Pioneering commitment to heart health by Council

Redbridge Council, working with the London Hearts charity campaign, is planning to install 30 public access defibrillators across the Borough.

The new equipment will be easily accessible in public places so that immediate help can be given to anyone suffering severe heart problems.

According to the UK Resuscitation Council, defibrillation within 3-5 minutes of someone collapsing with a cardiac arrest can produce survival rates as high as 50-70%.

The project is one of the largest of its kind to be undertaken by a local authority and will be funded by the Council’s Community Infrastructure Levy which pays for health care facilities, school improvements, leisure centres and transport.

“We are committed to improving lives so I am absolutely delighted that we are rolling out these vital defibrillators so that the local communities we serve will be able to benefit from their use,” commented Councillor Kam Rai, Deputy Leader at Redbridge Council.

“In an emergency a defibrillator can be the difference between life and death, which is why we are ensuring that this essential equipment is installed in high-traffic areas where anyone can reach them and provide the crucial response in a life-threatening situation.”

Kimberley Lloyd, Operations Manager for London Hearts said:

“As a result of their partnership with London Hearts, Redbridge Council have demonstrated their pioneering commitment to heart health within their community”.

The Leisure Centre is the first location in Wanstead to have a defibrillator fitted. An interactive map on the Redbridge Council website will be regularly updated as additional defibrillators are installed in the area.

Council leader to appear on BBC Radio

Picture courtesy of Redbridge Council

The Labour Leader of Redbridge Council has agreed to take part in an in-depth interview on BBC Radio London.

The discussion is part of a series created to help Londoners get to know their local politicians.

Councillor Jas Athwal represents Mayfield ward and is the Leader of Redbridge Council. He is Cabinet Member for Growth and Leisure and has been Leader of the Labour Group since October 2011. In December 2018 Mr Athwal was named UK Councillor of the Year at the annual SME4Labour Excellence Awards.

The interview is due to be broadcast on Tuesday 19 February 2019 with timings yet to be confirmed. Follow @BBCRadioLondon on Twitter for further information.

Hundreds of thousands spent on CCTV in Redbridge

Redbridge Council spent £383,000 on CCTV during the financial year from April 2017-March 2018.

This is more than surrounding boroughs including Waltham Forest, Newham and Barking & Dagenham but less than Havering.

Net expenditure on CCTV in Waltham Forest during the same period was £65,000, in Barking & Dagenham it was £202,000, in Newham it was £364,000 while in Havering it was £472,000.

There were 492 employees monitoring CCTV in Redbridge in 2017-2018 compared to 83 in Waltham Forest, 519 in Barking & Dagenham, 705 in Newham and none in Havering.

According to figures provided by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Redbridge Council spent more on CCTV than it did on Housing Standards (£202,000), Trading Standards (£281,000) and Food Safety (£291,000).

Research by The Times newspaper has revealed a national trend of local authorities spending millions of pounds on CCTV while cutting services in other areas.

The Redbridge Council website states the Borough has “one of the most advanced Council CCTV systems in the country, helping to keep residents and visitors safe”.

Increase in homelessness in Redbridge in 2018

Map courtesy of Shelter

There are more than 7,000 homeless people in Redbridge, according to the latest research by the charity Shelter.

The figures revealed there are 7,049 people living in temporary accommodation in the Borough while 65 are considered as sleeping rough.

Information released by the charity in November 2017 found there were 6,257 homeless people in Redbridge meaning an increase of 857 during 2018.

Redbridge is number 11 in a ranking of recorded homelessness by local authority in England with Tower Hamlets at number 10 and Brent at number 9. Newham has the highest number of homeless people with 14,535 in temporary accommodation and 76 sleeping rough.

There are almost 170,000 homeless people across London with 1 in 52 without a home. In total there are 320,000 homeless people across Britain.

“It is unforgivable that 320,000 people in Britain have been swept up by the housing crisis and now have no place to call home. These new figures show that homelessness is having a devastating impact on the lives of people right across the country”, said Polly Neate, CEO of Shelter.

“Due to the perfect storm of spiralling rents, welfare cuts and a total lack of social housing, record numbers of people are sleeping out on the streets or stuck in the cramped confines of a hostel room. We desperately need action now to change tomorrow for the hundreds of thousands whose lives will be blighted by homelessness this winter.”

(If you are concerned about someone sleeping rough Streetlink enables members of the public to connect people on the streets with local services that can support them.)

Lack of clarity about newspaper column written by local councillor

Questions have been raised about a weekly newspaper column written by a local councillor.

Labour Councillor for Wanstead Village, Paul Donovan, contributes a regular column to the East London and West Essex Guardian.

A subscriber to the newspaper’s website has posted several questions underneath the most recent online article.  The queries reveal a lack of clarity amongst readers as to whether Mr Donovan writes as an independent journalist or as a locally elected representative of a political party and whether he receives payment for his work.

“This Paul Donovan weekly column that the Guardian are publishing is something I find unusual in that there are always political undertones,” writes someone describing themselves as ViewpointE4.

“Is he the same Paul Donovan that contributes articles to the unbiased (obviously not communist) Morning Star?”

ViewpointE4 also questions whether Mr Donovan is being paid for his “published opinions”.

The Morning Star describes itself as “the only English-language socialist daily newspaper in the world”.  A search on the website reveals 194 articles written by someone called Paul Donovan covering areas such as football, the environment, air pollution and crime.

In its biography of Mr Donovan, the East London and West Essex Guardian describes him as a Redbridge Councillor but does not make clear his political affiliation.  His column is listed under News and is not identified as Opinion making it unclear whether he writes in his capacity as a freelance journalist or a locally elected representative of a political party.

The declaration of interests on the Redbridge Council website details Mr Donovan’s employment as a journalist but does not mention whether he receives any payment for his weekly contribution to The East London and West Essex Guardian.

Neither The East London and West Essex Guardian nor Mr Donovan have responded to ViewpointE4’s questions.

Road casualties in Redbridge

Graph showing road casualties by London Borough
Source: Transport for London

There were 1,030 casualties on roads in Redbridge in 2017 according to the latest figures from Transport for London (TfL).

Casualties are defined as persons killed or injured in a collision. Fatal casualties are categorised as those where death occurs within 30 days of an accident.

During 2017 nine people died, 72 were seriously injured and 949 were slightly injured on roads in the borough.

The most casualties occured in Westminster (1,917) while the City of London had the least (366). The borough of Enfield had the most fatalities (10) while Merton had no fatal accidents.

In total there were 32,567 casualties on London’s roads in 2017 including 28,686 people slightly injured and 131 deaths.

The Mayor of London has introduced a ‘Vision Zero’ plan to eliminate all serious and fatal injuries from London’s roads by 2041.  The strategy includes the introduction of lower speed limits on TfL’s road network, the transformation of dangerous junctions, the introduction of new safety standards for the design of HGVs and a bus safety programme.

“I don’t accept that deaths and serious injuries on London’s roads are something we just have to put up with,” said Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, when he launched the plan in July 2018.

“Every single death or serious injury results in heartache and tragedy for those affected, and their loved ones.

“Our bold and far-reaching plans are some of the most ambitious in the world, and start from the basis that no death or serious injury on London’s roads should be treated as acceptable or inevitable. At the heart of our plans is reducing the dangers of speeding vehicles across London, which is why we’re proposing a new general speed limit of 20mph on TfL roads within the Congestion Charging Zone – protecting cyclists, pedestrians and all road users in the busiest part of the capital.

“The design of vehicles on London’s roads is also crucial. That’s why we’re using the latest safety technologies to transform London’s buses and bringing in a world-leading safety standard for lorries, alongside investing record amounts in building new infrastructure to make walking and cycling a safe option in every part of the capital.”

Turn waste into wealth, says Prince Charles

waste_to_wealth

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”.