Friday, 30 November 2012

The Independent: "Group inspired by Occupy London to launch bid to take control of body that runs the Square Mile"

Linketh to Thy Independent

"A group of politicians, clergy and former members of the Occupy London movement have launched a bid to take control of the body which governs London’s financial district.

"The group will support a host of candidates standing for election to the City of London Corporation’s (CoLC) main decision-making body the Common Council early next year, on a ticket of radical reform of the secretive organisation.

"Members of the City Reform Group, who include the Conservative MP David Davis and the former Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral Giles Fraser, want to see greater transparency in the CoLC. They have promised to publish all of its financial secrets, should their supporters gain an electoral foothold in March."

North London Waste Authority: Back from the Brink

"The procurement process timetable for our waste services and fuel use contracts procurement project was considered at a meeting of the North London Waste Authority on Friday 23 November.

"The Authority has chosen to extend the timetable for selecting bidders on both procurements. We expect to receive final tenders from bidders on both procurements in March 2013." 

Haringey LibDems: reaction

BBC: "Sea-level rise from polar ice melt finally quantified"

Link to BBC web site

"Melting of polar ice sheets has added 11mm to global sea levels over the past two decades, according to the most definitive assessment so far.

"More than 20 polar research teams have combined forces to produce estimates of the state of the ice in Greenland and Antarctica in a paper in Science.

"Until now different measurement means have produced a wide range of estimates with large uncertainties."

BBC: Timeshift: "The Golden Age of Trams: A Streetcar Named Desire"

Link to BBC iPlayer

"Move along the car! Timeshift takes a nostalgic trip on the tram car and explores how it liberated overcrowded cities and launched the age of commuter. The film maps the tram's journey from early horse-drawn carriages on rails, through steam to electric power.

"Overhead wires hung over Britain's towns and cities for nearly 50 years from the beginning of the 20th century until they were phased out everywhere except Blackpool. Manchester, the last city to lose its trams was, however, among the first to reintroduce them as the solution to modern day traffic problems.

"The film includes a specially-recorded reading of his short story 'Leeds Trams' by Alan Bennett, and contributions from Ken Dodd and Roy Hattersley."

Thursday, 29 November 2012

The Londonist: "Boris And The Great Indian Adventure"

Link to the Londonist

"This week, London has been without the familiar sight of its mayor perambulating the streets on a bike, phone clamped to ear and hair aflutter. On Sunday, Boris Johnson began a six-day tour of India to promote business links with London.

"And cripes, has he been busy.

"In just a few short days he’s managed to upset the French, launch another attack on the government, this time on the subject of student visas, reject an EU referendum and wax lyrical on his favourite airport plans. Oh, and he’s urged his hosts to change their laws and allow larger businesses to open in India.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

BBC iPlayer: "Councils fined millions over landfill"

"Councils are tightening the purse strings, but the BBC has found many are also paying millions in fines because they have missed their European targets on recycling.

"Tom Turrell spoke to Anthony Blagg, a Conservative member of Worcestershire County Council, UKIP MEP Mike Nattrass, and the Green Party's Malcolm Victory."

The Independent: "ASDA-owner Wal-Mart distances itself from Bangladesh fire"

Link to The Independent

"The garment factory in Bangladesh where a weekend fire killed at least 112 people had been making clothes for Wal-Mart without the giant US retailer's knowledge, Wal-Mart said.

"Wal-Mart said the Tazreen Fashions Ltd. factory was no longer authorized to produce merchandise for Wal-Mart but that a supplier subcontracted work to it 'in direct violation of our policies'."

Sunday, 25 November 2012

BBC: "Political cartoons: Britain's revolutionaries"

Link to web site

"Because of Britain's lack of censorship laws in the 18th century - the 'golden age' of political caricatures according to Lord Baker - a 'graphic satire' was able to flourish:
"If you criticised the king or queen of France you were sent to the Bastille - in fact if you criticised Louis XIV you got torn about by four horses, which did rather discourage people.

But there wasn't any censorship here: we laughed at our kings and queens, and we laughed at our prime ministers."
"Not only has the culture of cartooning helped Britain remain a stable country, it was also the beginning of public engagement in politics, making a connection between prime ministers and the people for the first time."

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) on Waste

Waste Hierarchy Guidance Review 2012

"The evidence exercise for the review of the Waste Hierarchy Guidance ... [closed] on 30 June 2012.

"The expert panel comprising both independent specialists and scientists from Defra, DECC, WRAP, the Environment Agency and the Welsh Government [is considering] the material submitted. We are expecting to publish the revised Waste Hierarchy Guidance at the end of the year or early in the New Year.

"The current guidance is based primarily on life-cycle assessment, the review will use the same criteria, but will also consider evidence based on other forms of life-cycle thinking including ecological foot-printing.  We are aware that consideration of such slightly different criteria has led to a different hierarchy of options for some materials in the Welsh Government’s guidance.

"We are therefore particularly interested in evidence for those areas where the English and Welsh guidance currently differs, including:

  • high and low efficiency energy recovery
  • open loop recycling, e.g. of glass and plastics
  • plastics energy recovery vs landfill; and
  • paper energy recovery vs composting
"We are also seeking views on the need for guidance on non-hazardous materials or products other than those already included, [and] evidence to support any suggested deviations from the standard hierarchy for such types if waste.

"In considering the evidence submitted, a higher weighting will be given to evidence which is peer-reviewed; recent and represents UK conditions."

Link to DEFRA
(Univ. of Liverpool image)
Introduction to the Waste Hierarchy
Many businesses are unaware of how significantly waste impacts on their bottom line. As the demand for materials grows worldwide, raising input costs, it makes sense for businesses to adopt the waste hierarchy.
Article 4 of the revised EU Waste Framework Directive (Directive 2008/98/EC) sets out five steps for dealing with waste, ranked according to environmental impact – the ‘waste hierarchy’.

Prevention, which offers the best outcomes for the environment, is at the top of the priority order, followed by preparing for re-use, recycling, other recovery and disposal, in descending order of environmental preference.

Prevention:Using less material in design and manufacture. Keeping products for longer; re-use. Using less hazardous materials
Preparing for re-use:Checking, cleaning, repairing, refurbishing, whole items or spare parts
Recycling:Turning waste into a new substance or product. Includes composting if it meets quality protocols
Other recovery:Includes anaerobic digestion, incineration with energy recovery, gasification and pyrolysis which produce energy (fuels, heat and power) and materials from waste; some backfilling
Disposal:Landfill and incineration without energy recovery

The waste hierarchy has been transposed into UK law through the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011. The Regulations came into force on 29 March 2011. The provisions relating to the hierarchy (set out at in Regulations 12, 15 and 35) came into force on 28 September 2011.
Defining the waste hierarchy stages
The definitions of each of the stages can be found in Article 3 of Directive 2008/98/EC). Non-exhaustive lists of disposal and recovery operations can be found in Annexes I and II of the Directive.
‘prevention’ means measures taken before a substance, material or product has become waste, that reduce:
(a) the quantity of waste, including through the re-use of products or the extension of the life span of products;
(b) the adverse impacts of the generated waste on the environment and human health; or
(c) the content of harmful substances in materials and products;
‘re-use’ means any operation by which products or components that are not waste are used again for the same purpose for which they were conceived;
‘preparing for re-use’ means checking, cleaning or repairing recovery operations, by which products or components of products that have become waste are prepared so that they can be re-used without any other pre-processing;
‘recycling’ means any recovery operation by which waste materials are reprocessed into products, materials or substances whether for the original or other purposes. It includes the reprocessing of organic material but does not include energy recovery and the reprocessing into materials.
‘recovery’ means any operation the principal result of which is waste serving a useful purpose by replacing other materials which would otherwise have been used to fulfil a particular function, or waste being prepared to fulfil that function, in the plant or in the wider economy.
‘disposal’ means any operation which is not recovery even where the operation has as a secondary consequence the reclamation of substances or energy.
Deciding the priority order for each waste material
Our guidance is based on the best evidence currently available. As waste management technologies evolve, so their impact on the environment relative to other options may change.

The current research shows that for food, anaerobic digestion is environmentally better than composting and other recovery options. The evidence also indicates that for garden waste and for mixtures of food waste and garden waste, dry anaerobic digestion followed by composting is environmentally better than composting alone.

Likewise, the scientific data for certain waste management technologies is currently limited, eg for pyrolysis and rendering. So we are unable to determine their environmental benefits relative to other options within the hierarchy.

Businesses and local authorities may consider other factors when they make decisions on waste, including social and economic impacts, and technical feasibility. These factors are will vary in line with the size of an organisation, the range of materials it handles and its location. The relevance of these factors will have to be weighed on a case-by-case basis.

As new technologies emerge, we will review the evidence available annually and update our guidance on the hierarchy accordingly.
Anaerobic digestion – environmentally preferable to composting
The scientific evidence we currently have, based on life-cycle analysis, shows that for food, anaerobic digestion (AD) is environmentally better than composting and other recovery options. The evidence also indicates that for garden waste and for mixtures of food waste and garden waste, dry anaerobic digestion followed by composting is environmentally better than composting alone.

This is because anaerobic digestion produces both biogas, which can be used to generate vehicle fuel, heat, electricity, combined heat and power, and digestate, which can be used instead of fossil fuel-intensive fertilisers. The combination of both outputs means that anaerobic digestion is environmentally preferable to composting.

The Directive does not mandate the use of one option over the others. Businesses and local authorities may consider other factors when they make decisions on waste, including social and economic impacts, and technical feasibility.

The evidence indicates that for garden waste and for mixtures of food waste and garden waste, which are not suitable for dry anaerobic digestion composting is environmentally better. The relative merits of composting depend on the compost being used in place of fertiliser or peat. In terms of greenhouse gas emissions composting and energy recovery are broadly similar.
Recycling and energy from waste
Recovery activities such as Energy from Waste are also a key part of the hierarchy. The evidence shows that for most materials recycling is better for the environment than energy for waste (EfW) and that EfW is better than landfill.

The Government wants to reduce residual waste. However, there will be a need to deal with this type of waste for the foreseeable future and recycling alone cannot currently meet the ambition for diversion from landfill. There is no immediate risk of EfW facilities being deprived of feedstock.
Other sources of support
The Environment Agency has produced advice on the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011.
Separate guidance for England and Wales
In England, the decision has been made to use a range of criteria to inform the waste hierarchy – climate change; air pollution; water pollution; and resource depletion. In Wales, the hierarchy is informed by ecological footprinting. Because of this difference in methodology, the two guidance documents are not always the same, although they often reach similar conclusions. Separate guidance will be produced in Wales in due course.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

The Guardian: "We must protect and reinvent our local libraries"

"Growing up in Accrington, Jeanette Winterson found refuge and inspiration in her local library. In an age of austerity, the need to protect and reinvent libraries for the future is more urgent than ever"

Link to The Guardian

"A hundred years after Engels was standing in the sewage of the Manchester slums, imagining a world where men and women would be more than useful objects, the second world war was nearing its end in Britain. John Maynard Keynes was overseeing the beginnings of the Arts Council in 1944 – which sounds like a crazy priority at the end of a world war, when the county was literally in ruins and Britain had no money at all – and there was food rationing. But the Labour party had a vision for postwar Britain, and education, art and culture for everyone were at the heart of that vision. A national theatre, free entry to museums, the expansion of the BBC. The Arts Council's first slogan in 1946 was "The Best for the Most". So we should ask ourselves questions about austerity budgets and what Britain can or can't afford.

"... Libraries across the UK are trying to offer as much as they can to the communities they serve, and particularly to people on low pay and with few resources, but there is confusion around the role of libraries: what are they? How should they change and develop? What place do they have in a modern internet-based world where the book itself might be disappearing?"

Friern Barnet Library: "Phoenix Networking Update"

"We are entering the last month before the court date on 18 December 2012, 10am at Barnet County Court, Regents Park Rd. Please come and bring as many people as possible.

Thanks to all who worked hard on the Will Self Night - it was a great success, with over 175 people attending.

What we need is to marshall all our forces and networks to focus on council decision makers. The decision about the Library is a political decision for the ruling Conservative Party. We are told by our Conservative insiders, in the know that they think most people are not bothered about the Library issue, and that they will be able to push on and demolish this historic building. Its not yet time for the 'Beat the Bulldozer' pledge, though that may be coming.

We must persuade them that this is a very important electoral issue. So we are asking everyone to take five minutes for the library, to save this beacon of knowledge and learning for future generations.

Operation Library Storm:  
Text, Email and Twitter:

Write an email to some or all of the people below, saying something like:
“I am a concerned local voter, I am very concerned about Friern Barnet Library. I'm glad the Council has licensed the occupiers to look after it in the short term, and met to negotiate with them, but I think the Council should face up to its responsibilities to save it in the long term. Especially as funds are now also available from the Arts Depot Landmark library which is not going ahead. … The current community lead occupation is doing a great job, but we need a council-run library as it is the Council's duty. That we pay our taxes for ... and add your own reasons why you wish the library to stay open ...

Yours Sincerely,
Local resident and voter"
Please create your own personal message, and most important ask for a reply with the Council's reasons for attempting to close our very popular local library and community centre.

ALSO send it to Kate Salinger, local councillor for the area.
Copy in as many councillors as you can find on

Tel: 07968 964 461 Txt or call her - be polite
Theresa Villiers MP:
Chipping Barnet Conservative Association:
Especially mention to the Chipping Barnet Conservative Association that this is an election issue, and will affect how you vote.

Final thoughts:

When the Library at Alexandria was burned, up to a million scrolls were destroyed. This government is closing 260 libraries. If each of these contained the 8,000 books we have been donated in 10-11 weeks, then that means this council and government are effectively modern-day book burners, removing over two million books from circulation. Books that would inspire young and old, to greater heights of knowledge - to who knows what. Even Spain and Greece wracked by austerity are not closing their Libraries.

NB: Also contact as much MEDIA as you can.
Please take five mins to email,text, twitter and phone-call, to save this Beacon of Knowledge that is our local Library and Community Centre.

Love and Networking, Phoenix and the Library Caretakers.
facebook group : Friern Barnet Library Occupied and Liberated
Twitter : @occupiedlibrary
Library Caretakers: 07592 231 150
Keep Networking - we can win this ..."


Below is a general leaflet about the library, to print out and share with friends and community

Author Craig Phoenix will be appearing at the library 1st December 11am-1pm  More ...

Saturday 1 December 2-5pm Friern Barnet Library A LOVE STORY, PAST AND PRESENT  Our Love Libraries event - everyone welcome, please contact other libraries that are under threat, and invite them to this event. Poster attached below, and a full timetable will be available on-line shortly - check for details

MONDAY 26 NOVEMBER 6.00pm - 7.00pm:
  Monday Organisational Meeting
TUESDAY 27 NOVEMBER 7.00pm - 8.15pm:
  Yoga Workshop with Luana
THURSDAY 29 NOVEMBER 11.15am -11.45am:
  Story & Song time for pre-schoolers
  (run by Tanya, a pre-school teacher)

7.30 pm - 9.00 pm: Open Mic Night - all welcome to watch or participate!
  Read about our previous open mic nights
FRIDAY 30 NOVEMBER 4.00 pm - 5.00 pm: French
6.30pm - 7.30pm: Yoga with Emily
Big appeal for local volunteers to come in and stand behind the desk and run your library and community centre. Two-hour shifts. Now is the time for the local team to step in, step up and reclaim their library and community centre.
Love Story

Friday, 23 November 2012

Boris's Pocket Parks

Link to web site

"The Pocket Parks Programme is part of the Mayor’s London’s Great Outdoors - the initiative to improve streets, squares, parks, and canal and riverside spaces across London. It contributes to maintaining and improving London’s image as the world’s most green and liveable big city and highlights London’s offer as a city that can sustain economic growth. The Pocket Parks Programme aims to deliver 100 new or enhanced pocket parks across London by March 2015.

Pocket parks are small areas of inviting public space for all people to enjoy, providing relief from the hustle and bustle of the city. These spaces should have trees and greenery; they should be open to all; they should have places to sit and relax and for people to come together; and they should contribute to making the city friendlier, greener and more resilient.

Pocket parks should provide people with better quality spaces across London; increasing opportunities for coming together, relaxing and playing; for healthy living, and a little more contact with nature. They can also make a contribution to, amongst other things, conserving wildlife, growing food, cleaning the air, cooling the city and capturing storm water.

Grants of up to £50,000 are available to projects where a London Borough is the lead partner. The Pocket Parks Prospectus below contains more detail on this funding stream. The first round of applications is open until 7 January 2013, please download the application form to apply for a grant.

A separate funding stream for projects to support community groups to improve or restore a space will be available early in 2013.

The maps [on the web site] available to download below show open spaces for each borough, as well as areas currently deficient in access to pocket parks. These maps can be used to support your grant application.

The Pocket Parks fund cannot be used to upgrade or restore existing spaces that are in a poor state simply due to lack of maintenance. The fund aims to change the use of an underused space. This can include spaces with existing parks or green spaces provided the space is currently of limited value or function.

Capital Clean-up

In addition to our Pocket Parks Programme, the Mayor leads on Capital Clean-up, a partnership campaign which supports his Team London volunteering initiative.  Capital Clean-up contributes to the enhancement of our local environment through community engagement and participation in clean-up activities, ranging from litter picks and graffiti removal to waterway clean-ups, all helping to make our city, cleaner, greener and safer.  Find out how to Get Involved."

Tue 27 Nov: "RECYCLING - WHY, WHAT & HOW? Sustainable Bowes Park information event"

Tuesday 27 November, 2012 from 7pm to 9:30pm
Location: TAB Centre
Palmerston Road,
Bowes Park, N22 8RA 

The latest in the Sustainable Bowes Park sequence of information events and activities will focus on Waste Prevention, Re-use and Recycling.

Why recycle?
  • Does recycling really cut costs and help the planet?
  • What can and can't be recycled?
  • How do recyclables get sorted and reprocessed?
Find out from the experts:
  • Quentin Wallace-Jones, Contracts Manager, London Borough of Enfield
  • Veolia representative, London Borough of Haringey.
Bring along any 'tricky' packaging item and find out what to do with it!
Refreshments and useful literature available.
Tell your neighbours!

Sustainable Bowes Park is a new initiative of the Bowes Park Community Association which has a programme of events planned for the next few months.
Supported by the Enfield Residents Priority Fund

Thursday, 22 November 2012

The Independent: "A lesson in packaging myths: Is shrink-wrap on a cucumber really mindless waste?"

Link to web site
"It's easy to picture the 10 million tonnes of packaging we get through in Britain each year as a towering, dirty mountain of pollution and doom. Or, if it's more useful, imagine the equivalent weight of 35 jumbo jets a day or a quarter of the contents of your bins.

"However you do the maths, packaging is bad news for the planet, and as Christmas consumption reaches a peak, those mountains, planes and bins only look dirtier.

"But packaging is not necessarily evil, as veterans of the industry point out in a new book. In Why Shrink-wrap a Cucumber? The Complete Guide to Environmental Packaging, Stephen Aldridge and Laurel Miller unpack various myths to show how, done well, packaging can please the planet as much as it can producers, retailers and consumers."

Friern Barnet, Tonite!!

Barnet Press and Barnet Times

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

BBC: "Can good design save the economy?"

Link to web site

"The value of art and design may be difficult to quantify but, as Andrew Marr discovers, there are those who believe it can help drive Britain's economic recovery.
"Even Londoners mostly miss it. In the glorious sprawl of liver-coloured brick, fancy stonework and famous-named galleries that is South Kensington, quietly tucked to one side, is the Royal College of Art.
"It is 175 years old. That is, it goes back to the year the young Queen Victoria was crowned and when Texas was allowed to join the United States.
"The two events are connected because back in 1837, British politicians were starting to fret about economic decline. The rising power of the US was just becoming visible. Closer to home French and German design, in goods such as textiles and ceramics, was worryingly good."

[Reposted] Thu 22 Nov: "Theresa Villiers MP and London Assembly member Andrew Dismore to speak out against waste plant"

"The MP for Chipping Barnet and Barnet’s London Assembly Member will speak out against plans to build a waste plant in the borough.

 [It's actually in Haringey
Come to think of it, the 'Brent Cross' Incinerator IS in the borough!]

"Theresa Villiers and Andrew Dismore will be joined by councillors to discuss the proposals at a meeting at 7.45pm on Thursday, November 22 at St John’s Parish Centre in Friern Barnet Road, N11 3BS. (Link, then click on 'Find us'.)

"The proposals to build the plant on the Barnet and Enfield border have been heavily contested, and campaign group, Pinkham Way Alliance, is determined to put an end to the plans." 

(Click on photos for 'Barnet Times'.)

[Reposted] Video of Edmonton 'Waste to Energy' Incinerator (and mention of other processes)

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

[Reposted] BBC: "Pink bus for 'brave' schoolboy Caden Beggan"

Link to web site

"A bus company has painted one of its buses pink to help highlight a Lanarkshire schoolboy's battle with a life-threatening blood disease.

"Caden Beggan, six, from Cleland, has had to have both his legs and a hand amputated, after contracting meningococcal septicaemia.

"... The bus - which has been painted pink with green dinosaurs - has the message: 'To know him is to love him'."

Update: Link to:

BBC: "Five reasons to still use a typewriter"

Link to BBC w b site.

"The end of an era has been marked, with the last typewriter built in the UK ro�ling off the production line at Brother's north Wales factory.,

"The firm donated the last �achine to London's Science Museum - but, it seems, there are plenty of writers and fans who think a museum is the last place thei beloved, indispensable tool should be.

"So, who still uses typewriters? Abd wgy do they choose to use them?� �"

Sunday, 18 November 2012

[Reposted] Mon 19 Nov: 'Pinkham Way Alliance' to Speak at Haringey Council Meeting

"This coming Monday is a milestone for the Pinkham Way Alliance - we'll be speaking at Haringey’s full council meeting.

"There’s room for viewers in the gallery, so please come along if you'd like to see it.

Monday 19 November, at 7.30pm
Haringey Civic Centre
High Road, N22 8LE

"As ever, your presence on the night will remind the council that these are issues their residents are deeply concerned about.

"The Haringey Lib Dems have organised a debate on ‘Waste in the 21st Century’, to take place at the meeting. The PWA have a five-minute slot to speak half way through the meeting itself, followed by five minutes of questions.

"We hope also to take part later on in the main debate itself, which will follow the routine council business.

"The discussion will not be adversarial, but we’re calling into question some key assumptions. Unquestioned, these assumptions could leave all north London residents being financially penalised for not producing enough black-bag waste. And yet we're encouraged to avoid waste, and to reuse and recycle!?. Our short speech will be enough to make some very telling criticism. For more details, see below.

"We hope we’ll see some of you there. There’s room for 60 or 70 in the gallery, and if it's full, it will concentrate the minds of the council. If you’ve got any questions, feel free to email us."


“In a few weeks the North London Waste Authority (NLWA) will be signing a waste contract for a total value of £4-billion. Haringey, as one of the seven NLWA member councils, will be participating.

As part of this, the council either has already, or will have, approved in the near future, a contract with the NLWA. The contract will guarantee a Minimum Tonnage (GMT) of residual (black bag) waste to be delivered to the NLWA from Haringey, for the initial 25 to 35 year term of the contract.

Residents commend the Council’s initiative on recycling, which has significantly increased the recycling rate towards the 2020 target of 50%.

However, in light of the fact that waste continues to decline, and that the direction of policy is towards waste prevention and re-use, residents are deeply concerned that the Council, and by extension they themselves as Council Tax payers, will incur financial penalties under the GMT agreement – because they are producing too little residual waste. Thus the welcome gains from reduced landfill tax may be substantially eroded by compensation to the NLWA contractor for lost revenue.

The Pinkham Way Alliance, speaking on behalf of concerned residents, feels that these are questions which are too little understood and need open discussion.”

"Don't forget you can follow us on Twitter, join the Facebook Group, and make a donation here."

Bidesh Sarkar
Chair, Pinkham Way Alliance

PWA: Public Meeting in Friern Barnet, Thurs 22 November

"The PWA is holding a public meeting for Friern Barnet area residents, at St John's Parish Centre (behind the church), Friern Barnet Road, N11 3BS. The meeting starts at 7.45pm

Two of our members have recently visited the Farington Plant in Lancashire.

They're not saying it would happen here, rather look what happens when it goes wrong, and there are many times more residents within a 600m radius here than there are in Farington. Read their feedback about the site here."

"Residents’ fury at ‘broken promises’ of waste firm."
Link to 'Leyland Guardian'

Saturday, 17 November 2012

BBC: "Council's £1 shop at recycling centre"

Link to web site

"A council has opened a store at one of its landfill sites to sell items that people are about to throw away.

"Goods on the shelves at The Corner Shop at Swansea's Llansamlet recycling centre include a Jason and Kylie mug and Bully, the mascot from 1980s game show Bullseye.

"Every item is sold for £1 with proceeds going to educational charities. A spokesman said:
"This is another way to reduce the amount going in to landfill."

Link to:
"Mattress recycling service to cut landfill and fly-tipping"

Friday, 16 November 2012

"Down Patch, Down!"

"London's Barnet council divided over controversial scheme
of cuts while outsourcing public services to the private sector"
Link to The Guardian

"Leaked emails have revealed a bitter internal dispute about whether the party has any mandate to drive through outsourcing for more than £500m in contracts under the 'easyCouncil' programme to provide no-frills council services. Barnet's programme has been seen as a testbed for wholesale cuts in the provision of public services by councils, but this week the local Conservative MP Matthew Offord and the Conservative councillor Sury Khatri engaged in an angry row over the party's right to push through cuts.

" 'The Conservative party did not campaign on this basis, and we do not have a mandate,' Khatri told Offord, according to leaked emails seen by the Guardian."

Thursday, 15 November 2012

The Economist: "The economics of global climate leadership"

Link to The Economist

"THE International Energy Agency has released its latest World Energy Outlook. The most sobering piece of information in it is a recurring highlight: the estimated time at which the world is 'locked in' to a rise in global temperatures of at least 2 degrees Celsius. 

"By 2017, existing energy infrastructure will be sufficient to generate such a scenario; for the world to halt warming at that 2-degree level, it would need to ensure that all additional energy infrastructure was zero carbon or begin retiring existing infrastructure before the end of its useful economic life. 

"Both strategies are difficult to contemplate, and 2017 is not very far away at all."

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The Guardian: Video: "Barnet's outsourcing easyCouncil faces taxpayers' revolt"

"A radical plan by Barnet's 'easyCouncil' local authority to outsource most of its functions under the motto of One Barnet is meeting growing resistance from residents, most of whom have never been involved in politics or activism.

"John Harris meet the bloggers, parents and business owners in suburban north London who are leading what has been called the 'Barnet Spring'. "

Daily Mirror: "The guerrilla library: As cuts close 8 libraries per month, we visit one that rose again"

Link to the Daily Mirror

"Walk into Friern Barnet Library in North London, and you would think you were standing in a model public library.

"More than 1,000 fiction, non-fiction and children’s titles are stacked neatly on shelves.
There are comfy armchairs, three computer terminals linked up to the internet and friendly librarians making helpful recommendations.

"There’s a DVD and CD section and a kids’ area. Pilates and children’s singing groups abound.
It’s warm, and the carpets and toilets are spotless.

"Tonight, author Will Self is doing a reading from his book Umbrella, nominated for the Man Booker prize.

"You’d want to congratulate the local council on a brilliant service,” says a pensioner on her way to use the free internet facilities.

"Only it’s not the council who are running it. It’s the people."

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Daily Telegraph: "Word of the year 'omnishambles' reflects British mood"

Spin to the Daily Telegraph

"Each year, Oxford University Press follows how the English language is changing, and chooses a word that best reflects the mood of the year.

" 'Omnishambles' was coined by the writers of satirical television programme The Thick of It.

"It is still most commonly used in political contexts, but its usage has evolved rapidly in other contexts, to describe any debacle or poorly managed situation."