Thanks to everyone for coming to Aug Green Coffee - and a special thanks to Eileen and Jane who were there for the first time.
This month an important topic was waste - with the plans to switch to wheelie bins and reduce the frequency of collection, discarded sofas in Durnsford Rd and reports of Garth Road no longer recycling bottles & toys and laying aside items for re-use. More on Crossrail, air quality and the swifts, plus lots of other stories.
Next Green Coffee will be on Tuesday 6th Sept at 9.30 to 11am at the Wibbas Down Inn. This is the J.D. Weatherspoon pub with entrances from both Russell Road opposite Wimbledon theatre and Gladstone Road, SW19 1QT between Paddy Power and the cycle shop. We have a space right in the middle of the pub between the two entrances. The meeting after that will be on Tues 4th October.
PLEASE NOTE: The Green Coffee Update covers whatever views are expressed by individuals at the meeting. Indeed, Green Coffee members often have different views on topics. The newsletter does not verify information or web links, so it's up to you to challenge views or correct information - and if you can't make it along, you are very welcome to send in your comments for discussion at the next meeting.
August Green Coffee - news
1. At last - a way forward for Crossrail 2 !
Leigh told us that the Wimbledon Society and WURA have put together a really helpful document which outlines the issues relating to Crossrail 2 in Wimbledon town centre. It offers a way to identify the best solution for Wimbledon, including a method of rating the various options, so that we have a clear decision-making process and a basis for rationale discussion. It suggests that rather than just putting forward one option, Crossrail should assess 2 or 3 options against a set of criteria, which would include things like the number of businesses lost, number of homes lost etc. Find it HERE
In July, Crossrail 2 published their initial response to all the comments received - find it HERE. They say they are still working on some complex challenges, which would include Wimbledon. Plans for this and other problematic areas will be published in advance of the next public consultation in the autumn.
2. Wandsworth to introduce 20 mph!
Wandsworth Council has decided to introduce a 20 mph speed limit on all residential roads across the borough. Well done Living Streets and all who campaigned for this! Find out more HERE
3. Future of the Natural Environment
The Environmental Audit Committee is looking at how Brexit might affect the natural environment and the legislation protecting it. It has launched an inquiry to look at issues like the future of funding for biodiversity and agri-environment schemes, changes in the devolved administration and the role of managed rewilding. Organisations and individuals with an interest in wildlife conservation are encouraged to submit their views. Find the consultation HERE - closes 9th Sept.
We are delighted that Eileen has agreed to help anyone who is thinking of making a submission. Although not an expert in environmental matters, Eileen has a PhD in plant biochemistry, an interest in the natural environment and a legal qualification.
Concern was expressed at the general direction of things, with the abolition of the Department for Energy and Climate Change, the pro-fracking stance of the new Prime Minister and the de-prioritisation of environmental issues. With Brexit, lots of things are not known e.g. will EU funding for biodiversity projects be replaced by UK funding?
People are generally unaware that much of our environmental policy originated in Brussels e.g. for cleaner beaches. Some EU directives have been put into UK legislation and these will remain in UK law until we decide to change it. For those EU directives that have not been implemented in UK law, then these environmental obligations will probably disappear when Brexit happens. So it is important to work out which environmental laws are at risk. Friends of the Earth and other groups are trying to do this work. The implications of such laws are often felt in small-scale local activities. For example it's not known whether Brexit will remove the protection nesting birds currently have from hedges being cut before the end of August. There must be many other examples.
4. Public Parks
Linda brought to our attention that use of public parks for large commercial events has become a bit of an issue. This was covered recently in an article on 'The Conversation' website, which seeks to provide the public with an independent source of news and sources its stories from academics and the research community. Find it HERE.
Also, a parliamentary select committee has launched a consultation on the impact of local government cuts on public parks. Very relevant to us in Merton, given the current outsourcing plans for green spaces! Find it HERE - comments to be in by 30th Sept.
5. Wimbledon Common Nature Club
This wonderful club is looking for volunteers again. It is for 6 - 14 year olds and is on the first Sunday of every month 10am-12noon. Find out more from Auriel the club leader at email@example.com or tel. 020 8540 6154. At each session, children learn about different aspects of nature in a fun way. The next session will be on 4th September when children will be building a shelter.
6. Abundance - update
The fruit picking is very late in starting this year and there is little fruit around, in particular very few plums. So please get in touch with Juliet at firstname.lastname@example.org if you find unwanted fruit.
7. Local Government Measurements
Tom K asked Cllr Martin Whelton about air quality in Merton and was sent the 2015 Updating and Screening Assessment for Merton Council. This report gives air quality figures for 2014 and Tom has asked when 2015 figures will be available. Find the report HERE
8. Monitoring in Wimbledon & Mitcham
Following the special session on air quality at July Green Coffee, Sustainable Merton's Tom Walsh met up with Helen Clark Bell of Love Wimbledon to instal NO2 monitors around Wimbledon town centre. These should stay in place for one month - however Helen has since reported that the one at the St George's Rd junction has been removed. Tom also met with the Mitcham Society to put monitors around Mitcham town centre - and sadly two of those have gone missing as well.
9. Contact Shas
Following July Green Coffee, Joyce wrote to Green Coffee member Baroness Shas Sheehan. She reiterated that she is very happy to receive correspondence from Green Coffee members if they want to raise an issue or ask a question. She is a member of the House of Lords EU and Environment Sub-Committee and deputy chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Air Pollution. Contact Shas at email@example.com
10. A Masterplan for Wimbledon
WEHRA has circulated some recommendations as input to the Wimbledon Masterplan. We understand the Wimbledon Society has written its own Masterplan, as input to Merton Council's plan. The council has said there will be a full consultation on the plan (expected soon).
11. ARTICLE: swift nesting
Louise drew our attention to an excellent article in Roofing Today encouraging builders to put up swift boxes and include swift bricks in newbuild. See page 24 HERE. It's great to see this simple but effective initiative being encouraged in the building trade.
Still on the subject of swifts, Joanna reported that the new wing of Dundonald School will be opening in the autumn and this is where four swift bricks are located. Support for the swifts is spreading with an article on swifts planned for the John Innes Society newsletter. This is another example of one person's enthusiasm for a campaign rippling out!
12. Jumble Trail
Recycling & Waste
Guy is now a Jumble Trail champion. A Jumble Trail is like a car boot sale, but on front of people's houses in a street. Find out more HERE. Green Coffee members have attended a sale like this in Cavendish Rd in Colliers Wood, where lots of residents can get rid off unwanted household items. It's very sociable and very sustainable.
13. Wheelie Bins etc.
At Green Coffee meetings, people have expressed specific concerns about the introduction of wheelie bins. Therefore, Joyce wrote to Cllr Ross Garrod to ask if those in terraced housing will be required to have wheelie bins. Also if there will be arrangements for the elderly and infirm, who might find it difficult to move wheelie bins, especially up and down steps.
Cllr Garrod replied saying that collection will be standardised as much as possible, but that criteria to vary from this norm will be agreed in advance. The council will be working with groups including the Centre for Independent Living to develop a policy for assisted collections, as they do not expect disabled or frail residents to manually manoeuvre the wheelie bins.
Joyce has now asked the following:
Underground communal bins have been installed in terraced housing areas in Cambridge. This was at a cost of £9m for 3,000 homes. All homes are less than 35 metres from the communal bins. See HERE. Tower Hamlets has also installed underground waste bins. See HERE. It would be nice to think that such solutions could be considered at some future point.
- how will the criteria (for varying from the standard mode of collection) be decided?
- will people have an opportunity to input to that decision?
- will the contract lock us in to wheelie bins for decades to come - or will it be possible to introduce alternative models in terraced housing areas?
It was pointed out that wheelie bins are far too large for single persons and for people who recycle a lot. Also there is no room for any sort of shed at the front of terraced housing to hide the bins. It was suggested that the Lavender Fields trial is not applicable in the rest of Merton, as waste in residential streets is not a problem in Wimbledon and recycling rates are high. One member had experience of using wheelie bins with a fortnightly collection in Yorkshire - and it takes some time to get used to it.
It was pointed out that there are some positives from the new fortnightly plan, as it will reduce the number of collections and associated lorries. If the bins are the same size as those used in the Lavender Fields trial, then the non-recyclables bin will be two thirds the size of the paper & card bin. Calling the bin for general waste 'non-recyclables' is a positive move. Food will continue to be collected weekly. Merton is one of the few London boroughs not to use wheelie bins, but Wandsworth is continuing to do weekly collections using different coloured sacks.
The decision to outsource waste collection and green spaces was called in to the scrutiny meeting this evening (2nd Aug). Watch out for the minutes HERE
POST MEETING NOTE: the council was given the go-ahead to implement the new waste collections scheme by the scrutiny committee meeting - see HERE
14. Please Publicise the Free Bulky Waste Collection!
Durnsford Rd is a hotspot for dumped sofas and other household waste. The free bulky goods collection from homes is not well known and should be publicised. This might reduce the dumping of old furniture in the street. Perhaps people are put off using this service as they could wait up to 5 weeks for collection. If there is a safety issue with the rubbish, then you should tell the council and it should get dealt with more quickly. Send complaints about dumped furniture to firstname.lastname@example.org See HERE for more info about what to do with bulky waste. It was suggested that the free bulky waste service could be publicised very cheaply by including information with the council tax bill.
It was mentioned that the changes in waste collection and recycling services were (in part at least) due to cuts in local government expenditure. It was suggested that more money for environmental services could be found from raising council taxes or by cutting My Merton.
15. What's happening at Garth Rd?
Various Green Coffee members reported that use of Garth Rd has become more difficult. The following problems were outlined:
At the meeting it was agreed that the most effective way of lobbying for better services at Garth Rd is for individuals to write to Cllr Ross Garrod at email@example.com who is in charge of the street scene and waste (not Cllr Martin Whelton as suggested at the meeting - he covers the environment.)
- all skips are now accessed via steep steps, which are difficult for some people to negotiate.
- there seems to be less help from the workers there and the system for sending cars to empty bays is less efficient, sometimes leading to long queues.
- useful items used to be taken aside and sent for re-use. This no longer appears to be happening. Individuals are not allowed to take useful items out of skips and this results in a lot of unnecessary waste.
- if you take clean glass bottles or toys there, you are now directed to put those in the general waste. These used to be collected separately and recycled.
- The Merton Council website suggests organisations which collect household goods from your home and sell them. But none appears to have plans to open a shop to sell items reclaimed from the recycling centre at Garth Rd, which the Vine Project had been planning to do. (The Vine Project has closed after council funding was cut.)
- At Weir Rd, useful items were put aside and these were sold off every now and then from trestle tables and with the help of children. So we were doing this years ago!
POST MEETING NOTE:
Joanna wrote to Cllr Garrod - see her excellent letter HERE. We look forward to hearing the reply to this and any other letters.
16. The lawnmower
Last month, we heard that Margaret was giving away her old lawnmower. Seeing this in the GC newsletter, Rosemary got in touch and has now given it a new home!
Growing Food & Trees
17. Catching up with Faircatch
At January Green Coffee, Guy Dorrell told us about Faircatch, a new box scheme for supplying sustainably sourced fish to the neighbourhood. Green Coffee members suggested the YMCA and the Gooseberry Bush as collection points in the area and these are now established, along with collection points in Wimbledon Park and Southfields. Guy now wants to remind everyone about this great local business and asks for help to grow the Faircatch membership by using the service or signing up to the receive the newsletter. Find out more HERE.
18. Sutton Community Farm
Don't forget about all the great things going on at Sutton Community Farm. Starting from nothing a few years ago, this great initiative is now supplying veggie boxes across Sutton and into Merton and elsewhere. Some ways to get involved or see what is going on:
Find out more HERE.
- Open Saturdays on 13th and 27th August. All are welcome.
- Become a Buddy Volunteer - to help support community volunteering days
- They are recruiting a Volunteer Packing & Logistics Assistant
- Harvest Festival 2016 - this is always sold out, so apply soon.
- Herb Growing for Teas Workshops
19. Planting Trees Closely
Recently, Dave Lofthouse led a walk around the Sir Joseph Hood Memorial Playing Field to see the Millenium Wood. Joanna recalled how she had helped to plant it in 1999 and it had now grown into a proper wood. The trees were deliberately planted closely together to deter dogs, children and vandals. The result is that that as the tree canopy has developed, the undergrowth has died, along with some of the smaller trees and the lower branches, making it easier to walk amongst the trees. From the outside, the thick wood is a real feature of the park and provides a habitat for lots of wildlife.
A similar wood has been planted by Keith Spears and others in Wandle Park and it will be interesting to see how this develops. When this was planted last year, the trees were not mulched. After battering down the weeds, these trees have now been mulched and are looking well. There is another date for mulching the Wandle Park trees - 17th August. Find out more from Keith at firstname.lastname@example.org
20. Watering Trees
It was suggested that a sign saying 'Please Water Me - I'm parched!' could be hung on newly planted trees during dry spells. It might be enough to encourage people to water their local street tree. As Joanna is now a Tree Warden, she will suggest this at the next Tree Warden meeting.
Other Things Local
21. Theresa May - how it all began
Juliet recalled that when she was chairman of the Board of Governors at Bishop Gilpin School, she welcomed a new school governor called Theresa May. Juliet has now written to Theresa reminding her of this, congratulating her on her new role and emphasising that climate change is important from both a Christian and a health point of view. Juliet added that she was disappointed that the Department for Energy and Climate Change had been abolished and that the Paris agreement has not been ratified by the UK yet. See Juliet's excellent letter HERE. She will let us know what reply she gets!
22. Green Academies
The National Trust is running taster day session for young people who want to improve their local green spaces and learn the skills to manage different habitats and to work in a team. It's on the second Sunday of each month, starting this month (August) and young people can attend just once or every month. Find out more HERE
23. Sustainable Merton - the benefits of positive engagement
A discussion with Tom from Sustainable Merton underlined how much this organisation does to influence decision-making near and far - and SM's role in doing so is often not reported or appreciated.
One example was a meeting with the Merton Clinical Commissioning Group, which seemed very interested in SM's air quality work in particular the plans to empower schools to work out healthier 'walk to school' routes.
Another was when Tom urged TfL to prioritise the introduction of less polluting buses in those boroughs with particularly poor air quality. At a subsequent meeting about Colliers Wood High St, TfL informed Tom that they had brought forward the completion date for less polluting buses in all boroughs from 2022 to 2019. SM and Colliers Wood Residents' Association will be evaluating whether the recent re-sequencing of traffic lights in Colliers Wood High St will improve air quality - and will feed air quality measurements back to TfL.
These examples demonstrate the value of attending meetings and inputting ideas. Also that local groups can generate evidence that could influence the decision-making of bodies such as TfL.
24. Promote your group/event at the Nelson
The Nelson Health Centre offers community and voluntary groups the opportunity to promote their work to patients. Groups can choose between a stall in the main reception or upstairs opposite the Nelson Medical Practice GP surgery. You can also post or drop off leaflets to be placed in the leaflet racks. Find out more from the MVSC website HERE
25. Green Coffee welcomes New Members
There were two newcomers to the Green Coffee meeting - Jane who has been a resident in Wimbledon for more than 50 years and who in recent years has been helping Abundance by donating pears and jam jars. Also Eileen who is a recent arrival in Wimbledon and is hoping to stay permanently. Eileen is a lawyer, a former botanist, a keen gardener and is looking to get involved in local projects.
26. Meeting for Merton & Wandsworth Groups
The London Assembly Member for Merton & Wandsworth is Leonie Cooper. As chair of the Environment Committee at City Hall, she is inviting environmental and conservation groups to a meeting to share ideas and best practice, and to help groups to work together. This meeting will be on 15th Sept. Please get in touch (by reply email) if you'd like further details of this meeting.
27. Lobbying local MP on Trident
Tom W and Joanna met with MP Siobhan McDonagh to give her a recent report on the international campaign against nuclear weapons, which is making significant progress. However, MP McDonagh continues to support this programme and recently voted in favour of renewing it.
28. Top Tips to ...
Keep foxes away - plant lots of lavender as they don't like the fragrant smell!
Trap fruit flies - mix 1 teaspoon of sugar, with one part vinegar to two parts water (preferably cider vinegar) plus a few drops of washing up liquid in a glass, cover with cling film and make small holes in this. Fruit flies can get in, but not out.
Sat 20th Aug 8am to 12.30pm
CAR BOOT SALE
St Mary's Church Field, Arthur Rd, Wimbledon
Find treasures and bargains at this annual fund-raiser for Merton's United Nations Association. Admission only 50p (or £1 before 9am). For more information, please call Alison (not the church) at tel. 8944 0574 or email email@example.com See the poster HERE
Sun 14th Aug meet at 11am
PICK & RECYCLE LITTER - Colliers Wood
meet at Colliers Wood tube station
Come and help clean-up the Wandle Trail, currently strewn with rubbish. Bottles and cans will be collected and recycled. Organised by Merton Green Party. Contact Tom Killick if you'd like to help - firstname.lastname@example.org, 07821 882380.
Sat 10th & Sun 11th Sept
Once again, Transition Town Tooting is holding its glorious annual celebration of local food, with ugly fruit or veg, a chance to show off your culinary expertise and compete with top Tooting cooks, Disco Soup, local restaurants cooking with local ingredients ... and lots more. Find out more HERE
Sat 17th Sept 11am-2pm
ABUNDANCE FRUIT DAY
St Mark's Church garden & hall
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 Ukulele 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.
Thurs 22nd to Sun 25th Sept
CONFERENCE: One Earth, One Humanity, One Future
Worcester College, Oxford
A three-day special event celebrating the environmental magazine Resurgence's 50th anniversary. Over 50 speakers will share their ground-breaking solutions relating to climate change, ecology, etc. Find out more and book HERE
Thurs 29th Sept doors open 7.30pm, starts 8pm
DISCUSSION: ethical investment
Trinity URC, Mansel Rd, Wimbledon SW19 4AA
If you are interested in how ethical investment works and what progress has been made, then come along to this meeting. The excellent speakers of global influence including:
James Featherby - chair of Church of England ethical investment advisory group
Nick Robins - co-director, UN Environment Programme’s Inquiry into the design of a Sustainable Financial System.
Sat 1st October 10.30am to 23.30pm
Bring & Buy Sale
Coach House, Melrose Rd
This is the John Innes autumn sale. Compost, bulbs, autumn/winter bedding plants, shrubs and perennials, garden produce, jams and chutneys will be on sale. Please support us with your presence and enjoy our delicious coffee and cakes. If you can help in any way please contact Ann Redfearn (tel 020 8286 9983). Free entry.
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.
on hold at present!
The location of Green Drinks is under review. Watch out for new information on where and when.
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.
Merton Friends of the Earth - Monthly Meet Up
William Morris House, 267 The Broadway, Wimbledon SW19 1SD
Meetings have been suspended forthwith. 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. No meeting in August. Please contact Charles, Borough Coordinator Merton Cycling Campaign tel. 8949 0708 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or see website HERE 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 SW19 2NY
Join local volunteers at the weekly workday to help with general maintenance and upkeep of the garden. For more information, please contact Lesley via email@example.com. Or contact Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org
second Fridays from 9.00 - 11am
John Innes Gardening Group
JI Gardening Group is currently meeting every second Friday of the month. Meet up by the mulberry tree. Bring secateurs and a trowel. For more information, please contact email@example.com
every Friday & Sunday 11am - 4pm
May Project Gardens
159 Middleton Rd, Morden SM4 6RW
Join Ian and the team. Very friendly gardening group, music, training and lots of other activities too. To volunteer or find out more, 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
first Sundays from 10am - 12 noon
Wimbledon Common Nature Club
Information Centre in Wimbledon Common
Fantastic nature club for children 6-14 years. Different topics covered each month e.g. pond dipping, shelter building, fungi foray and nature walks. For more information, please contact Auriel Glanville, Club Leader, on 020 8540 6154 or email@example.com
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.