Friday, 31 May 2013

BBC: "Thanet village fights 'green' anaerobic digester energy plant"

Link to web site and iPlayer

"Residents in a Kent village are objecting to plans to build an anaerobic digestion plant on farmland near their homes and the local school.

"The anaerobic digestion plant proposed for St Nicholas at Wade in Thanet would ferment green waste and unwanted crops, with the gas given off being used to boost national gas supplies.

"But campaigner Steve McManus said people living nearby were worried about smells and noises from 'a major blot on the landscape'."

BBC: "The time when sweets were strictly rationed"

"The sweet-toothed British public were so keen to taste sugary treats when seven years of sweet rationing ended briefly in 1949 that the government quickly had to reintroduce restrictions for another three-and-a-half years because there was such demand."

"Here - as IWM North and Horrible Histories open a new 'Big Picture Show' to celebrate the 60th anniversary of sugar and sweets finally coming off the ration - take a nostalgic look back at how food restrictions affected lives, during and after WWII."

Link to web site

MindBodyGreen: "How Much Do We Really Recycle? (Infographic)"

Link to web site

Thursday, 30 May 2013

"How the Coronation kick-started the love of television"

Link to the
British Broadcasting Corporation

"Television in the early 50s was basic and still waiting to take off. How did the coronation turn it into the mass medium that shaped our lives?

"It was the first event to rattle radio's cage.

"The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in June 1953 is said to have been watched by more people on television than heard it on 'the wireless'.

"In the UK, nearly eight million people tuned in at home, while 10 million crowded into other people's houses to watch. There were a further 1.5 million viewers in cinemas, halls and pubs."

The Guardian: "It's time to stop investing in the fossil fuel industry"

"It makes no sense to pay for one's pension by investing in companies that make sure we won't have a planet to retire on"

Link to web site

"Here’s the maths: almost every country on earth, including Australia, has signed on to the idea that we shouldn’t raise the planet’s temperature more than two degrees – that was the only tangible outcome of the otherwise pointless Copenhagen conference on climate change in 2009. 

"The one degree we've raised so far has already melted the Arctic, not to mention laid the ground for Australia’s "angry summer". As such, two degrees is too high but it’s the only red line the planet’s governments have ever agreed to.

"We know roughly how much more carbon we can emit before we go past two degrees: about 500 billion tons. And at current rates of emissions, that will take us less than 40 years. But the math gets really impossible when you consider how much carbon the world’s coal, oil and gas industries already have in their reserves.

"That number is about 2,800 gigatons – five times what the most conservative governments and scientists on earth say would be safe to burn." "Dire outlook despite global warming 'pause': study"

Link to web site

"A global warming 'pause' over the past decade may invalidate the harshest climate change predictions for the next 50 to 100 years, a study said Sunday—though levels remain in the danger zone.

"Writing in the journal Nature Geoscience, an international team of climate scientists said a slower rate of warming increase observed from 2000 to 2009 suggested a 'lower range of values' to be taken into account by policy makers.

"While the last decade was the hottest since records began in 1880, the rate of increase showed a stabilisation despite ever-rising levels of Earth-warming greenhouse gases in the atmosphere."

Sat 8 June: Campaign Against Climate Change

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

North London Waste Authority: "Statement on tree management work at Pinkham Way"

May 29, 2013
"Some residents have expressed an interest in tree management work that NLWA is proposing for the Pinkham Way site. NLWA can confirm that it has submitted an application to London Borough of Haringey (LBH), as the local planning authority, to carry out tree management work on the site. NLWA has applied to carry out this work in order to ensure that, in the case of some potentially dangerous trees, the site and site boundaries are safe for local people.

"The work proposed is required to make the site and boundaries safe, and also includes works to maintain other non-dangerous trees on the site, ensuring that they remain as healthy as possible. The work NLWA is proposing takes account of the recommendations of LBH’s tree officer, and the recommendations of an independent tree survey specialist. The application is available on LBH’s website, and details what work we are proposing to carry out as well as the original proposed timetable. Any felled branches which fall within the site boundary will be left on-site so as to retain existing habitats as naturally as possible; only those branches that overhang boundary paths will be removed for public safety and to avoid obstructing the highway and/or paths.

"If the application is successful the work will be carried out in accordance with any conditions required by LBH. NLWA expects the timing of the work to take account of seasonal implications for the biodiversity on the site, such as any nesting birds and hibernating bats, as well as the requirement to ensure the public’s safety."

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Pinkham Way Alliance: "NLWA - Tree Preservation Application"

"There’s an urgent and unexpected Haringey consultation that we must briefly comment on. Please respond right away if you can; we understand the deadline is 1 June 2013 [Update: now extended to 10 June] but it is not strict, and you can still respond even if you’ve missed this date.

"We’ve only recently heard about it, and are trying to find out why we found out so late. Whatever the reason, this highlights how vigilant we must all continue to be.

"It’s important that we contact Haringey in large numbers about this. If you also have time to alert your local councillors, please do so.

"The consultation concerns a planning application (HGY/2013/0847) by the North London Waste Authority (NLWA) to continue work on ‘tree preservation’ at the Pinkham Way site. If permission is granted, a large number of dead and dying trees will be removed.

"Our local wildlife and planning experts have highlighted many problems with this approach. And, of course, we must be alert to the possibility that the work is purely a way for the NLWA to diminish the conservation value of the site to make any future planning application easier.
You might want to consider some of the following:

  • Current best practice in woodland management does not require that dead/dying trees be removed (unless unsafe), because they provide habitat for a higher number of species than living trees. The management of Coppett’s Wood, just across the A406 from Pinkham Way, is a good example of this.
  • Pinkham Way is a Site for the Importance of Nature Conservation (SINC) Grade 1, one of only a handful in Haringey. Given this designation, the council’s current responsibility is to preserve the site’s biodiversity, and not to allow its reduction in the way that this application would entail. Even more so in the light of the State of Nature report just published (22/05/13).
  • A planning inspector has recently advised that Haringey need to carry out a full ecological study of the Pinkham Way site before making further planning decisions about what to do with it. Haringey have already pledged, in a form of words agreed with the Pinkham Way Alliance (PWA) at the full council meeting on 18 March 2013, to do as instructed by the inspector.
  • Given the amount of controversy surrounding the Pinkham Way site these past two years, and ongoing, it is surely beneficial for all parties to wait until after a full study of the site has been carried out.
  • There is recent evidence that bats forage and roost at the site. This whole issue is subject to strict legal control, and yet it is not covered at all in the NLWA application, which should be turned down as a result. For more on the importance of bats, please see the response of local wildlife expert Ollie Natelson (below).
  • It is not yet clear that notification about this consultation (NLWA planning application for tree preservation) was properly circulated to all interested parties.
  • In light of the controversial nature of the application, please suggest that the matter should be referred to the Planning Committee

"For all documentation, and to submit a response, visit the Haringey Planning Applications page and click the button that says ‘Comment on Application’. Enter your details in the pop up box.

"NB: If it correctly summarises your viewpoint, don’t forget to select the option that says "Inform the Authority that you object to the Planning Application."

"Please do so as soon as you can."

Monday, 20 May 2013

Mon 20 May: 'Trashed' film, plus Q&A with Director Candida Brady and Waste Watch

Link to The Ritzy Cinema, Brixton

"Join us for a Q&A after the screening with director Candida Brady and Tim Burns from Waste Watch. Screening supported by Waste Watch (part of Keep Britain Tidy).

"In something of AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH for global litter louts, British documentary-maker Candida Brady has recruited Jeremy Irons to front a powerful denunciation of waste management and its malign consequences for our environment and health.

"From a Mediterranean ecosystem irrevocably damaged by a Lebanese landfill that grows by 80 tonnes a day, to the French town with dioxin levels 13,000 times the allowable maxima, Brady briskly provides ample evidence of the scandal and its international scale, also exposing the industrial lobbying that persuades governments – including ours – to ignore it.

"With his silky baritone and commanding on-screen presence, Irons is a persuasive advocate for the cause – indeed, he’s listed as co-producer – and the last section of TRASHED judiciously offers some hope by detailing solutions that can and must be implemented."

Link to:
"Jeremy Irons talks trash for his new environmental documentary"

Sunday, 19 May 2013

"Why Green Roofs Don't Work - and How to Fix Them"

Link to Scientific American

"Researchers are trying to identify the best plant species suitable to green roofs, with an eye to designing ones that fulfill their promise. 

"A 2007 study in the journal BioScience found that green roofs can potentially help manage stormwater runoff, reduce urban heat-island effects and regulate building temperature. To deliver these benefits, rooftop vegetation has to be able to survive the high winds, prolonged UV radiation and unpredictable fluctuations in water availability.

"To resist these harsh environments, a majority of green roofs are planted with sedum, a non-native species that can survive wind and long periods withoutrainfall.

"A roof planted with sedum, however, is no greener, from the standpoint of sustainability, than is ordinary tar or asphalt."

Sun 19 May: PWA Cafe Cabaret

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

The Independent: "First Poundbury, now Bahrain: Should Prince Charles really be selling town planning to despots?"

Link to web site

"For much of the world, Bahrain is notable for unpalatable reasons related to its repression of democracy protests. For the Prince of Wales, the Gulf state is of more interest – it is claimed – as a business opportunity for the charity set up to expound his ideas on town planning.

"The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community has signed a £700,000 agreement with the Bahraini government to advise on a sustainable-housing development inspired by Charles’s Poundbury village in Dorset.

"The deal, announced a week after the Prince, inset, hosted Bahrain’s Minister of Housing at Clarence House, was sharply criticised by campaigners who said it deflected attention from human-rights abuses in the Gulf state perpetuated during bloody protests for reform in 2011."

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Crossrail Two consultation starts: but it reaches Alexandra Palace, either way!

Not to mention:

Transport for London
Consultation opens on proposed routes for Crossrail 2

"The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said:
'Crossrail is set to revolutionise travel in the Capital, and with a predicted 10 million people expected to be living in London by 2031, pressing ahead with the next stage of the plan, Crossrail 2, is quite simply essential.

In order to support this great Capital's bright future, we need to think ahead and not wait until our transport arteries are clogged up and restricting jobs and growth.

That's why I am sending out a rallying cry for the public's support for this consultation - come and share your views so we can progress with Crossrail 2 as soon as possible."
"The consultation will seek the views of people in London and the southeast of England, and will run from 14 May to 2 August 2013."

Link to consultation web site

Thursday, 9 May 2013

WRAP: "New phase of Courtauld Commitment targets a further 1.1 million tonnes waste reduction"

Link to web site

"Courtauld Commitment Phase 3 targets are:
  • Reduce household food and drink waste by 5% (this represents a 9% reduction in real terms, to counter the expected increase in food purchased)
  • Reduce traditional grocery ingredient, product and packaging waste, in the grocery supply chain, by 3% (signatories will have to make an 8% reduction in real terms, to counter the expected increase in production and sales)
  • Improve packaging design through the supply chain, to maximise recycled content as appropriate, improve recyclability, and deliver product protection to reduce food waste, while ensuring there is no increase in the carbon impact of packaging (signatories will have to make a 3% reduction in real terms to counter the expected sales increase).
"The agreement is funded by Westminster, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland Governments and delivered by WRAP. It runs for three years from 2013 to 2015, with targets measured against a 2012 baseline."

Alexandra Palace secures Heritage Lottery Fund Support

Link to Alex Palace web site

"Alexandra Park and Palace Charitable Trust’s multimillion pound regeneration programme has been backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) who have supported the further development of the Trust’s £16.8m lottery funding application.

"The HLF Board of Trustees were unanimous in their decision to award the ‘People’s Palace’ development phase funding ... to develop the project’s designs and business plan to deliver the maximum sustainable long-term benefit for the Palace, its visitors and local communities.

"At the conclusion of this development phase, a further application will be submitted to the HLF for the remaining funding towards the required construction works.

"Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive for Alexandra Park and Palace, said:
“The HLF announcement marks a significant moment in the future of Alexandra Palace. Finally we can plan with confidence to bring back to life the glorious Victorian Theatre and the historic BBC Television studios. The ‘People’s Palace’ in its entirety can now become a reality, and we are thrilled that the HLF have endorsed our plans for its future in this way.”
"The HLF funding will contribute the major part of a £23.9m project which will transform the eastern end of the Palace, making accessible to the public the most historically significant – yet currently derelict and inaccessible – parts of the building."

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

BBC: "London landfill waste to be burnt near Bristol"

Link to web site

"Landfill waste from six west London boroughs could be burnt near Bristol by the end of 2016.

"Sita UK will build an incinerator at Severnside in the autumn with money from a 25-year contract to burn 300,000 tonnes of London waste a year.

"... The waste will come from Brent, Ealing, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow and Richmond upon Thames."

Sunday, 5 May 2013

"Barnet ex-Mayor Brian Coleman: The end of the line - A trial in Metroland"

Gaily into Ruislip Gardens
Runs the red electric train,
With a thousand Ta’s and Pardon’s
Daintily alights Elaine ...

Link to Mrs Angry's 'Broken Barnet'

"Although seen from a distance, the film [of the crime] was compelling viewing. We all sat in silence, watching the figure of Brian Coleman approach the cash machine, Helen Michael come out of her cafe and film him from a distance, and then, the lunge he made at her, at some speed, and the prolonged tussle, or rather attack, which ensued. 

"People in the public gallery gasped. Monster! yelled one woman. It was truly a shocking sight.

"... In mitigation, it was stated that Coleman was of previously good character. This was met with some derision from the public gallery. He had devoted his life, we were told, to public service. You can imagine the reaction to that. The judge asked drily:
"Do I gather that the people in the public gallery are not supporters?"
"There was, as you might expect, a certain amount of enthusiastic response to that suggestion."