Friday, July 31, 2015

New Furniture Recycling Project

New housing association social enterprise
– bargain bins, beds, bookshelves 
for Redbridge and Newham residents

R@TL LogoHousing association and social regeneration charity East Thames has launched a brand new social enterprise, selling second hand furniture at discount prices.

The project, entitled Reclaim at the Lane, takes furniture from empty properties and show homes as well as goods which are donated by members of the public. All furniture is then sold from East Thames’ furniture showroom on the Cranberry Lane Estate in Custom House (Newham) at low prices, with further discounts for people in receipt of benefits.
“As a housing association we have access to a lot of unwanted furniture and we know that many of our residents struggle to afford furniture that will really turn their house into a home. Reclaim at the Lane was the perfect solution to both problems.” Corrine Hutcheson, East Thames’ enterprise manager
Reclaim the Lane photo

As well as addressing the need for affordable, good quality furniture, the project will also employ local volunteers, giving them the skills they need to secure paid work. As a social enterprise, all money made at Reclaim at the Lane will go back into the running of the project.

Reclaim at the Lane is based at the Cranberry Lane Community Centre, 122-162 Cranberry Lane, E16 4PE and will be open from 10am until 4pm every Tuesday to Thursday.  Telephone: 020 8522 2330

For more information on Reclaim at the Lane or to see what they currently have on offer, visit their website at

Editor: This post first appeared on SophiaHubs.

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.