Wednesday, February 28, 2007

London Climate Change Action Plan

Yesterday saw the publication of the Mayor of London's Climate Change Action Plan. 'Action Today to Protect Tomorrow' is a detailed plan to slash London's carbon emissions by 60% within 20 years and place the city at the forefront of the battle against climate change. It focuses on 4 areas:

· A Green Homes Programme
· A Green Organisations Programme
· A Green Energy Programme
· A Green Transport Programme

Lewisham is to be the Green Homes Service pilot, which sounds like good news for us. I definitely need to improve the insulation and energy efficiency in my flat - I've done the easy energy-saving things like using low energy light bulbs and not leaving things on stand-by, but think I now need to look at better insulation - under the floorboards maybe as I have wooden floors rather than carpets, draught-proofing, double-glazing, maybe some wall insulation - could do with some more specific advice.

Lots of press coverage on the launch of the plan, including a BBC London article, the Guardian, Ken Livingstone's blog and Jenny Jones' blog on comment is free. Green Party Principal Speaker Sian Berry, who wrote the foreword to the plan, spoke at yesterday's launch and said: "This action plan cannot be implemented too soon. Greens in London will be working hard to make sure that the ideas in the plan are actually brought in, not left on the shelf marked 'fine words'.

"We are one of the most vulnerable cities to the effects of climate change. In the past six years, the Thames Barrier, built to defend London from flooding, has been raised a staggering 56 times, compared with just three times in first six years after in was built in the 1980s."

Sian also cited the need for action from central government to tackle climate change:

"We can lead the way with our actions in London, but curbing aviation growth and bringing in radical policies like personal carbon allowances are down to central government. We need to see a real change at the top."

Darren Johnson, Green Party member of the London Assembly and Brockley councillor added:

"With the Government allowing climate change emissions to rise since 1997, it is right that London should make the break with national complacency and declare that we will cut our emissions by 60% in the next 18 years, rather than the national target of 43 years. The recent package of actions outlined in the Mayor’s budget agreement letter to myself and Jenny Jones produced the capital’s first climate change budget. As a direct result, the way we spend money on transport, police and economic development is being transformed in London and I hope that where we lead, others will follow.”

London’s Green MEP, Jean Lambert also welcomed the plan but warned that with emissions from London’s domestic sector accounting for 37%, higher than levels from transport, we must not lose sight of the impact individual changes to our homes can make. Jean commented;

“In London alone there are nearly one million homes with un-insulated cavity walls, severely increasing levels of damaging emissions from the domestic sector. By insulating our homes, turning the heating down a notch or two and simply taking greater care to turn off lights and electrical equipment when not in use, we can make a real difference.”

1) Synopsis of proposals:

· Green Homes Programme - Homes are responsible for 38 per cent of emissions. The plan sets out how annual domestic carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced by 7.7 million tonnes by 2025. By making homes more energy efficient, the average London household could save £300 per year off their fuel bills, as well as cutting emissions. The Mayor announced an offer of cut-price loft and cavity wall insulation, available across the whole of London to every home that can benefit from it. The offer will be totally free for people on benefits and we will particularly look to ensure that older Londoners can take advantage.

· Green Organisations Programme - London's employers, both commercial and public sector, are responsible for 33 per cent of the capital’s emissions. If all of London’s employers introduced simple changes like turning off lights and IT equipment at night, emissions would be cut by over three million tonnes a year. Modest improvements to the energy efficiency of London’s commercial and public buildings would cut emissions by a further two million tonnes. If all of the actions in this Plan were implemented they would save employers up to 40 per cent on their energy bills.

· Green Energy Programme - decentralised energy. It will not be possible for London to achieve its carbon reduction targets without a fundamental change in how energy is generated and supplied. The Action Plan sets a target to move a quarter of London’s energy supply off the National Grid and on to more efficient, local energy systems by 2025.

· Green Transport Programme – Transport is responsible for 22 per cent of London’s emissions. The plan sets out how annual transport emissions can be cut by 4.3 million tonnes. CO2 emissions from road transport would fall by as much as 30 per cent if people simply bought the most fuel-efficient version of the car they want.

Lords Reform

7th March 2007 has been declared Lords Reform Day, as it is the day when MPs are due to vote on various proposals for reforming the House of Lords. Unlock Democracy is calling for MPs to support a bicameral parliament and the removal of the hereditary peers, and to specifically back the proposals for a 60% and 80% elected second chamber. Sounds good to me, though a second chamber elected under PR would be even better and boost our chances of getting more Greens into the second chamber! Natalie has a suggested letter to lobby your MP with on her blog. Further details here. Anyone know where Joan Ruddock stands on this one? I'm guessing she is in favour of an elected second chamber?!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Ugly Rumours - Tony Blair at Number 1?

Sounds like the anti-war/peace demo on Saturday went well, apart from the usual wrangling between organisers and police over how many people took part. I was at a councillor training day in Blackheath so couldn't make it. Thanks to Natalie for posting this photo to the Green Party members' site.

Someone has set up a spoof version of Tony Blair's university band 'Ugly Rumours' and released a cover of Edwin Starr's "War (what is it good for)". If you would like to see it at number one in the charts to coincide with the 4th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq and the day when MPs are voting on Trident, go to the Ugly Rumours Website for details of how to download the track. It costs £1.50 and all profits go to the Stop the War Coalition, apparently. The video on the website features George Galloway and Lauren Booth, sister-in-law of aforementioned PM.

St Cyprian's Church Hall to be sold off?

There is an article in today's SLP about the plans to sell off St Cyprians church hall, together with the undertakers and vacant shop on the other side, for redevelopment (on Brockley Road, opposite Adelaide Avenue). I don't know how advanced these plans are, but the SLP story can be found here. Incidentally, I am reliably informed by Mike that this is where Spike Milligan did his first gig.

While looking for a picture to go with this, I found an interesting story about the history of St Cyprians church here, which was at 1-4-120 Adelaide Road (Avenue), until it was bombed in 1940 and was never rebuilt. I guess that is where Ladywell Close is now.

Activities in Ladywell Fields

I received the following info from Ladywell Fields Users' Group and thought I would spread the word:

Ladywell Fields Volunteering opportunities

There is a regular volunteering session every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month from 10.00 a.m. Meet at the old railway waiting room/ticket office in the 'wildlife area' in the northern field by Ladywell Station.

Also keep an eye open for posters advertising weekend volunteering sessions.

In addition, Nick Harvey, one of the Waterlink Way rangers,is also looking to set-up a monthly Kids Wildlife Club in Ladywell Fields, so anyone interested in helping with this should contact him.

River Clean-Up - 29 April
The next River clean-up will be
10.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. on Sunday 29 April. Meet at the usual place - in the Park at the far end of Malyons Road.

Fitness Work-out with the Wardens
This takes place every Monday and Friday
5.30-7.30 p.m. Meet by the cafe. Everyone welcome. Please call Jason on 020 8314 3842 for more information.

Brockley Max 2007 - musicians/artists/volunteers wanted

Last week I went to a planning meeting for Brockley Max 2007, and it's promising to be bigger and better than ever! Take a look at the website for details of this year's event and see below for ways you can get involved (courtesy of Moira).

The Opening Night is planned for Friday 1st June by KNOWN's mural next to Brockley Station. The Closing Night is planned for the 9 June on a stage on Hilly Fields.

If you have a band that would like to play either the opening or closing night of Brockley Max 2007, you can send a demo / brief blurb to the following address: Brockley Max Stage, c/o Immortals Gate, PO Box 47639, London, SE4 1ZE. Alternatively, if you have a myspace address, you can e-mail the details with a short paragraph about your band to: David. Help is also needed with transport and carrying equipment, stewards, help with rubbish collection at the end of the night. If you know someone else that would be interested in this - please pass the information onto them!

Exhibitions and Open Studios

Lewisham Arthouse are holding an annual Lewisham Arthouse Group Show during the festival., which will tie in with the celebrations around the abolition of Slavery with an exhibition entitled “SUGAR IN MY TEA”. And they have their Open Studios on 9 and 10 June. If you’d like to hold an exhibition please contact the venue, or open your studio (complete an event form and send it in to Moira). Toad’s Mouth Too is having a group show if you just want to submit one picture.

Art In The Park

Afternoon of 9 June on Hilly Fields. The highly successful children’s day is happening again. Events planned include a magic lantern and wishing tree workshops with Emergency Arts. Please contact Elizabetta if you’d like to run a workshop for children, and youth especially, or you would like to be a steward/helper on the day.

Abolition of Slavery Evening ‘Looking Behind’

An evening on Friday 8 June celebrating Saartje Baartman (the 'Hottentot Venus') and the abolition of slavery. If you’d like to take part – poetry, music, dance etc please contact Gill .

Film Night
Declan is organizing another fantastic film night. If not at the Brockley Jack (possibly being refurbished) it might be held at the back of Moonbows in the open air. If you’d like to help or submit a film contact Declan .

Pre Festival event

John at Moonbows suggested a pre festival evening to promote the festival. Possibly to be held in May. Any ideas? Contact John.

CDs and myspace

Volunteer wanted to organise another B Max Trax CD this year. Also need someone to take over the B Max myspace page. Again, contact Moira.


Over the last 3 years the BXAG through its Brockley Commoners group has been reclaiming and transforming old common land around Brockley station. Phase 2 is now in active design with a planning application to be submitted in the next 2-3 months.

As part of phase 2 the group would like to commission a significant piece of art which would occupy a strategic position on the site and indeed in the Brockley Cross area. It will be visible from the main Brockley Road, to passengers passing through the station and using the main public footbridge and also, depending on its height, glimpsed by passengers passing through on trains on both the low and high level lines In order to select an artist to create and install the work a public competition is being launched with a first stage closing date of the 10th April 2007. Artists with local connections are particularly encouraged to participate.

If you would like more information, please email Moira for the full document.

Fairtrade Brockley!

Fairtrade Fortnight (26th February-11th March) kicked off yesterday and there are a number of events planned in Lewisham to celebrate it, including an ethical fashion show at the Albany, a Brazilian band at the Horniman Museum, a mayoral reception with local businesses and a fairtrade afternoon at Wavelengths.

Brockley Road is doing quite well for fairtrade, with Brockley Kitchen, Moonbow Jakes, Cafe Neu and Toad's Mouth Too all selling a range of fairtrade products (Moonbows have recently expanded their range). Lloyd Shackleford from Brockley Kitchen is passionate about fairtrade and is one of the speakers at the mayor's reception next week. Clement from Cafe Neu has more reason than many to support fairtrade; when I was talking to him it turned out that he used to work as a cocoa farmer in Nigeria so knows at first-hand what it feels like to work hard for a year then get next to nothing for what you've grown.

Pictured: Lloyd and Maurice from Brockley Kitchen. They have posters around the shop promoting fairtrade and Lloyd says that lots of customers tell him they have come to Brockley Kitchen specifically because they sell fairtrade tea and coffee (and flapjacks, hot chocolate . . .), so fairtrade makes good business sense for him as well as being the ethical thing to do.

Local shops seem to be lagging behind cafes somewhat, and from speaking to the shopkeepers, this may be because the cash and carries they use don't stock fairtrade. I think the cash & carry firms are missing a trick here. It is important that they start to stock Fairtrade goods so that small shops can do so. Many people who want to buy Fairtrade would also prefer to support local businesses, but at the moment small shops are losing fairtrade business to supermarkets.

Talking of small shops versus supermarkets, Traidcraft are doing a survey at the moment to find out peoples' views of supermarkets, the way they operate and how it relates to fairtrade.

Anyway, the fairtrade events in Lewisham are:

Friday 2 March 7-10pm: Fairtrade Ethical Fashion Show, The Albany Centre, Deptford SE8
Featuring Traidcraft, Chelline International Fashions, Think Fairtrade, Fathema and Rezia Wahid, Rosamond Robertson, Melanie Wilson, Zoë Hamilton-Peters, Mela Boev, Inkeri Medley and other local designers. (tickets are free but need to be booked in advance at the box office)

Sunday 4 March 1-2pm and 3-4pm: Fairtrade Rhythms, The Horniman Museum, Forest Hill, SE23. Get moving to the Brazilian rhythms of Viramundo to celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight.
(Free admission)

Thurday 8 March 6pm - 8.30pm: Fairtrade Reception, Civc Suite, Lewisham Town Hall
Catford SE6. Reception hosted by Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham for local businesses in support of Fairtrade Fortnight. By invitation, but contact Shola if you would like to go.

Saturday 10 March 11am - 3pm: Fairtrade Stalls at Wavelengths Library, Deptford SE8, Drop-in

Lewisham is a 3-star borough (but not for housing)

The Audit Commission’s Comprehensive Performance Assessment Report for 2006 was published earlier this week. Lewisham has had no overall change in their score of 3 stars (Improving Well), though it’s worth noting that we only got a 2 for housing.

Cooperate assessment 3
Use of Resources 3

Children and young people 3

Social Care 3

Housing 2

Environment 3

Culture 2

Benefits 4

See page 54 of the report for overview.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Sham consultation (whatever next?)

Well done to Greenpeace and other bodies including the Green Party that all contributed to the high court victory this week, when judges ruled that the government's consultation into a new generation of nuclear power stations was misleading", "seriously flawed" and "procedurally unfair".

Green Party Principal Speaker Siân Berry today described the court's decision as "one nil against the nuclear lobby." Hurray! (but it doesn't mean that we won't still get a new generation of nuclear power stations). Dodgy consultation hey, whoever heard of such a thing . . .

Trident/Iraq Demo Saturday 24th February

National demo against the planned Trident replacement and continued occupation of Iraq this coming Saturday. Assemble 12 noon, Speakers' Corner. Rally in Trafalgar Square. Billed to be a big one. Not sure where Lewisham and Greenwich CND and Lewisham Stop the War are meeting up - anyone?

London Climate Change Budget

Well done to Greens on the London Assembly for getting significant green initiatives into the budget last week. The Mayor needs the vote of the Green assembly members to get his budget through and pledged millions of pounds towards action on climate change in return for their crucial support. This will be the third year in a row that Ken Livingstone has come to such an agreement.

The projects agreed by the Mayor includes £150m investment in total, during the coming year. These projects build on the success of the Green Group's previous budget initiatives. The £150m includes many projects included in previous budget rounds, which have become a mainstream part of the work done by the Transport for London, the Metropolitan Police and the London Development Agency.

· £8 million to make existing buildings more energy efficient;
· a comprehensive green homes programme;
· an £8 million Transport for London Climate Change Fund to support green technology;
· an extra £40 million for cycle lanes, parking and training over the next three years;
· other projects to improve facilities for pedestrians, create more green space and tackle dangerous driving

Darren Johnson, said:

"The Mayor has taken on board our key demands and the result is a budget that provides a serious framework for tackling climate change in London. Climate change is the big issue for London’s future and I’m happy to play a key role in turning fine words into action."

Full details can be found in letter from the Mayor to Darren and Jenny.

Brockley, Crofton Park and Ladywell Area Forum

Provisional details for the next Brockley, Crofton Park and Ladywell Area Forum:

Monday 30th April, 7.30pm, St Andrew's Church, Brockley Road.
Focus will be on community safety (the development of the Safer Neighbourhood teams), with time for general Q&A to councillors and poll of views on future format of area forums (these are under review at the moment and being discussed on the 'Mayoral Commission on Empowering Communities and Neighbourhoods' that I'm on).

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Youth Provision Update

We had a very constructive follow-up meeting a couple of weeks ago to the ward forum on youth provision. Ladywell has been identified, along with Catford South, as an area with a shortage of youth provision, and a small amount of funding has been identified in this year’s budget to be spent on increasing existing youth provision. Proposals are currently being submitted and we will have a further meeting with youth services and extended learning in March to decide how to spend that money (which has to be allocated before the end of the financial year). It is likely to go on increasing existing provision, ie either more football on Hilly Fields/Crofton Baptist Church Youth Club/St Andrew’s Youth Club/something at St Mary’s Centre. Once this is in place, the steering group will look at a longer-term plan for youth provision in the area. The keyword is that it has to be “sustainable”. Sustainable in this context, I’ve learnt, means self-financing, ie there will be a charge, but it should also be inclusive, so those on low incomes should not be excluded.

I’m also hopeful, after discussions with the Waterlink Way Rangers that a monthly Wildlife Watch Club for younger children will be set up soon in Ladywell Fields, to tie in with the plans for the park, and potentially also exploring the local wildlife in Hilly Fields and Brockley Cemetery. Enthusiastic volunteers who are interested in helping with this (and are either CRB checked or willing to be CRB checked) are wanted to help make this happen. Please let me know if you are interested.


Excellent new report out last week from Jean Lambert MEP (Green MEP for London) which looks at the urgent need to increase the energy efficiency of existing London housing stock, to reduce carbon emissions. Over 37% of London's carbon emissions come from domestic energy consumption. In particular it looks at ways of improving insulation in older housing stock, eg the solid wall Victorian houses, which are common throughout London, particularly around here. The Energy Action Zones which are about to go live in Lewisham are a good start, but I'm concerned that the improvements in insulation under the Decent Homes programme will not be enough to reduce fuel poverty or carbon emissions. The energy efficiency standards required in England for houses to meet decent homes standard are not as stringent as those in Wales and Scotland, where SAP ratings are being used.

From the foreward to the report:

"Climate change is a major challenge of our time. There is growing agreement that we need to make real and rapid reductions in our greenhouse gas emissions. This means reducing our demand for energy and using what we have as efficiently as possible.

We should be making strategic decisions as to where we put our efforts to get the fastest possible reductions, while taking steps to tackle the more difficult areas.The recent Government announcement concerning zero-carbon newbuild housing is welcome, but new-build is only a small proportion of our overall housing stock.

We need to look at how we can improve our existing housing. For the UK, energy use in the domestic sector is an important source of emissions and particularly in London, where it outweighs transport. London also has a different makeup of housing stock compared to other regions and a different balance between owner-occupied and rented.

If we deal with energy-inefficient homes through extensive insulation programmes, we can also combat fuel poverty and meet a social need. Fuel poverty is predicted to increase as fuel prices rise, so action is essential. London has many households still living in poverty, despite the capital’s overall prosperity."


Went on two walkabouts in the ward recently; the first with officers from highways and members of Ladywell Society to discuss various issues around Ladywell Road, including uneven paving, lack of short-stay parking for visitors to shops, the dreaded railings, need for a crossing at the Ladywell Road end of Algernon Road, CPZs etc. Very useful to speak face to face with officers and show them what residents are concerned about. Officers generally agreed with our concerns that railings had a negative impact on the road, hemmed pedestrians in, were a danger to cyclists and encouraged drivers to go faster, but they can't simply remove them. First they have to find money for a safety audit to look at all highways issues on the road, then do a public consultation on its findings and find money to implement any findings after all that. So don't expect any dramatic changes in the near future, but fingers crossed, and I'll keep you posted.

The second walkabout was with officers from the council's recycling and trade waste team. The purpose was two-fold - to see if we could get any local traders to sign up to recycling and to give them information about the Business Environmental Excellence (BEE) scheme. We found that Ladywell traders, without exception were keen to recycle, but what was holding them back was the cost. In theory it costs the same for recyclables as non-recyclable waste, but in practice it costs more as traders have to get a green wheelie bin and red bags. Even taking into account the fact that they would be using less red trade waste bags, shopkeepers were still looking at a potential extra £40/quarter for a green wheelie bin, which is a lot if you are only just making ends meet, which is the case for many small shops. In addition, many shopkeepers don't have a backyard to store a wheelie bin in.
I think we need to rethink the system so that there is no financial disincentive for businesses to recycle, though I'm not sure what the solution is. Lewisham could make business recycling cheaper and raise the cost of non-recyclable waste, but it has to compete with other commercial waste collectors, such as BIFFA and may lose business if it did this. Another option would be to look into having 2 different coloured bags for recyclable and non-recyclable, and potentially the collection of recyclables from businesses could be combined with collecing the recyclables the street sweepers collect, but extra collection rounds still cost more money and it needs to be self-financing.

Valentine's Day

Several good posts on Valentine's Day by Philip and Sian, and also campaign for Colombian flower workers' rights by War on Want. Nigel knows he's in a lose lose situation when it comes to Valentine's Day; flowers = possible high carbon footprint/ workers' rights violations, diamonds = possible conflict diamonds, other tat = exccessive commercialisation/consumerism, do nothing = I feel neglected . It's not easy being in a relationship with a would-be right-on Green ;) (for the record, fairtrade chocolates are fine, if not very healthy!).

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Lewisham Green Party Monthly Meeting

The next meeting of Lewisham Green Party will be on Monday 12th February, 7.30pm at Brockley Social Club. All supporters, would-be members welcome.

Our latest edition of Lewisham Green News is back from the printers and we need help delivering it throughout the Lewisham Deptford Constituency, including Ladywell. If you would like to help, please contact me. All help greatly appreciated.

We also need people to help collect signatures for the Bring Back Democracy campaign. Again, contact me if you are able to help.

Application for a betting shop on Brockley Road

An application has been lodged with Greenwich Magistrates Court for a license to open a betting shop at 329-331 Brockley Road (currently Homeview Video Shop). This has caused considerable concern among local residents, over 40 of whom have already been in touch with us. Below is the letter we are distributing to residents in the nearby area detailing how to object if they wish:

Dear Local Resident,

Betting Shop application on Brockley Road

Your local Green councillors share the concerns of local residents about proposals for a betting shop at 329-331 Brockley Road (currently the Homeview video shop). Although the premises have been given planning permission for a change of use, the Planning Committee were led to believe this was for an estate agent.

Greenwich Magistrates Court are currently considering the application for a betting licence, and they will take into account objections received in the next few weeks. If you wish to object, you need to send two copies of your letter to:

The Clerk to the Licensing Justices, Greenwich Magistrates Court, 9 Blackheath Road, Greenwich SE10 8PG

Clearly state your own address and the proposal to which you are objecting. As the magistrates can only consider certain grounds for refusing a licence, objections need to focus on the lack of demand for another betting shop and on the impact of the existing betting shops and the proposed new one on the area. Issues to address could include the fact that there are already two betting shops nearby, concerns over a potential increase in anti-social behaviour and the vicinity of a school. The loss of the video shop will not be considered a valid reason for the magistrates to turn down the application.

The six Green councillors on Lewisham Council will be submitting formal objections as we believe another betting shop would have a very negative effect on the area. We are committed to supporting local shops and want to see a wide range of local shops and services which genuinely serve the community.

If you would like further information, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Yours sincerely,

Cllr Mike Keogh Cllr Sue Luxton Cllr Ute Michel (Green Party councillors for Ladywell Ward)

Cllr Darren Johnson Cllr Romayne Phoenix Cllr Dean Walton (Green Party councillors for Brockley Ward)

Planning Applications: Brookbank Road and others

A planning application has been lodged to demolish the Crown and Anchor Pub on Brookbank Road and to build flats and maisonettes.

In brief, the application is for the "Demolition of the Crown and Anchor P.H 43 Brookbank Road SE13, together with the construction of an additional storey at second floor level, plus roof space, alterations to the elevations, provision of balconies/roof terrace and formation of lightwells, to provide 4, one bedroom and 1, two bedroom, self-contained flats and 2, three bedroom self-contained maisonettes, together with the construction of a three storey, plus roof space block incorporating balconies/roof terrace to the rear, comprising 1, two bedroom and 1, three bedroom, self-contained maisonettes, associated landscaping and provision of bin stores and 9 bicycle space (OUTLINE APPLICATION)"

Further details can be viewed here. Residents who wish to comment on the application should write to Jan Mondrzejewski, Planning Service, Laurence House, 1 Catford Road, London, SE6 4SW, or e-mail him at by 13th February including the Application Number, your name, address, comment and reason for interest.

Other planning applications in the ward at the moment:
The construction of a two storey 2 bedroom house attached to the side of 101 Chudleigh Road SE4." See DC/06/63548/X
The construction of a single storey and part two storey extension to the rear of 101 Loampit Vale SE13. See DC/07/64485/FT

I haven't included every single planning application in the ward, just some of the more substantial ones. All recent planning applications can be viewed here. As always, I won't comment on these applications as they may come to my planning committee and I need to go there with an open mind. If you wish to contact a ward councillor in relation to any planning application, please contact Ute.