Turn waste into wealth, says Prince Charles

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The Prince of Wales has called for more emphasis on a circular economy in a speech to the Business in the Community ‘Waste-to-Wealth’ Summit in London.

“The small steps we have taken towards a circular economy will need to become giant strides if we are to achieve the required changes before time runs out,” he said.

The Summit brought together over 200 leaders from business, government, academia and civil society to discuss ways to double the nation’s resource productivity and reduce avoidable waste by 2030. The Prince delivered the keynote speech exploring initiatives to improve waste management and recycling and examining ways to take better care of the planet.

“We are using resources faster than Nature can replenish them and damaging our own life-support system,” he said.

During his talk the Prince acknowledged the change in public attitudes since the broadcast of the BBC Blue Planet series which revealed the damage to the environment and wildlife caused by discarded plastic.

“Every discarded plastic drinking straw, wet wipe, cup, bottle or bag tells a clear and unequivocal story of waste and missed opportunity, both to generate value and to address the over-arching challenge of climate change, recently listed of course by the World Economic Forum as amongst the biggest threats facing the world,” he argued.

The speech ranged across areas including energy and materials efficiency, recycling, better processes and litter picking as well as the importance of the business community working together to achieve change.

In a section devoted to initiatives in other countries the Prince referred to the recent revelation he had taken his own sons litter picking.

“From a very young age, Swedish children are taught to recycle, both at home and at school. There is even a national day on which children across the country gather to pick up litter and clean up their surroundings. Incidentally, I’d forgotten that I’d taken my own children litter picking all those years ago, nor did I realise they paid any attention at all!”

In a personal ending the Prince said: “We are the first generation to understand, in full and terrifying detail, that we are testing our world to destruction. And we are the last to be able to do something about it. If we do not act, our children and grandchildren will not be able to sort out the mess; that is the problem. So, with a new grandchild on the way I do not want to miss that opportunity”.

Frustrations shared on social media

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Redbridge residents have been using social media to share their frustrations about some of the claims made in Redbridge Council’s Streets Strategy published in July 2017.

Written by Councillor John Howard, Cabinet Member for Environment and Sustainability, the document made claims about the Council’s performance. These included:

  • Our performance on keeping our streets clean has been consistently high.
  • Our high streets are clean, safe and well-maintained.
  • The Community Safety Partnership have worked together to deliver a 40% reduction over the past four years in the crimes that most affect residents and businesses.

Local residents have been using Twitter to contradict some of these claims, however, as well as comment on their experience of Council services.  Examples include:

 

The Streets Strategy made various commitments on behalf of the Council some of which are due to be delivered by 2020. Redbridge Council committed they will:

  • Develop a behaviour change campaign to discourage people from littering and fly tipping in the first place.
  • Prioritise enforcement action against those that commit enviro-crime and publicise prosecutions for fly tipping, littering and dog fouling.
  • Work with local takeaways, pubs, clubs and businesses to make them more accountable for reducing waste and cleaning up after themselves and their customers.
  • Support multi-agency working by organising ten Redbridge Action Days each year to tackle crime, anti-social behaviour and other street scene issues (nine days have taken place in 2017/2018).
  • Work closely with schools to further develop School Travel Plans that encourage walking and cycling to school and work to achieve green routes to school.
  • Convert all street lights to LED over the next 2 years to improve the quality of lighting and reduce energy consumption (this is due to be completed by 30 November 2018).
  • Work with business communities in our key high streets to find ways to improve the quality of their local environment.
  • Reduce fly tips by 50% (by 2020).
  • Increase enforcement activity for street scene offences by 30% compared to base line year 2016/2017.
  • Make sure 99% of street lights are working (by 2020).
  • Increase recycling by 10% (by 2020).
  • Plant more trees in locations to improve air quality (by 2020).

It seems local residents and community groups will make use of social media to provide constant feedback and monitor progress as the Council continues to work towards these goals.

 

 

What do you think of the Streets Strategy?

streets_strategy

In July 2017 Redbridge Council published a Streets Strategy which outlined initiatives to “create a clean, safe and vibrant Borough that people are proud to call home”.

Written by Councillor John Howard, Cabinet Member for Environment and Sustainability, the document made claims about the Council’s performance and identified commitments to be fulfilled.

Here are some of the claims made by the Council:

  • Our performance on keeping our streets clean has been consistently high.
  • The Community Safety Partnership have worked together to deliver a 40% reduction over the past four years in the crimes that most affect residents and businesses.
  • Our high streets are clean, safe and well-maintained.
  • We invest in a range of services to support and manage the different types of street users to ensure our pavements and streets are safe for people with mobility and sensory disabilities.

The Council made the following commitments.  They will:

  • Develop a behaviour change campaign to discourage people from littering and fly tipping in the first place.
  • Prioritise enforcement action against those that commit enviro-crime and publicise prosecutions for fly tipping, littering and dog fouling.
  • Work with local takeaways, pubs, clubs and businesses to make them more accountable for reducing waste and cleaning up after themselves and their customers.
  • Support multi-agency working by organising ten Redbridge Action Days each year to tackle crime, anti-social behaviour and other street scene issues (nine days have taken place in 2017/2018).
  • Work closely with schools to further develop School Travel Plans that encourage walking and cycling to school and work to achieve green routes to school.
  • Convert all street lights to LED over the next 2 years to improve the quality of lighting and reduce energy consumption (this is due to be completed by 30 November 2018).
  • Work with business communities in our key high streets to find ways to improve the quality of their local environment.
  • Reduce fly tips by 50% (by 2020).
  • Increase enforcement activity for street scene offences by 30% compared to base line year 2016/2017.
  • Make sure 99% of street lights are working (by 2020).
  • Increase recycling by 10% (by 2020).
  • Plant more trees in locations to improve air quality (by 2020).

Just over a year into the strategy, The Wanstead Post is seeking comments from readers about how effectively they feel it is being delivered in Wanstead.

 

Children in Redbridge ‘gang affected’

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Thirty-nine percent of children in Redbridge have been identified as “gang affected” in a new report presented to the Council.

The Youth Justice Plan 2018/2019 by Councillor Elaine Norman, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, was discussed at a meeting on 17 July 2018.

The Plan found the number and proportion of young people who are known to be “gang affected” has been increasing since 2014.

In 2014/2015 the percentage was 10.6 while in 2017/2018 it was 39.2.  Reasons for the increasing trend were described as “due mainly to better police intelligence and identification of cases”.

The Borough has a statutory duty to formulate, implement and publish an Annual Youth Justice Plan which sets out how Youth Justice Services will be provided and funded.  The report must also set out how the Youth Offending Service will be composed and resourced.

The Plan identified priorities for 2018/2019 which included maintaining the low level of young people entering the youth justice system, supporting vulnerable young people from re-offending and strengthening collaborative work on serious youth violence, child sexual exploitation, knife crimes and gangs work.

Statutory partners involved in the delivery of the Youth Justice Plan include the Metropolitan Police, the Probation/National Offender Management Service, The Connexions Team, the Mental Health and Well-being Service and North East London Foundation Trust.

The Redbridge Youth Justice Plan 2018/2019 will now be submitted to the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales.

Update on #improvethecentralline

central_line

Thank you to everyone who has supported the launch of The Wanstead Post’s campaign to #improvethecentralline.

The Mayor of London and the Managing Director of London Underground have yet to respond to letters about the current appalling service on the line.

John Cryer, MP for Leyton and Wanstead, did reply and has taken up the matter with Transport for London.

In a separate development, Councillor Khayer Chowdhury, who represents Valentines Ward in Ilford, called representatives to account for the current state of the service at a meeting of the Redbridge Council External Scrutiny Committee on 12 July 2018. The Transport for London spokesman who attended the meeting seems to have suggested the situation was only likely to get better once a £230m upgrade had been completed in 2020. This is simply not good enough.

The campaign is in email contact with the Chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee who is setting up a passenger meeting with Central Line Management. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to take place until the end of September 2018. (Not because representatives of the campaign cannot attend but because those responsible for the management of the Central Line are on holiday.)

The Central Line Twitter feed has announced they will hold a Tweet The Manager session on 23 July between 08.30 and 09.30. Please use this opportunity to send questions to Chris Taggart, Head of Line Operations. If you could include the hashtag #improvethecentralline this will show the strength of feeling behind the campaign.

In the meantime, please see below for other contributions you can make:

What can I do?

Tweet:

Tag @CentralLine and use the hashtag #improvethecentralline

Write to:
The Mayor of London
City Hall
The Queen’s Walk
London SE1 2AA

Mark Wild
Managing Director, London Underground
C/O TfL Customer Service
4th Floor, 14 Pier Walk
London SE10 0ES

Email:
Caroline Pidgeon, Chair, London Assembly Transport Committee
caroline.pidgeon@london.gov.uk

Meet the Councillors

Candidates from the Labour Party won all five seats representing Wanstead on Redbridge Council following the local elections at the beginning of May 2018.

Jo Blackman, Paul Donovan and Daniel Morgan-Thomas won Wanstead Village while Sheila Bain and Paul Merry won Wanstead Park.

Following their success, the newly elected candidates kindly agreed to answer some questions about issues of concern to the local community:

How do you feel now the campaign is over?

“We enjoyed meeting so many residents in the run up to the election and hearing about their concerns.  We are grateful for the support that the people of Wanstead have shown by electing us to represent them and we are looking forward to serving all residents and delivering on our election pledges.”

Gwyneth Deakins, a former councillor in the Borough, has criticised the way the local elections and particularly the count were conducted.  What are your views about her concerns?

“The count could have gone more smoothly on the night.  There were some delays due to various malfunctions.  However, it was a long night for everyone concerned, not only the candidates but the Council staff who did the count.  They deserve our thanks.”

What were the issues in Wanstead Village and Wanstead Park which dominated the campaign?

“There were particular concerns over crime and pollution.  On the wider political scene, a lot of people are concerned about the impact of Brexit, though this falls outside our remit as councillors.  There was though also plenty of positive feedback.  Most people, for instance, think Wanstead is a great place to live.”

What are your priorities for the next 6 months?

“Our priorities will be to deliver for the residents of Wanstead.  This will mean standing up for issues that concern people in the area.  It will also be good to see work on that swimming pool get underway.”

There has been some discussion online about a general impression of an increase in crime in Wanstead.  Do you think this is true and what can be done about it?

“Crime is certainly a concern in the area that needs to be addressed.  The cuts to policing have no doubt impacted on the rise in crime across the whole Borough.  This is something the Government should be looking at.  More police would no doubt help cut crime.”

In March 2018 it was reported that £5-£10m may be required to improve the safety of three Wanstead Park lakes which continue to be rated at “high risk” of flooding.  What added impetus can be given to the long-awaited Heritage Lottery Fund bid?

“There has been close involvement on the part of the incumbent and new Labour Councillors in the affairs of Wanstead Park.  The Corporation of London has to fund the flood prevention programme or suffer the consequences from the Environment Agency.  This injection of funds could provide some much needed investment, though mainly focusing on flood prevention.  The Heritage Lottery Funding bid is vital.  We do hope, after much delay, that the Corporation of London will move on with the bid in order that the vision outlined for the Park can be brought to fruition.”

Some residents in Wanstead Village have expressed concerns about an increase in litter particularly in places like Christchurch Green.  Will you be taking steps to address these concerns?

“We want an area that all can be proud of and it’s important that everyone plays a part in keeping it clean.  We will be discussing this with Council officers as a priority.”

The food and agriculture policy alliance London Food Link recently revealed that Redbridge Council has yet to pass a resolution in support of Fairtrade and is not yet making significant progress towards Fairtrade.  Do you feel this is important and will you be pushing the Council to show initiative in this area?

“Fairtrade can play an important role in securing livelihoods for farmers and their families in developing countries and we support efforts in that direction so will be raising this with Council colleagues.”

During the campaign, Daniel Morgan-Thomas said he wanted to put Wanstead “back on the map” after the area had seemed “remote from the wider concerns of Redbridge Council”.  In practical terms, how do you think this can be achieved?

“The election of a Labour Council in Redbridge in 2014, together with two Labour Councillors in the former Wanstead Ward, was a significant step forward in putting Wanstead “on the map” and back at the heart of Redbridge Council’s priorities.  We’ve seen amongst other things our local library refurbished, investment in our children’s centres, major improvement works planned at Wanstead High School together with a new public pool, and the doubling of free parking time on the High Street.  Going forward, with five Labour Councillors now serving the Wanstead area, we will all work to ensure that Wanstead continues to thrive and benefit from Borough-wide investment programmes.”

It is sometimes said of local councillors that after being elected they disappear from public view.  How do you propose to make yourselves as accessible and representative of the local community as possible?

“We will be holding regular surgeries, holding a weekly street stall on the High Street, as well as attending local events.  We will also be looking to stay in touch with people via local media.  Wanstead Ward News (now The Wanstead Post) and the Wanstead Directory have proved particularly adept at providing information during the campaign.  We will certainly be doing all we can to sort out problems, get involved and stay in touch with the people of Wanstead.”

Would you volunteer to pay more Council Tax?

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According to The Times newspaper, more than 800 households in Westminster have volunteered to pay extra Council Tax.  This follows a letter from the Leader of the Council to residents living in properties in the top band asking whether they would be willing to pay a “community contribution”.  Since the scheme began in March about 2 per cent of the 15,600 households approached have responded and the idea is expected to raise £342,000 to tackle homelessness and isolation and fund youth clubs.

Westminster includes areas such as Mayfair and Belgravia and residents already pay some of the lowest Council Tax rates in the UK; but is this a useful idea and would it work in Redbridge?

If Redbridge Council could prove that any money raised by a similar scheme was being used to tackle the most urgent social issues in the Borough, would residents be willing to volunteer to pay more Council Tax?