Thursday, July 23, 2015

Weathering the Storm

London’s economy at risk from extreme world weather

GLA report calls for promotion of low carbon economy 
and climate change adaption strategy

From the London Assembly Economy Committee

London’s status as a global city makes its economy increasingly vulnerable to climate change. Not only do we face higher risk of flooding, drought and heatwaves at home, but we also ‘import’ risk through the insurance sector, overseas investments and our supply chains.

However we have found that the adaptation economy is strong and growing. And London is well placed to take advantage of further opportunities for growth in a sector in which it has internationally recognised strengths. The time is right for responsible investment in, and promotion of, the green economy as an alternative to coal and other fossil fuels.

The London Assembly Economy Committee has investigated the impact of climate change on London’s economy in terms of risks and opportunities.

During the investigation, the Committee held two public meetings with representatives for a number of organisations, including Lloyd’s of London, PwC, LSE and Siemens. Written submissions were also received from the Mayor of London, the Federation of Small Businesses and the City of London Corporation amongst others.

The report makes a number of recommendations, including:
  • The London Climate Change Partnership should map the major supply chain vulnerabilities of London’s economy.
  • The Mayor should commit to the principle of a transition away from investment in certain fossil fuels, namely coal and towards reinvestment in responsible funds.
  • The Mayor should launch an award for climate change adaptation to reward innovative initiatives by London businesses.
  • The Mayor should drive forward a resilient low carbon economy for London by promoting skills in this area and encourage innovation in the green economy.
  • Climate change adaptation should be integrated into the Mayor’s Economic Development Strategy, as currently it doesn’t feature.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Parking in Redbridge – Consultation

From Redbridge Council

Tell us what you think about parking

We’re reviewing how parking is provided to residents, businesses and visitors to Redbridge.

To do this it’s vital that we get your views so we’re asking you to take just five minutes to tell us what you think by completing our short consultation.

We know that parking affects everyone in different ways and because of this it is a huge challenge for us to get right. It isn’t a subject that can be considered on its own, there are lots of other factors that we will need to take into account including road safety, the local economy and an increase in our population and car ownership. The longer term plan is to develop a parking offer that is consistent and fair.

The first phase of our consultation is to understand more about your more general views on parking. This will help us develop a vision and set of aims to make parking work in years to come. It will also help us to make decisions about what parking schemes are best for the majority.

The consultation is for everyone, not just car users, and it’s open until 28 August 2015.

Find out more and take part

Editor: Here's some info before you start ...

"Cars are parked 95% of the time". Let's check!

The typical driver spends 106 days of their life searching for a parking space

From AutoBlog
  • 30% of most traffic in a city comes from people looking for parking spaces.
  • Most cars are parked 90 percent of the time.
  • Urban planners, architects and politicians are the three groups most in need of a parking expert.
While often an afterthought, creating good parking spaces is essential in creating a more efficient, more sustainable and even more walkable environment. Parking lots need to be easy to enter, a breeze to leave and easy to pay for. If not, parking can make any place a frustration for someone to visit or live, ....

Monday, July 20, 2015

Wanstead Hospital – It’s not over Yet

Last month Helen Zammett reported that as of 13 May the Redbridge Health Scrutiny Committee voted to ask for details of the proposed intermediate care plan, giving a deadline of 12 June. If this information was not available by then, the Committee would continue with the referral of the proposed closure of Wanstead Hospital Galleon and Heronwood wards to the Secretary of State for Health.

On 29th June and 12 months since the plan was announced, the Redbridge Clinical Commissioning Group had failed to provide any of the crucial evidence, particularly where the new intermediate care service would be provided and no detail of an outline layout/design.

Attached is a summary of the evidence asked for and the inadequate response received which is in the Health Scrutiny Committee papers 6 July. The Wanstead Hospital issue is buried in item 11, the Work Programme on pages 86 - 100.

However, in spite of this, the Director of Adult Social Services, Health and Wellbeing had decided that the referral will not go ahead.

Enter veteran health campaigner Andy Walker at Full Council last Thursday 16th July with a question which was accepted:
“Will you write to the Department of Health asking them to stop the closure of Wanstead hospital and the subsequent loss of three acute wards at King George Hospital, these two events combined being part of the plan to close King George A&E, as it breaches the guarantee given by the 2011 government that “no changes will take place until the Care Quality Commission, which published its own report on local services today, has assured the Secretary of State that the services provided by Queen’s Hospital and other local health services are of a high standard.”
Andy Walker said “Cllr Athwal, the Leader of Redbridge Council deserves to be congratulated for overriding the Council Health Scrutiny Committee which meet earlier this month and decided not to object to the proposed closure of Wanstead Hospital.”

Readers could write to their MP encouraging them to follow Cllr Athwal's example and write to Mr Hunt.

It is important to remember that patients in Wanstead Hospital come from a wide area, from Chigwell to Romford - most patients are not from Wanstead. This is an issue that affects everyone in the borough.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Energy News

UK scraps zero carbon home target
Housebuilders, planners and green groups have condemned the government for scrapping plans to make all new UK homes carbon neutral.
The zero carbon homes policy was first announced in 2006 by the then-chancellor Gordon Brown, who said Britain was the first country to make such a commitment.
It would have ensured that all new dwellings from 2016 would generate as much energy on-site – through renewable sources, such as wind or solar power – as they would use in heating, hot water, lighting and ventilation. This was to be supported by tighter energy efficiency standards that would come into force in 2016, and a scheme which would allow housebuilders to deliver equivalent carbon savings off site. More ...
Meanwhile ….

Britain’s first ‘energy positive’ house opens in Wales

Britain’s first low cost ‘energy positive’ house, which can generate more electricity than its occupants will use, opens on Thursday despite George Osborne axing plans to make housebuilders meet tough low carbon housing targets from next year.
The modest three-bedroom house built in just 16 weeks on an industrial estate outside Bridgend in Wales cost just £125,000 to build and, said its Cardiff University designers, will let occupants use the sun to pay the rent.
Using batteries to store the electricity which it generates from the solar panels that function as the roof, and having massive amounts of insulation to reduce energy use in winter months, it should be able to export electricity to the national grid for eight months of the year. More ...
And on Tuesday in The House

MPs voted to introduce a tax on renewable energy for non-domestic users.

The tax is known as the Climate Change Levy. That is, its key aim is/ now was to encourage business users of electricity to increase energy efficiency and to reduce carbon emissions by providing an incentive to er… how can I put this, use electricity generated from clean renewable sources.

Only 7 of Her Majesty’s official opposition, as opposed to any real opposition, voted against this totally illogical and contradictory Resolution.

For the record only one Redbridge MP voted in the division, Ian Duncan Smith in favour. The other three, John Cryer, Mike Gapes and Wes Streeting either abstained or were not present.

Here’s some thoughts from Andrew Cooper – Zero Commitment
He’s one of the Greens up in Kirklees, Yorkshire responsible for their home insulation project.

And here is Glenn Vowles describing a sustainable business park development in Bristol.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Nature News

The Hunger Gap
June is sometimes known as the ‘June gap’ for pollinating species, such as bees, on the hunt for nectar. There are flowering species of plant around, but the nectar rich ones that large colonies rely on tend to be in short supply. Most bee keepers avoid taking honey in this period as it can starve the bees, especially if it is a bad year and the gap is big!

However, the meadows at Ray Park have come up with a plant called ribbed melilot (Melilotus officinalis) aka sweet clover. This has been in flower through most of June and is a known major source of nectar for large bee colonies, nearby hives known to be able to produce up to 200 pounds of honey in a year! We have two hives here at Ray Park so it certainly made us smile to know our bees were not going hungry (what June Gap hey) and also that we might be getting a bumper crop of honey this year!

Looking out for Hedgehogs
Some of you may have read the news about the sad decline in hedgehogs in London and beyond. The Peoples Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) have produced updated guidance for people wishing to use tracking tunnels to survey for hedgehogs, currently the only statistically robust way of detecting hedgehog presence/absence.

The tracking tunnels are easy and fun to make, great way to check whether your garden has hedgehogs, otherwise if you do have positive visual sightings we would like to know too. Knowing where our hedgehog hotspots in the borough is very important, this will help us to make sure our local campaigns are targeted in protecting existing populations and helping struggling ones.
If you need advice on this do let us know, otherwise we look forward to your records, make sure you give detailed location (house number and postcode or 10 figure grid reference).

Nature lovers can get involved with citizen science across the UK thanks to OPAL
People of all ages can now contribute to scientific research on their local environment through the Open Air Laboratories programme (OPAL). The programme, led by Imperial College London, has been inspiring communities in England to discover, enjoy and protect their local environment since 2007. Citizen scientists have already used lichens to identify areas affected by air pollution and discovered that earthworm diversity is high in back gardens. The expansion of OPAL’s surveys now means scientists will be able to track the spread of invasive species, such as the damaging Chalara ash dieback disease, as well as find out more about the differences between urban and rural biodiversity. Do take a look at what the programme offers and if you need any advice, the nature conservation ranger team is here to help.

Nature Conservation Ranger Team
Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure (VRCL)
In partnership with London Borough of Redbridge
Nature Conservation Ranger Team
James Leal Centre, Ray Park
Snakes Lane East
Woodford Green, Essex IG8 7JQ
Tel: 020 8559 2316