|Hello <<First Name>>
First of all, a very big thank you to Leigh for kindly inviting June Green Coffee to her home. We saw first hand some of the measures that make this house energy efficient and the garden a haven for wildlife.
Other news included an update from Jane on outsourcing parks maintenance, a suggestion from June for how space can be better shared between pedestrians and cyclists, and Craig reported that a new part of the Wandle trail has now opened.
Since the meeting, Safia got in touch to say she is still collecting 2 litre plastic bottles to build a greenhouse - so please keep on collecting them. Also see HERE to collect a free yew tree to plant in commemoration of the Magna Carts - thanks for this Fliss.
And finally - some excellent news. At long last, Edyta and Dean have won their appeal and got the go-ahead to build their Passivhaus home in Merton Park!
PLEASE NOTE: The Green Coffee news covers whatever views are expressed by individuals at the meeting, rather than giving a consensus view. Indeed, Green Coffee members often have different views on a topic. The newsletter does not verify information or web links, so it's up to you to challenge views or correct information - and you are welcome to send in your comments for discussion at the next meeting.
June Green Coffee - news
The Built Environment
1. Visit to an Energy Efficient Home
A very big thank you to Leigh for inviting Green Coffee to her delightful home. In 2013, major work began to transform this 1928 house and garden into one that is energy efficient and sustainable, but also full of character and a lovely place to live. The project was overseen by Parity Projects and was made possible through attention to every detail. The main instalments were as follows:
The result is that the heating and electricity bill are around half of what would be expected without improvements.
2. New Section of Path along the Wandle
- solid wall insulation of all exterior walls - internal insulation at the front (which could not be changed due to being in a conservation area) and external insulation on the side and rear walls. Insulation plus wall finishings are around 6 inches deep.
- floor insulation - rock wool insulation between the joists under the ground floor.
- insulated floor to the attic conversion, with a breathable membrane lining the roof
- all new double glazed windows, with seals
- air extractors/ventilation in several rooms on every floor, to keep moisture levels from rising
- condenser boiler
- water: double flush toilets, restrictions to water flow from taps and small basins
- blackout blinds on windows
- large south-facing windows, small north facing windows
- sunpipe to bring light into windowless room
- wood-burning stoves – one traditional; one modern, inserted in a chimney breast
- A+++ appliances
- clothes line
- basement excavated beneath extension - lined with porous membrane and water removed by pump
- garden - paving removed and replaced with birch trees and bushes in front garden, drought-resistant insect and bird friendly plants in rear garden, 6 water butts, composter, wormery and sluggery, insect hotels
- designated space for two 40 litre bins
A new path has opened along the Wandle for walkers and cyclists. This is from Morden Hall Park through Ravensbury Park to near The Hub in Watermead Country Park - see the path HERE
3. Just Paint in new Cycle Lanes
Many of the paths around Merton are used by cyclists and pedestrians. This can lead to conflict and sometimes injury when cyclists ride too fast and too close to pedestrians. However, Green Coffee members said that they generally dismounted when approaching a pedestrian in a shared area or pavement - this was appreciated by non-cyclists.
Some said cyclists should get insurance and register their bikes, although others thought that only responsible cyclists would comply and it would discourage occasional cyclists. Ringing a bell when approaching is appreciated by some pedestrians, but resented by others. Some paths are wide enough to have separate cycle and pedestrian paths and this would reduce the potential for conflict. This would often just require painting a white line and pictures of cycles - and so would be cheap and easy to do. This will be suggested to Stephen Hammond.
The Wimbledon Guardian featured an interview with Merton Cycling Campaign including Green Coffee member Charles, who said the council should be doing more to make cycling safe in Merton. Read the article HERE.
4. Green Roofs in Hartfield Rd
A refurbishment at Pinnacle House, 17- 25 Hartfield Rd, is planned and this will include green roofs and green terraces. Although this type of sustainable feature is welcome, this will count towards the amount of open space attached to the building and will mean there is less open space available for other uses. See the application HERE
5. Outsourcing of Parks Maintenance - Update
Gardening & Open Spaces
Community groups are concerned at a decision to outsource parks maintenance, particularly as the initial decision was taken by the council cabinet without consultation with community groups. Parks maintenance is currently done by council staff and is regarded as good value. The aim is to reduce costs by 10%, but the fear is that it will be difficult for a contractor to match the quality of work or to develop a good working relationship with volunteers who help to maintain many green spaces.
Previous attempts to outsource parks maintenance have failed and work has had to be brought in-house again. Although groups have had reassurances that outsourcing will only be done if it is value for money, the proposed contract will be long term (25 years?), with break clauses in 7-10 years and so may be difficult to get out of.
The council is currently developing a specification for the contract and parks groups are inputting to this. Consultant Peter Joyce is advising the council and its partners on what savings can be achieved and his report is awaited with interest. However, there are many uncertainties including whether in-house staff will be retained. The result is that the council is already losing good people who are finding more secure jobs elsewhere. Merton is one of the greenest boroughs with a 20-25% tree canopy, compared with around 18% for Greater London.
6. Trees at Risk in Dundonald Park
Mature trees were planted as part of the Dundonald School development. However it seems they have not been watered and have died. It is thought that the developer is responsible for the trees until the council takes over. As there is no public access, the community can't help.
7. Myrna Close Pond - update
Since last Green Coffee, Keith and Meg arranged to see LBM's Doug Napier and possibly Martin Boyle to discuss the future of the pond. Attempts to manage the pond have so far not been successful and there are serious safety-related concerns.
8. Wimbledon Guild Community Garden
Jane SW reported that the community garden is up and running, with half the site cleared and planted this year. The new volunteer coordinator is Nick Linney. If you'd like to help out, contact him at tel. 020 8946 0735 or email@example.com
9. Over 4000 trees planted
Over the winter months, Merton's tree wardens have helped the council and other groups to plant over 4000 trees in Moreton Green, Raynes Park Rec, Wimbledon Common extension and Morden Park. In recent weeks, volunteers have been trained to look after street trees, including minor pruning, removing unnecessary ties and stakes, and recording work done. If you'd like to get involved, then please contact Jane at firstname.lastname@example.org
420 trees planted (and watered) were also planted this spring in Wandle Park and the surrounding area by Making Colliers Wood Happy and other local groups.
10. Abundance Begins
This is the local fruit picking and sharing project. The first event of the season was planned this week with a group going elderflower picking in Garfield Rd park. If anyone would like to help with Abundance, please contact email@example.com.
11. Update on Incineration & TTIP
Recycling & Waste
A UK-wide network has now been established to support groups campaigning against incinerators. Craig attended a recent meeting of the United Kingdom Without Incineration Network (UKWIN) and was elected to the board of this charity. UKWIN is working with Zero Waste Europe and contributes to government discussions around incineration. For more information about UKWIN, see HERE
There is a campaign to stop TTIP (the trans-Atlantic trade agreement - find out more HERE). If you would like to help by handing out the FoE newsletter about TTIP, then please contact Craig (reply to this email). On 10th June, there is a vote in the European Parliament on ISDS (the secret court which will enforce TTIP) which most UK MEPs seem to support. If you'd like to contact your MEP about this vote, then you can find out who your MEP is HERE or sign the petition HERE.
POST MEETING NOTE: a last minute decision was taken to postpone the vote on 10th June, said to be because of concerns from some MEPs particularly about ISDS. See HERE
12. Love Wimbledon - savings from recycling
Businesses in The Broadway using Love Wimbledon's recycling services saved a total of £33,125 in 2014. It was also reported that eighteen businesses also use the WEEE (waste electricals) collection.
13. Money to be Made in Being Green
The Evening Standard featured The Honest Company which was set up by an actress who couldn't find green nappies. It is now a successful company, selling a range of products. This includes nappies made of plant based materials and without chlorine and other chemicals that might cause an allergic reaction. Find out more HERE
14. Stopping Food Waste
Sustainable Merton and others have been looking for ways to ensure that perfectly good food is not thrown out by shops and restaurants, but is given to charities in Merton. The French government has legislated to stop supermarkets discarding food and a petition has started to do the same here - see HERE
POST MEETING NOTE: Tesco has announced that they will send food to charities - see the article HERE. It's great that there is progress, but sign the above petition if you want to keep up the pressure!
15. Fracking in Wimbledon
There was an article in the Wimbledon Guardian last week saying that fracking could start in Merton next year. The Chief Executive of London Local Energy claimed that no-one would notice as the work would be done inside a warehouse. Tom Walsh of Sustainable Merton said that fracking would cause pollution and accelerate global warming. Charles Barraball of Merton Green Party pointed out that water supplies would not be safeguarded and that there was limited extractable oil and we should concentrate on renewables. See the article HERE
16. Tip - Tin Foil as an Insulator
Tin foil is an excellent insulator and lining a roof with it can be a cheap and effective way of reducing heat loss.
Campaigns, fairs & events
17. EVENT FORTHCOMING: Climate Change Action Day
Green Coffee members will be attending the Climate Change Action Day at Westminster on 17th June. Everyone attending is asked to arrange a meeting with their local MP. See details under EVENTS.
18. EVENT REPORT: Morden Hall Bioblitz
This was the first Bioblitz at Morden Hall and was very successful, with lots of people attending. Many species were found, identified and recorded including two unusual species - a tiny 3mm water beetle and a type of brown sedge. Find Sustainable Merton's report on the day HERE
19. FILM: We are Many
This was screened on 21st May at HMV Curzon. The documentary film focusses on one extraordinary day when 15 million people took to the streets across the world to persuade the government not to go to war in Iraq. Although this didn't stop the invasion, it did help to mobilise people power across the world. Find out more about the film and its screenings HERE.
Other things local
20. Smart Meters
A Green Coffee member has written to Thames Water, as it appears to be installing smart meters without giving people the opportunity to opt out. There has been no reply yet. The concern is that soon, our streets will be lined with smart meters emitting WiFi signals. Meanwhile in France, WiFi has been banned in nurseries and primary schools due to concerns about the health impact on young children. See the recent article in The Telegraph HERE Another Green Coffee member pointed out that the levels of radiation are really low and would be unlikely to do any harm, although we should look out for evidence to the contrary.
21. Mark Departs for a New Role
Green Coffee is sorry to hear that Mark is leaving Merton. He has been an active member of Green Coffee through his role in Greening Business for Merton Chamber of Commerce and more recently in Love Wimbledon. We congratulate Mark on his new role at the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management. This prestigeous group advances water and environmental management, supporting water and public health engineers and providing professional training in environmental management systems. Find out more HERE
22. Publishing the Green Coffee Newsletter
We discussed whether Green Coffee articles should be published more widely in the media. It was agreed that the Green Coffee Newsletter should continue just being sent to Green Coffee members and interested individuals. It should contain a disclaimer and advice that the newsletter records the views of individuals rather than of the Green Coffee group as a whole or of the editor.
23. The Swifts Have Arrived!
Some swifts have been spotted in Alwyne Rd, South Park Rd and Wimbledon Park. Swifts nest on narrow ledges high up in buildings. There are fewer of these ledges in modern buildings and so the addition of nest boxes help to maintain local populations.
24. New Members - Tom and Peter
Green Coffee welcomed two new members. Tom recently moved from Tooting, is involved in Morden Green Party and is running a stall at Mitcham Carnival on Sat 13th June. Find more details under EVENTS below. Peter is a tree warden in Merton and is with the Raynes Park Association, which supports small independent businesses and local residents.
Wed 17th June 1-5pm
Outside of Parliament
Join the Climate Coalition to ask the new parliament to make climate change a priority, in advance of the important Paris climate meeting in November. Final rally at 4.30pm. More details and register HERE
Sat 27th June 10.30am - 5.30pm
Wimbledon Village Fair
A fun day out with over 200 stalls, food village, fun dog show, horse show and children's entertainment. Proceeds go to Wimbledon Guild, which supports local people - the elderly, families and anyone going through a bad patch. Why not come along to the Sustainable Merton and Abundance stall!
Tues 30th June 12.30 - 2.30pm OR 7.30 - 9.30pm
UN General Assembly debate on Climate Change
Flat 11, Wilberforce House, 119 Worple Rd SW20 8ET
This is an opportunity to look at highlights & discussions of the UN debate on 29th June, hosted by Merton UNA. This is will be an introduction to UNA's own discussion of Climate Change and how we can promote constructive action nationally and locally. For further information contact Alison at firstname.lastname@example.org or tel. 020 8944 0574. Or find out more HERE
Saturday 4th July 10am - 12noon
Love Your Street Clean-Up
meet at Dundonald Park Pavilion, Dundonald Road, Wimbledon SW19 3QH
Help to clean-up the area around Dundonald tram stop and Dundonald Park.
Sun 5th July 11am-4pm
Morden Hall Park Community Festival
Morden Hall Road, Morden SM4 5JD
A great day out for all the family, with lots of stalls (Sustainable Merton included), foods, crafts, gardening tips, live bands, Morris dancing and more!
Sat 19th Sept 11am - 2pm
Abundance Fruit Day
St Mark's Church garden & hall (behind Wimbledon Library)
Lots of jams, chutneys, fruit sweets & cakes, lovely fresh juice from the fruit press, ‘Longest Peel’ and other games for children and adults. Featuring the International Ukelele Orchestra. We need lots of help - such as help on a stall at Fruit Day or by donating jam, cake or plants. Please contact email@example.com. For more details see the website - HERE.
first Mondays 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.
second Tuesdays from 8pm
At the Charles Holden Pub (opp Colliers Wood tube station) 198 High Street, Colliers Wood SW19 2BH
The perfect social event for those interested in sustainability issues and wanting to meet other like-minded people is back! The new venue is a lovely pub at the entrance to Wandle Park. Easy to get to from Wimbledon via the 200 bus - and Colliers Wood tube station is just across the road.
every Wednesday 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
All are welcome at this new group to discuss issues including climate change. You'll hear more about the ongoing local Bee Campaign and how you can help with general maintenance in Wandle Park. Enquiries: email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 else 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 and friends for some gardening. Also workshops on cookery and healthy living. For more information, contact email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Friends of Ravensbury Park - Workday
meet at the bridge over the Wandle in the middle of the park at 10am
Help is needed to give your local park a general cleanup. Tools and refreshments provided. Sessions usually last about 3 hours, but please just come for as long as you like. For more information, call Jane tel. 07773 406 105.
Friends of the Canons - Workday
The Canons Recreation Ground (meet at the pond) at 10am
Come along and help maintain this beautiful area. Including clearing trees and beds of invasive species and surveying important parts of the site. Tools and refreshments provided. Please wear stout shoes and bring gardening gloves. Sessions usually last about 3 hours, but please just come for as long as you like. For more information, contact John Davis: 020 8640 4578 / 07739 513948.
Fish Pond Wood & Beverley Meads - Workday
meet in Beverley Meads car park, Barham Rd at 9.30am
Maintenance work. Organised by the London Wildlife Trust Merton Group. For more info, contact Steve Parish 07949 400298 or email email@example.com or Glyn Williams 0777 5773400 firstname.lastname@example.org