2015 got off to a great start with a news packed January Green Coffee.
We began with our annual review of how Green Coffee is run, its focus etc. Then discussed a multitude of things, including the latest on the Green Spaces campaign and the re-launch of Merton Friends of the Earth.
If you'd like to help the Tree Wardens with their winter tree-planting, we've just received some new dates from Jane Plant - see HERE And finally, find out the top 12 British crowdfunding projects of 2014 HERE from Phil Geraghty - Green Coffee member & managing director of Crowdfunder.co.uk. Well done Phil!
The next Green Coffee will be on Tues 3rd Feb at The Gooseberry Bush, 115 Kingston Rd SW19 1LT. Please do join us at any time from 9.30 to 11am - or at the one after on 3rd March.
Sustainability Checklist for Buildings - do you think new buildings should be as sustainable as possible? Then if a big development is planned, why not send the Sustainability Checklist to the developer. This is a list of sustainable features for buildings put together by Green Coffee members. Find it HERE.
Wheelie bins - council to pilot wheeled bins. Find out more HERE
Download newsletters from:
Sustainable Merton HERE
Making Colliers Wood Happy HERE
EcoLocal (Sutton) HERE
January Green Coffee - news
It was agreed that Green Coffee should continue in the same form. As before, email addresses should only be used for the purpose they were originally intended i.e. for Green Coffee emails. So, emails from other groups should not be forwarded, but the information should be included in the next newsletter email.
Our annual review of Green Coffee
With the approaching general election, Green Coffee should remain politically neutral and avoid discussing the policies of individual parties. When controversial issues arise, it was confirmed that our approach is to let both sides lay out their positions and then to move on.
1. Green Spaces Outsourcing
Gardening & Green Spaces
The council has decided to oursource management of the borough's green spaces to South London Waste Partnership, an organisation set up to run the incerator in Beddington Lane. The petition to stop this happening has now gathered 1303 signatures. Find the petition HERE. The following comments were made by Green Coffee members:
- Sustainable Merton is concerned that there has not been adequate due diligence of this decision and that the proposed saving of £300,000 can not be achieved.
- The community has invested heavily in people and equipment to maintain many of these areas and it's feared that this will be lost if the outsourcing goes ahead.
- Experience elsewhere is that contractors may use pesticides indiscriminately, killing everything.
- One example of how things can go wrong was when trees planted by the community near Myrna Close were pulled out by contractors with no consultation. (Recently Sustainable Merton replanted the site. )
- Sutton is some way from making the decision to cooperate with Merton to contract out green spaces management. Merton can't go ahead until Sutton approves this.
- Sutton has used a combination of local contractors to look after their green spaces, whereas Merton wants to go with a single contractor. So the boroughs have approached green spaces management in different ways.
- Instead of just wanting to maintain what we have in talks about green spaces, we should be aspiring to create something better.
As well as concerns over the fate of Merton's green spaces, worries were voiced about the pollution that may come from the Beddington Lane incinerator.
AND SOME MUCH NEEDED GOOD NEWS! Canons House & Madeira Hall in Mitcham have just received a lottery grant of nearly £4m for restoration of the house and grounds. See the article about it on the Wimbledon Guardian website HERE
2. Remembrance Woodlands
Last month we heard how the planting of a Remembrance Woodland in Wandle Park was postponed and why this decision was taken. Find the articles HERE.
Since then, Sustainable Merton was asked to suggest where the trees could be planted. They identified some sites around the perimeter of the park and sent these suggestions to the council before Christmas. The next step is for the council to do a short consultation so that they can decide a course of action. The trees are currently being stored in Keith's garden and seem in reasonable condition. However, we all hope this is resolved soon.
30 of the trees have already been planted to replace trees pulled out by mistake - see Green Spaces Outsourcing article above. Making Colliers Wood Happy has organised the clear up of an existing area of woodland on 18th Jan. Find more info under EVENTS.
3. Tree Planting - help needed
The Tree Wardens are planting hundreds of trees around Merton and they really need more help. It started with Wimbledon Common Extension this Thurs 8th, then Moreton Green, Morden Park, Sir Joe Hood Memorial Playing Fields and Stanford Primary School. If you can go along to any of those, your help would be really appreciated. Find out the dates and other details HERE, plus some additional dates for Moreton Green HERE.
4. Wilton Rd Street Trees
Jane P conducted a survey of the trees in Wilton Rd. Most are chestnut and are in poor condition due to disease, not helped by being a monoculture. This was an example of getting local people involved in green spaces. Some had never much noticed the street trees, but now were interested and involved in looking after them.
5. Putting a Price on Trees !
Although it may go against the grain to see trees in terms of money, it may be the best way of making others appreciate the contribution of trees. It also supports the idea that when a tree is lost, it should be replaced by a sufficient number and size of trees (rather than a couple of small flowering cherries).
By putting a value on the trees lost at the Emma Hamilton development, the developers provided £20,000 for semi-mature replacement trees close by. Find out more about this story HERE.
6. Praise for Tree Watering Initiative
Council contractors are supposed to water new trees, but it's often difficult to know if and when this is done. When they water a tree, contractors now put the date on the tree stake. This helps concerned residents to know whether a tree is being cared for or not.
7. Celebrating Sustainability in Merton
Films and Events
Sustainable Merton has invited people from around the borough to tell us about their sustainable projects and businesses. This will be on Thurs 15th Jan at Drake House.
From 8pm onwards, there will be 5 min talks from the following groups:
The Heritage Orchard - Dave
Morden Hall Park Nature Club - Alison
Dig Merton: Laburnum Rd Project - Sustainable Merton
Wimbledon East Hillside Residents' Association - Leigh
Wandle Regional Park
Merton Priory Homes
Abundance Wimbledon - Joyce
Squirrels Community Scrap Scheme
Mitcham Town Community Trust
So it should be an interesting evening - a chance to catch up on what's happening and to meet the people making it happen.
8. 'Trashed' - a successful evening
Several Green Coffee members attended and agreed that it was an excellent film. There was a good attendance, with the venue almost full. It was a shame that there was a last-minute clash with the green spaces outsourcing meeting and several key people were unable to come, but Jane Alexander was able to attend and fielded questions.
It was suggested that the bar area outside could be used for people to meet up after a film to continue discussions - and this will be considered if another film is organised. Over £200 in donations were collected and the balance was paid by Sustainable Merton.
Juliet was congratulated for organising a successful and thought-provoking event and has a DVD which can be used for private viewings. Keith asked to borrow the DVD for showing in Colliers Wood. Carole suggested that it could be shown at the new Wimbledon Park Community Hall.
9. Re-launch of Merton Friends of the Earth
Friends of the Earth is relaunching in Merton with monthly meetings on the third Wednesday of the month, starting Wed 21st January. The group will discuss Climate Change and organising the next march in the 'Campaign Against Climate Change' on 7th March in London. Also, the group is supporting the Bee Campaign locally by planting trees and flowers and helping with general maintenance in Wandle Park. Find more details below under REGULARS.
10. 'What's Happening in Colliers Wood?'
This annual event showcases voluntary groups and organisations active in Colliers Wood. There are expected to be more than 30 stalls and last year around 250 people attended. If you're interested in having a stall, there may still be a few spaces, so please contact email@example.com.
Also, Jenny Mortimer will be answering questions about organic gardening at Donald Hope Library in Colliers Wood on Sat 14th Feb and Sat 14th March. Find out more below under EVENTS.
11. Nature Clubs - Morden Hall & Wimbledon Common and the BioBlitz
Morden Hall Nature Club - there is a lot happening, with plans for a series of wildlife surveys of butterflies, ladybirds & shield bugs, moths, river birds and more. If you would like to get involved, then please get in touch with NatureGroupMHP@gmail.co to arrange training. Or else go along to one of the monthly meetings (find more about it under REGULARS). Concerns are raised by plans for a new boardwalk passing through an area of Morden Hall Park which is currently inaccessible as wildlife will be disturbed, especially by dogs.
There are also plans to hold a BioBlitz on 30th May. The plan is to have a series of events to engage people (especially children) in the natural world e.g. a bat walk, moth trapping and display (before release), small mammal trapping, a bird walk and lots of activities for children. This is being organised with Surrey Wildlife Trust.
Wimbledon Common Nature Club - the next meeting on Sunday 1st February 10am to 12 noon will focus on "Reptiles". Come and see lots of exotic snakes - if you dare! This will be at the Information Centre on Wimbledon Common - turn left at first roundabout on Windmill Road, and then right. We are by the offices and opposite the log pile (at the back of the Windmill Cafe). For children 6 - 14 years of age.
12. Chelsea Fringe
Curt reminded us that people should start planning if they want to take part in the Chelsea Fringe. This is a garden & art festival which is on around the time of the Chelsea Flower Show, but is not part of it. After the success of the Piazza Garden last year, Caroline is looking at whether to hold it again this year. If you are interested in taking part in this year's Chelsea Fringe, find more info HERE.
The Built Environment
13. Green Coffee's Sustainability Check-list for Buildings
Green Coffee members have put together a list of sustainable features that every developer should at least be considering. So if there is a development and you want to encourage the developer to make it as sustainable as possible, then send in this list or use it to draw up your own list. Download it HERE.
14. Reclaim our Roads (ROAR)
This is a campaign to look after our roads better in Merton. See more about it on the ROAR website HERE and the November issue of Green Coffee HERE.
The concern is that we can only understand the costs of not looking after roads, if we look at all the issues and understand the impacts of them. Some of the issues are:
- not sweeping leaves off the road means they decay and block drains
- we have to plan for change as climate change is causing more flooding and drought
The campaign has already had a success, with Merton Council launching a consultation on flooding in December. If you'd like your say on this important area, submit your response online - see HERE. Or you can find the background information and a consultation form at most local libraries. The consultation closes on Feb 2nd.
Adopting 20's Plenty would have many benefits, including reducing vibrations and emissions. Many people think that a 20mph speed limit would mean more physical barriers on roads which they don't want. However, with 20's Plenty, there would be 20mph across the (residential roads in the) borough. As 20 mph becomes the new norm, many of the physical barriers could be removed.
Physical barriers lead to poorer air quality, as drivers brake when approaching a barrier and accelerate away from it. There are concerns about the proposed 250 new residential units in The Rainbow Industrial Estate in Raynes Park. Access is on the south side of Raynes Park Station where Grand Drive swings round to the south. Inevitably, traffic will have to wait at this junction, with increased nitrogen emissions and particulates. As the council has a statutory duty to improve air quality, this is a valid argument against this development.
Government is currently reducing air quality monitoring, with air quality monitors already removed from Plough Lane, Worple Rd and Colliers Wood bus station. We should be particularly concerned at the quality of air breathed by children, so the siting of the monitor at Centre Court three metres above the ground seems inadequate. London Sustainability Exchange is also monitoring air quality in Merton.
NOTE: the London Air Quality Network website appears to report on just one Merton site - Merton Rd. Have a look for the latest report HERE
15. Green Deal grants still available
Grants are still available from the government's latest fund to support the Green Deal. Launched before Christmas, this was worth a total of £30m.
Recycling & Waste
16. Visit to the Biodigester
Jane organised a really interesting trip to the biodigester plant which deals with the food waste from Merton and other local authorities. Green Coffee members Ruth and Joyce went along to the site near Chertsey in Surrey.
Ruth reported that the plant takes food waste from 3/4 million people in the London area and turns it into biofuel and liquid fertiliser. The food waste is first pasteurised and then digested in a series of 4 tanks for 85 days. This long period of digestion maximises the methane generated and means that the residue is clean with little smell.
4.5m tonnes of methane is captured annually from the plant and this generates 2.4MW of electricity. The liquid residue is certified for use as an organic fertiliser and is supplied to local farms. The whole plant is highly computerised, employs just 3 staff and can be managed remotely from a mobile phone. The plant manager claimed that this was probably the most efficient plant of its type in Europe. Find more info and photos on the Sustainable Merton website HERE
17. Recycling blister packs
Joanna asked if there was anywhere to recycle blister packs, which contain valuable aluminium. She is going to clarify this with Jane A.
18. Street Bin Waste
Our street bins have two sections - recycling and landfill. A question was raised about what happens to these two streams of waste and whether they are kept separate.
Following the meeting, Jane clarified that the bins are either emptied by the street cleaning crews (who take the recycling waste to a recycling point and the landfill waste to a refuse collection point), or by a truck which should only empty one side at a time.
Solar bins send a signal to the council when they are nearly full, but they are difficult to empty as they get so heavy. At about £1000 each, they are expensive.
19. Return of the Peregrine Falcons !
Other things Local
Kevin reported that a pair of peregrine falcons has returned to Colliers Wood. They have been seen hovering around the black tower and the pylons. They have nested on the black tower in previous years, but work is now ongoing to refurbish the tower to provide 150 flats as well as retail space on the ground floor. (It is thought that another Waitrose will open here.) A local resident is actively overseeing the situation and making sure the builders know about the falcons.
20. Cooking classes in Colliers Wood
Following a successful cookery class before Christmas, Rosemary will be holding sessions using produce from the Colliers Wood garden. Look out for the dates.
Rosemary is continuing to make a range of jams. Her involvement in the London Food Fortnight led to orders from Harvey Nichols for her jam. Her damson jam is now being used in cocktails!
21. The General Election
With the forthcoming general election, Charles (on behalf of Merton Seniors Forum) is organising a hustings for Mitcham and another for Morden. Joanna (on behalf of CND/WDC) is also hoping to organise a hustings, so they will confer on this. If you'd like to get involved or would like more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Coverage of political debate is often criticised as being inadequate. So BBC Radio 4 has asked the listeners what they want to hear, how should politicians be held to account and what is best way of hearing about the important issues. See HERE and listen to the recording from 10 minutes into the clip. You can submit your own suggestions to Radio 4 by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter @BBCPM.
22. MVSC news - the cuts, accounting, skills and database management
Join MVSC and Merton Council on Friday 23rd January, 10am-12pm at the Wandle Valley Resource Centre for a consultation meeting for voluntary and community sector organisations in the borough. Organisations can put forward their concerns about the Council’s budget proposals. Book your free place HERE
Community Accountancy Service in Merton
MVSC is launching a Community Accountancy Service and training sessions to address specific issues related to managing the finances of a voluntary group.Find out more HERE
Free Skills Conference for Small Charities
The FSI's Skill Conference is in London on Wednesday 11th February, providing 160 places for small charities to access a range of expert speakers on a variety of topics. Topics include HR and Management, Law, IT, Finance, Governance, Policy, Strategy and Planning and Impact Measurement. Book your free place HERE
So you need a new Database?
Superhighways are looking for 12 groups who want support to make their database fit for purpose. Would you like their support? Find out more HERE
23. Some Money for Cycling
Although Merton didn't win the big money in the London Mayor's mini-holland competition, it has now received £200,000 for cycling in the borough. This will be used to improve short sections of road.
24. Conflict and Climate Change
In November Green Coffee, we highlighted an excellent video - Conflict and Climate Change - see the article HERE. This is being shown this Sunday by Christine at Dundonald Congregational Church. If anyone else would like to borrow the DVD, please contact Joanna at email@example.com
25. Do you know a publisher?
Rosemary has completed her first novel "Jamun" and is looking for a publisher. Jamun is a tropical fruit, similar to a damson.
Sun 18th Jan 10am - 12midday
Woodland Maintenance - more help needed
Meet outside Colliers Wood Tube Station at 9.50am
Please come along and help to prune, tidy and litter pick in and around our community woodlands behind Tesco Express in Wandle Park. Please wear suitable clothing and footwear. Equipment will be provided. This event is organised by Making Colliers Wood Happy, so for more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call Keith at 07982 721 496. More help would be appreciated.
Wed 21st Jan 8 - 10pm
Merton Friends of the Earth - Relaunch
William Morris House, 267 The Broadway, Wimbledon SW19 1SD
Come along to this first meeting of Merton Friends of the Earth. Discuss issues around climate change, The Bee-Cause as well as other Friends of the Earth campaigns. Future meetings will be held on the third Wed of each month, same place & time.
Wed 21st Jan 6.30-8pm
Love Wimbledon - stakeholder forum
Tuition House, 27-37 St Georges Road, Wimbledon, SW19 4EU
Residents, community groups and businesses of Wimbledon are invited along to this annual event. Have your say on what you want for your town centre, hear Love Wimbledon’s 2015 plans and find out about what else is happening. This is a free event, but you do need to RSVP for catering purposes. Email email@example.com More info HERE
Fri 23rd Jan 8pm
Pedalling around the World
Willoughby Arms, Kingston, KT2 6LN
A slide show from Richard Evans. Last year he cycled around the world on a recumbent bicycle - and has a lot of stories to tell. Meet up for a chat and to see the photos. More info about this amazing feat HERE.
Sat 24th Jan 11am-5pm
What's going on in Colliers Wood
Colliers Wood Community Centre
Over 30 local community groups will be showcasing their activities. So if you want to find out what's going on in Colliers Wood - and maybe try something new, then you have to be there! There will be fun activities, music and merriment. Adults £1, children free.
Find it HERE
Sat 24th Jan
March to stop the Trident Renewal Programme
meet Wimbledon Station forecourt
If you'd like to join Joanna on the march to protest about the renewal of Trident, then meet up with her outside the station at 11am. The plan is to encircle the Ministry of Defence with the Pink Peace Scarf. Find out more about the day HERE. Contact Joanna at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sun 1st Feb 12.30 - 1pm
Pray and Fast for the Climate
Trinity United Reformed Church
All are welcome to come along. This will be repeated at different churches on the 1st of each month until the climate talks are held in Paris in December. Enquiries to email@example.com
Sat 14th Feb & Sat 14th March 2.30-4.30pm
Organic Gardening Q & As
Donald Hope Library, Cavendish House, High Street, Colliers Wood SW19 2HR
Free organic gardening classes from horticulturalist Jenny Mortimer. So why not come along and ask her about any gardening issues. Jenny has taught classes and courses at Merton Adult Education for many years. Funded by the Merton Partnership. To book call Keith on 07982 721 496 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Sat 30th May
Morden Hall Park
A series of events to engage people, especially children, in the natural world. There are plans to have a bat walk, moth trapping and display (before release), small mammal trapping, a bird walk and lots of activities for children. This is being organised by Morden Hall Park Nature Club with Surrey Wildlife Trust.
first Mondays of the month 7.30pm
Wimbledon Beekeepers' Association
The Snuff Mill, Morden Hall Park, Morden Hall Road, Morden SM4 5JD
The Wimbledon Division of the Surrey Beekeepers' Association is an organisation of Beekeepers, who operate in the London Borough of Merton and its surrounding areas. Each year, they organise beginners’ courses and a variety of educational and social events for members.
every Wed morning 10am - early afternoon
Phipp’s Bridge Community Allotment
Join Gillian and her friendly group to grow fruit and vegetables. Disused land has been turned into a productive garden through people working together. You are welcome to join in, regardless of your gardening expertise - and you'll have the opportunity to take home some lovely fresh produce. If you would like to come and have a look or get involved, then please contact Gillian at email@example.com Find out more HERE
every Wednesday at 10.30 am
Merton Green Parents
Coffee in the Wood, 99 High Street, Colliers Wood
How do you balance the demands of being a parent and leading a more sustainable life? It can sometimes be difficult. Merton Green Parents provides a place to swap sustainable parenting tips and meet other like-minded parents.To join the group and for information about meet up times, visit the Merton Green Parents Facebook page or follow them on twitter @MGreenParents.
Coffee in the Wood has cakes from local bakers, nice coffee and sometimes live music! It is also a Recycling Point for baby wipes and baby food packets.
third Wednesdays 8 - 10pm
Merton Friends of the Earth - Monthly Meet Up
William Morris House, 267 The Broadway, Wimbledon SW19 1SD
Join the newly relaunched group to discuss the issue of climate change and organising the next march in the 'Campaign Against Climate Change' on 7th March in London. Find more info HERE You'll hear more about their ongoing local Bee Campaign and how you can help with general maintenance in Wandle Park. See above EVENTS The first meeting of Friends of the earth will be on Wednesday 21st January. Enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
first Thursday of the month at 8.00pm
Merton Cycling Campaign meeting
All Saints Centre, All Saints Road, SW19 1BX
Meet other cyclists, find out about rides and other events and the latest on campaigns. Please contact Charles, Borough Coordinator Merton Cycling Campaign tel. 8949 0708 or email email@example.com for more details.
third Thursdays from 7pm
Morden Hall Park Nature Group
Snuff Mill Education Centre, Morden Hall Park
Find out more about the animals, vegetables and minerals found in Morden Hall Park. Or esle share your knowledge with other like-minded people? The meeting is open to anyone interested in the work of the Nature Group. Find out more HERE or email NatureGroupMHP@gmail.com
every Friday 10-12am
Colliers Wood Community Garden
at the back of Christ Church Hall, in Colliers Wood
Join Keith, Nick, Peter and friends for some gardening. Also workshops on cookery and healthy living. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call Keith at 07982 721 496
second Fridays from 9.30 - 11am
John Innes Gardening Group
JI Gardening Group is currently meeting every second Friday. Meet up by the mulberry tree. Bring secateurs and a trowel. For more information, please contact email@example.com
every Saturday, 9am-1pm
Wimbledon Farmers’ Market
Wimbledon Park Primary School, Havana Road, SW19 8EJ
A chance to get your groceries direct from local farmers. Find out more HERE
second Saturdays 10am - 2pm
The Windmill Market
St Mark's Church, behind Wimbledon Library SW19 7ND
The local market in the centre of Wimbledon. A range of food and crafts from local businesses and artisans. Now free entry. To find out more or to book a food or craft stall, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org