Report of the meeting on Oct. 15 2018

Verbal accounts of events & networking in the last month were given, some supported by documentation:

Verbal accounts of events & networking in the last month were given some supported by documentation:
Expo Sutton was well attended. Eco Sutton had a stand along with numerous charities & notably also the Langley development.
Streetly Methodist Eco Festival, on the same day fielded FOSPA & a duty Sutton Park Ranger, RSPB & crafts at its own venue.

Birmingham Green Party AGM on 13 Oct 2018 was held at Friends of the Earth, Alison Street, Digbeth. Members from Sutton Coldfield attended & delivered our Group’s report verbally & in print. (Available to members on request)
The gathering was extremely successful, not least because it was quorate and therefore able to vote on the constitutional changes proposed long in advance. These were passed unanimously and will make for greater flexibility and access for members.
All the positions were filled and officers elected plus Cllr. Julien Pritchard without portfolio in an advisory role.
Cllr. Pritchard gave a very informative outline of his work as a councillor and of the functioning of the council – very educational and salutory for those present.
[Minutes & Report from the Birmingham Party have been circulated to all members]

Report on Neighbourhood Forum Re. Transport for Sutton: This was attended by group members who found it of great value. Of particular note, the Sutton Park railway line will not be opened for passenger use for at least 20 years.
[However, in a published account it is stated that the date is likely to be 2026 and without direct access to Peddimore].
The suggestion to plan for stations with access from Walmley and the Langley / Peddimore developments is accepted
by West Mids transport authority.
The Sprint bus system is held to be a major part of transport strategy. At this, some scepticism was expressed.
Anthony Whitehead of EcoSutton, present at the Forum, has sent his report to PC, our website editor, who has integrated information from David Ratcliff’s account and published it on line:

* We draw attention to the forthcoming talk by & meeting with Andy Street, West Midlands Mayor about area Transportto be be held at 7-0 pm on Monday 29th October at Sutton Rugby Club.

The Langley consultation – this is open until 22 October 2018.
A member most deeply committed and informed presented laid out a series of key considerations in formulating our response to the consultation, among others, that a Community Trust be set up to control development, a green buffer be confirmed, domestic parking be provided for 60% of homes as well as EV charging points at all parking spaces.
He pointed out that the 80 foot long Sprint buses proposed were impracticable and had thus ceased operation at Castle Vale after 2 years and in London. They hit traffic problems at known pinch points.

Our views include the following:-
SSD (wildlife) protection & properly planned & managed re-siting needed emphasising particularly as 12 SPD have been identified on the area map.
Inclusion of social housing (currently only affordable is mentioned) must be insisted on and the statutory 35% proportion be made mandatory to prevent the frequent ploy by developers of “buying themselves out of it”.
The need was stressed for infrastructure build-timing keeping pace with house construction in view of the fact that the rate of construction will be only 300 homes per year.
That buildings ought to be BREEM or ‘Passiv Haus’ standard integrating lifetime design concepts, rainwater collection, solar panels and using District Heating and Power provided by Minworth sewage plant’s green gas.
There should be public transport access and the case should be made for the addition of a northbound junction to the proposed the A38 road link and a flyover at the the Peddimore roundabout.
Green areas and nature corridors should comply with Birmingham the 20/31 plan guidelines.

Peddimore industrial development consultation:  Questions were raised as to whether industrial development on green belt land is needed and whether this scheme is being pushed by B’ham City who own it because of the Council’s
need for cash.  Though specified as an industrial development, if take up of premises is slow, it was feared that moves may come to convert it to a retail park to compete with Tamworth’s Ventura Park.
The fact that these developments are seen as ‘exemplar projects’ should be encouragement enough to have persuaded the bodies involved to apply standards akin to those we seek for the Langley development.

[Subsequent to the Green Group meeting, members committed to the Langley/Peddimore issue have submitted  full
comments to the consultation.]

Eco Sutton had already made a technical submission regarding the Langley and Peddimore developments.
EcoSutton has produced its Newsletter.
We are informed that their Witton hydro-electric scheme is now in a community trust; they are liaising through a development committee & making steady progress.
EcoSutton members are attending Sutton council meetings & intend to meet the W. Mids Mayor.
It is felt that a strong team at EcoSutton will able to address issues concerning all aspects of climate change.

Links & shared actions with Allied Groups:
The significant fact was brought to the notice of the meeting that Amnesty International UK is at a consultation stage over whether to undertake campaigns on environmental issues in view of the fact that an increasing number of cases being brought to them concern Prisoners of Conscience/Individuals at Risk defending land and habitat rights where the threat has a high intrinsic environmental component.

The tone of our meeting was one of encouragement and preparedness, along with EcoSutton, to meet any requirement for technical advice from the local Sutton Amnesty group.  It was stated that EcoSutton would be
prepared to liaise in collecting signatures for Sutton Amnesty campaign petitions as have Sutton Greens to date.

We have participated in the ‘War on Want’s campaign in writing to the DIT regarding the resurgent issue of heavily skewed international trade agreements against which we have been struggling for many years.

CM reported on recent campaigning concerning Post-Brexit desperation leading the UK Govt’ to pursue international trade agreements again. The TTIP & the TPP which we vigorously opposed along with the risk of the secret ISDS company compensation system are now making a comeback in the form of a UK-US Agreementin which the UK will have less bargaining weight than when previously as part of the mightier EU – similarly, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

We have also written to Andrew Mitchell reminding him of our previous fears over the TTIP & CETA and restating our concerns now.  The implications for us at a local level are likely to be greater than for those communities which would find themselves deprived of local planning authority to decide yay or nay over exploratory procedures for fracking.

Climate change: Week by week, before and after the scientific announcements in South Korea, fresh data from the field assails us about the deterioration in our environment and habitat.
IPCC report has been published, its case ever more irrefutable. The government is to respond – but is it not an irony that it is a time when it has been celebrating its green credentials?  How will it ever achieve the limit to 1.5 degrees?
The question was asked as to whether a Birmingham umbrella group campaign against climate change was still active.
Updates were provided about the Sutton Coldfield Greens  Website and Facebook page.

NEXT  MEETING:  Wednesday 21 November 2018 7-30 pm at Hill Allotment Social Club.
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