Friday, August 18, 2006

Noise! Don't suffer in silence!
When I was jogging this evening (yes! second time this week and, er year) a car alarm was going off on Malyons Road and there was a message on the windscreen from a resident saying that it had been going off all day. I called the Noise enforcement team who hopefully by now have disabled the alarm. Apparently what happens is they go to see the car, if they can’t gain access to disable the alarm, they serve a notice on the car and after an hour they are able to call in contractors to turn the alarm off. Could have been dealt with earlier, if it had been reported to the noise team.

lovelewisham, hate abandoned shopping trolleys
I've been using the lovelewisham website regularly to report graffiti and flytipping, and the team are generally responding quite quickly. We've managed to get most of the shop shutters on Ladywell Road cleared of graffiti now, still working on a few others and I will try to get round some of the shops on Brockley Road and Loampit Vale with the permission cards in the next few days. The Safer Neighbourhood team have also been handing out graffiti clean-up cards to residents and businesses whose premises have graffiti, as one of the priorities set by the local neighbourhood panel is to tackle signal crimes, such as graffiti. Contact details for Lewisham Safer Neighbourhood Teams.

There is an ongoing problem with shopping trollies being abandoned along Marsala Road. It's on my cycle route to work so I report them fairly regularly, but if anyone knows who is dumping these trollies (I suspect it's only a couple of culprits at most), the council enforcement officers would be interested to know!

Minor success: Residents on Adelaide Avenue might have noticed that the flashing traffic cone that had been on the island at the bottom of the road for several years has finally been replaced with more permanent signs, which look a bit tidier. I conacted the Highways Department about the traffic cone and pointed out how long it had been there, and they responded within a week.

Any transport issues you would like me to raise on your behalf?
The next Lewisham Transport Liaison meeting is coming up in a few weeks. This is the opportunity to raise any gripes about trains, buses, stations etc with TfL and the operators. Post a comment or e-mail me if there's anything you would like me to mention. I've recently been in touch with SE trains about a couple of Ladywell Station issues (the side gate being locked - security and to reduce fare dodgers, apparently) and the possibility of getting a cash machine there (they've investigated it and the banks weren't interested, though I've since found out that Ladywell Post Office may be getting a cash machine (inside the shop) soon, which will be handy.

National Allotments Week

This week is National Allotments week. There was an article on BBC news online about the waiting lists for allotments in inner London, which mentioned Lewisham and another about the London Assembly Environment Committee investigating whether the number of allotments is declining. Lewisham Greens have worked closely with allotment holders at St Norberts allotments in Brockley in the past to protect the site from developers. Despite the reassurances which have been given I am also concerned that if the new school is built on the Ladywell Leisure Centre site that the temptation will be too great for the school to expand onto the allotments behind (Romborough Gardens?). Lewisham Council has a list on its website and info on it allotments, all of which have waiting lists, of from 1 month to 7.5 years. Some of the non-council owned sites, such as St Norberts may just have some vacancies. Don't know if it's still the case, but at one point the Green Party was the only national party that had any policy on allotments.

Lewisham Peace Fair and Lewisham Peace Council

A Peace Fair, to launch Lewisham Peace council, is to be held on Saturday 9 September 2006 in Ladywell Fields between 3 – 7 pm.

“An afternoon and evening of good music, food, and debate, to launch the Lewisham Peace Council”

For further info contact David or Kate from Lewisham and Greenwich CND e-mail:, Phone: David on 020 8857 1095 Mobile: Kate on 079 77255 745.

Jersey Tiger Moths in Lewisham!
A colony of Jersey Tiger Moths have apparently set up home in Lewisham in Devonshire Road Nature Reserve, Forest Hill. They are not usually found round here and it is thought that they may have made their way up the wildlife corridor along the railway lines from the coast.

Climate Change Lobby
Friends of the earth are asking people to lobby their local MP to call for a Climate Change Bill to be passed in parliament. Joan Ruddock has been quite good on this in the past (which is considerably more than can be said for her party as a whole and the government, imho, but then I would say that!), but it's always worth keeping up the pressure.

Picnic at Woodlands Farm

Greenwich Greens have invited Lewisham Greens and supporters to a picnic at the Woodlands Farm Trust, this Sunday (20 August 2006), 3.30pm, 331 Shooters Hill, Welling, all welcome. 89 bus stops (second stop after the top of hill)10 yards from entrance.

If you are a supporter of Lewisham Green Party, and would like to be kept in touch with events, you can join our supporters list by sending an e-mail to: The list is generally restricted to monthly updates. Of course, if you want to get more involved, you can also join the Green Party ;).

New Links

I've added a few more links to the sidebar, including to Ladywell Society, Lewisham and Greenwich CND, Lewisham Town Talk and the European-wide petition against nuclear power. Also found a good discussion forum on Brockley, though no thread for Ladywell as yet.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Solar Lewisham

We've had a number of enquiries from residents about how to get solar panels installed and what grants are available. Hopefully the information below will be of use (with thanks to Richard Hurford, the council's Sustainable Resources Group Manager). I have also set up a discussion group, with the aim of helping those interested in renewable energy to share ideas and swap advice. If you would like to join the e-group, simply send an e-mail

There are grants available from the council and the government for renewable energy schemes, as follows;

Lewisham grant
Lewisham will provide a one-off grant of £500 to any Lewisham home installing appropriate renewable technology, subject to availability. Contact is 020 8314 6622, Private Sector Housing.

Low Carbon Building Programme
The Government has recently launched the Low Carbon Building Programme, a new £80 million scheme to invest in renewable energy, with grants available to the public. If you would like to talk to someone about the programme, call the free phone helpline on 0800 915 7722.

There are a number of technologies that the programme will cover, these include: Solar photovoltaics, Wind turbines, Small hydro, Solar thermal hot water, Heat pumps, Bio-energy.

There are a number of energy efficiency measures that you must undertake before you are eligible to apply for a grant under the low carbon buildings programme. These measures will ensure that you are minimising your energy requirements and are as follows:
a. You have a minimum of 270mm of loft insulation to meet current building regulations, where practicable - e.g. 270mm of mineral wool.
b. b. Installed cavity wall insulation (if you have cavity walls)
c. c. Using low energy light bulbs in all appropriate light fittings
d. d. Installed basic controls for your heating system to include a room thermostat and a programmer or timer.
It is also recommended that you complete a home energy check so that you can assess which measures are most suitable for your home.

Solar PV
If you want to consider solar PV (photovoltaic), then you may want to look at Solar Century.

Solar PV uses energy from the sun to create electricity to run appliances and lighting. PV requires only daylight - not direct sunlight - to generate electricity. You can use PV systems for a building with a roof or wall that faces within 90 degrees of south, as long as no other buildings or large trees overshadow it. If the roof surface is in shadow for parts of the day, the output of the system decreases.

Solar panels are not light and the roof must be strong enough to take their weight, especially if the panel is placed on top of existing tiles.

Prices for PV systems vary, depending on the size of the system to be installed, type of PV cell used and the nature of the actual building on which the PV is mounted. The size of the system is dictated by the amount of electricity required.

For the average domestic system, costs can be around £4,000- £9,000 per kWp installed, with most domestic systems usually between 1.5 and 2 kWp. Solar tiles cost more than conventional panels, and panels that are integrated into a roof are more expensive than those that sit on top.

A useful website for further information is Energy Savings Trust. In addition, the Green Party’s Green Energy Works website has a number of useful links and background information Green Energy Works.

The installation of solar panels is classified as a permitted development under current planning legislation and therefore planning permission is generally not required, unless you live in a conservation area (but please check this with the planning department before you go ahead, just in case!). As things stand, if you live in a conservation area planning permission is required and you should seek advice from Lewisham planning office on 020 8314 7400 or A recent conversation I had with a planning officer suggested that they will look more favourably on applications for solar panels in conservation areas if they are on a rear roof or in the back garden, but this may well change in the future.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Catford Honey!

I was v impressed when doing my shopping in Sheel pharmacy today to see they had Catford Honey, produced in a back garden in Catford. You can't get much more local or low food miles than that!

A Ladywell resident wrote to me recently asking us to do more to promote milk delivery. Not really a milk drinker myself, but if you are, find me a milkman might be, er right 'up your street'.

Am happy to do anything (within reason!) that will promote small local businesses and take money away from supermarkets, so while I'm at it, I'll also give plugs to:

Sheel Pharmacy (312-314 Lewisham Road - the largest range of fairtrade and organic products I've come across in Lewisham, better than any of the chain stores).

Local organic fruit and veg box schemes:
UK5 organics (based in Greenwich)
Capricorn Organics (based in Bexley)
Abel & Cole (much bigger company, London-wide distribution).
If you know of any other good ones I've missed, please let me know.
15 reasons to order a box scheme today
and lots of reasons to avoid supermarkets:
Corporate Watch - What's wrong with supermarkets?
What supermarkets won't tell you (The Ecologist)

Was interested to read the other day that TESCO is going to be offering incentives for customers to reuse bags - a small step in the right direction, but even if they meet their targets they will only reduce the number of their bags thrown away every year to 3 BILLION! Hasn't Sainsbury's been doing that for years, with little impact? IKEA started charging 5p/bag a couple of months ago, which has had more impact. I think it needs a bit of stick as well as carrot to change shoppers' habits, such as a plastic bag tax similar to that in Ireland.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Peace Demo - ceasefire now!

Went on the peace demo today - good turnout, I thought, though it's always hard to tell when you're in the middle of it. Lewisham & Greenwich CND, STW and RESPECT were there, also met up with Greens from various places, although Green contingent was somewhat smaller than usual as loads of members are at the Big Green Gathering. I had been planning a quiet day, but wanted to express my disgust at the violence perpetrated by both sides and the UK government's failure so far either to call for a ceasefire or condemn Israel's action.

The children's shoes placed at the Cenotaph in memory of the children killed in the bombings were a powerful image. While waiting for the train home at Charing Cross station I met a man from Gaza who had also been on the demo. He is coming to the end of his masters course in International Relations here and will return home soon, when he will visit the graves of 2 of his friends killed in the troubles recently. He said he had been thanking everyone for going to the demo, but was depressed at what he felt Israel was getting away with. Tend to agree with him.

Legs aching now, thought not sure how much is marchers' fatigue and how much is the yoga class I did at Ladywell Leisure Centre yesterday evening . . .

Thursday, August 03, 2006

National Demonstration Against Violence in the Middle East

On Saturday 5 August there will be a national emergency demonstration in London calling for an immediate, unconditional ceasefire in Lebanon and Gaza and the end of Tony Blair's support for George Bush's wars. Greens condemn the collective punishment of civilians on both sides and will always support diplomatic efforts to resolve conflicts as opposed to military aggression.

(Nearest tube Marble Arch)

Darren Johnson will be the Green Party speaker on the platform.
The Green Party meeting point details are as follows.
Meet from 11.30 inside Hyde Park, Park Lane side, roughly where it says
'Brook Gate' on this map:

Lewisham STW to meet 12 noon by the Round Cafe, Hyde Park Corner, Upper Brook Street Gate. Look for the big red Lewisham STW banner.

Sign the letter to Tony Blair online (16 000+ names already signed)

further info

(thank you to Mike from Croydon Greens blogspot and Francesca from YGs who I've shamelessly plagiarised most of this from ;)