Tuesday, 31 December 2013

The Guardian: "Planet likely to warm by 4C by 2100, scientists warn"

Link to web site

"Temperature rises resulting from unchecked climate change will be at the severe end of those projected, according to a new scientific study.

"The scientist leading the research said that unless emissions of greenhouse gases were cut, the planet would heat up by a minimum of 4C by 2100, twice the level the world's governments deem dangerous.

"The research indicates that fewer clouds form as the planet warms, meaning less sunlight is reflected back into space, driving temperatures up further still. The way clouds affect global warming has been the biggest mystery surrounding future climate change."

Sunday, 22 December 2013

The Independent: "The gathering storm: A look back on middle-class Europe's last carefree Christmas before the onset of World War One "

Link to web site

"The Liberal Chancellor of the Exchequer, David Lloyd George, said just after Christmas 1913:
"Our relations with Germany are infinitely more friendly now than they have been for years. Sanity has now been more or less restored on both sides of the North Sea."
The Economist, self-assured then as now, told its readers to go home and party:
"There is no reason why the inhabitants of this prosperous little kingdom should not enjoy a merry Christmas."
The Daily Graphic, ancestor of the Daily Mirror, was more prescient.:
"Wherever we look we see the grim apparatus of war … clogging the wheels of industry and squandering the fruits of peace."
This was a lone voice. Some feared a European war. Few imagined that 'progress' – not just modern weapons but railways, aeroplanes, canned food, industrial production, powerful economies – were about to mutate into the cancer of the most destructive war the world had ever known."

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

"The US and China must show leadership on climate change"

"As the European Union dithers, the world's two biggest carbon emitters must work together to help countries reach a climate deal"

Link to The Guardian

"The world is approaching a watershed moment in its battle to limit the risks posed by global climate change, and international leadership from the United States is needed now more than ever before.

"A report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in September warned that emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are already raising temperatures, melting glaciers and the polar ice caps, elevating sea levels and changing the strength and frequency of many extreme weather events.

"Without sharp reductions in emissions, global average temperature could be much more than 2C degrees above its pre-industrial level by the end of the century, beyond anything the Earth has seen for millions of years, and way outside the experience of modern Homo sapiens."

Monday, 2 December 2013

"Welcome, lookers-in everywhere! This will eventually be BBC1"

Link to web site and iPlayer

"Sixty years ago today the BBC unveiled its first 'television symbol' - a moving logo to identify a TV channel - nowadays known as an 'ident'.

The new medium of television, the BBC decided, needed a new way to identify itself to viewers.

As television grew more polished, it needed something more exciting than a random selection of testcards in between the programmes.

The device known popularly as 'the bat's wings' (or, in some hostile newspapers, simply as 'the thing') was the solution it came up with.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Crossrail 2, to Alexandra Palace station: Transport for London speaks at last

"We are now able to update you on the consultation results and let you know that the consultation results report is now available online at www.crossrail2.co.uk

"We are now working through the suggestions and comments made during the consultation. We hope to be able to publish our response to issues raised in the early spring 2014.

"There were a total of 13,933 replies to the recent consultation:

  • 13,767 were from the public, and
  • 166 from stakeholders."

Public responses to the consultation

"Of the 13,767 replies received, 96% of the public respondents strongly support or support the principle of Crossrail 2. Only 2% oppose or strongly oppose the principle. 

"Support is high for both route options, but it is the Regional option which has the greatest overall level of support, with 84% total support, against 73% total support for the Metro option. Many of the responses received, requested specific destination to be served.
Stakeholder Responses to the consultation

"Of the 166 stakeholder replies received, 86% strongly support or support the principle of Crossrail 2. Only 3% oppose or strongly oppose the principle.

"The Regional option has strong support from stakeholders, with 75% strongly supporting or supporting this option, as opposed to just 36% who strongly supported/supported the Metro option. Only 6% of stakeholders opposed or strongly opposed the Regional option. 16% of stakeholders strongly opposed or opposed the Metro option.

"As with public responses, a number of specific destinations were requested to be served.

"We are now working through the suggestions and comments made during the consultation. We hope to be able to publish our response to issues raised by spring 2014.

"If you have any questions regarding the project or the consultation, please email crossrail2@tfl.gov.uk

"We look forward to updating you on the progress of the project in spring next year 2014."

Monday, 18 November 2013

Video: Voting YES to a new London waste incinerator

"Councillor Fenwick's compelling argument on why pollution is good for us. Whilst the audio is taken from the Planning Committee meeting where the South London Incinerator was agreed, please note this is an artistic interpretation of Cllr Fenwick, and not actual footage of the evening."

Saturday, 16 November 2013

The Independent: "Stand by for a world energy crisis"

Link to web site

"Jeremy Leggett couldn’t have chosen a better time to warn that we are heading for a world energy crisis so ghastly that the Great Financial Crash will look like a storm in a teacup.

"The 'Big Six' energy companies are in the dock squabbling over rising charges, the politicians are electioneering with dodgy promises to reduce prices, while a horrifying number of people say they will choose between heating and eating this winter.

"If Mr Leggett is right, it’s not only candles and jumpers we will need, but our own generators as well."

Sunday, 10 November 2013

BBC: "Ozone chemicals ban linked to global warming 'pause'"

Link to web site

"A new study suggests that the ban on ozone depleting chemicals may have also impacted the rise in global temperatures.

"CFC gases were responsible for a massive hole in the ozone layer, but they also had a powerful greenhouse effect.

"The authors link a ban on their use to a 'pause' or slowdown in temperature increases since the mid 1990s."

Saturday, 9 November 2013

FastCoexist: "By 2100, We'll Be Living In A World Of Garbage"

Link to web site

"People are moving to cities, and people are getting richer. Rich people in cities are incredibly wasteful. In 100 years, the world may be generating four times as much garbage as it does now - unless we act to put a price on thoughtless disposal.

"We have a garbage problem. Not just here in the United States, where the average person throws away their body weight every month - but increasingly around the world as well. Growing prosperity and urbanization are leading to a big surge in the waste mountain. And, a new analysis suggests the problem is likely to keep growing this century, unless there's serious change.

Global waste has bulged 10-fold in the last century. And by 2025, it's set to double from where it is today, according to a study in the journal Nature. The chief reason: newly rich cities of the developing world. Dumps like Laogang in Shanghai and Jardim Gramacho in Rio de Janeiro are already overflowing. China's solid waste is set to grow from about 573,000 tons a day in 2005 to 1.5 million tons in 2025."

BBC: "Don't Panic - The Truth About Population"

Stick it up 'im, to link to web site

"Using state-of-the-art 3D graphics and the timing of a stand-up comedian, world-famous statistician Professor Hans Rosling presents a spectacular portrait of our rapidly changing world. 

"With seven billion people already on our planet, we often look to the future with dread, but Rosling's message is surprisingly upbeat. Almost unnoticed, we have actually begun to conquer the problems of rapid population growth and extreme poverty.

"Across the world, even in countries like Bangladesh, families of just two children are now the norm - meaning that within a few generations, the population explosion will be over. A smaller proportion of people now live in extreme poverty than ever before in human history and the United Nations has set a target of eradicating it altogether within a few decades.

"In this as-live studio event, Rosling presents a statistical tour-de-force, including his 'ignorance survey', which demonstrates how British university graduates would be outperformed by chimpanzees in a test of knowledge about developing countries."

Friday, 8 November 2013

"This year, I will wear a poppy for the last time"

"I will remember friends and comrades in private next year, as the solemnity of remembrance has been twisted into a justification for conflict"

Link to The Guardian

"Over the last 10 years the sepia tone of November has become blood-soaked with paper poppies festooning the lapels of our politicians, newsreaders and business leaders. The most fortunate in our society have turned the solemnity of remembrance for fallen soldiers in ancient wars into a justification for our most recent armed conflicts.

"... I am afraid it will be the last time that I will bear witness to those soldiers, airmen and sailors who are no more, at my local cenotaph. From now on, I will lament their passing in private because my despair is for those who live in this present world.

"I will no longer allow my obligation as a veteran to remember those who died in the great wars to be co-opted by current or former politicians to justify our folly in Iraq, our morally dubious war on terror and our elimination of one's right to privacy."

Rail News: "New East Coast route could be HS2 alternative" (Tunnel from Alexandra Palace?)

Chuff-chuff to the web site

"NETWORK RAIL has warned that upgrading the London end of the East Coast Main Line as part of an alternative to HS2 could cause as much disruption as building the High Speed line itself.

"Even then, a programme of work to improve network capacity could take 14 years, need 2,770 weekend possessions and disrupt main line services north from London Euston, St Pancras International and King’s Cross. The cost is also estimated at £20 billion – more than the base cost of Phase 1 of HS2."

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Sky: "Food Waste: Six Meals A Week Thrown Away"

"The average UK household throws away the equivalent of six meals every week, costing almost £60 a month, a study has found.

"The waste costs £12.5bn a year despite a significant drive to reduce the problem, a report by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap) said.

"The equivalent of 24 million slices of bread, 5.8 million potatoes and 5.9 million glasses of milk are thrown away every day, while 86 million whole chickens are discarded every year."

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

"Conservative MP Angie Bray supports Brent's concern over Harlesden/Acton waste incinerator" (and a copy of a planned incinerator in Barnet, at Brent Cross)

Source: 'Wembley Matters'

Angie Bray, Conservative MP for Ealing Central and Acton, has spoken out against the proposed 'Harlesden/Acton Waste Incinerator' LINK

Following the deferral of the item which was due to be discussed in about an hour at Ealing Planning Committee she publishes the speech she had prepared to deliver:
"I have been keeping a concerned eye on some of the pollution issues affecting the different parts of Acton for some time. These include the pollution generated by the Horn Lane site, the problems emanating from the Powerday site and the natural concerns that local residents have around the fact that five sites have been identified for waste disposal around Park Royal.  Clean Power's application comes on top of all of this.

"My first concern was immediately created at the meeting I had with Clean Power in Parliament, when they came to brief me on their proposals. I asked whether their application was to run one of the five waste sites whose location had been identified by the Council around Park Royal, as part of the Mayor's London Waste Plan. Imagine my surprise when they clearly had no idea what I was talking about. Later it transpired that they were actually proposing to establish potentially a sixth waste site in this corner of my constituency. Obviously, no one expects that the five sites identified by the Council will all be used, but this addition to those that may be would still add substantially to the problems that would be faced by the community - not least: pollution, odours, transport congestion and noise.

"My next concern, following on from what I've just said, is that the residents' community in North Acton, who are living alongside Powerday, would, were this application to succeed, find themselves literally wedged between two major waste disposal sites. I don't think any of us would disagree that Powerday is the source of continual problems for local residents, however much the management say otherwise and indeed work to ameliorate the odours and general pollution. There have been times in particularly hot weather where residents are unable to open their windows - such is the stink caused by the site. And then of course there are rats and do I need I go on...

"So is it reasonable to expect residents to have to live with yet another waste disposal site - anaerobic digestive or otherwise - just to the other side of them?

"Obviously too there will be the nature of the waste traffic. Residents have had to get used to the traffic generated by Powerday's and the Freightliner site's existing operations, but is the Council really going to expect them now to tolerate even more waste lorry traffic that will inevitably arrive as a result of the operations by Clean Power? How much more heavy traffic is this part of North Acton able to sustain without an intolerable impact on the lives of the local residents?

"What has been striking to many of us, which I list as my third concern, is the lack of evidence that Clean Power is able to produce to demonstrate how well their operations work on other sites. Clearly, if we had been able to see happy residents close by to a Clean Power site, then that might have helped to allay fears.  But when I go on their website, all I see is a list of would-be sites, which they hope to develop in the future.  Surely the Council will require better evidence than that?

"My fifth and final question is about the choice of the site itself. As I understand it, this site is currently safeguarded for HS2.  Now I recognise that there has been much debate about HS2 - and there may have been some who thought that the cross-party support for the project was breaking down - however, last week in Parliament all parties lined up with very few dissenting members, to support the HS2 project going forward. It strikes me that this site will remain HS2's as the project is unrolled. 

"So why is Ealing Council even taking time to consider this proposal when we all know that the safeguarding by HS2 remains firmly in place, as does the project itself? As things stand, there is no site for Clean Power to develop, so can we just recognise reality and put a stop to any further blight of this kind on local residents? I notice Brent is focusing very hard on the pollution aspects of this proposal, and both Brent and Ealing pollution experts are calling for rejection of the plan.  I would like to add my voice to theirs.”

Sunday, 3 November 2013

[Updated] The Twin of the Brent Cross Incinerator: To be decided on Wed 6 Nov


Dear Councillors, Colleagues and Residents,

As a result of the recent changes to the HS2 proposals which included the reissuing of the Safeguarding Direction on 24 October to take into account the decision to proceed with the Northolt tunnel option the council considered it appropriate to check whether the GLAs position as set out in its Stage 1 report still stands. The council is unlikely to receive any formal confirmation of GLAs position today in time for it to be considered at tonight planning meeting. Therefore, the item has been withdrawn from the agenda and will be considered at a future meeting.

I would be grateful if you would relay this information to any interested parties.

Gordon Williams, Democratic Services
Tel: 0208 825 6058 williamsg@ealing.gov.uk

(You may need to reduce the volume at times, when information is relayed rather loudly!)

From Wembley Matters:
"On Saturday, between 250 and 300 residents and their supporters from the Labour and Green parties massed on the narrow Channel Gate Road, which is flanked by streets of terraced railway cottages near Willesden Junction, to greet councillors on the Ealing Council planning committee. [There are usually Conservative Party protesters as well, and may have been this time.]

"As we stood there, heavy trucks trundled by at regular intervals, sometimes two or three, nose to tail, making the crowd wonder just what kind of hell they will face in the future if the new plant is built, in addition to the Powerday waste facility which already causes them much suffering.

"Their message was clear - we want clean air to breathe and safe and pollution free streets for our children. The protesters were able to put their case to the councillors, and will be attending the Planning Committee at Ealing Town Hall on Wednesday 6 November, assembling outside from 6.30pm. The application will be first on the agenda at 7pm."

Thursday, 31 October 2013

BBC: "Homer Simpson's scary maths problems"

Poke him in the eye for web site

"For a character living in two dimensions, grasping the idea of life in 3D can be tough - especially if the character in question is Homer Simpson. But one Halloween episode of 'The Simpsons' forces him to confront the concept, and gives viewers a mathematical workout too.

"... Meanwhile, in Springfield, Professor Frink is giving Chief Wiggum and others an impromptu introduction to the mathematics of higher dimensions, in order to explain what happened to Homer when he disappeared through a portal. Of course, the notion of a third dimension is baffling from Chief Wiggum's two-dimensional perspective, so Frink draws a diagram:

Professor Frink:
"Here is an ordinary square."
Chief Wiggum:
"Whoa, whoa! Slow down, egghead!"

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Evening Standard: "Boris bikes to go electric next year as part of major expansion of London cycle scheme"

Link to web site

"Several hundred battery-powered bicycles will be on London’s streets next year in a pilot scheme that breaks new ground in the UK. The bikes will be introduced in some of the capital’s hilliest parts, where steep climbs put many off taking their bike or even walking.

"Earmarked corridors will run through Muswell Hill, Crouch End and Alexandra Palace, with a base station at Finsbury Park Tube. Boris bike-style docking stations in these areas will double as electric charging points for the bicycles.

"Haringey council leader Claire Kober said:
"We’re really excited to be Britain’s first e-bikes borough.

"This project with the Mayor underpins our commitment to being one of London’s greenest boroughs, and to promoting and rewarding greener travel through improved cycling facilities and sustainable transport across Haringey."

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Independent on Sunday: "Let's play God: The scientific experiments that might save the world (or destroy it...)"

"Fake volcanoes, giant space mirrors, oceans of iron filings… One of these ideas might save our planet from the worst effects of global warming – or destroy it. Memphis Barker reports on the rise of geoengineering – and the rift it has opened in the scientific community"

Link to web site

"Roughly every six years the IPCC lays out the latest climate science in layman's terms, so policy-makers around the world can understand – and base policies on – accurate information about mankind's effect on rising temperatures.

"The 2013 report consolidated the belief that we are the dominant cause of warming to 95 per cent certainty. It acknowledged that the rate of surface-temperature rise had slowed in the past 15 years – but suggested that heating continues unabated in the oceans, and made it clear that short-term variations do not reflect long-term trends.

"Sea levels are rising faster than previously projected. Ice is melting faster, too. It is 'very likely' that extreme weather events will soon strike more regularly. And what we are doing now, the IPCC stated, is 'irreversible on a multi-century to millennial timescale'.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Barnet Times: "Pinkham Way Alliance wants more oversight over the North London Waste Authority"

Link to web site

"Campaigners have called for more scrutiny of a waste authority after it scrapped controversial plans to build a huge waste plant.

"The Pinkham Way Alliance wants more oversight over the North London Waste Authority (NWLA) which handles waste from seven local authorities, including Barnet, Enfield and Haringey.

"It had proposed to build a multi-million pound waste disposal facility in Pinkham Way, Bounds Green, as part of a £3billion, 30-year strategy."

Thursday, 17 October 2013

"Your next Piccadilly Line train in 2 minutes is this thing." (Possibly.)

Link to Railway Gazette

"Siemens has unveiled a full-sized mock-up of the train which it intends to offer when Transport for London calls tenders for new fleets for London Underground's small-profile tube lines.

"Part of Siemens' Inspiro family, the articulated design for London would feature wide through gangways, air-conditioning and an option for fully-automated operation.

"The trains would use the same traction package as the Inspiro rolling stock being delivered to the Warszawa metro, but would feature a smaller-profile body suitable for London. This would include a distinctively styled cab with a front end not dissimilar to the LU roundel logo. Industrial design for the trains has been undertaken by Atlantic Design, while the mock-up was produced by Curvature Group."

The West Australian: "Outdoor air pollution a leading cause of cancer: World Health Organisation"

Link to web site

" 'The air we breathe has become polluted with a mixture of cancer-causing substances,' said Kurt Straif of the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). 'We now know that outdoor air pollution is not only a major risk to health in general, but also a leading environmental cause of cancer deaths.'

"The IARC said a panel of top experts had found 'sufficient evidence' that exposure to outdoor air pollution caused lung cancer and raised the risk of bladder cancer.

"... The predominant sources of outdoor air pollution were transport, power generation, emissions from factories and farms, and residential heating and cooking, the agency said."

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Haringey Journal: "Waste plan battle is ‘not over’ say Muswell Hill campaigners after wider scheme is shelved"

Link to web site

"A campaign group which fought to prevent a massive waste plant being built on the outskirts of Muswell Hill has warned the battle is not over, despite plans for the wider scheme being shelved.

"The North London Waste Authority (NLWA) announced last Friday it was ending its procurement process – which would have seen it grant a £3-4billion 30-year contract to manage north London’s municipal waste – to look for a 'less expensive solution' based on the continued use of its existing Edmonton facility.

"It is news which has been welcomed by politicians and residents alike."

New Scientist: "The oceans are heating, acidifying and choking"

Link to web site

"We know the oceans are warming. We know they are acidifying. And now, to cap it all, it turns out they are suffocating, too. A new health check on the state of the oceans warns that they will have lost as much as 7 per cent of their oxygen by the end of the century.

"The cascade of chemical and biological changes now under way could see coral reefs irreversibly destroyed in 50 to 100 years, with marine ecosystems increasingly taken over by jellyfish and toxic algal blooms.

"The review is a repeat of a study two years ago by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO), a coalition of scientists. It concludes that things have become worse since the first study."

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Jean Lambert, Green MEP: "I welcome decision to scrap rubbish plan"

"LONDON Euro-MP Jean Lambert has welcomed the decision to scrap plans to privatize waste services in north London, in the face of opposition from community, environmental and human rights groups.

"The planned £4.7bn outsourcing of the North London Waste Authority (NLWA) operations has been put on hold in the face of dwindling local authority budgets - and keeping the services in the public sector is expected to save as much as £900m.

Ms Lambert, the capital's Green Party MEP, said:
"I am delighted that the North London Waste Authority has decided to ditch the proposals to outsource their entire operations. This is a massive victory for local campaigners.

"Now the North London Waste Authority should think about using existing sites more effectively, working to reduce household waste levels, and building smaller sites, closer to where the waste is being produced, where these prove absolutely necessary rather than developing systems that rely on ongoing waste production."

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Barnet Times: "The North London Waste Authority rebuffs victory claims by Pinkham Way Alliance"

Link to web site

"A waste authority has denied claims that campaigners had anything to do with a decision to ditch controversial plans to build a huge waste plant.

"The North London Waste Authority had planned to build a multi-million pound waste disposal facility in Pinkham Way, Bounds Green.

"The plant was part of a £3billion, 30-year strategy for handling waste from seven local authorities, including Barnet, Enfield and Haringey."

ITN News: Pinkham Way

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Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Evening Standard: "X-Factor star and mums' army help defeat giant waste plant in north London"

Link to web site

"Plans to build Europe’s biggest waste plant in north London have been shelved following strong opposition from residents including a 'mums’ army' led by an X Factor finalist.

"North London Waste Authority (NLWA) wanted to build a 24-hour waste plant at Pinkham Way, bordering Barnet, Haringey and Enfield.

"The facility would have processed up to 300,000 tons of rubbish a year from seven boroughs, but opponents say the site is within half a mile of seven schools and 100,000 homes."

Monday, 30 September 2013

Bowes & Bounds Connected: "Myddleton Road Market N22"

Lynne Featherstone MP: "Pinkham Way – one step closer to victory!"

"I have just sent the below comment to the press regarding the North London Waste Authority’s (NLWA) decision to end their procurement process for long-term waste management services.

"In short – they have decided to keep using the waste facility in Edmonton, and keep waste management under control of the local authority (rather than contract them out to a private bidder).

"There are now no current plans to use the Pinkham Way site for waste management. I’d like to echo the words of the Pinkham Way Alliance: 'This is very good news!’

My press comment:
"The decision to end the procurement for long-term waste management in North London marks a great victory for the Pinkham Way Alliance, the local Liberal Democrats and local residents, who have campaigned hard against the NLWA’s plans.

From day one, the whole process has been a farce and the strategy deeply flawed. The plan to use Pinkham Way for a waste plant, for instance, was simply inappropriate. They should have been looking at ways to reduce wastage – not thinking of building huge incinerators in unsuitable places.

It’s all very well the NLWA saying they’re saving us money now by keeping waste management services ‘in house’ – but what about the public money wasted to date on their flawed plans?

I am of course glad that the NLWA has finally seen sense – but it shouldn’t have taken this long to realise their existing Edmonton site would be suitable.

We must remain vigilant, though. Although there are now no immediate plans to use the Pinkham Way site, it is still an asset of the NLWA, and different plans to use the site may surface in the future.

The local Lib Dems and I will be sure to keep residents updated as and when we receive information."

Sunday, 29 September 2013

BBC: "Five expired foods you can still eat"

Link to web site

"In the US alone, 40% of food is thrown out, partly because of confusing date labels, telling consumers to 'use by', 'sell by' and 'enjoy by' a certain time.

"Some of the dates are not about safety but taste, says Dana Gunders, a food scientist from the Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC), which has issued a report saying much of the food labelled bad is actually perfectly edible.

"Early next year, businessman Doug Rauch, once behind the successful Trader Joe's chain in the US, is opening a supermarket and restaurant which will sell outdated food. So what are some of those foods?"

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Barnet Press: "NLWA waste services to remain in-house"

Link to web site

"PLANS to outsource north London's waste management contracts to a private bidder have been axed in favour of keeping the service under local authority control.

"The North London Waste Authority has decided to end its private procurement process for long-term waste management services after Enfield Council confirmed its existing waste facility in Edmonton would be able to function for longer than expected.

"The NLWA, which represents the boroughs of Enfield, Barnet, Haringey, Camden, Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest, said running the service in house out of the upgraded Edmonton EcoPark site in Advent Way would deliver the best value for money."

Statement from the North London Waste Authority

Statement from supporter of the Pinkham Way Alliance

"On Thursday a decision was made by the North London Waste Authority to end its ill-fated Procurement Process.

"The Procurement was meant to put waste processing from the constituent seven north London boroughs into the hands of a multi-national company for the next 30 years but it ran into many problems including all the original bidders bar one pulling out of the process.

"The PFI funding was withdrawn by the Government two years ago, and because NLWA was threatening to use the green site at Pinkham Way for a massive waste plant, thousands of local residents have campaigned vigorously against the plans.

"At long last the NLWA have agreed with us that, in fact, the Procurement Contract was a huge error and that in effect waste can be treated in-house far cheaper.

"In a statement issued yesterday, the NLWA have said that the existing waste incinerator at Edmonton will be life extended to at least 2025, and that plans for a new EfW plant are to be explored in the Upper Lea Valley.

"They have said that the land that they now own at Pinkham Way will not be used for residual waste treatment but will be retained for possible other uses.

"We believe that this means Pinkham Way could possibly be earmarked for a new recycling plant, where comingled recyclate is separated and sent away for processing. The Authority is committed to increasing recycling and Barnet is about to change from kerbside separated recycling collections to comingled collections, which require MRF plants to separate the different types of recycling again.

"At the moment the NLWA believe they may have sufficient capacity for dealing with the recycling rates at present, but more will be needed for increased rates.

"Overall this is good news, not just for us, but for all residents in the seven boroughs as keeping the waste processing in-house will save Council Tax payers £m's over the next few years compared with proposed Procurement contract which has now been dropped.

"We will of course continue to watch what NLWA propose for their land at Pinkham Way."

Bowes & Bounds Connected: "New River at 400"

Link to web site

"This weekend (28/29 September) marks the 400th anniversary of the the much-loved New River.

"Whilst it is neither a river - nor new, is has for 400 years been bringing fresh drinking water from Hertfordshire into central London. Today the New River still forms part of London's drinking water infrastructure."

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Recycling: Barnet Times and The Guardian

The Guardian:

"Plastic bags: symbol of consumer waste
may ignore worse offenders"

Independent on Sunday: "Whatever happened to climate change?"

Link to web site

"Whither global warming? Apart from a succession of puerile puns – fracking awful quips, as the Energy Secretary, Ed Davey, might have put it in his conference speech – the issue hardly raised its head at the Lib Dem gathering in Glasgow. It is not looming large on the Labour agenda in Brighton over the next few days. And David Cameron, who once bragged his would be 'the greenest government ever', hasn't waved his eco-credentials for ages now.

There's irony, then, in the fact that more than 250 climate scientists meet in Stockholm tomorrow to finalise the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. When it comes out on Friday, it will be the most comprehensive report on climate science ever published. It will show that scientists have upped from 'very likely' to 'extremely likely' their judgement that it is human activity, rather than natural variations, which have caused most of the rise in global temperatures since 1951.

"Since we have the irony pot on the table, let's ladle out another helping: while experts have been becoming more convinced, the rest of us have been moving in the opposite direction. The number of people in the UK who think climate change is happening, and is caused by man-made greenhouse gases, is falling, polls show."

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Evening Standard: "The strife of Brian... disgraced Tory rips into former party colleagues on his blog"

Link to web site

"One of London’s most controversial councillors has sparked outrage and bemusement by writing a scurrilous account of his former Tory town hall colleagues.

"Brian Coleman, a former aide to Boris Johnson at City Hall and an ex-mayor of Barnet, penned at-times vicious portraits of each of the 37 Conservative members of Barnet council.

"He notes how the wife of a former leader “made probably the most disastrous maiden speech in recent times” by bursting into song, and recalls 'bit-part actor' David Longstaff’s role as a 'drunken elf' in a TV drama.

"He notes Robert Rams was step-brother to Amy Winehouse 'but has none of her unfortunate habits, nor for that matter her artistic talent'. Others are castigated for their hairstyles."

Sunday, 15 September 2013

The Guardian: "Inside the mind of NSA chief Gen Keith Alexander"

Link to web site

"When he was running the Army's Intelligence and Security Command, NSA chief Gen. Keith Alexander brought many of his future allies down to Fort Belvoir for a tour of his base of operations, a facility known as the 'Information Dominance Center'. It had been designed by a Hollywood set designer to mimic the bridge of the starship Enterprise from Star Trek, complete with chrome panels, computer stations, a huge TV monitor on the forward wall, and doors that made a 'whoosh' sound when they slid open and closed.

"Lawmakers and other important officials took turns sitting in a leather 'captain's chair' in the center of the room and watched as Alexander, a lover of science-fiction movies, showed off his data tools on the big screen."

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Independent: "Modern art was CIA 'weapon'"

Link to web site

"For decades in art circles it was either a rumour or a joke, but now it is confirmed as a fact. The Central Intelligence Agency used American modern art - including the works of such artists as Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko - as a weapon in the Cold War.

"In the manner of a Renaissance prince - except that it acted secretly - the CIA fostered and promoted American Abstract Expressionist painting around the world for more than 20 years.

"The connection is improbable. This was a period, in the 1950s and 1960s, when the great majority of Americans disliked or even despised modern art - President Truman summed up the popular view when he said: 'If that's art, then I'm a Hottentot.'

"As for the artists themselves, many were ex- communists barely acceptable in the America of the McCarthyite era, and certainly not the sort of people normally likely to receive US government backing."

Thursday, 29 August 2013

LA Times: "To heal the earth, put plastic in its place"

Link to web site

"... We discard far more plastic than we recycle or reuse, much of it into rivers, lakes, beaches and, ultimately, the ocean. It kills birds, turtles, dolphins and other marine life, creates navigational hazards, imposes costs on local governments and businesses (costs we all pay), and may even threaten human health.

"Plastic's durability, light weight and low cost make it a useful material for many long-term applications. But if one tallies the environmental and economic costs of using a highly persistent material for a single-use disposable item, it becomes abundantly clear that in most cases those costs outweigh the benefits."

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Lynne Featherstone MP calls on rail bidders to protect local services

Link to web site

"Lynne Featherstone MP last week met with some of the rail companies who are currently bidding to run the new Thameslink, Southern & Great Northern Franchise – which covers rail stations in Haringey Borough.

"Funded by Government investment, the new Franchise aims to improve services by installing longer, more regular, and more reliable trains in and out of London.

"However, concern arose that smaller local stations, such as Hornsey and Harringay, could get fewer services as a result of the new Franchise – as the newer trains would be too long to stop at their platforms." [As indeed are Kentish Town, Cricklewood and Hendon on the other Thameslink branch.]

The Guardian: "The era of climate change 'denial' is over"

"... It rarely gets noticed that climate change sceptics have actually conceded a lot of ground over recent years when it comes to the science. Many have begun to adopt a so-called 'lukewarmer' position, which means they now accept the basics of climate science but don't think it's worth investing heavily today to prevent or limit a problem that will increasingly hit home in the decades ahead.

"As I have noted many times before, I think this is a profoundly risky and irresponsible strategy. But, then again, I'm not a politician whose survival depends on a four-to-five year election cycle. Nothing exposes our species' 'future flaw' more than climate change – rarely, if ever, have the history books demonstrated a generation acting selflessly, or with sacrifice, for the sole benefit of generations to come.

"We are an extraordinary animal in so many ways, but one of our weaknesses is that we operate firmly in the present tense. We jump only when we are in imminent danger ourselves. If not, we prevaricate, delay or turn our heads away. Climate change requires us to fast overcome this flaw."

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The Independent: "Crews battle on after all-night efforts to control recycling plant fire"

Link to web site

"Dozens of firefighters have battled through the night to bring a blaze under control at a large recycling plant.

"Roads were closed and residents advised to close doors and windows as a precaution after flames swept through the plant on Stockport Road West in Bredbury, Stockport."