Saturday, August 16, 2014

999 Call for the NHS

Starting off from Jarrow early today, a group of local mums from Darlington known as the #Darlomums are beginning the 999 March for the NHS. They'll make their way 300 miles to London entirely on foot.

They're trying to draw attention to the critical condition of the NHS as it is gradually eroded by privatisation. Following the route of the Jarrow hunger march, they'll pass through 23 towns and cities over 21 days. On each stretch they'll be joined by NHS workers, NHS users, and other supporters of all stripes. It looks like it's going to be big and bold. After all, there's so much at stake.

They'll be in this neck of the woods on Saturday 6th September leaving Edmonton at 10am and arriving in Westminster at 3pm for a rally which is likely to be a landmark event in the campaign to keep the NHS public.

They want us to join them. Here is a day-by-day route and a place to let them know you're coming. Being volunteers with a lot to organise, they need funds too - you can help by buying a T-Shirt and/or donating. If you use Twitter, big up @999CallforNHS with the hashtag #march4nhs . If you use Facebook, they're here.

Here is why:
Closer to Saturday 6th I'll post plans for the day - perhaps we can get a Barkingside 21 contingent down there. Anybody up for that?

And on a practical note, don't forget to get involved with opposing Redbridge's most recent round of NHS cuts.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Trees for Front Gardens
- Redbridge £ for £ Scheme

Did you know that nowadays if you want to pave over your front garden to provide off-road parking you may need planning permission? There are exceptions but if it’s more than 5 m² of non-permeable surface then you do. It may well seem like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted – the London Assembly has found that almost a quarter of front gardens in South East England are now completely paved over – but it is even more important now to avoid any more adverse consequences on flooding, water pollution and bio-diversity not to mention the aesthetics and property values.

This doesn’t mean you can’t have off-street parking, just that there are a few rules about how to go about it in a modern sustainable way. One piece of the jigsaw is planting.

Putting vegetation, especially trees in front gardens will bring many benefits such as:
  • providing points of infiltration for surface runoff and hence help to prevent flooding
  • improving the appearance of your house and street thereby increase the value of property
  • capturing carbon dioxide and moderating local climate around buildings to reduce energy used for heating or cooling, thereby reduce carbon emissions
  • helping to remove pollution and particles/sediments from air/runoff
  • providing a source of food/habitat for wildlife and hence helping to increase biodiversity
And, did you know that Redbridge Council has a £ for £ scheme for planting trees and they particularly welcome applications for private front gardens.

Here’s the Redbridge Council leaflet.

Commenting on a very modest local housing development, a local resident who has concreted over her entire front garden to provide 3 off-road parking spaces said: “If we leave it to the developers there won’t be a blade of grass left and we will have gridlock on our roads”.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Counting Rings

Many of you will be familiar with Dendrochronology - The scientific method of dating based on the analysis of patterns of tree rings. What you may not be familiar with is Clutterstreetology, the scientific analysis of rings on lampposts. You can be forgiven for this as I have only just invented it and have yet to submit my findings to peer review and write a wikipedia entry on it. This, below is a perfectly normal and everyday scene in Redbridge. It is the 169 Bus terminus at The Glade, Clayhall.

But look a little closer at the base of the Bus Stop pillar. What you can see is the remnants of the cement that was used to embed the base of the Bus stop in the ground to which the pillar was later bolted to. Now have a closer look at the lamppost to the right of the Bus Stop, enlarged to the right. Yes, there are ring marks. What do they mean? How did they get there?

I will tell you. For I am a regular user of that bus stop and I can remember what the scene was like just a few weeks ago. That Bus Stop pillar was not there. The 169 Bus timetable was attached to the lamppost as was the actual “flag” part of the bus stop sign. Now, according to my very reliable source what happened was this. Redbridge Council informed Transport for London that they were not entitled to attach their stuff to the lamppost as it is not theirs, and if they wished to do so they would have to complete a 57 page Health & Safety audit and do an Environmental Impact survey as well as paying an exorbitant amount in rent to Redbridge Council. Transport for London then did what all government agencies do and hired a firm of Consultants to do a Cost Benefit Analysis the result of which was to advise TfL that it was cheaper to provide their own infrastructure and went on to recommend another firm of Consultants to do the design work and project management.

Please note that it is the expressed policy of Transport for London and Redbridge Council to cut down and reduce "unnecessary street clutter”.

Here’s the late Noel Harrison