financial, environmental and social impacts associated with each collection system. It is WAG’s intention that the findings of this research should inform the policy framework, within which local authorities will deliver the major changes to their services that will be required in order for 70% recycling to be achieved."

Recycling Wars: "Co-Mingling Strikes Back"

Link to WYG web site (PDF file)

"The debate [about] different recycling systems is still often based upon prejudice and the spreading of misinformation. WYG hopes that this report will provide further evidence for those who wish to participate in the debate on the basis of fact.

"... WYG believes that it is entirely the choice of local authorities as to which recycling system they choose to operate. WYG is interested only in assisting local authorities to improve service performance within affordable budgets. ... WYG continues to support local authorities in their endeavours to improve performance, and works with authorities that use kerbside-sort systems, those that use two-stream systems, and those that use co-mingled systems."

The Guardian: "Governments failing to avert catastrophic climate change, IEA warns"

Link to The Guardian

"Governments are falling badly behind on low-carbon energy, putting carbon reduction targets out of reach and pushing the world to the brink of catastrophic climate change, the world's leading independent energy authority will warn [today].

"The stark judgment is being given at a key meeting of energy ministers from the world's biggest economies and emitters taking place in London [today] – a meeting already overshadowed by David Cameron's last-minute withdrawal from a keynote speech planned for Thursday."

Link also to:

Broken Barnet: "Decline and Fall: The Last Days of the Brian Coleman Empire"

Link to Mrs Angry's 'Broken Barnet'
(or here for her latest postings)

"Coleman has a date with destiny, on May 3rd. At last, every mean act he has committed in the years of his political meddling, here in Broken Barnet and beyond, will come back to him, in the form of not-so-instant karma, and he will, or so we fervently pray, be removed from his position as our Assembly member, and also as the Chair of the London fire authority. [But since he is a Barnet councillor, not from the North London Waste Authority.]

"... Like one of the more deranged Roman emperors he has believed in his own godlike powers to the point of lunacy, and this self indulgence has now delivered him to a dark corner of the palace, where it is only a matter of time before poison is slipped into his wine, or the Praetorian guard come out of the shadows to despatch him."

Waste Management World: "AMEC to Help Deliver Waste & Fuel Projects in North London"

Link to web site

"A major framework contract to help deliver state-of-the-art new waste infrastructure for north London has been awarded to international project management company, AMEC by the North London Waste Authority (NLWA).

"According to the company, it will provide technical and planning services to the NLWA as it moves towards implementing two major contracts for Waste Services and Fuel Use.

"... As part of its previous work with the Authority, the company said that it has developed complex project documentation covering waste treatment facilities, composting, recycling, road and rail transfer services, and is now supporting the evaluation of bid submissions."

Barnet Times: "Smoke from Willesden scrap yard blaze seen across north London"

Link to 'Barnet Times'

"Smoke can be seen billowing into the air across north London, as 40 firefighters battle a huge scrap yard blaze in Willesden.

"People in and around the area are being advised to shut windows and doors as the smoke cloud spreads."

Further photos and story
at 'Brent and Kilburn Times'

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Wastersblog: "WRAP’s Plans for a United Kingdom Without Waste"

WRAP revealed its business plan for 2011-15 back in October 2011. In this article, Wastersblog takes a look at what this means for local authorities, and the waste and resource management industry.

Link to Wastersblog

"While recycling remains extremely important to WRAP, the work WRAP will be doing to implement the plan is just one, albeit important, aspect.

"In an article published by the CIWM, its spokesman said:
“Funders are keen that we move up the hierarchy and the balance changes from recycling and waste prevention, but going forward we [will] need to be doing more at the top of the hierarchy, in waste prevention.

“We’re trying to move up the hierarchy towards more reuse and prevention, but recycling is incredibly important, and continuing to deliver that in the best way possible is vital in achieving WRAP’S business plan.”

And finally: "Hand Made Vacuum Tubes by Claude Paillard"

"This wonderful video [click above] shows Claude Paillard, a French radio amateur, making his own vacuum tubes (or thermionic valves). Just sit back and watch these delightful images."

For enthusiasts:

The Guardian: "Boris Johnson accused of hiding London air pollution"

Link to The Guardian

"... Labour MP Barry Gardiner said:
"The parents of London's three million children will wonder what on earth Boris thinks he is doing. They want action to improve air quality, not to cover it up. Asthma and other illnesses caused by air pollution are estimated by the government to cost the UK more than £8.5bn each year. Artificially reducing particulates directly in front of official air quality monitors perpetrates a fraud on the public health."
"Earlier in April, Jenny Jones, the Green mayoral candidate for London, accused all mainstream political parties of lacking the political courage to tackle air pollution, despite the strong evidence that it represents a major public health risk."

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Note to North London Waste Authority: "You won't recognise this. It's called an initiative."

"Re-ward Club gives you rewards when you have items repaired, hire a household item, shop in a charity shop, buy second-hand or buy recycled products. Anything, in fact, that gives a new lease of life to something you already own or that someone else has owned and loved."

Link to Re-ward Club web site

Re-ward has been set up by the West London Waste Authority and is being run in partnership with the London Borough of Brent and London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. The initial set up costs have been funded through a Defra grant from the Waste Review 2011 Reward and Recognition Fund.

West London Waste Authority (WLWA)

West London Waste Authority (WLWA) is running the Re-ward Club to incentivise increased spending by residents in local shops and charity outlets that sell re-used items or repair items to extend their lifetime and prevent them being thrown away. WLWA is a local authority similar to your local council.

We provide a waste disposal service to your local council. The WLWA is financed by charges made to the councils we serve. As a public body the WLWA is not a profit making organisation. Any income that WLWA receives is used to reduce the charges to the councils and ultimately reduces the council tax bills of west London residents.

The WLWA is in the process of implementing an action plan to reduce the amount of waste collected and disposed of. This plan includes a number of actions targeting five specific materials – food, furniture, electricals, textiles and nappies.

What Re-ward Club wants to achieve

Almost 700,000 tonnes of waste is thrown in the bin every year by residents of Brent, Ealing, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow and Richmond. This includes many items could still be used by others. Re-ward Club is a loyalty card scheme, in many ways similar to those run by supermarkets and coffee shops. It rewards residents who take actions to reuse items or extend the lifespan of items they already own, therefore reducing the need to purchase new items or dispose of something which could still have a use.

Re-ward clubs want to do 4 things
    1. Make it easy to reuse and repair
      There are a lot of local places where you can get items repaired or buy second hand items but they’re not always easy to find.  We want to shout their locations from the rooftops to show just how many places there are and help you find these locations – where you can save money and pick up a bargain. If you know where they are it’s easier for you to use them.
    2. Help you reuse and repair more frequently
      It’s not always possible to get something repaired or buy it second hand but you might be surprised by what’s out there!  It doesn’t hurt to ask and now you know where all these shops are there’s no limit on how often you could use them.
    3. Show you how great second hand, repaired and recycled products really are
      You might think you know what you’re going to find in a charity shop or second hand stores but you might be pleasantly surprised at how good quality some of the things you can buy really are.  It doesn’t hurt to look once and see what’s out there.  Especially when you find the Christmas decorations made from CD’s or belt from old fire hoses.
    4. Support local shops
      Sometimes you don’t really think about the shop down the road when you’re on your way to wherever you need to be but if they provide you with a great service or product that can save you money and need your needs why not give it a try. Tell us about them and we’ll try to encourage them to sign up so you can get Re-ward Club tokens when you shop there.

Barnet recycling video

"Follow your recycling on the journey it takes after it leaves your doorstep, by watching our short film."

Sky News: "Bears Arrested In Moscow"

"A Russian policeman passes environmental activists dressed in animal costumes during a [Greenpeace] protest, outside a hotel hosting the 'Russian Arctic Oil and Gas' business conference in Moscow." 

(Click on images above, but bear in mind
the slideshow is not automatic, so you don't have to paws.)

Link to 'Greenpeace Russia':
"Whilst international investors and oil industry representatives have been meeting today in Moscow to hatch plans to drill for oil in the Russian Arctic, Greenpeace Russia activists peacefully occupied the entrance to the conference, to ensure that they heard a different message: Arctic oil drilling is dangerous and reckless. Don’t invest in the destruction of this fragile ecosystem."

The Independent: "Who wants to tax and spend? The IMF, that’s who.."

Link to The Independent

"I noted at the turn of the year that the IMF, since Christine Lagarde took over, had made it more and more obvious that it thought a number of countries including the US, Germany and (by implication) the UK, were tightening fiscal policy too fast.

"... the Fund wants us, for standard Keynesian reasons, to spend more on infrastructure (and housing) and increase welfare benefits for poor people (who will spend them), and pay with it by taxing the rich (those with a lower 'marginal propensity to consume'.  This would raise demand in the short term, without worsening the fiscal position.

"For those who see the Fund as being both anti-Keynesian on macroeconomic policy, and classically 'liberal' on microeconomic policy, this will come as something as a shock."

Broken Barnet: "The long goodbye: Brian Coleman's last full Barnet council as a London Assembly Member"

"[Judging by last night's council meeting,] the Tory party in Barnet is in complete disarray - scattering in different directions like a flock of panicking sheep suddenly catching sight of the lorry from the local abbattoir." 

Link to Mrs Angry's 'Broken Barnet'
(Vivat Regina)

"... Obviously by anyone else's standard, Brian Coleman's performance was still a showcasing of the most impossibly obnoxious, hard-faced defiance in the face of all common sense, but it was delivered in a new, touchy-feely Coleman way. He said at one point that we (the royal we) are, yes, listening to people. When I say people, I mean fellow Tories, not residents, of course. Fellow Tories who are lining up in their senatorial togas and brandishing newly polished, shiny knives. 

"Brian is making sacrifices to the Gods, to mitigate the risk of political assasination - this requires some pretence of retraction of policy, and is a gory sight, but ultimately futile."

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Enfield Independent: "The Feeling star to perform charity gig against Pinkham Way plant"

Link to web site

"Front man from pop band The Feeling will perform at a charity gig on Sunday to raise money for an anti - Pinkham Way campaign.

"Lead singer and songwriter, Dan Gillespie-Sells, grew up in Muswell Hill, and is publically against plans to build a major waste plant at Pinkham Way in Friern Barnet and Muswell Hill."

Guardian: "Daughter, my generation is squandering your birthright". Telegraph: "Cheer up, George Monbiot!"

Link to The Guardian

"When I was born, almost 50 years ago, in the bitter winter of 1963, the National Health Service was just 15 years old. It must still have been hard for people to believe that – for the first time in the history of these islands – they could fall ill without risking financial ruin, that nobody need die for want of funds. I see this system as the summit of civilisation, one of the wonders of the world.

"Now it is so much a part of our lives that it is just as hard to believe that we might lose it. But I fear that, when you have reached my age, free universal healthcare will be a distant fantasy, a mythologised arcadia as far removed from the experience of your children's generation as the Blitz was from mine."

Link to Daily Telegraph

"Monbiot tells his daughter that: 'my generation appears to be squandering your birthright.' We adults are destroying the environment, we are dismantling the National Health Service, and apparently the entire country is now in the ownership of a few malicious capitalists.

"... The world isn't perfect, but it is a far better place than it ever has been to live in. Largely that is the result of the nature-defying economic growth which George Monbiot hates. Thankfully, it's going to carry on – and Monbiot's daughter will be all the better off for it."

Monday, 16 April 2012

Daily Telegraph: "Artistic planetary maps: colourful images of our solar system"

Link to Daily Telegraph

"The images in this gallery could be Damien Hirst spin paintings or examples of pop art, but they are actually maps of the planets, moons and asteroids in our solar system, created from information gleaned by spacecraft and telescopes."

BBC: "Why does the 1970s get painted as such a bad decade?"

Link to BBC web site

"In 1970, the self-made builder's son Edward Heath came to power promising a 'quiet revolution' that would turn around the fortunes of Great Britain plc. 

Sailor Ted, however, soon ran aground, his ship scuppered by the lethal combination of an energy crisis, a financial crash and a second miners' strike in two years. 

And though Labour's Harold Wilson got the country back to work, it came at the price of inflation at almost 30% and a humiliating bailout from the IMF. 

Perhaps fittingly, the decade ended with another prime minister being humiliated by the unions in the Winter of Discontent, though this time the victim was the veteran Labour bruiser Jim Callaghan.