Thank you to everyone who came along to the first Green Coffee of 2017!
We started off discussing how Green Coffee operates - and agreed that Green Coffee should continue to focus mainly on local environmental issues and be a platform to exchange news and views. Then Craig gave some tips on bike punctures and we heard more on recycling, parking charges for diesel cars and a new website/newsletter in Haydons Rd north.
NEXT GREEN COFFEE: Tues 7th Feb 2017 from 9.30 to 11am at the Wibbas Down Inn. 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 7th March.
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.
January Green Coffee - news
1. Green Coffee - annual review
As ever, at the first meeting of the year the Green Coffee group reassessed the ground rules for the meeting and newsletter.
It was agreed that there is no shortage of 'local environmental' topics to discuss and if we tried to talk about all the national and international topics, meetings would last forever. People thought it was interesting to get feedback when Green Coffee members attended conferences - this could be reported briefly in the newsletter, providing links rather than giving all the details.
So it was agreed that:
2. Green Drinks
- FOCUS: Green Coffee will continue to focus mainly on local environmental topics, in the context of a wider world.
- DIFFERENCES: Members occasionally take opposing views on an issue. Green Coffee respects these different views and reports on them rather than taking sides.
- PURPOSE: Green Coffee is not a campaigning group. However, it will publicise local environmental campaigns and provide a forum for discussion and networking.
- INFORMATION SHARING: Email addresses are shared amongst people attending any Green Coffee meeting, to allow further discussion of topics. But email addresses are not usually shared with the wider network, unless permission is given. The newsletter is sent out to the Green Coffee network and we should publicise Green Coffee to encourage new people to come along.
Not everyone can come to Green Coffee, given that it is on a weekday morning. It would be valuable if Green Drinks were restarted in the evening and the Sultan pub would be a good venue, as it is now a friendly community based pub and the room upstairs is available for meetings free of charge. Please do get in touch if you want to help start up Green Drinks by return email.
Recycling & Waste
3. Recycling - polythene?
Susanna has asked if any anyone knows where to take polythene (type 4 ) for recycling - it's not accepted at Garth Road. According to "The Rubbish Diet" website 'Bread wrapping, toilet paper wrapping and plastic magazine wrapping; in fact any plastic that is stretchy can be recycled at supermarkets.' See HERE. If you have any further information on this, please do get in touch with Green Coffee by return email.
4. Most and least recycling-friendly London boroughs
Envirowaste reported that 90% of London had a recycling rate BELOW the national average - see HERE. Lewisham is the least recycling-friendly London borough and Wandsworth was poor too. Bexley is the capital's greenest borough with a recycling rate of 54% and Merton ranked 12th best in London, with a recycling rate of 37%.
The report does not say what these percentages refer to. However, these figures are similar to (though not identical to) government figures relating to tonnage of waste collected and recycled by local authorities in the year 2015/16. See HERE. (The information was extracted from the fourth table on the government webpage HERE.)
It will be interesting to see if the introduction of the new Kingston-like waste collection system to Merton will take its recycling rates up to the levels seen in Kingston (46% last year, one of the highest in London).
5. The Garth Rd Survey
There have been concerns expressed at Green Coffee about how user-friendly the Garth Rd recycling centre is. A survey of users of Garth Rd (see HERE) indicated that there were some problems and there has been a slight drop in use of the site.
Following the meeting, Joyce emailed Cllr Garrod pointing out that the survey only included those using the site and it was important to find out why some people don't use it. The response was that 71% of people use this site at least once a year and non-users are being interviewed in a different survey, which will be reported on in the new year. A copy of the questionnaire for the Garth Rd survey was helpfully provided - see HERE.
6. Is it worth complaining?
Is it worth complaining to Merton Council? One Green Coffee member reported a missed waste collection to 'Complaints' and this was remedied by the following day. Street cleaners will come if rubbish is reported, but perhaps they concentrate on areas where there are most complaints.
However, contracting out can cause confusion. It may not be clear if a complaint to the council is passed on to a contractor. Also, land that used to be council owned may now be the property of a social housing provider making it unclear how to complain about e.g. fly-tipping at Phipp's Bridge.
Leaves on pavements are now being left for longer and can get into drains, causing blockage. It was suggested that if there was somewhere to put the leaves e.g. a green bin, then people might clear them away. Please do send in any suggestions on what to do about this.
Air Quality & Transport
7. Anti-idling legislation for Merton?
As suggested at December Green Coffee, Louise has now written to Merton Council's complaints department about bin lorry drivers and others leaving their engines running whilst stationary. As Merton is an air quality management area, it has the power to introduce anti-idling legislation to control vehicle idling behaviour. It was requested that Merton Council does so to protect residents from unnecessary pollution. See HERE.
8. Advice on Air Quality Data
In November Green Coffee we compiled air quality measurements taken by Sustainable Merton and Merton Green Party - see HERE. Leigh shared these with an international expert in the subject, who said it was 'good stuff' and made the following points:
9. Polluter Pays
- There should be further surveys at intervals, so that one can see whether any changes are taking place
- Measurements should be taken at the same place over a period of time: the current survey results seem to be sampling many locations, good as a start, but we need some repetition of at least some key locations
- It would be very desirable to match such figures with pedestrian concentrations; one would then be able to see how many people are being exposed to problem air: eg stations, major bus stops, shopping streets
- Where people congregate eg in town centres, shopping streets etc, these should be the places where we need to get significant improvements
- More survey locations in WTC would really be helpful in getting to grips with the WTC Plan
- Is the assumption that all this air pollution results solely from traffic, or are there other contributions, from buildings etc?
- if the Council wants to actually do something positive, they could think of encouraging residents to buy ultra low emission cars, by reducing/eliminating the cost of the annual street-parking permit; this is what the GLA/TfL do for the congestion charge zone .....
- In addition to air pollution, there is also noise pollution: the A3 for example can be heard over a wide residential area (not just the Common) and this needs to be controlled by simple noise barriers, a very common practice in mainland Europe..
In October Green Coffee, we reported that Merton Council intends to introduce higher parking charges for diesel vehicles and free parking for electric/hybrid cars. On 14th Dec, this decision was examined by the council's scrutiny committee. It was decided NOT to refer the decision back to cabinet so the policy can now be put in place. Recognising concerns about the cost, the council is phasing the introduction of the charge for diesel cars, beginning at £90 in 2017/18, going up to £150 in 2019/20. See the minutes of the scrutiny committee meeting HERE
A recent report from the RAC ranked English councils on how much money they made from parking fees in 2015-16. Thirteen of the 32 London councils were in the top 20 in England. Merton Council was ranked 20th in London. (Being one of the smaller boroughs, Merton would be expected to collect less money and these figures are in line with this.) See the RAC story HERE.
10. Punctures etc.
With the closure of Smith Bros (an excellent local bike shop in Church Rd Wimbledon) Joyce went to Evans to get a puncture mended. She reported excellent service with a charge of less than £10 for mending a tyre. However, another Green Coffee member had a poor experience when Evans conducted a service on her bike, but did get her money back after complaining.
Apparently AW Cycles in Abbey Parade, Merton High Street is still open. One Green Coffee member reported they did a wonderful job on an old police bike which had to be straightened out after a collision.
Craig advises cyclists on puncture repairs and gave us these great tips:
Buying & Delivering
- buy puncture-proof tyres
- remember to remove whatever sharp object that caused the puncture
- mark the puncture hole with glue then cover a 2 pence sized area around the hole with a patch (rather than trying to mark a circle around the puncture hole)
11. Get your Sustainable Fish Here!
Faircatch is a local enterprise bringing sustainable fish to you with fair payment to fishermen - find out more HERE. New collection points are planned in Wimbledon Village (no location as yet) and in Garratt Lane at The Jolly Gardeners. These are in addition to existing collection points at:
The Village Butchers, Southfields
The YMCA, Wimbledon, SW19 1RW (Fridays 2.30-7)
Robert and Edwards Butchers, Leopold Road
The Saucer and Cup, Wimbledon Park
The Gooseberry Bush South Wimbledon
12. Delivery Pints
Local pubs are finding a new role as delivery points. Wimbledon Village's Crooked Billet and Rose & Crown will now receive your internet deliveries. (Along with many newsagents, including one in Dundonald Rd.) So this could be yet another excuse to go to the pub!
Please do let us know if you know of other pubs or venues doing this. Thanks to UWRA for this story - see HERE.
13. Ethical Buying, Mending and Sustainable Stationery
The Ethical Consumer web site has lots of information on companies and products and rates them according to various ethical and sustainability criteria. Susanna reports that she found it very useful when choosing a new washing machine recently. See HERE
Mending things To discover how to mend almost anything, visit the Fixit webstie HERE As featured on Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s War on Waste.
Sustainable stationery and office supplies “Office products that don’t cost the earth” For a wide range of sustainable office products including recycled printer paper see the Green Office website HERE
Thanks to Susanna and the Wimbledon Quaker Meeting, Canterbury Bulletin for these tips. Find out more from Susanna at email@example.com.
Other Things Local
14. CAMPAIGN: Divesting oil shares from council pensions - links
In last month's Green Coffee newsletter, we reported on this campaign to encourage the council's pension fund manager to sell off the shares in fossil fuel companies - see HERE. One of the links was not working properly, so here they are again:
Please remember, if you decide to send a letter to the council, Alban asks that you send a copy to him at Alban.Thurston@Gmail.com so that he can keep track of the campaign.
- see the template letter HERE
- see the analysis of Merton Council's Pension Fund holdings HERE
- see the video of the TURC presentations HERE
15. Social Prescribing - update
A one year pilot for a new social prescribing model has been approved. The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Merton Council’s Public Health are working with local voluntary and community groups to develop this service. The pilot is taking place in the east of the borough and it is hoped to eventually roll it out across the rest of the borough. Ray Hautot has been appointed as the Project Coordinator, starting in January 2017. Find out more HERE
16. Haydons Road North Community website
Residents in the roads around Haydons Rd North have got together to set up a website/blog to give local news on what's happening, where to get help etc. One of the topics is about the local Guerrilla Gardener, who negotiates cheap end-of-season plants from Homebase to plant out around the area. Another reported that following the go-ahead for the new Wimbledon football stadium in Plough Lane, the greyhound stadium demolition will commence in April 2017. Completion is expected in time for the August 2019 football season. Find out about the newsletter HERE
17. DISCUSSION: UNA & Climate Change
What's the UN's role in "thinking global and acting local" e.g. in relation to Climate Change? Merton UNA discussion on 11th January; flier with details HERE.
18. Try a bit of Guerrilla Gardening
The gift of a book 'On Guerrilla Gardening' made one Green Coffee member reassess her gardening efforts. Having planted out the odd surplus plant in waste ground, she is encouraged to do more of this. Planting in streets and waste ground is not illegal and the council seems generally in favour of this, if done sensibly. And it brings happiness to many people in the neighbourhood. So why not try a bit of guerrilla gardening near where you live? See more about this great book HERE
19. ... find Tony Drakeford's wonderful Nature Notes
Local naturalist Tony Drakeford writes beautifully about nature, illustrated with excellent photographs. See the note about spiders on the Wimbledon Congregational Church website HERE.
... and other topics
20. More on SUDS
Last month we reported on a Sustainable Drainage Systems meeting - see all presentations HERE. City Hall has now published the London Sustainable Drainage Action Plan - find it HERE. City Hall is wanting to hear about sustainable drainage measures that have been put in place, so if you know of any near you, please input the information HERE.
21. CETA - update
The election of Trump means that TPP (TransPacific trade deal) will probably not happen and opposition in the EU makes TTIP (the EU - US trade deal) unlikely too. However, CETA is progressing. It is assumed by many that this is just a trade deal between the EU and Canada, but the fear is that it will have a much wider impact.
CETA is working its way through various committees in the EU legislative process. Rejection has been recommended by a committee looking at jobs, on the basis that jobs will be lost - see the TUFTS university report HERE. The environmental committee is considering rejection too. If you would like to encourage MEPs to reject CETA on environmental reasons, then please consider emailing them. If the EU signed up to CETA even provisionally, then it is likely that the UK would still be committed to CETA for some years following Brexit. If you'd like to receive email updates on CETA, including what actions are happening in London, please contact Craig at firstname.lastname@example.org
22. UN to Negotiate a Nuclear Ban
In November Green Coffee, we heard that the UN will discuss a Global Nuclear Ban. We have now heard that negotiations will begin in March 2017. Encouragingly, many organisations like Oxfam are now getting involved, realising that they should be speaking out on this important issue and persuading the British government to back the ban. You can help by writing to Boris Johnson HERE.
23. Women Marching around the World
Many people are deeply concerned following the US election and the UK referendum. A network of women's groups has decided to march on 21st January in 30 cities around the world. Find details of the London march HERE.
24. Crowd Justice
Access to justice has become a major concern. Legal aid has been cut way back and people are finding it just too expensive to take large (often global) corporations to court in defense of their environmental and other rights. A new website has been set up to enable crowdfunding of legal cases - find it HERE. It is sad that such a thing is needed, as we are all supposed to have access to justice!
Wed 18th Jan 7 - 9pm
WORKSHOP: Wimbledon Town Centre Masterplan
The Arts Space, Wimbledon Library
Future Wimbledon (Merton Council) wants to find out your views on what a new Wimbledon town centre should look like. This workshop is one of a number of sessions being held in the next month or so. It's really important that your ideas are fed in at this stage. Space is limited, so you should register HERE if you'd like to go.
Tues 19th Jan 10.30am – 12 noon
TALK: The Wandle and its Links to Local Heritage
West Barnes Library, Station Road, New Malden
Of key importance to the history and development of Merton, the River Wandle was once one of the most heavily worked waterways in the world. Heritage Officer, Sarah Gould, will look at the significance of the river and key sites along its course. For information: Tel. 020 8545 3239
Thurs 19th Jan, 7pm to 9pm
Meet the Green Spaces Contractors
The Centre, St Lawrence Church, London Road, Morden, SM4 5QT
Come and meet id-Verde, the contractors for managing Merton's Green Spaces. This meeting provides an important opportunity to find out how things are going to work. To get there, take a 93, 154 and 80 bus from Morden, to the George pub stop. Organised by us Independent Merton Green Spaces Forum - please RSVP. Find out more HERE. To be on the mailing list of the forum, please contact IMGSForum@gmail.com directly.
Sat Jan 21 10.00 am - 4.00 pm
Colliers Wood Community Showcase Day
Colliers Wood Community Centre, 66-72 High Street, Colliers Wood, SW19 2BY
Come along to the annual Showcase Day to find out about what activities and opportunities are happening in the area. Organised by Colliers Wood Community Association. Fin out more from email@example.com, tel. 020 8543 6470
Sun 29th Jan 11am-1pm
LITTER PICK - Wandle Park
Meet at Colliers Wood tube at 11am, or catch up with the pick in Wandle Park
Come along and help clean up this lovely area - and recycle! Organised by Merton Green Party. Please contact Tom Killick on 07821 882380 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Thurs 9th Feb 7 to 10pm
Sustainable Merton AGM & Discussion
Drake House, 44 St George's Rd. SW19 4ED
Join us to celebrate our 10th birthday and successes of the past year!
Find out what we have planned for 2017 and discover the ways you can make a difference in your community. RSVP email@example.com
Thurs 23rd Feb from 7.15pm
Have your say on public transport
Council Chamber, Merton Civic Centre, Morden SM4 5DX
Everyone is encouraged to meet the people providing public transport in Merton and ask questions. The forum covers topics such as improvements to bus, train, tram and underground services, infrastructure improvements, particularly at rail stations, and bus operational issues including accessibility issues. Find out more HERE
Sat 18th March 10.30am - 3pm
Living Streets’ Walking Summit
Hosted by Bloomberg at their offices in Finsbury Square
Join thought-leaders, international city representatives and UK decision-makers to discuss how we can make our cities world-leading walking cities. Val Shawcross, CBE, the Deputy Mayor for London for Transport, is a confirmed speaker. The Living Streets Annual General Meeting will take place at the end of the event (attendance optional). Book your place 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!
Please do get in touch if you'd like to see Green Drinks start up again! Just reply to this email.
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. Share the work and share the produce. For more information, please contact Keith 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.