£242m generated for local councils by residential parking permits since 2016

Local councils in the UK have collectively earned more than £242 million from residential parking permits since 2016, according to new research by Churchill Car Insurance.

In 2018 the income generated by the permits was £77.2 million or the equivalent of £200,000 per day, while in 2017 the permits raised £87.6 million.

Between 2016 and 2018 the number of roads requiring permits increased by 2,500, while the number of parking permit applications decreased from over 2m in 2016 to 1.4m in 2018. In London, an estimated 6,604 roads required a parking permit in 2018.

The cost of parking permits varies across the UK due to a range of factors. In the London Borough of Lambeth, the price depends on vehicle emissions or engine size. In Norwich, the cost depends on the length of a vehicle while in Edinburgh the street location and vehicle emissions affect the price.

In February 2018 Redbridge Council introduced new parking rules on Wanstead High Street and in surrounding roads following a controversial public consultation. The new scheme included the introduction of residential parking permits for certain roads costing £20 for a 12 month permit for one vehicle and £100 for a second 12-month permit.

According to the latest Parking Annual Report 2017/18, Redbridge Council received income of £1.65m from on street parking, which included money received from residential parking permits. The £7.085m surplus generated from the overall Council parking account, which included income generated from parking enforcement, traffic contraventions, on street parking and off street parking was used to “fund Concessionary Transport and other transport and highways-related improvements”.

Community group calls for cleaner greener Wanstead

A new initiative has been launched to encourage residents, businesses, organisations and Redbridge Council to create a “cleaner greener Wanstead”.

The community-led movement focuses on five priorities including cleaner journeys; more plants and trees; less plastic, waste and litter; sustainable homes and premises and living lower impact lives.

“Here in Wanstead our children are growing up breathing filthy air. We’re producing vast amounts of waste which has to be shipped abroad to be processed. We’re gradually losing the leafy green streets that make Wanstead special,” the group claim.

The Cleaner Greener Wanstead website suggests ways to be more environmentally friendly including never leaving car engines idling, filling outdoor spaces with flowers, planting more trees, carrying reusable water bottles and buying renewable energy.

Neighbouring borough Waltham Forest recently declared a “climate emergency” and resolved to launch a Climate Change Commission to “help shape our local response to this global challenge and to produce a set of policy ‘asks’ for our regional and national politicians”. The resolution followed protests by activists including international movement Extinction Rebellion.

Further information about Cleaner Greener Wanstead can be found here: https://www.cleanergreenerwanstead.org/

Council wins grant to combat knife crime

Redbridge Council has been awarded £500k to tackle knife crime and gang culture across the Borough.

The grant has been secured from the Government’s new Supporting Families Against Youth Crime Fund.

The money will be used to support a joint initiative with BoxUpCrime, a social youth organisation founded by Stephen Addison MBE. The project will help to deter young people from getting involved in crime and gangs by offering a mix of boxing training, education and mentoring.

Operating in Barking and Dagenham, BoxUpCrime has worked with more than 2,000 young people and helped reduce serious youth violence by 25 per cent across the London Borough.

“Every borough in the capital has seen the devastating effect that gangs and knife crime can have on all sections of the community,” said Councillor Elaine Norman, Redbridge Council Cabinet Member for Childen and Young People.

“Tackling crime is one of our priorities and we firmly believe that early prevention is one of the most useful tools we have.

“With the funds secured for this project we will be able to give many young people in our borough the support they need to avoid getting sucked into a life of crime and ultimately fulfil their potential”.

Stephen Addison, Founder of BoxUpCrime, said:

“As an organisation we are really excited to be working with Redbridge Council in order to rebuild misguided dreams of young people who have gone on the wrong path. We want to make boxing accessible for young people from different walks of life all over the borough. As an organisation we strongly believe in harnessing the talents of young people and giving them the opportunity to make their aspirations come true”.

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”.

Community views sought

Data from Redbridge Council

Redbridge Council has launched a public consultation to inform the development of a waste strategy for the Borough.

The survey asks a series of questions about issues such as waste, recycling and fly tipping.

According to the Council, the local authority collected 673.9 kilograms of black sack rubbish from every household in the Borough in 2016/2017, the third highest amount for any local authority in England.

In 2017/2018 Redbridge Council collected more than 110,000 tonnes of waste and sent approximately 26,000 tonnes for recycling, composting or reuse, according to data released by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

The research revealed that 15 out of 33 London boroughs recycled a smaller percentage of household waste in 2017/2018 than in 2016/2017. London is currently bottom of the table for recycling compared to the rest of the country.

“The amount of rubbish we are collecting is rising higher than the rate of population growth in the Borough and we need to reduce this wastage to lessen the environmental impact and improve the local street scene,” say the Council.

“Our motivations lie in making the Borough as clean and safe as possible for residents and workers.”

The online survey can be completed here.

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.)

Charity launches the Great British Spring Clean

Picture courtesy of Keep Britain Tidy

The charity Keep Britain Tidy has announced a month-long Great British Spring Clean campaign for 2019.

The initiative aims to encourage individuals, community organisations, businesses and government to work together to collect and safely dispose of single-use plastic from streets, parks and beaches.

In 2018 more than 370,000 people took part in 13,500 events around the UK.  Despite the wintry weather caused by the ‘Beast from the East’, a small group of committed volunteers held a litter picking event in Wanstead.

According to organisers, another initiative is planned as part of the Great British Spring Clean 2019.  Local residents, community groups and businesses have been advised to reserve Saturday 23 March 2019 if they wish to take part.

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.