Hello <<First Name>>
At October Green Coffee, we had some encouraging news on plans to improve air quality locally, a FoodCycle initiative in Mitcham and a new proposal for Crossrail 2. Since the meeting, we heard that a Green Coffee member has been made Volunteer of the Year - congratulations Alison!
In anticipation of the new plan for Wimbledon Town Centre, we shall be putting together a list things we'd like to see in the development of Wimbledon Town Centre to make it sustainable.
PLEASE NOTE: next Green Coffee will be on the SECOND TUESDAY of November i.e. the 8th, from 9.30 to 11am at the Wibbas Down Inn. So please make sure it is in your diary!
Wibbas Down 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 6th December.
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.
October Green Coffee - news
Wimbledon Town Centre
1. Checklist for Wimbledon Town Centre - special session
At the November meeting, Green Coffee members will put together a Sustainable Town Centre Checklist, to identify what people want in Wimbledon Town Centre when it is redeveloped. So we'll be looking at things like improving provisions for pedestrians and cyclists, more trees, seating and anything else you'd like to see.
With Crossrail 2 very likely to go ahead, Merton Council is working on plans for Wimbledon Town Centre and will liaise with the community through a series of consultations with local groups starting in December. We already have a checklist for buildings. Starting with this, we'll add in features we'd like to see in the bits between the buildings. So please do come along with your ideas. Or send them in (by return email).
2. Swifts - another nesting site!
Last year, Green Coffee members put together the Sustainable Building Checklist. Anyone can use this to help ask developers to make buildings more sustainable - find it HERE. As a result of this list, swift bricks were added to a development at the foot of Wimbledon Hill - although it was disappointing that other sustainable features were not included.
The lack of nesting sites for swifts is not just a problem here. Over the last 12 years, the Frankfurt Swift Initiative has been very successful, establishing 2,318 new nesting sites for swifts throughout the city (and many have been occupied). It has mapped the nesting sites - and plans to create more, as well as advocating for a more healthy ecosystem to support foodchains for birds and other wildlife. See the report HERE
Transport & Air Quality
3. Plans to improve air quality
Recently there have been a series of policy announcements which should mean less polluted streets. These are:
- plans for 20's Plenty in Merton - mentioned in the Merton Council document HERE.
- higher parking charges for diesel vehicles, free parking for electric/hybrid - see HERE
- London Mayor's extension of Ultra-Low Emission Zone to everywhere inside the north and south circular by 2019 - see HERE
- more recharging points for electric vehicles - currently there are 1,400 across London, but only 6 in Merton.
20's Plenty was welcomed, but there needs to be enforcement. It was pointed out that it is easier for drivers when there is borough-wide 20mph on residential roads than when speeds vary street by street. A smart camera of vehicles into and out of a borough can measure average speed and issue fines for those exceeding the limit. Ultimately, the best way to reduce emissions is to reduce car usage.
On diesel cars, often a garage will turn off the catalytic convertor as it can cause problems. This is difficult to detect. There should be local checks on emissions, especially particulates as they can pass into the brain and it is not understood what damage these do. A recent article in Oxford Today reported on how scientists have found magnetic nanoparticles in human brains. These particles are thought to come from diesel cars and open fires and could be causing Alzheimer's Disease. Find out more HERE
Car ownership in Merton is falling, with 40% of households not having a car, according to the 2011 Census. The aim is to get this figure up to 45%. We should push for a car free day in Merton. Once people experience the streets without traffic, they are more likely to want to reduce traffic the rest of the year. There are car-free days in many European cities and towns in this country too e.g. Cardiff.
A tax on diesel cars could well be effective. A mere 5p charge for plastic bags has resulted in an estimated 83% drop in plastic bag usage in England - and the money raised is being offered as grants to local environmental projects. So a charge sends a signal which can change behaviour.
4. Lorry Rating to Make Roads Safer
The London Mayor is planning to introduce a system for rating lorries on how well a driver can see around the vehicle. HGVs caused 22.5% of pedestrian deaths and 58% of cyclist deaths in 2014 and 2015, despite only making up 4% of the miles travelled in London. 35,000 lorries in London would be rated zero according to the new system.This class of lorry has been responsible for 70% of lorry-related cyclist deaths. Find out more HERE
5. Pollution Monitors from FoE & LCC
The London Cycling Campaign is highlighting CleanSpace Tags, which its members can carry around to monitor personal exposure to air pollution. The idea is to build an air pollution map of London. Find our more HERE.
Friends of the Earth has also been offering clean air kits. Although the first batch has been claimed, you can register for the next ones HERE
6. Crossrail 2 update
At the recent Wimbledon Community Forum, Crossrail 2 presented its current thinking on Wimbledon station. They put forward four options, but did stress that costs were a major consideration:
- Demolition and re-building of Centre Court in two stages. Two new Crossrail 2 lines that would go under Centre Court. This was the option offered in early 2016.
- All Crossrail 2 lines to go underground avoiding Wimbledon station. There would be no access to Crossrail 2 from Wimbledon station. This would cost an additional £2bn.
- Existing mainline fast trains to go underground. Crossrail 2 would take vacated platforms. This would cost an additional £4bn
- Demolish buildings between railway and Alexandra Rd. Shift District Line into this space and rebuild along Alexandra Rd. So loss of houses, magistrates' court, HSBC and Waitrose. This would take an extra 2 years to complete. Centre Court would stay - loss of shopping was a major concern for residents.
It looks like the tram will be shifted across Wimbledon Bridge to the 'Fridge on the Bridge' site. This could make it easier for police to manage the dispersal of late night drunks, as many use the tram.
There was a plea for bridging over more of the railway line, to improve permeability i.e. better linking of north and south of Wimbledon and removal of the bottleneck of Wimbledon Bridge. There should be vehicle-free routes, for pedestrians and cyclists i.e. a 'green grid'. WEHRA (Wimbledon East Hillside Residents' Association) would like to see three storey buildings along Alexandra Rd, to help baffle the noise from the railway. They also want to see a high percentage of residential units in this development, to keep the residential nature of the area.
POST MEETING NOTE: find more information from the Friends of Wimbledon Town Centre on the four options, the Crossrail 2 consultation and efforts to ensure that residents get a say on Wimbledon town centre HERE.
Food, Gardening & Green Spaces
7. FoodCycle in Mitcham
A Merton FoodCycle hub has started on Wednesday lunchtimes at the New Horizon Centre (Commonside Trust) in Pollards Hill. Sainsbury's is donating food that would otherwise have gone to waste and this is made into a delicious two course vegetarian meal, free to clients. See the Wimbledon Guardian article HERE. Along the same lines, Sainsbury's donated oranges to a local food initiative in Colliers Wood.
8. Adopt a Street Tree!
At Green Coffee, it was suggested that a notice could be put around newly planted street trees asking people to water them. Joanna kindly passed this on to the Tree Warden group, which has taken up the idea. So watch out for these notices - and please do adopt any new tree in your street!
9. Become a Tree Warden
Joanna related how satisfying it was to be able to cut back trees in her street, to do it officially and to know that you are doing it properly. When you become a street warden, you get basic training in small-scale pruning. Any work should be noted on a sheet, which is sent to Dave Lofthouse the council's tree expert. This scheme helps to avoid trees being damaged by people cutting back incorrectly. However, there is often quite a lot of pruned material which can be difficult to dispose of.
10. Get to know your local trees !
Jane Plant arranged a tree walk around Merton Park on a Saturday afternoon in September. This proved exceptionally popular with around 50 people joining the walk. A survey of Merton Park trees had been done many years ago and this was used as the starting point for the recent walk. There was a lot of enthusiasm to learn about the various trees and people spontaneously got together to plan various things. One was to put the old tree survey online, which has already been done.
If you would like a tree walk in your area, then please do get in touch with Jane (the Tree Warden organiser) at email@example.com
Waste & Recycling
11. Garth Rd - update
There is now better signage at Garth Rd. Also, more bays for cars to park, so there seems to be less of a problem with queuing. One Green Coffee member pointed out problems caused by the stairs and was advised by a staff member to contact Veolia as the council was no longer in charge. The stairs may well cause accidents, especially for elderly and infirm people. Perhaps people who can't go up safely should be allowed to leave items at the foot of the stairs.
POST MEETING NOTE: there was a letter in the Wimbledon Guardian (6th Oct) about an accident on the steps at Garth Rd, where an elderly gentleman had fallen over.
12. The New Waste Collection System
There have been campaigns against the new waste system. The LibDems publicised the answers from the council to questions on the new waste collection system - see HERE. The Conservatives are conducting a survey HERE. It was pointed out that some of the campaigning seems to imply that people would have five wheelie bins. The reality is that everyone involved will have two wheelie bins - or three if you have paid for a wheelie bin for garden waste. There would also be a box for recycling and a food waste bin - as we currently have.
It is recognised that the new system does create some problems (moving a heavy wheelie bin would be difficult for some & front garden space at terraced housing) and some fear it will increase fly-tipping and reduce recycling, especially as the need to 'feed' the incinerator will be a disincentive to recycling. Others said if you recycle as much as possible then you only generate a black bagful every few months, so don't need a fortnightly collection of general waste.
13. Recycle, Reuse and Repair Roadshow
A series of events is planned in Merton, Croydon, Kingston and Sutton to encourage people not to throw things in general waste. These include the following ReStart Parties, where you can bring along things to get repaired:
There will also be Jumble Trails, a very local event, where people along a street set up stalls to sell bric-a-brac, as well as Love Your Clothes sewing workshops. See the Wimbledon Guardian article HERE. Also, there is advice on what to do with bric-a-brac on the Merton Council website - see HERE. Colliers Wood has been hosting a 'jumble trail' for several years now. Keith persuaded residents in Cavendish Rd to clear out their cupboards and sell stuff they don't need. Merton Park scouts have also been running a twice yearly sale of stuff.
- The Richard Mayo Centre in Eden Street, Kingston, 6pm - 9pm on Tuesday, October 18
- 'Access Croydon' in Bernard Weatherill House, Mint Walk, Croydon, 6pm - 9pm on Wednesday, October 26
- The Europa Gallery in Sutton Library, St Nicholas Way, Sutton, 6pm - 9pm on Wednesday, November 9.
- The New Horizon Centre in South Lodge Avenue, Mitcham, 12pm - 3pm on Saturday, November 19.
Oxfam collects unwanted clothes - some get shipped out to countries like Senegal, creating jobs in a cooperative for local women who sell the clothes.
14. Fair Phones
The Coop is offering a Fair Phone - an ethical mobile phone. It can be more easily repaired and component parts will be tracked back to source, to make sure that the manufacturing process involves fair working conditions and ethical sourcing of materials. Find out more HERE
15. Waste - now a mainstream issue
The Daily Mail has a campaign against waste. Recent articles have covered the accumulation of waste in marine animals and how long it takes for plastics to break down - a crisp packet, 75 years; a plastic ring holder, 450 years; batteries for millions of years. See the article HERE
The Evening Standard highlights the dangers of microbeads. A recent article was about The Environmental Audit Committee's warning that labelling is inadequate and advising that microbeads should be banned by 2017. Microbeads are found everywhere from cosmetics to household products. Even acrylic clothing can shed tiny particles which get washed into the oceans, consumed by marine life and make their way back to our diet.
The Evening Standard has a campaign to divert food to the hungry. This all started with the Felix Campaign - and has now broadened to include an attempt to publish how much food each supermarket chain redistributes to the hungry. Find out more HERE
16. What to do with .... curtain rails, shredded paper, an old camera, a faulty refrigerator
Curtain rails - cut them up and put into the recycling bin. Hard plastic is accepted.
Shredded paper - this shouldn't be put into the recycling bin, as it can jam up the mechanical sorters. However, it will compost well, so put it on your compost heap. If you don't have one, bring it along to Green Coffee and someone will put it on theirs.
Jane asked what to do with an old camera. It was suggested that charity shops accept cameras, although the older non-digital ones are more sought after by collectors.
One Green Coffee member has a refrigerator with a faulty thermostat. They were recommended to contact Suddie's for repairs, although a problem had been reported that one of their shops closed down unexpectedly. See the Green Coffee 'Where to get things mended' list HERE.
For those without a car, Garth Rd can not be used, as pedestrians are not allowed on site. If you are planning a trip to Garth Rd and can collect items from people without transport, then let Green Coffee know and we'll put you in touch.
17. Just Ask !
Craig suggested to the manager of Lidl that recyclable packaging could be used for their own brand of produce. Everyone wins - the manager for putting forward an interesting idea, the company, the customers and so would the planet. The manager seemed very interested in this idea! Getting other chains to do the same would create competition to see which one had the most recyclable packaging.
Consultations, Meetings & Publications
18. CONSULTATION: tax and spend priorities
Merton Council is holding a consultation to ask if you would accept a small increase in council tax to fund adult social care. Also to see how you would prioritise this important service, compared with looking after parks, care services for the elderly & disabled, keeping the streets clean etc. Find the consultation HERE.
It was pointed out that other things could have been included in the survey, such as funding My Merton. Some people did like My Merton, others thought it unnecessary, too self-promoting or too expensively put together and delivered. Not everyone receives a copy and there is no special holder for them in Wimbledon Library.
19. Wim Common Nature Club - more volunteers
This wonderful nature club has attracted three new volunteers. However, two more volunteers are needed to keep the group running smoothly. If you'd like to find out more, please contact Auriel, Club Leader on 020 8540 6154/ mo. 07837910072. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Or just come along as it's a drop-in club.The next meeting is on 6th Nov, with a special session from Dr Jane Chatfield who will be telling children about mushrooms. Find more information under REGULAR EVENTS below.
20. CONFERENCE: One Earth, One Humanity, One Future
Two Green Coffee members attended this celebration of Resurgence's 50th anniversary. There were lots of interesting speakers, including Caroline Lucas, who has said that the UK will ratify the Paris Climate Change agreement this year and encourages people to keep campaigning, as it does make a difference. She and her co-chair Jonathan Bartlett are setting up a cross-party group to keep the pressure on parliament on climate issues. However, climate change is now happening frighteningly fast and our government's policies are inadequate. Treating animals humanely is an important ethical concern - and current standards for this and other ethical issues could well be at risk from Brexit.
21. Abundance Fruit Day - report
Juliet thanked everyone who helped make the 2016 Fruit Day a success - including many Green Coffee members. Alan commented that the apple juice from the fruit press was the best he had ever tasted! Everything is made from fruit that would otherwise go to waste.
The event is intended to raise awareness of the wonderful fruit we have around Merton and encourage people to use it. Most of the money raised from selling juice, jams, cakes & pies, plants etc. is ploughed back into the Abundance project to keep the project running, including a donation to St Mark's for use of their premises, insurance, equipment, a donation to the ukulele band etc. If there is surplus money, this will be donated to local groups encouraging use of local food and reducing waste.
22. MEETING: networking across Merton & Wandsworth
The London Assembly Member for Merton & Wandsworth is Leonie Cooper. She is also the Chair of the Environment Committee at City Hall. She held a meeting of environmental groups last month to see if there was interest in forming some sort of network of environmental groups across the two boroughs. We await further information on this.
23. Ethical Consumer
This excellent publication will keep you up to date with the ethical aspects of things you buy e.g. 'Where do your clothes come from?'
Other Things Local
24. Use the Volunteering Online Hub
This is now up and running. This website was set up by MVSC so that people can find volunteering opportunities and groups can find suitable volunteers. Find out more HERE.
25. The Wilson Hospital Initiative
In recent years, responsibility for public health has been transferred from the NHS to local government. Also, Clinical Commissioning Groups have been set up to manage health spending in each area. Merton Council's Public Health and Merton's CCG are working together to turn the old Wilson Hospital into a health & community campus. This will be a blueprint for improving community health and wellbeing across the borough.
Priorities for 2016/17 are to reduce child obesity and to initiate social prescribing - this will be piloted in 2017. So this group will be encouraging healthy eating, exercise, gardening, walking, thus overlapping with the interests of many Green Coffee members and we should look out for opportunities to work with them.
This is the Comprehensive Economic & Trade Agreement. Craig gave an overview, saying this international agreement affects what happens locally. For example the statement which says all companies should have 'fair and equal treatment to local businesses' will mean that Monsanto can take local government to court for discrimination in favour of local organisations. CETA contains a chapter on sustainability, but this is not enforceable. CETA is set to go to the European parliament on 18th Oct. If we leave the EU, we'll still be subject to CETA - unless this gets repealed. And CETA will apply to all trading, not just with Canada. If you'd like more information on CETA, just reply to this email and we'll put you in touch with Craig.
27. Green Coffee member is honoured!
Alison's many and varied contributions to good causes around Merton have been recognised at last! She was made volunteer of the year at the Merton Community Awards. So huge congratulations to Alison from Green Coffee! See page 4 of the Wim Guardian HERE and the photo HERE
8th - 16th Oct
Speak Up Week of Action
Join Friends of the Earth, Christian Aid and many other charities to speak up about climate change. Action events are being planned all over the country to celebrate the people, places and things that need to be protected from climate change. Find out more HERE
Sat 19th Nov 12noon to 3pm
Merton ReStart Party
The New Horizon Centre, South Lodge Avenue, Mitcham
Come along and get your stuff repaired. Watch out for more information on the website HERE
Monday 14th Nov from 9.30am
CONFERENCE: volunteering in Merton
Everyday Church, Queen's Rd, Wimbledon town centre
The Merton Partnership is the overarching body for community/voluntary sector, public services and business in the borough. You are invited to have your say on the Voluntary Sector and Volunteering Strategy. Workshops to look at latest policy thinking, the political & local context and best practice examples. Please register and choose your workshops 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.
fortnightly Tuesdays on Wim Common - other dates elsewhere
Get fit and be sociable. Regular Walk4Life organised walks around Merton. Find out the dates and locations of Walk4Life walks HERE.
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 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.
Merton Friends of the Earth - Monthly Meet Up
William Morris House, 267 The Broadway, Wimbledon SW19 1SD
Meetings have been suspended forthwith. 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. No meeting in August. Please contact Charles, Borough Coordinator Merton Cycling Campaign tel. 8949 0708 or email email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Or contact Tom at email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.