Topics of Interest

In Progress

Reform of the planning regulations

In May and again in August our member Colin Marriot wrote to Andrew Mitchell expressing clear and strong views which, judging by his reply, our MP would seem to agree with. Among the important points Colin made are the following:

– The act of establishing a zonal planning system at a time when we need greater certainty, not upheaval, risks our planning system descending into chaos.

– Under the reforms, the community’s ability to comment on and influence development proposals and councils’ powers to decide applications would be restricted, allowing automatic planning permission for substantial development in certain areas. The loss tof democratic scrutiny of proposals and public participation in decisions is especially concerning because decisions will come to depend far more on the lobbying clout in Westminster of large developers and an increase in unhealthy ‘cosiness’ between corporate developers and ministers, at least one instance of which has been signalled in the national press to no avail.

– There is a risk that forthcoming reforms to Environmental Impact Assessments and Strategic Environmental Assessment will water them down, or abolish them completely -resulting in less protection for our environment.

– The reforms do not require developers to build their fair share of affordable housing, and could well result in more people living in unacceptable housing and unliveable environments. To solve the climate crisis we need to get serious about building good quality, zero-carbon, homes and creating sustainable communities.

If the government is as serious as it says about tackling the climate crisis and protecting the environment, then it needs to scrap or fundamentally rethink these plans, which only make it easier for developers to ignore local concerns.

Herewith the gist of Andrew Mitchell’s response

The Government has announced an overhaul of the country’s planning system to help deliver high-quality, sustainable homes. They will transform a system that has been criticised for being too slow in providing housing for families, key workers and young people and too ineffectual in obligating developers to properly fund necessary local infrastructure – such as schools, roads and GP surgeries…..
I will be following these plans very closely to ensure that our valued green spaces and precious green belt are not further eroded but are protected for future generations, with the reforms allowing more building on brownfield land.

He wants to see planning issues increasingly dealt with by our Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council. At the least he wants their views to form a compelling part in decisions made by Birmingham City Council and by regional and national government. Our Royal Town councillors are the element of local government closest to the local community and their say is of critical importance.
He urges us to take part in the government consultation referred to on our HOME Page.

                        – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

The Sutton Coldfield Observer.
There is deep concern at the loss of the Sutton Coldfield News.

Now we must rely only on sporadic information from online sources. To receive local Sutton news in the national press and the “Sun” of all papers from correspondents in Somerset seems a very roundabout & haphazard way of learning of things lurking in Sutton Park.

We’re talking about the male “Flasher”said to be wearing see-through, home-made, clingfilm trousers who leaps from behind bushes! One theorist poses the question as to whether when caught, the “Flasher’s” cladding of clingfilm should be entered in mitigation of his offence as token respect of Covid-19 precautions!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
What is air pollution and where does it come from?  By Roger Low  of Eco Sutton (17/04/2020)

Air pollution is an umbrella term for lots of different types of pollution in the air around us. All these pollutants can be inhaled and absorbed into your body. Different types of pollution are caused by different things and can affect your body in different ways. For the most part, air pollution is invisible to the naked eye, so just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.

Particle pollution – Some pollution, often called PM10, PM2.5 or PM1, is made up of little bits of material, which can be from all sorts of places including smoke from fires, exhaust fumes, smoking or the dust from brake pads on cars. These particles are smaller than the width of a human hair (and PM2.5 is four times smaller even than PM10: the numbers refer to particles up to 10 or 2.5 micrometres in width) and we can breathe them in without noticing.

Even worse are PM1, normally these particles are too small to see, but on some days with especially high pollution levels they can mix with other types of pollution to make the sky look a little hazy. If the reading for particulates, especially PM2.5 goes above 15 parts per million, then long exposure to this is bad for you.

Gases – As well as particles, there are also gases. Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) and Nitrogen Oxides (NOX) come mostly from burning fuels or other materials, so levels are especially high around roads. But you also get them from home gas boilers, bonfires and other sources as well.
These gases also mix with the air we breathe and get absorbed into our bodies.

Impact – While lots of pollution can have long term health impacts on people, some pollution can be dangerous straight away when there is enough of it. Carbon Monoxide (CO) is made when things are burned without enough oxygen around them and it stops your blood from being able to transport oxygen around your body. A lot of Carbon Monoxide is produced by vehicles, but it is most dangerous in enclosed areas, like your home, where the amount can build up to high levels.

Chemicals – There are many chemicals which can create air pollution including those known as Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs. This is the name for a group of chemicals that start as liquids or solids but disperse into the air very easily. You can often tell when things contain a lot of these chemicals because they can have a very strong smell after you have used them, like lots of paints and varnishes. They also come from products like air fresheners, hair sprays and cleaning products. Once the chemicals mix with the air, they become very easy for us to breathe in and can have harmful effects.

Formaldehyde – Formaldehyde can be given off by furniture made from combined materials like MDF, as well as furnishings, fabrics, glues and insulation materials. It can cause irritation of the lungs. It is also given off by vehicles using petrol or diesel, especially when sitting still with their engines idling.

Air pollution concentrates around the areas where it is formed. So places that have lots of traffic, industry or farming can have higher levels of pollution.

How do we know? – First of all, we need to measure what the pollution level is, so we can target our actions. There are some immediate actions we can take, based on these readings.

Closing roads to traffic can reduce air pollution on those roads almost straightaway. This year air pollution on a major road in London was 97% lower when the roads were closed for the London Marathon than on a normal Sunday. This means that the more traffic there is, the more pollution there usually is, so rush hour can be particularly bad.

It’s a big problem. It is thought that up to 36,000 deaths each year in the UK are caused by air pollution.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) sets maximum limits for air pollution, limits that shouldn’t be passed. Almost 2,000 locations in the UK are above these limits and there are places in the UK where the air pollution is three times as high as the WHO limits.

Air pollution is in the air that we breathe in. The particles and chemicals enter our bodies and can damage our cells in different ways. Any amount of pollution can be damaging to our health, but the more that you are exposed to, the bigger the risk and the larger the impact it can have on you and your family.

Exposure to air pollution can increase cough and phlegm symptoms for adults and it can increase the risk of getting bacterial pneumonia. Over the longer term, your exposure to air pollution can increase your risk of lung cancer. It has also been linked to high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease (heart and blood vessels), including furring of the arteries.

How it affects you – First of all, the only safe level of particulates is zero, prolonged exposure to even small amounts causes damage to lungs, heart and vascular systems. Children are especially at risk.

Children are still developing their organs and immune systems and their smaller bodies and airways make them especially vulnerable to dirty air and water.

Because of their size, children are also often closer to sources of air pollution, like car exhausts, than adults. Air pollution can play a part in causing asthma for some children. For children who already have asthma, being exposed to more air pollution can increase how bad their symptoms are and how often they have chronic symptoms.

Being exposed to air pollution can also affect children’s lung function development. In areas with high air pollution, it could be setting some children up for health problems throughout their lives. Research is beginning to point towards effects of air pollution on children’s developing brains, but more research is needed in this area.

What can you do? – Walk, cycle or scoot whenever you can, rather than driving. Being stuck in traffic can expose you to lots of pollution. Polluted air from the exhaust of the vehicles in front can get sucked into your car, and often stays trapped there, meaning you breathe in lots of the pollution.

An experiment found that a car driver was exposed to twice as much pollution as a pedestrian and nine times as much pollution as a cyclist travelling the same journey at the same time of day. When you can, avoid walking along the busiest roads. Choose ways to get to your destination that use quieter streets, trips through parks and other green spaces or pedestrianised areas.

Air pollution concentrates around the busiest roads and getting even a short distance away from them can make a big difference. Quieter roads have been shown to reduce your exposure to pollution by 20%. You can also think about when you travel. If it is possible, avoid travelling at rush hour when the pollution levels are often much higher.

 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

THE CENTRE FOR ALTERNATIVE TECHNOLOGY.

CAT is an educational charity dedicated to researching and communicatng positive solutions for environmental change. Find out more about what we do and how you can get involved.

Situated near Machynlleth it’s well worth a visit.  Take the Birmingham- Aberystwyth train. But learn more here:- https://www.cat.org.uk/about-us/

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

An answer to Brexit! Why didn’t they tell us?
97 Reasons for Remaining in the EU: Membership of the world’s largest trading bloc with over 500 million consumers, representing 23% of global GDP – but it’s not just about economics!

  1. The UK has greater global influence as a member of the EU 
  2. The EU provides a counterweight to the global power of the US, Russia and China
  3. With Trump in the White House the UK’s strongest natural allies are France, Germany and our other West European neighbours
  4. Tariff-free trade within the EU
  5. The abolition of non-tariff barriers (quotas, subsidies, administrative rules etc.) among members
  6. Participation in free trade agreements with Japan and Canada as an EU member
  7. The EU accounts for 44% of all UK exports of goods and services
  8. The EU accounts for 53% of all UK imports of goods and services
  9. Cheaper food and alcohol imports from continental Europe
  10. As a member of the EU the UK maintains a say in the shaping of the rules governing its trade with its European partners
  11. 3.1 million jobs in the UK are directly linked to exports to the EU
  12. Free movement of labour has helped UK firms plug skills gaps (translators, doctors, plumbers)
  13. Free movement of labour has helped address shortages of unskilled workers (fruit picking, catering)
  14. The Single Market has brought the best continental footballers to the Premier League
  15. The EU accounts for 47% of the UK’s stock of inward Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), worth over $1.2 trillion
  16. Access to the EU Single Market has helped attract investment into the UK from outside the EU
  17. No paperwork or customs for UK exports throughout the single market
  18. Price transparency and removal of commissions on currency transactions across the Eurozone
  19. FDI into the UK has effectively doubled since the creation of the EU Single Market
  20. The UK’s net contribution to the EU budget is around €7.3bn, or 0.4% of GDP (less than an eighth of the UK’s defence spending)
  21. No time consuming border checks for travellers (apart from in the UK)
  22. The City of London, as a global financial hub, has acted as a bridge between foreign business and the EU
  23. British banks and insurance companies have been able to operate freely across the EU 
  24. Cornwall receives up to £750 million per year from the EU Social Fund (ESF)
  25. Structural funding for areas of the UK hit by industrial decline (South Wales, Yorkshire)
  26. Support for rural areas under the European Agricultural Fund for Regional Development (EAFRD)
  27. EU funding for infrastructure projects in the UK including £122 million for the “Midlands engine” project
  28. Financial support from the EU for over 3,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the UK
  29. EU funding for the British film industry
  30. EU funding for British theatre, music and dance
  31. EU funding for British sport, including football apprenticeships, tennis and rugby league
  32. Glasgow (1990) and Liverpool (2008) benefitted from being European capitals of culture, stimulating their local economies
  33. EU competition laws protect consumers by combatting monopolistic business practices
  34. Strict controls on the operations of Multinational Corporations (MNCs) in the EU
  35. Human Rights protected under the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights
  36. The death penalty can never be reintroduced as it is incompatible with EU membership
  37. Minority languages such as Welsh and Irish are recognized and protected under EU law
  38. The right to reside in any EU member state
  39. The freedom to work in 28 countries without visa and immigration restrictions
  40. The mutual recognition of professional qualifications has facilitated the free movement of engineers, teachers and doctors across the EU
  41. The mutual recognition of educational diplomas
  42. The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) has standardized assessment of language proficiency across the EU
  43. The freedom to study in 28 countries (many EU universities teach courses in English and charge lower fees than in the UK) 
  44. The Erasmus programme of university exchanges (benefitting 16000 UK students a year)
  45. The freedom to set up a business in 28 countries
  46. The ability to retire in any member state
  47. Pension transferability
  48. The right to vote in local and European Parliamentary elections if resident in any member state
  49. EU laws making it easier for British people to buy property on the continent
  50. The right to receive emergency healthcare in any member state (EHIC card)
  51. Consular protection from any EU embassy outside the EU
  52. The EU has played a leading role in combatting global warming (Paris 2015 climate change conference)
  53. Common EU greenhouse gas emissions targets (19% reduction from 1990 to 2015)
  54. Improvements in air quality (significant reductions in sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides) as a result of EU legislation
  55. Reductions in sewage emissions
  56. Improvements in the quality of beaches and bathing water
  57. EU standards on the quality of drinking water
  58. Restrictions on landfill dumping
  59. EU targets for recycling
  60. Common EU regulations on the transportation and disposal of toxic waste
  61. The implementation of EU policies to reduce noise pollution in urban areas
  62. EU policies have stimulated offshore wind farms
  63. Strict safety standards for cars, buses and trucks
  64. Protection of endangered species and habitats (EU Natura 2000 network)
  65. Strict ban on animal testing in the cosmetics industry
  66. Membership of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) which monitors the quality and safety of medicines (until recently located in London)
  67. 13% of EU budget earmarked for scientific research and innovation
  68. The UK receives £730 million a year in EU funding for research
  69. EU funding for UK universities
  70. Cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy as a member of Euratom
  71. Minimum paid annual leave and time off work (Working Time Directive)
  72. Equal pay between men and women enshrined in European law since 1957
  73. The right to work no more than 48 hours a week without paid overtime 
  74. Minimum guaranteed maternity leave of 14 weeks for pregnant women
  75. Rights to a minimum 18 weeks of parental leave after child birth
  76. EU anti-discrimination laws governing age, religion and sexual orientation
  77. EU rules governing health and safety at work
  78. The rights to collective bargaining and trade union membership are enshrined in EU employment law
  79. The UK enjoys an opt out from the single currency and maintains full control of its borders as a non-member of the Schengen area
  80. Since 1985 the UK has received a budget rebate equivalent to 66% of its net contribution to the EU budget
  81. EU cross-country coordination offers greater protection from terrorists, pedophiles, people traffickers and cyber-crime
  82. The European common arrest warrant
  83. Europe-wide patent and copyright protection
  84. EU consumer protection laws concerning transparency and product guarantees of quality and safety
  85. Improved food labeling 
  86. A ban on growth hormones and other harmful food additives
  87. Cheaper air travel due to EU competition laws
  88. Common EU air passenger rights
  89. Deregulation of the European energy market has increased consumer choice and lowered prices
  90. Mutual recognition of the common European driving license
  91. The introduction of the European pet passport
  92. The abolition of mobile telephone roaming charges
  93. The EU acts as a guarantor of the Irish Good Friday Agreement
  94. A frictionless Irish border
  95. The EU acts as a guarantor of the special status of Gibraltar
  96. The EU helped support and maintain democracy in Spain, Portugal and Greece from the 1970s and these countries have become major destinations for British tourists
  97. EU membership has helped facilitate intercultural dialogue
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

TREE PLANTING !

On Nov. 30 thirty folk turned up to the Tree Planting organised by the young sixth form student, Nimi, as NUS Tree person & Woodland Trust, plus Matt – Sutton Park ranger. There were quite a few Green and local Amnesty International  folk also there. Three of the SC candidates turned up to dig & plant – tho’ not Andrew Mitchell.  We learned that he was in Mere Green with a load of blue rosetted beings.
— – A Good job done!  More are scheduled!!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –
——————————————————————–

The Observer didn’t publish this letter from Ben.  But it deserved publication – so here it is.

Dear editor,
I am dismayed by your choice this week’s Sutton Coldfield Observer (11th Oct 2019) to allow the Conservatives to buy your ‘wrap around and write’ pretend articles. This paper has given the Conservatives a free pass on many things before but when you literally allow them to write your headlines then you have sold the paper’s credibility far short.

Having jewellers or double glazing adverts is one thing, most people know what to expect and can ignore it but this native advertising for a political party is wrong. This is nakedly biased before an election and puts all your local news integrity into question. When you next want to scrutinise a local policy or publish stories embarrassing to politicians, you become much easier to dismiss.
Will you now be producing wrap arounds for Labour and the Greens for balance?   Yours etc.”

Report on the Committee Meeting held on 20th March 2020

Hi Everybody,

Please find here attached your copy of the report of the March 2020 Meeting of the Sutton Coldfield Green Group at the Hill Allotments Social Club.

Apologies for the very late dispatch of this..
Contrary to what many may expect of this period of “lockdown”, the time has been very busy for many of the Team in supporting rôles via the numerous social media and making up for earlier soggy, lost cultivation time – Grow on your own doorstep, slash food miles!

Strong flour for bread making is, however, our weak point. None has been getting bagged up to put on the S’mart shelves for us.

The Team would appreciate any information to fill gaps in the Minutes & update us on topics that have moved forward – air-monitoring for example.

ZOOM – we raise the question of the practicability of us holding the 22nd April meeting via ZOOM online.  ? ? 

                 Now wash your hands!
                              — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Sutton Coldfield Green Group MINUTES of Meeting 11th March 2020
at Hill Allotments Social Cub B75 5EY with News & Information Present David Ratcliff, Colin Marriott, Steve Lyne, Roger Low, Margaret Okole

Apologies Peter Cooke, Ben Auton, Linda Hudson

Matters arising: Margaret collected signatures on the proposal form for the Green Party W. Mids Mayoral Candidate from those present. [Subsequent to the meeting, the W.Mids Mayoral election has been postponed for one year]

Margaret also explained possible changes to Bham Green Party leafleting & canvassing in other wards where Sutton members have been assisting. To date, a first round of door-to-door calls had been completed, residents concerns logged and casework taken on by a future candidate for a neighbouring ward. [Subsequent to meeting, viral ‘lockdown’ has led to cessation of physical canvassing. Litter Picks have also been suspended.] Considerable contact in selected wards has already been made, with multiple Green Newsletter deliveries to households + locals volunteering to join in. Action Day was successful in bringing contact with people & a second door- to-door call being well received with written feedback.

Transport: Roger announced that in an ironic, counter-productive step, bendibuses with a tramlike appearance were being trialled at the NEC prior to their introduction for high speed links over more constricted routes from the Sutton ‘hub'(HS2). They will have a double-decker diesel engine but take up one & a half times the road space and carry 9 fewer passengers.

Climate Emergency: Steve stressed the deadline of 12th March for submissions to the Bham CC Climate Survey. Also a West Mids consultation regarding zero C by 2041.
Roger spoke of proposals for Local Power Consortia in parts of the UK. Thus local power would serve local needs and storage mechanisms would be devised. Interestingly, this concept is welcomed by the CGB because it would reduce pressure on the National grid – & with installing grid cables costing £1,500 per metre, one can see why! Sutton Coldfield endorsed parliamentary measures over this.

UK Human Rights concerns were raised regarding classifications of certain groups & activities as terrorism risks. ‘Climate Rebellion’ is one with which many students fear their activism & links could jeopardise their future career prospects. It was decided that we must campaign to prevent such intimidation in the exercise of their democratic rights.

The Group’s rigid map on which we had charted water and dry nature corridors and green areas has seemingly been hijacked by poltergeists. It was agreed that a replacement must be made promptly.

Pollution: 5G Microwave issue: Roger gave details of mm frequencies to be used and relatively low intensity levels with reduced range so that in fact masts need to be increased in number to achieve adequate coverage. [Subsequent to the meeting, the question has been drawn to our attention as to whether widely-circulated online videos purporting to oppose 5G and which contain evident scientific errors and mystical overtones are mischievous machination to discredit legitimate demands for independent, precautionary investigation to be carried out before 5G implementation.]

Chemicals: [It is now acknowledged, too late, that microplastics have long been entering the food chain and having harmful effects on wild organisms important for habitat health – such as earthworms and insects – plus our own species.] The case was made that clearly identified E numbered colourings in food, cosmetics & Yankee candles from petroleum and tar sources should be publicised by health warnings.

Town Council/Local meetings: David had monitored SCTC business & issued notes in advance of the Greens’ meeting. EcoSutton had attended all council meetings to date.

Steve informed that Cllr Clare Horrocks has been allocated £100,000 budget for her Environmental and Transport remits. She has been open that her policies derive from EcoSutton’s work.
EcoSutton had continued to be cited in the local press.

Steve also drew attention to the fact that SCTC was holding £175,000 pending a response from Sustrans regarding matching the sum regarding previous work done.

None present had been able to attend the Andy Street U3A meeting on the 27th Feb’ nor the meeting held with Andrew Mitchell. No information known.

Letters: A reply was received from Andrew Mitchell regarding our letter expressing concern over US political pressures in the Julian Assange extradition case in which our MP stated that the independence of the judiciary in the decision should be paramount and he would be following the case closely. A reply was also received regarding the group’s ongoing concern for youth provision, in this case, specifically young adults leaving care, to which we were provided with govt’s future budgeting increases to effect policies.

A third satisfactory response was received on the issue of overseas hunting trophies.

Recycling & Composting: Stevespoke of an incipient church composting toilet project. [Subsequent to meeting: Owing to the Covid-19 crisis, it is believed that Steve is currently holding his thunder.]

Food waste: From Linda we learn that the Little Sutton School lunchtime food-waste weighing scheme substantiating the argument of “Take less!”had led to a 50% reduction in waste.

Air monitoring: Linda is now doing quality monitoring with five schools. Plantsbrook and the Girls Grammar School readings have been logged. EcoSutton is to do 100 sites simultaneously. It was said that SC Town Council was very much in favour though the results might prove disturbing.

[ A number of residents have spoken to us expressing the hope that air quality monitoring has been permitted and carried out through the current Corvid-19 crisis to permit correlations to be established with non-Corvid respiratory health cases. We should be grateful for information on this.]

Dates: [ Take no action during the ‘lockdown’ on the basis of the following dates. Await & request details in the light of future news.]

Next SC Green Group Meeting on Wednesday 22nd April 2020 at 7-30pm. [The venue, Hill Allotments Club, is temporarily closed]

24th May – New Hall Mill Open Day. EcoSutton has booked a stall there.

June/July: Cllr Clare Horrocks & the Gracechurch Centre plan an event under cover about the town centre & its future. It is hoped to enable local organisations to occupy empty premises.

     

Climate Emergency – Help wanted.

COPY and SEND THIS LETTER to each of the following!:-

[email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected]
[email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected],
[email protected], [email protected], [email protected],
[email protected], [email protected],|
[email protected], [email protected],

Public Consultation on RSCTC policy on Climate Change
Dear Councillors,

[INSERT YOUR OWN MESSAGE HERE,
SAY WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU:   THEN:-]

As part of the public consultation on the Town Council Strategic Plan and planned public consultation on the council’s climate change policy (proposed by Cllr Horrocks on 24th of September 2019) we would like to suggest the following policies for Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council to adopt.
Overall Strategy:
There is a devastating Climate Emergency and our town will answer the call to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 to save lives and livelihoods.
Transport:
Highways and planning should prioritise pedestrian, cycling and public transport. Reducing the number of car journeys in Sutton Coldfield is the best way to make our town cleaner, healthier and reduce the traffic congestion.
The Town Centre should change pedestrian crossings to prioritise pedestrians.
Extend and improve the Blue Route Cycling routes to include more of Sutton Coldfield and improve cyclist safety on our roads.
Electric vehicle public charging points to be incentivised.
Reduce the number of School run car journeys. Air pollution in schools is a major health risk for children and the localised pollution from vehicles in traffic around schools is a primary concern for parents.
Renewable Energy:
Town Council and partner’s assets should run on renewable energy from on-site or community renewable energy systems or purchased off the national grid.
The council should tackle fuel poverty by advocating for and subsidising the installation of renewable energy systems and thermal insulation for low income households.
The council should not accept planning applications that do not meet the Passivhaus standards for building.
Waste:
The council should become leaders in waste management for the West Midlands.
The Council should facilitate domestic food waste recycling for anaerobic digestion before it becomes mandatory.
The council should host a series of engagements with businesses to reduce packaging and single use plastics.
Biodiversity:
The council should optimise the planting trees and bushes in public areas that would provide beneficial biodiversity.
The council should adopt a policy of re-wilding grass verges to promote wildflowers and insects.

Kindest Regards,

(Name, Address etc.)

 

Latest!

Years of campaigning by Campaign for Better Transport and others has finally paid off with the announcement that the Government will deliver a National Bus Strategy next year, meaning buses will no longer be the Cinderella of transport modes.

This is fantastic news for communities up and down the country who have borne the brunt of degrading and withdrawn services in recent years. But what will the strategy look like?

Passenger numbers have been falling steadily in recent years, partly due to a reduction in services and partly because buses simply haven’t been practical for lots of people to use. Therefore one of the main aims of the National Bus Strategy should be to increase passenger numbers; to do that we need to make buses a no brainer.

We need a programme of investment in both physical and digital infrastructure and a new generation of modal interchanges connecting bus networks with other forms of transport. We need multi-modal ticketing, contactless payment and integrated journey planning so passengers can plan and execute their journeys with less effort.

We also need bus travel to be cheaper. One of the recommendations in our recent report, The future of the bus, was a local trial of free or reduced price bus travel, along with targeted support from Government to reduce fares for young people across the country.

For more on this go to
https://bettertransport.org.uk/blog/buses/finally-a-national-bus-strategy

 

Birmingham Green Party

The Green Party is the only major political party in the UK that is committed fully to a life based on democracy and justice within the planet’s limits.

The Green Party has always dared to be different – and we’ve always known the power of good ideas.

Unlike others, we know that our planet has environmental limits, we understand that not everyone wants to live to work, that inequality is not just unfair, but damaging to everyone in society. And we have the bold solutions which allow us to offer inspiration in this age of uncertainty.

For further information click here.               https://birmingham.greenparty.org.uk

Committee Meeting on 11th September

MINUTES

Apologies D. Ratcliff.

Forthcoming Election. We will be needing 6000 leaflets to cover houses in the Walmley and Minworth wards. Ben to compose content and to check on useful material available on the Green Party website (policy etc.).
Check with M. Okole on availability of free election material & free Royal Mail delivery.

Litter Pick on Sep. 15th. Meet in front of Minworth Primary School 12 noon. Bring your own litter grabbers. Linda to provide extra one for Peter if he is well enough to go.

ClimateProtest for Youth for 20th September in Vesey Gardens. See advert on the website (Local Events).

Birmingham City’s ‘Car Free Day’ planned for Sep 22 has been postponed.

Some discussion of the ‘People’s vote’.

Congratulations to Eco Sutton on its lively work and news of its award of £8,700 toward its projects which will include air quality mapping in conjunction with local schools. (See Eco Sutton Website)

Sutton town centre. Linda received response to correspondence she has had with the Council concerning the Active Travel Initiative. The reply to be published on our website.

Date of Next meeting planned for Oct 9. Peter C. to book room at Hill Allotments Social Club.

A O B
Amnesty International meeting – Forum on Human Rights Sept 27at the Catholic church, Lichfield Rd.
Eco Sutton to have a stall at Expo Sutton.
Ben . mentioned Sutton Coldfield Green Power to urge BCC to have a second anaerobic digester dedicated to dealing with future waste food collections. Such digesters already functioning well elsewhere.

 

 

Coastal landfill erosion

Walney island.                                  (Alamy Images)

With this picture of landfill rubbish in an eroding sea wall at Walney Island our member Ben Auton introduces a topic of serious concern along with a call for action.

————————–
Here in Sutton Coldfield we are as far from the sea as we can get, but this doesn’t prevent our horror at seeing plastics and other waste ending up in our oceans, our beaches, our fish, and eventually our food-chain. BBC1’s recent programme War on Plastic with Hugh and Anita highlighted the dumping of the UK’s plastics waste in East Asian countries and how that affects UK waters and seas globally.

There is, however, a more chilling cause of waste washing up on our own beaches – waste that comes from our own landfills. Of the estimated 26,000 landfill sites in the UK there are (at least) 1264 historic landfills in England and Wales that fall within tidal zones but are undefended. Accordingly they are susceptible to coastal erosion. Landfills have often been placed in low-lying areas next to the coast and around estuaries precisely because such areas are prone to flooding and the land is accordingly cheaper. This has been causing problems for years.

A recent study (Brand et al. 2017) conducted by Queen Mary University of London examined several landfills on the Thames Estuary and were concerned to discover breaches in the sea defenses and contaminants in the surrounding environment. Most landfills have sea water in them because their floors were not capped and sea water has seeped in through the ground. This seepage allows contaminants like lead, cadmium and cancer-causing compounds such as polyaromatic hydrocarbon (PAHs) to escape into the local environment. The areas surrounding some coastal landfills have estuarine muds well in excess of marine sediment quality guidelines.

In other cases like East Tilbury, the researchers found that breaches in the sea defenses allow waste to escape unchecked from landfills into the sea. This enters estuary and sea environments adding to the already major problem of plastics and other waste being eaten by fish and seabirds. Such unchecked damage to wildlife can have catastrophic effects on biodiversity and human fish consumption. Many of these coastal landfills are adjacent to protected areas like internationally recognised wetland areas (Ramsar sites), other sites of special scientific interest, nature reserves and bathing waters.

In a particularly ‘novel’ idea, waste from Hadleigh Marsh Landfill, which closed in 1987, was used to build the flood defences to protect the landfill and nearby railway line. As this flood defence erodes it is releasing its waste straight into the sea.

With rising sea levels and more stormy weather in the UK, coastal flood defences are under greater threat of failure. Encroachment of the sea will inevitably result from climate change, and all our coastal assets require protection or better management. More coastal defences and better lining and capping of these landfills would be an option but the sea will eventually always win. Relocating this waste as part of a managed retreat is believed to be the best option but it comes with a hefty price tag.

Lack of funding is the primary reason preventing solution to these problems. The austerity policy budgets of the Environment Agency and local authorities have meant that flood protection has had to be focused on built-up areas instead of protecting wastelands. Until further research proves that this contaminated land is causing harm to humans, local authorities are going to be unwilling to do anything without threat of prosecution (see Environmental Protection Act 1990 Part 2A regulations).

What can you do?
There are many ways to get involved, from picking up five pieces of litter on your next day at the seaside; to increasing awareness of this issue; and contacting politicians such as your MP or MEPs to ask them to tighten water resource and environmental protection laws and to include coastal landfill erosion as a major issue.

Figure 1: landfill rubbish in sea cliff on Walney Island, Barrow In Furness, photograph by Ashley Cooper, Alamy Images.

Brand, James & Spencer, Kate & O’Shea, Francis & E. Lindsay, John. (2017). Potential pollution risks of historic landfills on low-lying coasts and estuaries: Potential pollution risks of historic landfills. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water. e1264. 10.1002/wat2.1264.

A Tory view on Cycle Routes.

One of our members recently wrote to Conservative Birmingham City Councillor Meirion Jenkins about the need for more and better cycle routes into and around the city.

Here are the revelant parts  of his reply:

 “Although I very much enjoy using the bike for rides in Sutton Park and do sometimes cycle to the High St, as you also rightly say, cycles have limited scope as a practical means of travel in Sutton because of safety concerns.  I never feel terribly comfortable cycling on the Lichfield Rd.
 
“At the same time, right now, it is private motor transport that keeps the economy of our town and city moving and we risk great damage to our prosperity through Labour’s ongoing ‘war on the motorist’.  Labour’s plans for a congestion charging zone will damage our economy and it will be the least well off that will always suffer most.  At the last election, we put forward plans that would have addressed the issue of air quality without damaging the economy of our city.”

Such a laissez faire view is totally at odds with Green Party policy and while giving this opinion Councillor Jenkins doesn’t  miss the chance also to take a swipe at the Labour council for its attempts to solve the problem of deadly traffic pollution.

Our Green Party view is clearly laid out in its manifesto:-

      Invest in low traffic neighbourhoods and safe, convenient networks of routes for walking and cycling.
      Safe places for learning to cycle, so people of all ages and those with disabilities can choose to make local trips on foot, by bike or mobility scooter.
      Help end the public health crisis caused by air pollution by increasing incentives to take diesel vehicles off the roads.

—————–

Send us your views on the question of cycle routes and on air pollution.

Archives

JULY NEWSLETTER

Since the last Newsletter, numerous Sutton Green activists have continued to campaign by letter and online over on-going issues which affect us in Sutton: the merging of Overseas Development with the Foreign Office; Cummings machinations to overrule local planning scrutiny; NHS in trade negotiations; Transparency in foreign trade deals through scrutiny by MPs; chemical threats to pollinators; backing trans-B’ham seed-swaps via social media; and mail & human rights.

A number of responses have been received. Whether assurances, information and stated intentions will come to fruition, time alone will tell.

– – – – – –  — – – – – – –

In this strange Summer, all has not been as still at grass-roots level as some may have thought. Programmes for alerting targeted local electorate have been under way “working from home”, liaising with special interest groups & individuals throughout Lockdown.

Sutton Greens have been actively involved out and about, on foot, in the last few days with other Birmingham party members delivering the latest newsletter to every home in a ward of a neighbouring constituency.

Small-scale organic growers have brought on an increased number of veg’ plants for distribution along with seeds now planted out at numerous homes in Sutton – and even in SW B’ham & Cheltenham thanks to rationalised routing of “safe” responsible drivers.

The closure of Council waste depots to the public is reported by Green Group members to have resulted in neighbourhood recycling swaps on the principle of “one man’s rubbish being another man’s treasure” plus an increase in DIY £-savings.

The battle must go ahead to hold onto the ecological gains & healthier lifestyles.The ‘grey’ political parties try to stimulate demand & dependence.
The Green Party wants to satisfy demand and enable citizen involvement.
——–

Since the previous Newsletter concerted efforts made here in national campaigns that affect us all in Sutton have brought responses.
As to whether assurances, information and stated intentions will come about, time alone will tell.
One local half-expectation which did NOT 
happen in June was a big bang from the unexploded WW2 bomb found near the junction of Western Road and Beacon Road: it turned out to be a buried, round bollard!

It is nice to be right. It is also nice to have support or corroboration for what one – or indeed several of one – has been advocating. Organic & perma-culturalists of the Green Group were gladdened by the F. 17th July “Gardeners’ World” restating the German findings of a 75% reduction in winged insects and backing us that with 22 million gardens in the UK this is something that citizens themselves are perfectly well able to do something to rectify! At the apt times of year, growers among us have put on our Facebook Page photos of those same native & herbaceous flowering plants as shown on the programme, marjoram, buddleia, birdsfoot trefoil in pots, some of last year’s veg’ left to flower this year & comfrey. Those usually green-coloured, over-chemicaled, mono-culture, urban deserts, the lawns left to turn to waving meadows till late autumn were net-sampled for species & numbers of insects & proved the ideal habitat for the lower end of the food chain to feed upwards into small mammal, amphibian & bird populations. And the campaign for accessible ground-level water with slipways in & out that for ‘yonks’ we have been fighting for! – Minus the pesticides. So spread the word!

Don’t just tart it up! Get those gardens fit for habitation!
———————–

Green Group activists congratulate Andrew Mitchell on speaking up to oppose the merger of Overseas Development with the Foreign Office for, though there have been oddities of projects by the Overseas Dev’, the greater concern lies with the subverting of its ostensibly more direct humanitarian aims & loss of additional diplomatic subtlety.

We have missed no opportunity over the last five years of potentially scam Trade Deals and the right of MPs to input & shape such deals. Our campaigning has increased during ‘lockdown’ – a shadowy time for under the table shenaningins!
We have consistently lobbied Andrew Mitchell over the issue of Trade Deals.
Our latest being Sat 18 July prior to the Monday  Vote in Parliament  on this democratic process.

Green Group members have been present within the regulations of Lockdown at XR climate demonstrations videoed in front of particular Birmingham MPs’ offices at which letters were delivered.

https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fdocs.google.com%2Fdocument%2Fd%2F17qufFMm06_GqUadbqRH6-AFHpnoqwr7fEbqRAjsrVtI%2Fedit%3Fusp%3Dsharing%26fbclid%3DIwAR0A_37MeTEkf5JRwECLlIxR46VYOgj1CsIQGnt_4V29zSaEu9e_bOkwJNs&h=AT0VPlGtlLTM6YG_F-wRWUIeGKwHizZkE_TN5uBG8INevs7fmUThS73DKBrNXFSf9ABsk8Ojrsa0H4RbODjEPMeCSwf9rihCHlC7CfkFOI_gfbCtzRNxhhWU6ygYJjmKscwh

https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=691207431456569&ref=watch_permalink

Those alienated by such lowbrow competitive challenges as our previous Limerick Tourneys may, none the less, be relieved to hear that our mooted “Summarising Proust in Verse” match has been postponed till 2022 to allow for re-familiarisation with his works.

The Team thinks all of us will find it ironic – as well as saddening – that the stated reason for low recruitment to job posts in the mental health service is ‘confusion’.

Ironic too is the fact that, having been annually grieved at the sight of so much “road-kill” on our highways & also on our windscreens, the headline <Roadside offers survival route for insects> is deemed sufficiently novel to print. Greens have long been advocating polyculture verges for this very reason which is now proven by Exeter University’s high quality research. The ‘splat-free’ windscreens of today in Sutton Coldfield either prove that in the last 26 years winged insects have reduced by 75% or that behavioural selection has adapted them to shun tarmacked areas.

  1. As BEN AUTON said at the Election Hustings to the other parties’ candidates, “Well there’s another good Green Party policy for you to pinch!” And as proof of that broader Green Movement & Party ‘soft’ power, we are very pleased to see a Tory govt’ – especially this one – fund £3bn worth of ‘Green’ jobs & resultant energy cost savings. A pretty resounding success for a political party with only one MP allowed in Parliament by the first-past-the-post system.
    When you too are feeling glum electorally, remember the changes that have been made because of Green good sense, because of Green science, and because of the demos that have raised the eco-profile.

Never let a Trumpite climate change denier go unchallenged in your presence! = Just an extra point: Findings suggest that warm airtight homes disrupt sleep. ==================================================================== = Global systems guy, James Dyke, laid out in the “I” surprising findings from B’ham & Berne Universities’ investigations into ‘paradoxically’ higher Corvid-19 outbreaks in Dutch regions of low population density but strangely high PM2.5 pollution – more like inner city levels – which can ‘up’ deaths by to 8%. Answer: intensive pig & chicken farming producing clouds of ammonia. One rural region’s pig population – 7.5 million; Chickens – 42 million. Sutton Vegan Society members will not be surprised. PETA and Compassion in World Farming folk will be outraged. =
Yet the interplay between our genes, dietary history and societal engineering is known to throw up weirdness: Six years ago in “New Scientist”, Williams & Dunbar pointed out that the first signs in the archaelogical record of TB in humans date from around 8,500 years ago, the point of agricultural and cereal dependence but plummeting meat intake. It’s thought that the fall in dietary nicotinamide opened the way for symbiotic TB to do a trade agreement with humans & compensate with its own nicotinamide output. Just as high alcohol levels in wines inhibit further reproduction in yeasts, so higher levels of nicotinamide dampen TB activity but the converse is also true with the result that the loss of other sources of nicotinamide like meat led TB to soar and become a pathogen. We therefore request any specialist readers in the field to enlighten the rest of us regarding this area of debate. Are the vegans among us protected from TB by the ‘crowd immunity’ provided by the meat eaters around them? Also, is it true that the Andean staple grain, quinoa, does provide all six proteins required by humans? =

= 26 FUN IDEAS FOR SMALLSCALE GARDENING THE KIDS WILL LOVE & WILL COST YOU ALMOST NOTHING !!! And which are vegan but sadly use some plastics: https://www.facebook.com/sympasympacom/videos/609454409680742/ =

Another but more grown-up FUN IDEA is the more laissez-faire keeping of bees for their environmental benefits rather than forge an exploitative ‘trade agreement’ to get our sticky paws on their honey – Set up a hive & let ’em get on with it! They can meet their own winter food needs and we can dispense with the labour but trade rent for pollination of our seasonal flowering crops. Six years ago, Phillip Chandler reminded us of this strategy in ‘Permaculture Magazine’. www.biobees.com www.beesfordevelopment.org How to Build a Top Bar Hive: https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=www.green-shopping.co.uk%2fhow-to-build-a-top-bar-hive.html&qpvt=www.green-shopping.co.uk%2fhow-to-build-a-top-bar-hive.html&FORM=VDRE Sutton Coldfield Beekeepers Association: http://suttoncoldfield-beekeepers.co.uk/ =

 COVID-19 CRISIS – Continuing uncertainty – A Second Wave? Dunno. Economic disparity has been confirmed as hitting women much harder in the UK. In Africa & Asia half of 15 to 19 age group schoolgirls in poorer communities are reported as being unlikely to return to education for similar reasons & are likely to be married off, trafficked or retained as household labour. ‘Room to Read’ reckons this to be a multi-decade setback to gender equality. What is specific about this issue in Sutton Coldfield appears unknown & unpublicised, as also the increase in domestic violence, but inherently needs addressing by the Green Party. 

Margaret C writes to us that the Germans have been using a sensible mathematical method: “They measure the number of cases per 100,000 population within a region. 50 is the maximum safe number. At present, Bedford has the highest rate here – at 24, I believe. In Sunderland, it is 0.06 (don’t quote me on the exact figure, but you get the general drift). The R number is not a helpful measure as it it greatly ‘overrates’ cases in hospitals and care homes. This appears to be best practice. I long for them to use it here. The hidebound NHS/PHE system can only process one idea at a time. The obsession with centralised control resulted in the NHS tracing app fiasco. Employ common sense, there is no such thing as zero risk!”

With a UK Death Toll times that of Germany which has a population 23% bigger, the UK electorate must fight for a full and prompt enquiry into this government’s mishandling of the real, front-line battle for prevention of Covid-19 spread. The Team stresses “prompt” enquiry, one to show the culpability of this current “populist” yahoo government before the next election slogans of their informal Ministry of Disinformation can fool so many of the people all of the time again. = The other repeat plea is remember and demand investigation into the hand in glove set-up between suspect US companies & Mr Cummings & Goings as well as “The Canary’s” report of his three years in Russia. The Borisocracy must also be called to account for its methods of state procurement without tendering especially the case of the £252 million deal for Personal Protective Equipment through Ayanda Capital Ltd off-shore finance.
We are greatly cheered that Jolyon Maugham QC & his non-profit project are seeking a judicial review of that specific case involving an “opaque family fund owned through a tax haven”. “The more we uncover . . . the more questions . . . arise”. This whole fiasco is typified by the attitude of “There’s nothing anyone can do to stop me” continually shown by the current “populist” leaders – Boris, Trump, Bolsonaro, Putin, the Philippines’ Duterte, India’s Modi.
All of the above are on our thumbs-down list for their environmental records & eco-defender treatment. The Philippines is the second most lethal country in the world, and the most dangerous in Asia, for land and environmental defenders. Global Witness recorded 48 cases of killings in 2017, second only to Brazil’s 57 deaths. Last year, Modi’s Supreme Court asked the governments of 17 states to evict an estimated one million tribal and other households living in forests after their claims of the right to live in forests were rejected under the Forest Rights Act. When one’s right to land bears only the seal of time, its validity is hard to prove.
Professor John M Anderson, retired paleobotanist at Nelson Mandela University, South Africa spoke informally to some of the Sutton Green Group when here on a visit last year about his special concern over the Sixth Extinction. It is interesting to note in his collaborative book with artist & film-maker Ellen Palestrant reference to her book of imagination, “World of Glimpse” and the destructive negativity of her ‘G’ characters and their slogan, “Greed is our Creed”.

 SUTTON PARK & THE GREEN GROUP In terms of protecting the interests of our famous Sutton Park, the Green Group has put together a three-part provisional document incorporating a summary of the Park’s current protected status by law, our own existing statement on water courses & wildlife corridors plus EcoSutton’s table of uses & value to Suttonians. .

OUR CONTINUING CONCERN OVER LOCAL 5G IMPLEMENTATION now has an added dimension, that of ineffective, vague permission and policing. Our correspondents in Peasedown St John have forwarded us issue 113 of the Somerset “Leveller” in which Hattie Bowler writes that the radiation protection exclusion zones round masts set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), mandatory in the UK, will be expanded significantly as the range of potentially dangerous radio waves is far greater than for 4G. CAAV stresses that the exclusion footprint will vary in shape & direction. PROBLEM! – the rules are mandatory but there is no enforcement body to ensure they are being followed. This does not lie with District Councils nor any Govt’ body. Ofcom is technically the regulator but with no powers or responsibilities. The Operator is responsible for the exclusion zone but they are not obliged to disclose exclusion zone data to the very landowner from whom they lease the land. The danger zone can in fact spill beyond the property which they are leasing. The thinking remains clearly flawed.

The matter of racism and Black Lives Matter is on the agenda big-time. Where we stand is clear. However, to gain a clear, factual, five-star understanding and update of your history and economics module, you have eleven months – the time for which the two part “Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners” David Olusoga’s documentary on BBC Four will remain available on BBC Iplayer.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episodes/b063db18/britains-forgotten-slave-owners

The Sutton Coldfield Observer.
There is deep concern at the loss of the Sutton Coldfield News.

Now we must rely only on sporadic information from online sources. To receive local Sutton news in the national press and the “Sun” of all papers from correspondents in Somerset seems a very roundabout & haphazard way of learning of things lurking in Sutton Park.

We’re talking about the male “Flasher”said to be wearing see-through, home-made, clingfilm trousers who leaps from behind bushes! One theorist poses the question as to whether when caught, the “Flasher’s” cladding of clingfilm should be entered in mitigation of his offence as token respect of Covid-19 precautions!

An Election Summary – thanks to our local Green candidate – Ben.


Pie charts that may help.

——————————————————-

Report on recent meeting of Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council.
Firstly a selective summary supplied by D.Ratcliff from the main council minutes of September 24th

55  Notice of Motion Submitted by Cllr C Horrocks on 16th Sept 2019.
Cllr Horrocks asked Council to consider engaging and consulting with local groups in Sutton Coldfield to hear innovative ideas and develop a realistic, ambitious, achievable strategy to help overcome barriers and become more environmentally conscious.
Several councillors spoke in support of the motion. Cllr Raut applauded the communities that held regular litter picking and said that some members of the Royal Sutton Indians had pledged to plant trees. Cllr Cairns asked if schools could have some involvement to build on the Town Council funded Modeshift stars initiative.
Resolved that this Council will commit to a series of environmental-themed engagement workshops and sessions, with a view to determining how best RSCTC can continue to deliver on its environmental objectives for the Town. Delegation will be given to the Planning and Highways Committee for this activity.

55. 56  Response to Sutton Coldfield Gateway Consultation: It was resolved to note the response to Transport for West Midlands proposals to develop an improved bus interchange and public realm for Sutton Coldfield. [Presumably referring to the inconvenience of the less able- bodied who prefer the present bus stops where the shops are easily accessible at either side of the same road!]

Agenda 22 October.
Receipt of the draft  strategic town plan ( 56 pages downloadable from here:- https://www.suttoncoldfieldtowncouncil.gov.uk/the-council/draft-strategic-plan-2020-2023/
See also the document:- https://www.suttoncoldfieldtowncouncil.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Strategic-Plan-2020-2023-Consultation-Review-October-2019.pdf

Budget proposals for the committees:  (It is uncertain how the “allocated reserve system” is worked)

Planning and Highways Minutes 8 Oct: Wildflower planting budget £20,500   2 Phase 8 monopoles 20 m high.

Objections received to  Planning application for the Walmley  ASDA extension from a local objector.

Agenda for 12th November. Budget proposal  Road safety £25 k Historical monument future £100k per year. Strategy and resources
Next meeting 19 Nov  No agenda

Amenity and leisure committee Discover Sutton Coldfield. Headings for website.  Advice & Guidance. Arts & Culture. Community Action Groups. Family Support. Health & Wellbeing. Older Adults. Parks & Playgrounds. Religious Groups. Sport & Recreation. Young People.

——————————–

Past Committee meeting , March 202

Present: David Ratcliff, Ben Auton, Steve Lyne, Roger Low, Colin Marriott Apologies: Peter Cooke, Linda Hudson

Developments:
Langley housing: Steve reported that rate of construction and numbers of new homes are being reduced. Another building company is being taken on and that ecological components planned are to be reduced.
Dugdale Crescent: Judy Lewin informs that village green status has been granted. The longer term implications of protection of the site & its community standing were pointed out.

B’ham Green Party Matters: The SC group participated in B’ham Green Party’s rolling newsletter deliveries to other area households and will continue to do so. Sutton members will also do the Litter Pick Sunday 16 February, 11-00 am Rendezvous @ Junction of Long Croft Close & Tangmere Drive B35 7QS

DIARY note: SC members will also be at the am & pm sessions of the Action Day Saturday 22nd February meeting up at the Tyburn House, Kingsbury Rd, Castle Vale, Birmingham B35 6AA

Consultations, policies & participations:
The meeting was made aware of a number of consultation deadlines concerning development, ecology and transport at town, city and W.Midlands levels and for which local groups and members are preparing submissions.
SC Town centre: EcoSutton will be talking to the planners on 13th February.
In the week of 21st February EcoSutton will take the opportunity to prompt SC Town Cllr Clare Horrocks to proceed with the climate emergency plans.
At the end of March there will be a Birmingham City Council Consultation regarding transport. It is said that under W. Midlands auspices the Sutton Park line will operate passenger services using standard gauge battery-powered trams with small stations.
The W.Mids Climate Proposals Consultation towards end of March was discussed & tied up with the Bham CC clean air initiative. The SC Green Group is drawing up policy based on information from the Bham Green Party & other sources.
Roger pointed out that the ‘zero’ used at national level referred to zero greenhouse gas levels including CO2.
EcoSutton air quality testing in the town is providing results above ‘safe’ levels. Specific particulate figures from a.m. & pm readings taken by a Sutton Girls’ School pupil over three months are indisputably excessive. Clare Horrocks has accepted EcoSutton’s recommendations though EcoSutton needs £3,000 to be able to monitor nitrous oxide levels.

Sutton Park: It is thought that on pragmatic grounds the role of SC town council will not change for some ten years. As with all such ‘civic’ open space, leisure facilities, the lack of a mandatory obligation on local authorities in the UK to provide and maintain such services has led to severe de facto cuts through lack of staff replacement citywide. If anything, Sutton Park’s status and the SSSIs in it give it a certain protection – though links between these could be threatened by proposals for revenue-earning activities.
Financial figures quoted were: £160,000 p.a. in costs; £500,000 being produced largely from rents.

5G microwave mobile communications system: Health concerns continue to be ignored by the industry and government not least through a lack of of independent research globally & the legislation overriding any objections even to the siting of masts. Very wisely, Sutton Coldfield Town Council has lodged objections to the piloting of 5G in the town.
In this, they are in line with the official stance of the Swiss government which has halted the rollout of 5G over health concerns: https://www.ft.com/content/848c5b44-4d7a-11ea-95a0-43d18ec715f5

Chemical use in the environment: The prime concern expressed was that of effective but safe alternatives to glyphosate. Though over-used & toxic, it remains well studied & understood. A total ban would open the way to fresh, untested chemicals. Ben stressed that the effectiveness of glyphosate in limited, extreme cases in protecting against invasive bio-destruction of habitat made clear that more stringent training and controls in its use are what is required.
Standards & competences of DEFRA / Sewage Treatment standards 30 years old were explained & debated in view of references to the Minworth Sewage Plant made in the BBC Radio 4 “File on Four” about on-going health risks of sewage sludge use on agricultural land. https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000dy6g

Events: Sunday 24th May: EcoSutton will have a stall at New Hall Mill, Off Wylde Green Rd, Sutton Coldfield B76 1QU

Public Meetings: Further Information:
27th February hosted by the U3A at SC United Reformed Church B73 6AA and addressed by W.Mids Mayor, Andy Street. Daytime. https://u3asites.org.uk/sutton-coldfield/contact

28th February 7-0 pm at SC Baptist Church B72 1TA, Andrew Mitchell MP speaking on government and the climate. Questions handed in before the event can be put to him. [ A list of questions drafted by Green Candidate Ben Auton is attached below].

Town Council: David had provided notes on SC Town Council meetings. Notable were the reactions to the imposition of the 10 to 19 metre high masts. The matter of the £500,000 budgeted for the centre development planning & the town council’s involvement of the whole of the garden area surrounding the Parish Church, some of which does require serious renovation, was discussed. The exercise is thought to show the council’s competence as a stepping stone towards being granted further responsibilities.
The implications of the Bham CC’s granting the interim PFI contract to Tarmac (formerly held by Amey) rather than undertaking such work “in house” are that SCTC’s intention to appoint ‘Wardens’ to carry out certain local remedial work would breach the PFI contract terms. ‘Wardens’ would only be able to report work needed as is at present done in Erdington regarding police & council matters. They would provide a “visible presence”.
There is great concern about world emissions but pleasing news that levelling-off is being achieved due to increased production of energy from renewable sources.
56% of power during the year was for the first time produced by wind.

Green Group Media & Communication matters were again raised.
It was agreed that green businesses contacts should be liaised with more systematically.

Projects notices: EcoSutton was not awarded its Lottery funding for setting up its Energy Poverty project. However, the Witton Community project has commissioned EcoSutton to run three lectures on the issue for staff there.
It is encouraging that B’ham CC in Vesey ward is running one of its new Neighbourhood Schemes which connects social workers and volunteers concerned with the over-50 age group so as to increase the number of those able to continue independent living.

Letters & Press: In addition to formal submissions to consultations, Ben is to write to the Sutton Observer with a response to the transport plan.

Recycling & Composting: Bham CC is going to deal with food waste and composting, which in any case is mandatory. It is tragic that the infrastructure has been in place for two years but yet used. It will be done at the old Coleshill Sewage site through Severn Trent Water authority. The Minworth plant is already dealing with Sainsbury’s food waste.
Local household food waste segregation has increased awareness and proven in other areas to reduce family food waste. The subsequent shortfall at processing centres is made up by staged increase in fuel crops use to maintain gas production.

Tyseley Incinerator: Breaches of regulation continue to be made by B’ham CC because whilst mixed waste is permitted for incineration, segregated waste is not. B’ham is therefore in breach by dint of re-mixing segregated household waste.

UN Climate Change Conference – COP (Conference of the Parties) in UK:               Great concern was expressed about the integrity & transparency of the Boris Johnson regime in running this: whether fair & adequate pre-conference public briefing would be given in view of recent treatment of press reporters. -EcoSutton will seek a briefing with Andrew Mitchell.

AOB: That a Campaign be directed by Green Group members to publishers of magazines received by post to get all plastic wrapping replaced by bio-degradable starch based packaging.

Date of Next Meeting: 7-30 pm Wednesday 11th March 2020 at Hill Allotments Social Club, off Dugdale Crescent B75 5EY

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Questions from Ben Auton to be asked at the Public Meeting addressed by Andrew Mitchell 28th February 7-0 pm at SC Baptist Church B72 1TA

Will he join the Conservative Environment Network?
Will he be part of any of Environmental Select Committees this term?
Will the UK Gov’ follow the Scots Parliament in consulting on a circular economy bill?

Are the energy efficiency building standards he voted down going to be returned and would he support them being applied to the Langley Development?

Will a Food waste bill be put forward this year despite the Gov’ failing to do the consultation last year?
When will new digital recoding of waste movements come in to force?
Will a deposit return scheme be brought in for plastic bottles as expected last January?

Will the Gov’ ensure a consistency of recyclable materials collection for all domestic and business premises?
Why are Styrofoam products still being produced?
When will the planned waste exemptions reforms take place?

Will the UK reach its target of 50% recycling this year?
Are we still going ahead with changes to the Waste Framework Directive post-Brexit? – despite failing to do a planned consultation?
Are we still going ahead with changes to the Landfill Directive post-Brexit? – despite failing to do a planned consultation?
Are we still going ahead with changes to the Energy Efficiency Directive post-Brexit?

Why has the government not come up with a consistent Clean Air Strategy? Is it just a cynical political move to make city councils unpopular? Will the government increase funding to councils for this?
Does he support BCCs clean air strategy?
What is the Conservative strategy for raising the uptake and quality of public transport?
How should SC go about getting more cars off the road when the level of car ownership is the highest in UK?

Will the government introduce a Carbon Tax?
Will the UK set more ambitious targets than the Renewable Energy Directive post Brexit? (32% electric from renewables)

How will the Gov’ implement its tree planting targets?
What is he doing to reduce his carbon footprint?

Committee Meeting on 11th September

MINUTES

Apologies D. Ratcliff.

Forthcoming Election. We will be needing 6000 leaflets to cover houses in the Walmley and Minworth wards. Ben to compose content and to check on useful material available on the Green Party website (policy etc.).
Check with M. Okole on availability of free election material & free Royal Mail delivery.

Litter Pick on Sep. 15th. Meet in front of Minworth Primary School 12 noon. Bring your own litter grabbers. Linda to provide extra one for Peter if he is well enough to go.

ClimateProtest for Youth for 20th September in Vesey Gardens. See advert on the website (Local Events).

Birmingham City’s ‘Car Free Day’ planned for Sep 22 has been postponed.

Some discussion of the ‘People’s vote’.

Congratulations to Eco Sutton on its lively work and news of its award of £8,700 toward its projects which will include air quality mapping in conjunction with local schools. (See Eco Sutton Website)

Sutton town centre. Linda received response to correspondence she has had with the Council concerning the Active Travel Initiative. The reply to be published on our website.

Date of Next meeting planned for Oct 9. Peter C. to book room at Hill Allotments Social Club.

A O B
Amnesty International meeting – Forum on Human Rights Sept 27at the Catholic church, Lichfield Rd.
Eco Sutton to have a stall at Expo Sutton.
Ben . mentioned Sutton Coldfield Green Power to urge BCC to have a second anaerobic digester dedicated to dealing with future waste food collections. Such digesters already functioning well elsewhere.

 

 

Committee meeting Wednesday May 8 2019

MINUTES

Present: P Cooke, C Marriott, B Auton, D Ratcliff, S Lyne Apologies none

Matters arising:
Schools ‘Academisation’ 6 schools creating academy group Boldmere , Holland House, Minworth , New Oscott, Penner.
P Cooke has still not heard back from Mrs Walcott of Boldmere school & is having difficulty getting information.
On a national scale 6996 new academies were created in 2017 now reach a total of 146 667. This results from the flagship government policy with financial incentives – ultimately aimed at being available for commercial “buy-outs” in the future.
6000 are expected in the next two years.
We note that local council expenditures are “lost “ when schools moved to academy status.

Walmley & Minworth, Sutton Council by-election:
We continue to await a reply to our letter about an adjudication anomaly over postal votes. The delay is due to continuing electoral administration demands on staff. Several postal votes had been invalidated due to DOB/date of signing of form confusion. CM following up. A marked register has been requested.

UK Council elections May 2019
Green councillors were elected in Cannock & Solihull, which is of particular interest as SC members have previously been involved there.

European Elections
West Midlands candidates: Ellie Chowns, Paul Woodhead, Julian Dean, Kefentse Dennis, Helen Heathfield, Diana Toynbee & Louis Stephen. 7 seats available, voting by ranking, count by d’Hondt percentage system PR ( England, Scotland, Wales)
The Green Party has been looking for funding.No info’ on campaign yet.
It was agreed that it is too late for Sutton to take active part locally. It was felt difficult to raise this issue on the Nextdoor Internet forum. Tom Pratt has circularised us that a hustings for candidates will be held on Wed 15 May 7pm Priory Rooms, the Quaker Centre in B’ham.
Of current Green MEPs, M Scott Cato standing; Keith Taylor standing down.

Climate Extinction Rebellion
Andrew Mitchell’s “green conservative” stance in his “From the House” space in the SC Observer provoked dissent at the meeting. BA is to draft a rebuttal for consideration. [Subsequent to meeting, P C has had a prompt retort published in the Sutton Observer.]

Walmley Minworth litter pick
It is proposed to do a litter-pick using council equipment. Photos of the pick will be taken and what’s found with Green logo displayed. BA to check with Birmingham for kit. Sunday 19 May possible.

Sutton Park policy
It has not yet been possible to formulate a Sutton Greens policy but ECO Sutton have drawn up a confidential policy. SL to circulate. It was noted that Amey is involved in maintenance work in the Park. Discussion on which assets may be considered for transfer from city to Sutton remains unclear.

Dugdale Crescent
Current policy is to wait for Bham city proposals , anything else creates problems. A fund-raising Disco is to be held. Friends group have wildflower seeds: seeding not yet carried out.  Brief discussion on idea of a children’s play area on the green  .Different views on necessity to “use” green space.

New Green Party membership
Agreed to draw up list of research projects that might attract students to get involved. A litter-pick with a banner at rush-hours was mooted. Streetly

Methodist Open Day Sept 2019
SL is to confirm the date. ECO Sutton is having a stand. Sutton Greens could consider the option.
Youth & Community Centre at Reddicap Heath continues to wallow in need of refurbishment. Sutton Council could assist though it is uncertain
if it is in B’ham City ownership. The question could be asked at council meeting.

Langley housing development
Revised proposals have been offered for consultation at the following venues: Harvest Fields Wed’ 15 may 2-7:30 and Th. 16 May 4-8:30 Falcon Lodge 21 May 5:20-7:00; Walmley Club 23 May 5:30 -7:30.
ECO Sutton is pushing for solar panels, district heat using Minworth sewage plant gas.
Other discussion on suggestion for new developments proposed in the People’s Manifesto for Wildlife by Chris Packham – bird boxes, ponds & green spaces.

Links
Amnesty International have adopted a strategy of support for environment as well as environmentalists & human rights defenders – likely to be constrained by major budget problems. Climate Change: ECO Sutton have produce an edited version of a paper for individual action. SL is to circulate this when ready.
Recycling
DR had visited a Danish recycling area ( at Vejle ). There were 28 categories of material for collection also a compost self-collection point ( material from composted green waste). Polystyrene foam is collected (noted that it will not be in use from 2020 on).
Wales is  ahead of England in recycling rates, motivated by lack of ground fill sites.
Roughly & Trinity wards meeting Town Hall Thur 9 May 2019: No member from the wards was present to assent to attend.

ECO Sutton activity
Newhall Mill Open Day Sunday 12 May. Social media: Twitter account now active. Their Facebook has had password problems, the account to be deleted & replaced. New site: Ecosutton 2 Campaigns
Langley & Peddimore, pushing idea of a ‘garden city’
Sutton Town centre, in consultation (Tony and J Heywood) • Red Rose Centre ( Sutton library ) subject of planning for redevelopment. Questions of eventual ownership & profit. • Eco Sutton is meeting with A Mitchell about Sutton Planning.
Water station in pubs ( noted that there exists a statutory duty for pubs to provide water). EcoSutton is to pursue the “Refill” scheme.
Community interest company (CIC).   Formed to help with fuel poverty issues for Witton, Castle Vale,
Solihull and Sutton.
Air Pollution: Applying for £10K grant to get portable monitor kit.  Noted that we have been unable to get background figures from
crematorium pollution monitoring site.
Vulnerable persons register:
Heat and Electricity ,ECO Sutton is drawing up a register to enable utility companies to assist when there are extended power/gas cuts.

Cooperative campaigns with others
Noted that FOE & Greenpeace groups are not interested in cooperative campaigns.
5G Hazards
Discussion on increased health hazards associated with increased power microwave for 5G & lack of independent safety evaluation to date. SL/CM to check info’ available. More large tower aerials have been seen. [Subsequently  explained in SC Observer tat these towers are not for 5G]
A film about the issue did feature David Icke – to the consternation of some.]
Birmingham Bio-region group some time ago were in contact with CM. He will pass contact info’ to Oxford Bio-region Group.

Correspondence
BA /DR to A Mitchell: He has said he now favours a no-agreement drop-out of EU for UK. And that a second vote may cause civil unrest.
PC has sent a strongly-worded letter to Andrew Mitchell opposing the UK government policy of private for-profit education being foisted on developing countries.

AOB
The EU is to direct a quarter of its expenditure to environment.
Meeting closed at 10pm
Date of Next Meeting: Wednesday 19 June 2019, 7-30 pm at the Hill Allotments Social Club off Dugdale Crescent B75

Contact: via the Website:
http://suttoncoldfieldgreens.uk/ by selecting on the Homepage [Get in touch]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Present: David Ratcliff, Ben Auton, Steve Lyne, Roger Low, Colin Marriott Apologies: Peter Cooke, Linda Hudson

Developments:
Langley  housing:   Steve reported that rate of construction and numbers of new homes are being reduced. Another building company is being taken on and that ecological components planned are to be reduced.
Dugdale Crescent: Judy Lewin informs that village green status has been granted. The longer term implications of protection of the site & its community standing were pointed out.

B’ham Green Party Matters: The SC group participated in B’ham Green Party’s rolling newsletter deliveries to other area households and will continue to do so. Sutton members will also do the Litter Pick Sunday 16 February, 11-00 am Rendezvous @ Junction of Long Croft Close & Tangmere Drive B35 7QS

DIARY note: SC members will also be at the am & pm sessions of the Action Day Saturday 22nd February meeting up at the Tyburn House, Kingsbury Rd, Castle Vale, Birmingham B35 6AA

Consultations, policies & participations:
The meeting was made aware of a number of consultation deadlines concerning development, ecology and transport at town, city and W.Midlands levels and for which local groups and members are preparing submissions.
SC Town centre: EcoSutton will be talking to the planners on 13th February.
In the week of 21st February EcoSutton will take the opportunity to prompt SC Town Cllr Clare Horrocks to proceed with the climate emergency plans.
At the end of March there will be a Birmingham City Council Consultation regarding transport. It is said that under W. Midlands auspices the Sutton Park line will operate passenger services using standard gauge battery-powered trams with small stations.
The W.Mids Climate Proposals Consultation towards end of March was discussed & tied up with the Bham CC clean air initiative. The SC Green Group is drawing up policy based on information from the Bham Green Party & other sources.
Roger pointed out that the ‘zero’ used at national level referred to zero greenhouse gas levels including CO2.
EcoSutton air quality testing in the town is providing results above ‘safe’ levels. Specific particulate figures from a.m. & pm readings taken by a Sutton Girls’ School pupil over three months are indisputably excessive. Clare Horrocks has accepted EcoSutton’s recommendations though EcoSutton needs £3,000 to be able to monitor nitrous oxide levels.

Sutton Park: It is thought that on pragmatic grounds the role of SC town council will not change for some ten years. As with all such ‘civic’ open space, leisure facilities, the lack of a mandatory obligation on local authorities in the UK to provide and maintain such services has led to severe de facto cuts through lack of staff replacement citywide. If anything, Sutton Park’s status and the SSSIs in it give it a certain protection – though links between these could be threatened by proposals for revenue-earning activities.
Financial figures quoted were: £160,000 p.a. in costs; £500,000 being produced largely from rents.

5G microwave mobile communications system: Health concerns continue to be ignored by the industry and government not least through a lack of of independent research globally & the legislation overriding any objections even to the siting of masts. Very wisely, Sutton Coldfield Town Council has lodged objections to the piloting of 5G in the town.
In this, they are in line with the official stance of the Swiss government which has halted the rollout of 5G over health concerns: https://www.ft.com/content/848c5b44-4d7a-11ea-95a0-43d18ec715f5

Chemical use in the environment: The prime concern expressed was that of effective but safe alternatives to glyphosate. Though over-used & toxic, it remains well studied & understood. A total ban would open the way to fresh, untested chemicals. Ben stressed that the effectiveness of glyphosate in limited, extreme cases in protecting against invasive bio-destruction of habitat made clear that more stringent training and controls in its use are what is required.
Standards & competences of DEFRA / Sewage Treatment standards 30 years old were explained & debated in view of references to the Minworth Sewage Plant made in the BBC Radio 4 “File on Four” about on-going health risks of sewage sludge use on agricultural land. https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000dy6g

Events: Sunday 24th May: EcoSutton will have a stall at New Hall Mill, Off Wylde Green Rd, Sutton Coldfield B76 1QU

Public Meetings: Further Information:
27th February hosted by the U3A at SC United Reformed Church B73 6AA and addressed by W.Mids Mayor, Andy Street. Daytime. https://u3asites.org.uk/sutton-coldfield/contact

28th February 7-0 pm at SC Baptist Church B72 1TA, Andrew Mitchell MP speaking on government and the climate. Questions handed in before the event can be put to him. [ A list of questions drafted by Green Candidate Ben Auton is attached below].

Town Council: David had provided notes on SC Town Council meetings. Notable were the reactions to the imposition of the 10 to 19 metre high masts. The matter of the £500,000 budgeted for the centre development planning & the town council’s involvement of the whole of the garden area surrounding the Parish Church, some of which does require serious renovation, was discussed. The exercise is thought to show the council’s competence as a stepping stone towards being granted further responsibilities.
The implications of the Bham CC’s granting the interim PFI contract to Tarmac (formerly held by Amey) rather than undertaking such work “in house” are that SCTC’s intention to appoint ‘Wardens’ to carry out certain local remedial work would breach the PFI contract terms. ‘Wardens’ would only be able to report work needed as is at present done in Erdington regarding police & council matters. They would provide a “visible presence”.
There is great concern about world emissions but pleasing news that levelling-off is being achieved due to increased production of energy from renewable sources.
56% of power during the year was for the first time produced by wind.

Green Group Media & Communication matters were again raised.
It was agreed that green businesses contacts should be liaised with more systematically.

Projects notices: EcoSutton was not awarded its Lottery funding for setting up its Energy Poverty project. However, the Witton Community project has commissioned EcoSutton to run three lectures on the issue for staff there.
It is encouraging that B’ham CC in Vesey ward is running one of its new Neighbourhood Schemes which connects social workers and volunteers concerned with the over-50 age group so as to increase the number of those able to continue independent living.

Letters & Press: In addition to formal submissions to consultations, Ben is to write to the Sutton Observer with a response to the transport plan.

Recycling & Composting: Bham CC is going to deal with food waste and composting, which in any case is mandatory. It is tragic that the infrastructure has been in place for two years but yet used. It will be done at the old Coleshill Sewage site through Severn Trent Water authority. The Minworth plant is already dealing with Sainsbury’s food waste.
Local household food waste segregation has increased awareness and proven in other areas to reduce family food waste. The subsequent shortfall at processing centres is made up by staged increase in fuel crops use to maintain gas production.

Tyseley Incinerator: Breaches of regulation continue to be made by B’ham CC because whilst mixed waste is permitted for incineration, segregated waste is not. B’ham is therefore in breach by dint of re-mixing segregated household waste.

UN Climate Change Conference – COP (Conference of the Parties) in UK:               Great concern was expressed about the integrity & transparency of the Boris Johnson regime in running this: whether fair & adequate pre-conference public briefing would be given in view of recent treatment of press reporters. -EcoSutton will seek a briefing with Andrew Mitchell.

AOB: That a Campaign be directed by Green Group members to publishers of magazines received by post to get all plastic wrapping replaced by bio-degradable starch based packaging.

Date of Next Meeting: 7-30 pm Wednesday 11th March 2020 at Hill Allotments Social Club, off Dugdale Crescent B75 5EY

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Questions from Ben Auton to be asked at the Public Meeting addressed by Andrew Mitchell 28th February 7-0 pm at SC Baptist Church B72 1TA

Will he join the Conservative Environment Network?
Will he be part of any of Environmental Select Committees this term?
Will the UK Gov’ follow the Scots Parliament in consulting on a circular economy bill?

Are the energy efficiency building standards he voted down going to be returned and would he support them being applied to the Langley Development?

Will a Food waste bill be put forward this year despite the Gov’ failing to do the consultation last year?
When will new digital recoding of waste movements come in to force?
Will a deposit return scheme be brought in for plastic bottles as expected last January?

Will the Gov’ ensure a consistency of recyclable materials collection for all domestic and business premises?
Why are Styrofoam products still being produced?
When will the planned waste exemptions reforms take place?

Will the UK reach its target of 50% recycling this year?
Are we still going ahead with changes to the Waste Framework Directive post-Brexit? – despite failing to do a planned consultation?
Are we still going ahead with changes to the Landfill Directive post-Brexit? – despite failing to do a planned consultation?
Are we still going ahead with changes to the Energy Efficiency Directive post-Brexit?

Why has the government not come up with a consistent Clean Air Strategy? Is it just a cynical political move to make city councils unpopular? Will the government increase funding to councils for this?
Does he support BCCs clean air strategy?
What is the Conservative strategy for raising the uptake and quality of public transport?
How should SC go about getting more cars off the road when the level of car ownership is the highest in UK?

Will the government introduce a Carbon Tax?
Will the UK set more ambitious targets than the Renewable Energy Directive post Brexit? (32% electric from renewables)

How will the Gov’ implement its tree planting targets?
What is he doing to reduce his carbon footprint?

 

Committee Meeting on 11th September

MINUTES

Apologies D. Ratcliff.

Forthcoming Election. We will be needing 6000 leaflets to cover houses in the Walmley and Minworth wards. Ben to compose content and to check on useful material available on the Green Party website (policy etc.).
Check with M. Okole on availability of free election material & free Royal Mail delivery.

Litter Pick on Sep. 15th. Meet in front of Minworth Primary School 12 noon. Bring your own litter grabbers. Linda to provide extra one for Peter if he is well enough to go.

ClimateProtest for Youth for 20th September in Vesey Gardens. See advert on the website (Local Events).

Birmingham City’s ‘Car Free Day’ planned for Sep 22 has been postponed.

Some discussion of the ‘People’s vote’.

Congratulations to Eco Sutton on its lively work and news of its award of £8,700 toward its projects which will include air quality mapping in conjunction with local schools. (See Eco Sutton Website)

Sutton town centre. Linda received response to correspondence she has had with the Council concerning the Active Travel Initiative. The reply to be published on our website.

Date of Next meeting planned for Oct 9. Peter C. to book room at Hill Allotments Social Club.

A O B
Amnesty International meeting – Forum on Human Rights Sept 27at the Catholic church, Lichfield Rd.
Eco Sutton to have a stall at Expo Sutton.
Ben . mentioned Sutton Coldfield Green Power to urge BCC to have a second anaerobic digester dedicated to dealing with future waste food collections. Such digesters already functioning well elsewhere.

 

 

Committee meeting Wednesday May 8 2019

MINUTES

Present: P Cooke, C Marriott, B Auton, D Ratcliff, S Lyne Apologies none

Matters arising:
Schools ‘Academisation’ 6 schools creating academy group Boldmere , Holland House, Minworth , New Oscott, Penner.
P Cooke has still not heard back from Mrs Walcott of Boldmere school & is having difficulty getting information.
On a national scale 6996 new academies were created in 2017 now reach a total of 146 667. This results from the flagship government policy with financial incentives – ultimately aimed at being available for commercial “buy-outs” in the future.
6000 are expected in the next two years.
We note that local council expenditures are “lost “ when schools moved to academy status.

Walmley & Minworth, Sutton Council by-election:
We continue to await a reply to our letter about an adjudication anomaly over postal votes. The delay is due to continuing electoral administration demands on staff. Several postal votes had been invalidated due to DOB/date of signing of form confusion. CM following up. A marked register has been requested.

UK Council elections May 2019
Green councillors were elected in Cannock & Solihull, which is of particular interest as SC members have previously been involved there.

European Elections
West Midlands candidates: Ellie Chowns, Paul Woodhead, Julian Dean, Kefentse Dennis, Helen Heathfield, Diana Toynbee & Louis Stephen. 7 seats available, voting by ranking, count by d’Hondt percentage system PR ( England, Scotland, Wales)
The Green Party has been looking for funding.No info’ on campaign yet.
It was agreed that it is too late for Sutton to take active part locally. It was felt difficult to raise this issue on the Nextdoor Internet forum. Tom Pratt has circularised us that a hustings for candidates will be held on Wed 15 May 7pm Priory Rooms, the Quaker Centre in B’ham.
Of current Green MEPs, M Scott Cato standing; Keith Taylor standing down.

Climate Extinction Rebellion
Andrew Mitchell’s “green conservative” stance in his “From the House” space in the SC Observer provoked dissent at the meeting. BA is to draft a rebuttal for consideration. [Subsequent to meeting, P C has had a prompt retort published in the Sutton Observer.]

Walmley Minworth litter pick
It is proposed to do a litter-pick using council equipment. Photos of the pick will be taken and what’s found with Green logo displayed. BA to check with Birmingham for kit. Sunday 19 May possible.

Sutton Park policy
It has not yet been possible to formulate a Sutton Greens policy but ECO Sutton have drawn up a confidential policy. SL to circulate. It was noted that Amey is involved in maintenance work in the Park. Discussion on which assets may be considered for transfer from city to Sutton remains unclear.

Dugdale Crescent
Current policy is to wait for Bham city proposals , anything else creates problems. A fund-raising Disco is to be held. Friends group have wildflower seeds: seeding not yet carried out.  Brief discussion on idea of a children’s play area on the green  .Different views on necessity to “use” green space.

New Green Party membership
Agreed to draw up list of research projects that might attract students to get involved. A litter-pick with a banner at rush-hours was mooted. Streetly

Methodist Open Day Sept 2019
SL is to confirm the date. ECO Sutton is having a stand. Sutton Greens could consider the option.
Youth & Community Centre at Reddicap Heath continues to wallow in need of refurbishment. Sutton Council could assist though it is uncertain
if it is in B’ham City ownership. The question could be asked at council meeting.

Langley housing development
Revised proposals have been offered for consultation at the following venues: Harvest Fields Wed’ 15 may 2-7:30 and Th. 16 May 4-8:30 Falcon Lodge 21 May 5:20-7:00; Walmley Club 23 May 5:30 -7:30.
ECO Sutton is pushing for solar panels, district heat using Minworth sewage plant gas.
Other discussion on suggestion for new developments proposed in the People’s Manifesto for Wildlife by Chris Packham – bird boxes, ponds & green spaces.

Links
Amnesty International have adopted a strategy of support for environment as well as environmentalists & human rights defenders – likely to be constrained by major budget problems. Climate Change: ECO Sutton have produce an edited version of a paper for individual action. SL is to circulate this when ready.
Recycling
DR had visited a Danish recycling area ( at Vejle ). There were 28 categories of material for collection also a compost self-collection point ( material from composted green waste). Polystyrene foam is collected (noted that it will not be in use from 2020 on).
Wales is  ahead of England in recycling rates, motivated by lack of ground fill sites.
Roughly & Trinity wards meeting Town Hall Thur 9 May 2019: No member from the wards was present to assent to attend.

ECO Sutton activity
Newhall Mill Open Day Sunday 12 May. Social media: Twitter account now active. Their Facebook has had password problems, the account to be deleted & replaced. New site: Ecosutton 2 Campaigns
Langley & Peddimore, pushing idea of a ‘garden city’
Sutton Town centre, in consultation (Tony and J Heywood) • Red Rose Centre ( Sutton library ) subject of planning for redevelopment. Questions of eventual ownership & profit. • Eco Sutton is meeting with A Mitchell about Sutton Planning.
Water station in pubs ( noted that there exists a statutory duty for pubs to provide water). EcoSutton is to pursue the “Refill” scheme.
Community interest company (CIC).   Formed to help with fuel poverty issues for Witton, Castle Vale,
Solihull and Sutton.
Air Pollution: Applying for £10K grant to get portable monitor kit.  Noted that we have been unable to get background figures from
crematorium pollution monitoring site.
Vulnerable persons register:
Heat and Electricity ,ECO Sutton is drawing up a register to enable utility companies to assist when there are extended power/gas cuts.

Cooperative campaigns with others
Noted that FOE & Greenpeace groups are not interested in cooperative campaigns.
5G Hazards
Discussion on increased health hazards associated with increased power microwave for 5G & lack of independent safety evaluation to date. SL/CM to check info’ available. More large tower aerials have been seen. [Subsequently  explained in SC Observer tat these towers are not for 5G]
A film about the issue did feature David Icke – to the consternation of some.]
Birmingham Bio-region group some time ago were in contact with CM. He will pass contact info’ to Oxford Bio-region Group.

Correspondence
BA /DR to A Mitchell: He has said he now favours a no-agreement drop-out of EU for UK. And that a second vote may cause civil unrest.
PC has sent a strongly-worded letter to Andrew Mitchell opposing the UK government policy of private for-profit education being foisted on developing countries.

AOB
The EU is to direct a quarter of its expenditure to environment.
Meeting closed at 10pm
Date of Next Meeting: Wednesday 19 June 2019, 7-30 pm at the Hill Allotments Social Club off Dugdale Crescent B75

Contact: via the Website:
http://suttoncoldfieldgreens.uk/ by selecting on the Homepage [Get in touch]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Newsletter for November 2019.

The time is fast coming when we all need to know just how many beans make five!
At a meeting on Monday 4th, calculated decisions resulted in things starting to add up. Financial pledges and personal donations to Ben Auton’s campaign have come in – and we certainly hope for more! Supporters too have been coming forward to offer to do some foot-slogging – if you haven’t yet, fine, there’s time! The reclaimed wood leaflet pushers merely await a coat of linseed cricketing oil to be ready to save your fingers from every vicious letterbox and guard dog.

DIARY ACTION DATES:

The big massed leaflet blitz of Warmley & Minworth, Sunday 24th November. Contact Ben himself via [email protected]

Leafleteers & canvassers will meet up at 10-00a.m. At 15, The Moor,
Walmley, Sutton Coldfield B76 1SQ (Alternative individual leafleting times)
Sunday is usually a good moment for voters be around & feel sufficiently leisurely to engage informally without a knock on the door and a wait

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Next Meeting of the Sutton Coldfield Green Group: Wednesday 4th December
29 Shepherds Pool Rd, Sutton Coldfield B74 6NB at 7-30 pm.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Notification of Hustings to be held at the Town Hall, Sutton Coldfield.  6th or 9th December (date to be finalised).

[ News of the COMPETITION further down plus Swaps, Wants & Freebies.]

Contact the Newsletter Team on [email protected] ]

Other events also listed further below –>

This election is extremely critical. We are not the only ones to be aware of that! The “OpenDemocracy” organisation has just revealed how Russian donors have been pouring millions into the Conservative Party war-chest, only days after Boris Johnson was accused of ‘covering up’ a report on Russian interference in British politics.

“Open Democracy” has also spoken of plans by a Hindu nationalist group to target 48 Labour-Tory marginals. World tensions appear more domestic.

We would still appreciate local comments & information about the “dormant” Reddicap community centre and youth community facilities elsewhere.

What is “domestic” could be said to be what gets into our homes. One correspondent points out that Wiki-media’s Foundation donation requests have got into his Inbox. He comments, “I used to donate to WikiLeaks, but since I found out that Jimmy Wales is an anti-socialist libertarian who allows anti-left editors to doctor pages to put subjects in a bad light, I had to refrain. Many commentators think it has been co-opted as a propaganda tool.”

The Green Party, by contrast, provides information transparently and campaigns for the common good. For those who have no election poster to stick in their window or elsewhere, we append in the Appendices two forms for printing as A4 size. Printer ink is costly – hence the posters’ minimalist black & white form.

A big plank in the Green Party Manifesto & our Ben Auton’s Election Leaflet is as he says in his own words, “We want to see social justice for working people. We have seen this “austerity” policy cut millions from our public services whilst corporations get tax breaks and can exploit tax loopholes. We want to have a radical economy that invests in people and the planet.”

And it is not merely the legal injustice of unfair taxation which outrages Green campaigners but also levels of fraud such as have been announced by the Centre for Health and the Public Interest (CHPI) regarding bleeding off hundreds of £-millions into tax havens by many care home firms that provide most of the near half-million beds, many of which are owned by or linked to hedge funds – of the type of organisation backing Brexit to be freer of regulation & investigation over tax haven use.

A sure reason for suspicion being that whereas large not-for-profit care providers spend appprox 2% of income on rent, nearly half of the largest for-profit providers spend 15 to 32% of income on rent instead of on frontline care – “Hey didle-diddle, the cat and the financial adjustment!” to the benefit of interlinked companies – as reported in the “I” newspaper (8nov).

On the positive side, bulletins received from an increasing number of organisations primarily concerned with other more specific goals are announcing their commitment to fight climate change.

‘Humanists UK’ reported that Humanists International at its Reykjavik General Assemply passed their Declaration on the Climate Change Crisis.

Amnesty International, known for fighting individual cases of human rights abuses, then the rights of groups to their habitat, has now also taken on the the Climate Change battle and has been strongly committed with issues concerning the Amazon.

The international group, Re-evaluation Counseling, has brought into being measures for supporting members in face of the threats of climate change.

And certainly related to the issue, it is a step forward that Janus Henderson investors, included an article in its summer bulletin on the social dangers and injustices inherent in the shift to electric power. [COBALT: SAYING ‘NO’ TO CHILD LABOUR ]

BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire Show Wednesday evening, November 20th.  A live special featuring a Green Party leader – Wanna be in the audience?? See below!

Really appreciate your help. Here is the info:-
I’m a producer on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire Show and we’re coming to the Midlands next Wednesday evening, November 20th, for a live special on the upcoming election. This will be a debate featuring a Green Party leader and it will air live on BBC1 at 7:30pm. We are looking for people who would like to come along to the recording as audience members on the night, to potentially also ask a question. They don’t necessarily need to be supporters of any particular party or viewpoint – we are looking for a varied audience. Anyone interested in learning more can contact Ceri on 07746929195 or email [email protected]

Thank you again,  Ceri Isfryn

– And from NIMI, news of local action in a national tree planting event.
“TREE  PLANTING  EVENT on 30th NOVEMBER  at Brookus Farm, Walmley, Sutton Coldfield  B76 (See Link for map below).
The event is being done via my rôle on the Students For Trees council run by NUS (National Union of Students).
We have teamed up with the Woodlands Trust for National Tree Charter Day (on the 30th), who are giving people free trees across the country so they can run their own events – hence me running one for Sutton Coldfield area.
There are 100 trees supplied by the Woodlands Trust that need to be planted so please email us if you would be interested in coming or for further details:  [email protected]
The Event is on Brookhus Farm, by The Haybarn off Brookhus Farm Road- it’s essentially a large field that I’ve located through the help of the Sutton Park Rangers.
Thanks so much- that’d be awesome if you could spread the word!! – Nimi”.
https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&ei=OuDOXZf5Cti11fAP4LOjKA&q=BROOKUS+FARM%2C+WALMLEY%2C+Sutton+Coldfield&oq=BROOKUS+FARM%2C+WALMLEY%2C+Sutton+Coldfield&gs_l=psy-ab.12…56117.81596..84911…0.0..0.231.2641.28j0j1……0….1..gws-wiz…….33i21.n1OISdcMB0k&ved=0ahUKEwiX_r7n3uzlAhXYWhUIHeDZCAUQ4dUDCAo

ANNOUNCEMENT:

Limerick Competition in the SC Greens’ Newsletter for Nov 2019
The Green Limerick Competition publicised by Mrs Trellis of North Wales and being piloted here in Sutton Coldfield has had its gun jumped by Cool Molly.  Faced with her entry, the adjudicators feel a distinct reluctance as it begins,
“There was a PM thick-skinned and numb  .  .  .”

However, submissions with other rhymes will be welcomed.
Permitted themes: Politics; Environmental issues; Propagation & cultivation.
The Prize is half a dozen, organic, naturalised, local Jerusalem Artichoke tubers. The prize is real and is being kept in the dark in a fine tilth of Suttonian compost and boulder clay until the adjudicators publish their decision on the 14th of December.  Entries are open to all members & supporters.

  • A second Limerick entry has also already been received.

– 5G news: Mobile systems
A Russian ‘Istochnik’ item on the web stated that Japanese Minister of High Technologies, Nobunari Kabato, had said that Japan was not setting up any 5G system because of harmful effects on public health. Sad! FAKE NEWS.

However, another source does estimate that only 18% of mobile users across world will have access to 5G in next 5 years.

John Kitson, www.5gawareness.com, based in the SW of England has been touring communities explaining the established risks known about the frequencies and levels of microwave radiation that would be used by 5G.
In the USA, proponents of 5g were unable to provide a Senate hearing with any independent research sources on 5G transmissions.
Future biopsies of Suttonian citizen Guinea Pigs should provide eventual definitive answers once 5G is spearheaded to the town.

Radiation pollution – See also Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4b2XOi5TKc&fbclid=IwAR1KPOhHrO7gH_PVirN2ZC-SpEwi_CcwkN1GYtXJUNOwbMDtV0IhIhghhEk

Plastic.. Sutton may be fairly low-risk vis-à-vis frackerama but it really ought to keep its powder dry – it is a “moratorium” only that has been declared. As the Newsletter Team sees it, though the moratorium purports to be a rational response to a recent Oil & Gas Authority report, this is more pre-election pandering to county & small town Tory voters’ techno-hostility. Three days later, it became clear it was no “ban”. This Boris! So why the shock headlines, “Boris backtracks!” The Machiavellian truth was proven surely by government approval – despite opposition – for the new deep coalmine. Where? West Cumbria where it will have an encouraging Tory electoral effect on whom? On at least the 500 to be employed there of the latest demographic species to evolve, ‘Whitehaven Man’. – This is no ‘green’ govt’!

Plastic.    While journalistically in the NW of the UK, it is appropriate to cite the follow-up by two geologically orientated Green Group members to Ben Auton’s report on the progressive erosional release of dumped plastic and other waste into the sea off the lovely Walney Island protecting Barrow-in-Furness. See their field evidence below.

The laboratory evidence produced by Nienke Vrisekop’s team at Utrecht University has found that when microplastic particles like those ending up in the body come into contact with immune cells, the cells die at three times the rate of those which have not. Scary implications!

Going ‘global’ however, alters the perspective! Whilst China frantically seeks to clean its rivers, pending the implementation of a development ban on a third of its shores, it continues to move polluting industries to the coast with a consequent 27% rise in marine dumping to 200 million cubic metres of waste. Using China as our workshop, we must take a per capita share of blame.

Air Quality & Life Expectancy:
EcoSutton, the Green Group, Friends of the Earth – indeed others long past who brought in the Clean Air Act & who stopped leaded petrol – have been emphasising the potential harm leading to a possible tens of thousands of deaths.

We have seen the smog of the Chinese industrial conurbations – and now in Delhi, so severe that the state closed schools & advised staying at home.

Why are Sutton Greens so concerned about air quality?
Well, for a start we are right where the south-westerlies blow directly from the Birmingham conglomeration which is still not wholly post-industrial.
Forthcoming air-quality readings by EcoSutton will highlight to the Council the need for the purifying presence of twice as many trees.
EcoSutton is to facilitate air monitoring by each school, starting with those in Warmley & Minworth. Linda Hudson already has long-standing links with the Shrubbery School and will initiate the process.
Summary of Birmingham’s score on their climate-friendly test provided to us by Friends of the Earth: Birmingham:  60%
The Birmingham area’s performance on climate change is poor compared to other local authority areas.
Score breakdown:
Trees:  6% of Birmingham is woodland.
The highest proportion in similar areas is 13%.
Transport: 35% of commuter journeys are made by public transport, cycling & walking.
B’ham should aim for 80% by 2030.
Housing:  29% of Birmingham homes are well insulated.
Waste:  21% of household waste is reused, recycled, or composted.
Birmingham should aim for 70% by 2025 on the path to zero waste.
Renewable energy:  Birmingham has only 39 megawatts of renewable energy available.
Electricity can’t come from dirty fuels like coal, oil and gas anymore.

See fuller test score comments in APPENDICES below : ………………….

HABITAT, CONSERVATION & CULTIVATION:
BONFIRE NIGHT: Even a once-a-year garden fire must be deemed bad for the environment – like all these harms, its damage per capita is sleight but it is the mass of population which tells. Even so, the Team is glad its Bonfire wildlife-safeguarding steps were again timely publicised. The usual sample fire-pit, when cleared for fauna rescue in preparation this year yielded one fat toad, 80% fewer frogs but those there were, four to five times the size of the average found in 2018. Woodlice were the majority of invertebrates. Very few slugs but varied. No snails. Hedgehogs nil.

A separate observation: Snail migratory adaptation technique: 8mm diameter snails numbering six travelled on car bodywork from Four Oaks to Quinney Hall. [Photographic evidence held by chauffeur] See APPENDICES.

Bat Crisis: Certainly according to reports from Kent, this Autumn has seen greater losses of bats from starvation – insect populations have plummeted.

If rescuing a bat, wear gloves to protect your skin from scratches.

Contact the Bat Helpline : 0345 1300 228 (bats.org.uk) [The ‘I’ newspaper]

Targeting Habitat for conservation To preserve diversity, seek unusual terrain rather than animal & plant variations reckons US Nature Conservancy’s Mark Anderson & colleagues having established that 90% of temperate species diversity can be explained by four landscape features: number of rock types; latitude; elevation range; amount of chalk/lime bedrock. [ New Scientist sept ] So – Get walking! not just in Sutton Park but the red sandstone high points in town.

Permaculture as a holistic cultivation approach has been devised by learning from and working with Nature – as a lifestyle it is ‘green’ too. Don’t “tidy” the garden to death – it might see off the pests but it will also see off the predators. Think of the bats. Shorter days, semi-hibernation & you’ll have time to find out more – Oregon State University’s Andrew Millison offers a FREE download of his book, “Intro to Permaculture” https://info.pace.oregonstate.edu/permaculture

For Info: The beans that figure on the front title page are from such a garden.

An October study publication stated that 41% of UK species have declined since the 1970s – climate & farming change. UK gardens, 24 million = the area of Suffolk, with some thought but little effort wildlife could be helped – and with Permaculture methods, even more. And make holes in fences!

We don’t know about their politics or working conditions & they are international . . .but the “I”’s Rhianon Williams reports that though the UK has a worse than average recycling record for electronic devices, it’s not the fault of GSUK off the Kingston Bypass in Surbiton.

GSUK – Technology Recovery and Re-use Experts – Re-use …https://gsuk.eu

The N’letter Team has been berated for omitting all submissions from

Cool Molly last month. She writes –

“An astronomer I went out with a few starry evenings in Digbeth told me Mars hasn’t got much of a magnetosphere as a protective sheath to speak of. It cops everything nasty coming its way – but not much good.

It gets very little solar power reaching it – but quite a lot of cosmic radiation.

It doesn’t seem to have enough gravity to hold on to its atmosphere – and what there is of it is unbreathable. Water? Well, not enough to make Coca Cola or Nestle’ bother to steal it there too. And forty degrees below zero may freeze peas for Birds Eye but it won’t grow any.

That doesn’t sound a very promising start for anyone making a shortlist of places to “terraform” – and there Are some who are doing that!

– So, next Party Conference, I propose a policy of NHS investment in psychiatric therapy and vocational rehabilitation for them through secondment to the Green Party in working to keep the best bet for “terraforming” already still a bit “terraformed” for future generations.

– Psychiatric prescription? Well, some very thin sheets of paper and a herbal remedy.”

SWAPS, WANTS & FREEBIES:

Wanted – Aluminium Scrap: by EcoSutton for fund-raising. [email protected]

Wanted – Surplus hand-tools: by the Green Group for the ‘Tools for Africa’ charity based in Kings Heath Park. [email protected]

Offers for swap or Free – Locally saved non-F1 veg & herb seeds (preferably with variety name) for Seed Swap early in the new year thru’ the SC Green Group & the ‘Body & Nutrition’ section of ‘Refresh, Mind, Body & Spirit’ via [email protected] [ A number already received & in store ]

Offer – Free. Large bread-delivery tray of 3½” plantpots (plastic!) via N’letter Team contact at [email protected]

Offer – Free: Echinopsis tubiflora cacti – original presents for your Christmas stocking! Also aloe variegata a harmless, trouble-free way of trapping carbon out of the air. Nolic via N’letter Team [email protected]

Finally, we have been prompted by an activist of ‘Compassion in Farming’, who herself has taken rescued battery farm hens under her wing, to stress the direct humanitarian effects of our food buying decisions – even those of us who are not vegetarian. We should remember that today, broiler chickens on an intensive farm will grow up to four times as fast as a chicken in the 1950s, and their lives have been shortened to as little as five weeks.

– This genetic game-playing is simply unethical, inhumane and wrong, she states.

Commonly confined in a barren shed, and bred to grow so large, so quickly, a factory farmed meat chickens can struggle simply to survive. Their own body weight means that their small legs may buckle under the surging weight of their frame.

The least you can do is buy ethically.

APPENDICES:

Birmingham’S score on Friends of the Earth’s climate-friendly test: Birmingham:  60%

The Birmingham area’s performance on climate change is poor compared to other local authority areas.

All local authorities, even the best performing, need to do much more if climate catastrophe is to be averted.

Birmingham particularly needs to do much better on increasing the use of public transport, cycling, and walking,

improving home insulation, and increasing waste recycling.

Score breakdown:

Trees:  6% of Birmingham is woodland.

The highest proportion in similar areas is 13%. Trees are great at removing carbon from the air around us.

Doubling tree cover across the country would help reduce emissions.

Transport: 35% of commuter journeys are made by public transport, cycling and walking.

Birmingham should aim for 80% by 2030. We need fewer vehicles on the roads – they increase air pollution and are harmful to our health.

Housing:  29% of Birmingham homes are well insulated.

Poorly insulated homes cost more to run, which is inefficient and contributes to fuel poverty. Birmingham needs to ensure all homes are properly insulated by 2030.

Waste:  21% of household waste is reused, recycled, or composted.

When waste isn’t reused, recycled or composted, it may end up burnt, (Tyseley incinerator!), in landfill or even in our waterways and seas.

Birmingham should aim for 70% by 2025 on the path to zero waste.

Renewable energy:  Birmingham has 39 megawatts of renewable energy available.

If the area matched the best of similar local council areas it would have 175 MW. We need 100% clean energy from the wind, sun and sea.

Electricity can’t come from dirty fuels like coal, oil and gas anymore.

Migratory snails:

*************************************************************

LINKS & E-ddresses: The Newsletter Team: [email protected]

Website: http://suttoncoldfieldgreens.uk/

Ben Auton, Green Candidate: [email protected]

[email protected]

Help writing letters:  http://wiki.openrightsgroup.org/wiki/Letter writing

https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/councillors/ward

MEP – Ellie Chowns for W. Mids  https://twitter.com/elliechownsmep

or visit http://www.greenherefordshire.org.uk/ellie4northherefordshire/  for her ‘contact’ form.

For Birmingham Greens Info’:   https://birmingham.greenparty.org.uk

David Ratcliff – SC Green Group contact: [email protected]

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Sutton-Coldfield-Greens-181257392319336/?epa=SEARCH_BOX

There will be an election! – and we know when.
The Sutton Coldfield Green Group has been moving ahead towards readiness for 12th December for some time.

Now is the moment for us local members and supporters to step forward with a clear statement of what we can do to help campaign for our candidate Ben Auton.
Door-to-door leafleting,
Information stalls,
Posters in windows,
Fund-raising, ideas.

Contact: [email protected]
Keep in touch via:  https://suttoncoldfieldgreens.uk/
& on Facebook Page – Sutton Coldfield Greens BBC

Panorama “The Climate: What can we do?”

in this programme the BBC showed how one could  cut the carbon footprint by one third whilst still living in a 21st century Britain not of their making by very humanely harnessing a human family as guinea pigs, . The key conclusion was that by individual lifestyle changes alone average citizens cannot achieve a zero carbon UK.
To achieve zero carbon we must use our collective political influence through campaigning and the ballot box to force governments to take de-carnbonising measures which will change the infrastructural, systemic fabric of the nation which alone can provide the remaining two thirds reduction needed in addition to the efforts of us as individuals.

That is why we call on Green Party members & supporters to become electoral activists.
“Climate: what can we do?”   https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0009drg
Those of us who grow food organically applying permaculture methods are further reducing their carbon footprint by reducing ‘food miles’ to mere ‘food feet’. They also provide safe habitat for urban wildlife, invertebrates & symbiotic fungi. https://www.permaculture.org.uk/

A TALE OF TWO CONSULTATIONS:

Consultation 1. – for a re-vamped Sutton Coldfield Centre distributed to nearly all Suttonians projected photographic legitimacy with the three figure heads of Andrew Mitchell, Andy Street and Simon Ward on view.

It masqueraded as “Official” but the back page was a Tory Party recruitment form! We failed to note the “attribution” of the circular!

How many other Suttonians did likewise?

The latest Tory escapade – tho’ clearly headed ADVERTISEMENT on the ‘wrap’ of the Sutton Observer that week – projected the notion of authentic newsprint. Well, Green Candidate Ben Auton didn’t like it one bit! – We looked in the following week’s Sutton Observer but no! They had not printed Ben’s letter. However, we shall – in the ‘Appendices’

Consultation 2 – the Sutton Coldfield Town Council’s Strategic Plan for the town:

Our busy Green Candidate, Ben Auton, fighting for the Climate Case to be fully integrated into the SC Strategic Plan, tells the Newsletter Team:-

“Below is an email in response to Tuesday’s council meeting where I raised the demands on the climate protests on Friday. I was met by the offer of doing “environmentally themed” workshops with children during summer schools and a vague-sounding public consultation based apparently on recommendations from EcoSutton.
I would like to put some policy proposals to a meeting I will be having with councillor Briggs next week and some points to bring up at the next highways and planning meeting where the workshop/consultation/idea will be further discusse

An email to.       <[email protected]>
Subject: environmentally themed workshops/consultations

Dear Cllr Horrocks,
I must state I was utterly horrified at Tuesday nights meeting by RSCTCs lack of policies on climate change. I had expected initiatives to already be in place and policies ready for future works. While I welcome your intentions for workshops and public involvements of an “environmentally themed” nature, but I fear this woolly language will not bring the council to a major policy initiative. I fear it will confuse minor actions like saving water while brushing your teeth with major initiatives like electrification of transport or running all council assets off renewable energy. While I cannot speak for them, I am sure when you met with Eco Sutton, they were calling for stronger action than what has been proposed. It pains me to see the council is a long way behind the public opinion on the seriousness of this matter.
My recommendations are as follows:
First, Do not use the term “environmentally themed”, it is too woolly and too broad, please narrow the focus to carbon reduction to act on climate change.
Secondly, Please set this up as a genuine consultation for constituents to put forward proposals and vote for council policies.
Thirdly Be prepared to fund these proposals and to work to make initiatives live within 4-6 months. Any longer will seriously undermine RSCTC’s credibility not accepting the severity and urgency of the climate change issue.
On a personal point. When you go to the local authorities conference might I respectfully suggest speaking with Aberystwyth Town Council, Sedgemoor District Council, or Norfolk County Council about the extensive work they are having to do to prepare for storm surges, long term floods and the need to abandon dwellings to rising sea levels (respectively). I feel they can highlight the seriousness of acting on climate change.

And one final point, I would like to draw attention to the need for safer cycling routes. In particular, connecting up extending ‘blue’ routes to and from the town centre. Personally I use the Newhall Valley route as it is a very pleasant thoroughfare but becomes treacherous cycling around the main routes in the town centre (the ring road, Birmingham Rd, Mill St, High St.) Furthermore, I think more can be done to highlight cycling down Hansons Bridge Rd to be done to connect up the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal route.
Best Wishes,  Ben Auton

=======================

The “Tory” questionnaire (ie Consultation One) about the future of the town centre has now yielded its statistics –
Though it has only been sent to addresses from which answers had been received. Despite any cynicism expressed by us Greens, we returned a good clutch of forms  – and seized every  opportunity to argue our case. Though the total opinions submitted ran to just over 10,000 we were gratified to see a number of our main recommendations emerge among the higher percentages logged: namely – our main shopping being local; our wish to see more independent shops; expanding rail services & opening the Sutton Park line. The highest percentage  of all was for more services handed over to the Town Council – at which point we turn to other matters. .

Regarding the Brexit process, The Green Party sets more store by a continued direct democratic right of the electorate to have the final say on the implementation of the 2016 vote and we have received a reply from MP Andrew Mitchell in which he concludes by saying, “I believe that the value of democracy lies not just in the number of times citizens vote but also in the effect of that vote.”

The Langley housing development: As has been stated in the minutes of the last SC Green Group meeting, EcoSutton has continued to press for the inclusion of the highest eco-standards in the housing but fears that the owner-developers are back-sliding on that. Their argument of “impracticality” on the limited scale of the development, however, is clearly refuted by the evidence of the award of the Sterling architectural prize to the Goldsmith Street development of 100 ‘ultra low-energy homes’ in Norwich. Consolation may ultimately come once the Grenfell Report is published bringing improved building regulations and provision for vehicle charging points made mandatory. Thus, the later batches of the 5,500 Langley houses to be constructed should be to an improved standard.

———————————————————

The Climate Protests are said to have cost the taxpayer £37million
(whose calculation?)
At the risk of alienating the commuters on the proverbial “Clapham omnibus” who were unable to get to work and who felt that they can do nothing about climate –  each could in fact cut her/his carbon footprint by one third: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-49997755– [demonstrated on BBC Panorama]
Our activists Steve and Linda took part in the rally in Birmingham – where they encouraged Roger of EcoSutton to make a very effective public address in support of  the Sutton Coldfield Trinity Protest and young Suttonians rallying there.  But Hell!  What’s a conscientious Greenie to do?

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

The Newsletter Team, following up on the agenda item of the boarded up Reddicap Community Centre, would like any Green residents of the ward to contact us with on-the-spot reactions and information.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Two items from the Dugdale Crescent Friends of the Green Newsletter:

We Greens have been supporting the residents in their bid to establish the Green’s status as a community amenity.  Our personal association with the Green is that the adjoining Hill Allotments are where some Green Group members and supporters grow their crops . Furthermore the Allotment Social Club is where we hold our meetings. We are therefore glad to pass on the news that residents have planted 300 successional bulbs on the Green and that Saturday 7th December will be CHRISTMAS ON THE GREEN – For information, call 07470 660533

Earlier in the month the “I” newspaper gave a ‘special’ on electric vehicles. This is of local relevance as the Royal Borough has the highest proportion of cars to people in the UK.  Ironically the  Headline was ‘WHY SHIFTING GEARS TOWARDS EC0-DRIVING IS MORE URGENT – BUT EASIER – THAN EVER!’ -and ‘UK’s EV CHARGING NETWORK IS ONE OF THE LARGEST IN THE WORLD.’

BUT – tucked away in a bottom corner “BOLIVIA – LITHIUM PLANT PROTESTS GROW” calling on the government to scrap plans to develop lithium reserves at the Uyuni salt flats. Students set off dynamite in Potosí demanding “No Deal” with a German firm wanting to build a battery & lithium hydroxide plant there. They know it is STILL the “being developed” world that pays the health & destruction price. .

Suttonians have been chosen as guinea pigs for piloting G5 mobile coverage .  EM Radiation Research Trust puts UK Government on notice regarding 5G amidst profound world-wide health concerns The EM Radiation Research Trust are the calling for an outright ban for risky untested 5G technology in response to the UK Government’s consultation calling for proposed reforms to the permitted development rights for the deployment of 5G to extend mobile coverage.  It is not appropriate to impose untested 5G radiation throughout the UK.

https://www.radiationresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/The-EM-Radiation-Research-Trust-puts-UK-government-on-notice-regarding-5G-amidst-profound-world-wide-health-concerns.pdf

The appeal to the United Nations & the World Health Organisation:
http://www.iemfa.org/emf-scientist-appeal-to-the-united-nations/

  • – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

BONFIRE NIGHT – WILDLIFE & FIRES: Yes, we’ve heard it before BUT . . .if you’re having  a Bonfire, make sure that perfect pile doesn’t become a towering Inferno for wildlife.
While it’s being built up over the days, it gets to form an attractive refuge for Hedgehogs, Frogs & Toads, Insects galore, that are essential for natural processes in the garden.
Preferably, pile the stuff to be burnt to one side of where it is to be lit. Build the structure as near to the time of ignition to cause the lodgers to evacuate safely & not return. Yes really!  — We’ve checked! They’re busy communities!

============================

LINKS & E-ddresses:

The Newsletter Team: [email protected] Website: http://suttoncoldfieldgreens.uk/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Sutton-Coldfield-Greens-181257392319336/?epa=SEARCH_BOX

MP [email protected]
Help writing letters:  http://wiki.openrightsgroup.org/wiki/
Letter
writing: Yourcouncillors:
https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/councillors/ward

For Birmingham Greens Info’:   https://birmingham.greenparty.org.uk

David Ratcliff – SC Green Group contact: [email protected]

Ellie Chowns MEP – West Midlands Green Party:   https://elliechownsmep.org.uk
and
https://westmidlands.greenparty.org.uk/elected-greens/mep

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –  –

MoreItems: Scroll on down . . . .

UK to use finance meant for green energy to support fracking in Argentina Documents show the UK government’s £1bn commitment in 2017 later prioritised support of major oil companies planning to invest in Argentina’s controversial oil shale industry using the export finance commitment intended to support green energy, according to government documents seen by the Guardian. UK Export Finance, the government’s foreign credit agency, promised in 2017 to offer loan guarantees up to £1bn to help UK companies export their expertise, including in “infrastructure, green energy and healthcare”. Instead, official records, released through a freedom of information request, have revealed the government’s plan to prioritise support for major oil companies, including Shell and BP, which are fracking in Argentina’s vast Vaca Muertashale heartlands. Fracking has already caused irreversible damage to the ancestral homeland of indigenous Mapuche. One government memo, uncovered by Friends of the Earth, said that while Argentina’s clean energy sector was growing, it was “Argentina’s huge shale resources that offer the greatest potential” for the UK. ============================================================

During a nutritional discussion at “Refresh” (Wednesday mornings at the Quinney Hall, Canwell) the question arose of cyanide content of linseeds, prized as a vegan source of omega 6. The subsequent Link was circulated.

https://www.efsa.europa.eu/sites/default/files/consultation/consultation/181127-ag.pdf

Summary 61 Following a request from the European Commission (EC), the EFSA Panel on Contaminants in the 62 Food Chain (CONTAM Panel) evaluated the risks to human health related to the presence of 63 cyanogenic glycosides (CNGs) in foods other than raw apricot kernels. . . . . 70 CNGs contain chemically bound cyanide and are present in foods such as almonds, linseed, or 71 cassava. When the plant cells are damaged, by for example grinding or chewing, CNGs and their 72 degrading enzymes are brought into contact and cyanide is released. . . . . . In a human 77 bioavailability study, mean peak concentrations of cyanide in blood were different after consumption 78 cassava root, linseed and persipan, indicating a fast and practically complete release of cyanide after 79 chewing of bitter almonds and cassava roots but not with linseed and persipan.

TRADE & CLIMATE HANDLING BY THE BORIS BRIGADE & WHY WE NEED THEM “OUT”!
The international trade secretary, Liz Truss, met with hard-right pressure groups in Washington DC last year to learn about the benefits of Donald Trump’s deregulatory agenda, according to official documents obtained by Unearthed.
In “off the record” meetings with climate sceptic think tanks that have driven Trump’s radical program of deregulation and tax cuts, Truss sought to learn whether such policies could benefit the UK.|
In one meeting the then chief secretary to the Treasury discussed the success of Trump’s efforts to slash regulations with the chief economist of a controversial lobby group funded by the Koch brothers.
In another, Truss planned to ask what lessons she could learn from Reaganomics “on things like regulation and red tape.”
Truss is now responsible for negotiating a trade deal with the United States and due to visit Washington DC to recommence talks.
Truss has cosied up to organisations that want the UK to slash taxes & regulations.

In January, Unearthed reported that powerful US agricultural interests have demanded that Trump make any trade deal contingent on the UK ditching EU rules governing pesticides; genetically modified crops; and imports of chlorinated chicken and hormone-reared beef.
The UK government has previously ruled out weakening standards as part of a US-UK deal but Boris Johnson has appointed a number of pro-deregulation Conservative MPs to senior cabinet positions.

Libertarian shift
Truss recently argued that the UK could learn from Trump’s approach to regulation and has recruited special advisers from libertarian think tanks that support a deregulatory trade deal with the US.
Sophie Jarvis, recently of the Adam Smith Institute, will advise Truss on policy issues; while Nerissa Chesterfield, is moving from her role as head of communications at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and will advise on media.
Over the last two years, the IEA has run a concerted campaign for a hard Brexit that seeks to shift the UK away from the EU’s system of regulation and towards that of the US, which is widely considered to be less stringent.

Barry Gardiner, Labour’s shadow trade secretary, told Unearthed that Truss’ appointment showed that Boris Johnson “is a fan of damaging right-wing deregulatory dogma.”

“Truss has cosied up to organisations that want the UK to slash taxes and regulations… they are planning a UK-US deal that would destroy worker’s rights, our food standards and animal welfare regulations,” Gardiner said, “an agreement like that with the US would make it far harder to get a deal with the EU that protects jobs and our economy.”

More on US trade negotiations

Off the record
During her three day visit to Washington DC in September 2018, Truss attended an “off the record” meeting with senior representatives of the Heritage Foundation and the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) to discuss “regulatory reform,” according to documents obtained by Unearthed under freedom of information rules.
A briefing note preparing Truss for the meeting on September 19 reveals that she was to ask Heritage: “What can we learn from ‘Reaganomics’ on things like regulation and red tape.”

Imports into the UK will meet our stringent standards

Reaganomics involved a radical programme of tax cuts, decreased social spending, increased military spending and sweeping deregulation. The Heritage Foundation pursues a similar agenda and is widely acknowledged to be the driving force behind Trump’s deregulatory agenda.

Truss also planned to tell Heritage that she is “committed to” and “personally interested in… exploring supply side reforms” in the UK.

Examples of supply side reforms include making it easier for companies to fire employees and slashing environmental regulations to make businesses more profitable, both of which could fall within the scope of a US-UK trade deal.

Last year Unearthed  revealed that the Heritage Foundation and CEI – together with the Cato Institute, which Truss also met with during her trip – were part of a transatlantic coalition of libertarian think tanks seeking to influence the contents of a US-UK trade deal. The IEA and the Adam Smith Institute were also part of the project.

Truss’ visit to the US directly coincided with the Washington DC launch of this coalition’s “ideal” free trade agreement, which sought to provide a “blueprint” for the US and UK government’s to follow.

A spokesperson for the department for international trade told Unearthed: “We are committed to negotiating an ambitious free trade agreement with the US that supports good quality jobs throughout the whole of the UK.”

“Without exception, imports into the UK will meet our stringent food safety and animal welfare standards. That’s not going to change,” he continued.

Gimmicky
On September 18 Truss met with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), during which she discussed deregulation and Trump’s tax cuts with its chief economist, Jonathan Williams.
ALEC is a controversial coalition of corporate interests – including the Koch brothers – and state-level politicians, that meets regularly to draft business-friendly legislation that is then enacted by state governments across the US.
In recent years a number of blue chip companies, including Shell, BP and ExxonMobil have quit ALEC over its opposition to efforts to tackle climate change.
Notes from the meeting reveal that Truss discussed deregulation with Williams, who praised Trump’s “1 in 2 out” policy on regulations for being “gimmicky but effective.”
According to the documents: “ALEC said they thought the understated success of Trump has been this.”
A few months later, in January 2019, Truss wrote in The Telegraph that the UK could learn lessons from the Trump administration’s “about-turn in regulatory direction and the manufacturing revival.”
This “about-turn” has involved the elimination of the United State’s policy framework for meeting the Paris climate agreement, including Obama’s clean power plan; fuel economy standards for cars and regulations governing greenhouse gas emissions from oil operations.
Another document reveals how an official from the Foreign Office wrote to a free market think tank called R Street on Truss’ behalf requesting a meeting to discuss “business deregulation”.
A version of this story also appeared in The Observer.

The people of Osceola Township, Michigan, US, have been facing a huge legal showdown with Nestlé,

Nestlé’s vast water processing plant is devastating this small community in Michigan. Like a giant leech, it sucks up 350,000 gallons of water daily to bottle for profit. The town’s stream runs ever lower.

When the township fought back, Nestlé sued them — and now the final legal showdown is here. The expert lawyers they’ve hired are expensive and costs have gone through the roof.

Guess how much Nestlé pays to pump 250 gallons of water a minute, or more than 350,000 gallons every single day, from Osceola Township? – Just $200 a year.

The spring water generates huge profits for the corporation when they sell it in disposable plastic bottles, many of which end up polluting rivers and beaches.

Osceola’s water is a precious resource that should be used for the benefit of the community, not sold at a profit to pay for the private jets and fancy suits of Nestlé executives.

But you can make sure this community wins this fight. Nestlé has millions to throw at this court case, but this group of dedicated fighters in Osceola has you. With your donation today they can keep their lawyers and make sure they have the best legal team on hand in these last critical days so that Nestlé can’t pump more of their precious water. Donate £28 nowDonate £43 nowDonate £57 now Donate another amount

The incredible SumOfUs community has supported this brave group in Osceola before to take on Nestlé. Together we’ve given more than $50,000 to help in the legal fight — helping the township stay afloat and have a fighting chance.

And it’s not just Osceola — together we’re supporting communities in Australia, France, and Canada take on the might of greedy corporations who want their water.

Climate change means more extreme weather and longer droughts. Water will only become more and more precious, so we need to stand up now for the rights of people over corporations to benefit from this life-giving resource.

LINKS & OTHER SOURCES:

BBC half hour PANORAMA on Climate change reduction: What YOU can do plus –  what government HAS to do https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-49997755

When to complain to an Ombudsman if you’ve already contacted the company you have an issue with, but you haven’t managed to achieve a satisfactory resolution to your complaint, then you can consider taking your complaint to the relevant industry ombudsman. https://www.resolver.co.uk/how-to-complain/which-ombudsman-to-complain-to .

‘SumOfUs’ Campaign against future Glyphosate risk in Europe: With enough mounting opposition across the continent, Bayer-Monsanto won’t succeed in renewing its herbicide when its license ends in 2023.
That’s why we’re calling on you to join the growing chorus and demand a ban in the United Kingdom — as well as every other country in the EU. Tell the government of the United Kingdom to ban glyphosate now!

Over in the US, the megacorporation is “prepared to go through the entire court system” to fight cancer patients demanding justice. And here in Europe, Bayer’s top pesticide exec said the company would “consider legal action” if the EU bans glyphosate.

‘SumofUs’ persuaded the EU to ban Bayer’s bee-killing neonics last year and our pressure got glyphosate’s license time slashed in half the last time it was up for renewal in 2017.
Yes! I’ll tell the government of the United Kingdom to pass an immediate ban on glyphosate.

And so, we have worked our way towards the New York Times article on the GLOBAL MACHINE BEHIND THE RISE OF FAR RIGHT NATIONALISM https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/10/world/europe/sweden-immigration-nationalism.html Russian & Western entities that traffic in disinformation, including an Islamophobic think-tank whose former chairman is now Mr Trump’s national security advisor, have been linked to Swedish far right sites – six of which have received financial backing through advertising revenue from a Russian & Ukrainian-owned auto-parts business based in Berlin whose online sales network contains buried digital links to a range of far right divisive content. Writers for the Swedish sites have been befriended by the Kremlin. And ideally, to discredit the supposedly utopian Swedish model.

APPENDICES

 

97 Reasons for Remaining in the EU: Membership of the world’s largest trading bloc with over 500 million consumers, representing 23% of global GDP – but it’s not just about economics!

  1. The UK has greater global influence as a member of the EU
  2. The EU provides a counterweight to the global power of the US, Russia and China
  3. With Trump in the White House the UK’s strongest natural allies are France, Germany and our other West European neighbours
  4. Tariff-free trade within the EU
  5. The abolition of non-tariff barriers (quotas, subsidies, administrative rules etc.) among members
  6. Participation in free trade agreements with Japan and Canada as an EU member
  7. The EU accounts for 44% of all UK exports of goods and services
  8. The EU accounts for 53% of all UK imports of goods and services
  9. Cheaper food and alcohol imports from continental Europe
  10. As a member of the EU the UK maintains a say in the shaping of the rules governing its trade with its European partners
  11. 3.1 million jobs in the UK are directly linked to exports to the EU
  12. Free movement of labour has helped UK firms plug skills gaps (translators, doctors, plumbers)
  13. Free movement of labour has helped address shortages of unskilled workers (fruit picking, catering)
  14. The Single Market has brought the best continental footballers to the Premier League
  15. The EU accounts for 47% of the UK’s stock of inward Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), worth over $1.2 trillion
  16. Access to the EU Single Market has helped attract investment into the UK from outside the EU
  17. No paperwork or customs for UK exports throughout the single market
  18. Price transparency and removal of commissions on currency transactions across the Eurozone
  19. FDI into the UK has effectively doubled since the creation of the EU Single Market
  20. The UK’s net contribution to the EU budget is around €7.3bn, or 0.4% of GDP (less than an eighth of the UK’s defence spending)
  21. No time consuming border checks for travellers (apart from in the UK)
  22. The City of London, as a global financial hub, has acted as a bridge between foreign business and the EU
  23. British banks and insurance companies have been able to operate freely across the EU
  24. Cornwall receives up to £750 million per year from the EU Social Fund (ESF)
  25. Structural funding for areas of the UK hit by industrial decline (South Wales, Yorkshire)
  26. Support for rural areas under the European Agricultural Fund for Regional Development (EAFRD)
  27. EU funding for infrastructure projects in the UK including £122 million for the “Midlands engine” project
  28. Financial support from the EU for over 3,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the UK
  29. EU funding for the British film industry
  30. EU funding for British theatre, music and dance
  31. EU funding for British sport, including football apprenticeships, tennis and rugby league
  32. Glasgow (1990) and Liverpool (2008) benefitted from being European capitals of culture, stimulating their local economies
  33. EU competition laws protect consumers by combatting monopolistic business practices
  34. Strict controls on the operations of Multinational Corporations (MNCs) in the EU
  35. Human Rights protected under the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights
  36. The death penalty can never be reintroduced as it is incompatible with EU membership
  37. Minority languages such as Welsh and Irish are recognized and protected under EU law
  38. The right to reside in any EU member state
  39. The freedom to work in 28 countries without visa and immigration restrictions
  40. The mutual recognition of professional qualifications has facilitated the free movement of engineers, teachers and doctors across the EU
  41. The mutual recognition of educational diplomas
  42. The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) has standardized assessment of language proficiency across the EU
  43. The freedom to study in 28 countries (many EU universities teach courses in English and charge lower fees than in the UK)
  44. The Erasmus programme of university exchanges (benefitting 16000 UK students a year)
  45. The freedom to set up a business in 28 countries
  46. The ability to retire in any member state
  47. Pension transferability
  48. The right to vote in local and European Parliamentary elections if resident in any member state
  49. EU laws making it easier for British people to buy property on the continent
  50. The right to receive emergency healthcare in any member state (EHIC card)
  51. Consular protection from any EU embassy outside the EU
  52. The EU has played a leading role in combatting global warming (Paris 2015 climate change conference)
  53. Common EU greenhouse gas emissions targets (19% reduction from 1990 to 2015)
  54. Improvements in air quality (significant reductions in sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides) as a result of EU legislation
  55. Reductions in sewage emissions
  56. Improvements in the quality of beaches and bathing water
  57. EU standards on the quality of drinking water
  58. Restrictions on landfill dumping
  59. EU targets for recycling
  60. Common EU regulations on the transportation and disposal of toxic waste
  61. The implementation of EU policies to reduce noise pollution in urban areas
  62. EU policies have stimulated offshore wind farms
  63. Strict safety standards for cars, buses and trucks
  64. Protection of endangered species and habitats (EU Natura 2000 network)
  65. Strict ban on animal testing in the cosmetics industry
  66. Membership of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) which monitors the quality and safety of medicines (until recently located in London)
  67. 13% of EU budget earmarked for scientific research and innovation
  68. The UK receives £730 million a year in EU funding for research
  69. EU funding for UK universities
  70. Cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy as a member of Euratom
  71. Minimum paid annual leave and time off work (Working Time Directive)
  72. Equal pay between men and women enshrined in European law since 1957
  73. The right to work no more than 48 hours a week without paid overtime
  74. Minimum guaranteed maternity leave of 14 weeks for pregnant women
  75. Rights to a minimum 18 weeks of parental leave after child birth
  76. EU anti-discrimination laws governing age, religion and sexual orientation
  77. EU rules governing health and safety at work
  78. The rights to collective bargaining and trade union membership are enshrined in EU employment law
  79. The UK enjoys an opt out from the single currency and maintains full control of its borders as a non-member of the Schengen area
  80. Since 1985 the UK has received a budget rebate equivalent to 66% of its net contribution to the EU budget
  81. EU cross-country coordination offers greater protection from terrorists, pedophiles, people traffickers and cyber-crime
  82. The European common arrest warrant
  83. Europe-wide patent and copyright protection
  84. EU consumer protection laws concerning transparency and product guarantees of quality and safety
  85. Improved food labeling
  86. A ban on growth hormones and other harmful food additives
  87. Cheaper air travel due to EU competition laws
  88. Common EU air passenger rights
  89. Deregulation of the European energy market has increased consumer choice and lowered prices
  90. Mutual recognition of the common European driving license
  91. The introduction of the European pet passport
  92. The abolition of mobile telephone roaming charges
  93. The EU acts as a guarantor of the Irish Good Friday Agreement
  94. A frictionless Irish border
  95. The EU acts as a guarantor of the special status of Gibraltar
  96. The EU helped support and maintain democracy in Spain, Portugal and Greece from the 1970s and these countries have become major destinations for British tourists
  97. EU membership has helped facilitate intercultural dialogue

Wed 19 June 7:30 pm, Hill Allotments Social Club B75 5EY

Prioritise this agenda
Apologies: Minutes: and comments

Litter Pick 30 June – arrangements

Ben Auton: Report on Conference
Other items from Ben

Developments   Peddimore & Langley:   Dugdale Crescent

Elections
Marked registers
Local pamphlet/crowd funding
General election

Schools
Local 6 school group

Transport
Cycling    –   Birmingham/Sutton plans
Buses    –    Walmley development

Climate emergency
Birmingham adoption.
2050 zero carbon
Sutton check
Sutton Greens

Sutton Park
Greens policy
Eco Sutton policy
Sutton town /Birmingham city

Bio regions
Birmingham /Oxford contact
Sutton water/nature pathways

Pollution
Air  – local data
5G – Microwave issue
Chemicals: has glyphosate gone?

ECO Sutton
Activities  -campaigns
Air pollution –   vulnerable persons

Town council/local meetings
Notes review
Planning – back gardens, 5G

Media
Website, Facebook
Gmail account

Membership
New members included on lists.
Use of mail chimp.

Political /social research
Research projects.
Youth services, vulnerable persons, air pollution,
well being.

Newsletter
Edited version for local door to door delivery.

Letters
Sutton Observer –  Andrew Mitchell  –  MEPs

Brexit
B Auton proposals for referendum
Andrew Mitchell favours Johnson and ‘no deal’ exit

Recycling, composting
Food waste  –  Local waste segregation
Devolved powers to Sutton

Date of Next meeting  – to be announced
How to get to the meeting:
If you come by bus get off at the first stop in   Gibbons Road and walk downhill on the same side for about 70 yards then turn left into a lane between two houses where after 80 yards you will find a gate on your right hand letting you onto path.  The Club house is another 50 yards down this path.
If, instead, you come via Gibbons Road and Bodington Road into Dugdale Crescent go clockwise around the Crescent, past a cul de sac on the left and a few yards later turn left into the drive that leads to the allotments. Turn left again, once inside the site

NEWSLETTER MARCH 2019

BY-ELECTION – THURSDAY 28 MARCH for
WALMLEY & MINWORTH WARD, TOWN COUNCIL

We’ve been busy.  But in spite of this Tory dominance of our political life in sutton Coldfield appears undiminished.  !
All local members of Birmingham Green Party received the appeal for help in leafleting Ben’s ward.
Activists from various corners of the whole constituency collected their route details, in groups and individually.
Door-to-door calls brought personal contact with voters – many also on driveways & in the street.
Considerable hostility to politicians! But warmer reactions when they find we’re Greens.

Remember the reason for this by-election! It is crucial & illustrative of what we face here with a first-past-the-post system for the Town Council.
Your local Green Group proved its preference for cooperation rather than conflict in last May’s election in campaigning with three other parties.  This by-election was called since one of two Tory councillors, Dominic McDonough, too often absent from the Planning Committee, had moved to Sunderland. He did eventually resign.
Greens endorsed the call for an active, in town replacement for him in Walmley & Minworth ward. The Tory dominance here leads many Suttonians to abandon all hope when it should incite them to action!
As Sutton Observer readers may recall, Leader of the Town Council, Simon Ward, and Christopher Ives of the local Tory Party decried the demands for the by-election on grounds of cost, though we have been told that specific moneys exist in the budget for any by-election.
Let that now be history – as Ben’s election leaflet showed, our stance & policies remained positive .
…………………………………

Dugdale Crescent and its green are receiving well focused community effort & attention through the Friends of the Green Association which we can attest is a very effective organisation.
Our involvement is the closer because our meetings are held at the Hill Allotments Social Club, just off the Crescent, where Friends of the Green Association, hold their meetings. We have a Green Group member allotment holder and allies there, are liaising in future plans for the Green and are able to draw on advice from the Permaculture Association UK.
——————————–
Preparation of OUR POLICY on SUTTON PARK has been in the ‘pending tray’ due to the pressure of other demands. Feedback from environmentally committed allies & ‘ex-pat’ Suttonians continues to suggest that the Park doesn’t need so-called “improving”, it needs maintenance and it certainly doesn’t need commercialising.
—————————–
HELP CANNOCK GREEN PARTY WIN AGAIN!
SC Group members’ help during their previous election certainly contributed to the election of another Green councillor. We encourage readers – Volunteer your services on the 30th March (if you have any energy left by then!) We’re meeting for lunch 12.30 at 46 Uxbridge Road, Hednesford, WS121DB.
https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/FBNDWHB
It can be done! You may have already heard the good news that long-time Green campaigner David Lyons has become the newest Councillor on Aylesbury Vale District Council, as well as our first ever Councillor in Buckinghamshire and our 179th sitting Councillor country-wide. He won his by-election from the Conservatives in one of their strongest areas.
————————–
Inherent risks of International Trade Agreements shaped by corporate ‘clout’ Group activists have stepped up our trade agreements campaign over safeguards, guarantees and transparency.
We are using email, letter and petition to increase citizen-electorate pressure and thus counter the sumptuously funded corporate lobbying schemes which we have consistently fought for many years .  Andrew Mitchell’s frequent replies to our letters to him stress that “international trade agreements will be subjected to parliamentary scrutiny.” Yet it is of great concern that it is only more recently that the   Lords passed an amendment that would give Parliament a meaningful vote at the beginning and end of trade negotiations. As ‘War on Want’ has put it, “ the Trade Bill is not final yet and the government may well try to overturn this in the last stages. But together we’ve been able to force trade democracy onto the agenda and get a result. Peers argued that Parliaments around the world are increasingly involved in scrutiny of trade. Why should this parliament be sidelined? At heart this is a question of who has the right to make decisions that will affect people in a very material way. It should be Parliament.
—————————-
Natural England licences to kill protected species: We have failed to get a satisfactory explanation of the facts in this preposterous decision. Clearly, we oppose the vast number of licences issued but disparate slants on this matter have reached us. Please pass any information back to the Team, we need to know in order to campaign effectively. Please peruse the ‘jumble’ below:
Theguardian.com
“Watchdog permits 170,000 wild bird killings in five years”.
Greenpeace: “The facts about licences for wild birds.gov.uk”.  Go to:-

Chair of England’s nature watchdog says it’s not independent anymore


—————————-
. . . and A COMMENT tagged to us on Facebook:
“As, I’m sure, is the fact that the Chair of Natural England, Andrew Sells, also happens to be one of the founders of Linden Homes, a property development business specialising in the development of brownfield sites for residential housing.
Tory government ministers chose Andrew Sells – a venture capitalist with no experience of ecological or environmental matters – as the Chair of Natural England a few years ago.
A surprise decision which I’m sure was not at all influenced by the fact that Andrew Sells is a major Tory party donor and the fact that property developers in general are some of the Tories’ biggest donors.”
(We have not verified this comment.)
—————————-
BUSES DESERVE PRIORITY:
Highways England asked ‘Better Transport’ to look at how major roads could be made better for buses. Their findings which will be applicable much more widely are now with Highways England. Link & more details in the Appendices below.
——————————-
We have written to Andrew Mitchell in support of explicit reference to whole farm agro-ecological systems being included in the new Agriculture Bill.
See our full letter  in the Appendices below.
——————————-
BAYER’S ‘ROUNDUP’ glyphosate weed killer caused cancer:
Heartening news about a disheartening matter (via Reuters) 
19 March 2019) is that a second U.S. jury ruled that Bayer’s Roundup weed killer caused cancer.
Bayer, which denies allegations that glyphosate or Roundup caused cancer, said it was disappointed with the jury’s initial decision. Bayer acquired Monsanto, the longtime maker of Roundup, for $63 billion last year.
Tuesday’s unanimous jury decision in San Francisco federal court was not a finding of Bayer’s liability for the cancer of plaintiff Edwin Hardeman. Liability and damages will be decided by the same jury in a second trial phase beginning on Wednesday.
Bayer shares were 12.5 percent lower at 1110 GMT, the biggest intraday loss in 16 years, wiping some 8 billion euros ($9.1 billion) off its valuation.
——————————–
IRAN
They were not protesting, they were just doing what conservationists do all round the world . . . but In January, Iranian officials arrested eight renowned nature conservationists who are all members of an internationally known environmental group, the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards accused them of using camera traps to spy on the nation’s ballistic missile program. In reality, the conservationist were just monitoring rare Asiatic cheetahs and other endangered wildlife. Now they are threatened with the death penalty.
Urge the Iranian government to provide the detainees with the opportunity of a fair trial by adding your name to this Care2 petition!
One of the activists died in detention mere weeks later under suspicious circumstances. Iranian authorities claimed that he committed suicide, but they have not conducted an impartial investigation into his death. Then they arrested yet another conservationist to replace the one they may have killed!
The conservationists serve on international organisations that add or remove species from threatened species lists. Among them are two cat specialists and a bear specialist. They are still behind bars and facing the death penalty, just for trying to protect animals.
In November more than 340 conservationists and scholars from 70 countries across the world including UN Ambassador of Peace, Jane Goodall DBE, signed a letter expressing support for the eight detained conservationists.
————————-
And to avoid being criticised for hypocrisy . . . we at last mention that seemingly forgotten event, the CLIMATE CONFERENCE A KATOWICE & what it should have achieved. It was elbowed into touch like so much else by Brexit and for most, went unnoticed.
For now, in this edition we simply quote from the email Caroline Lucas has just sent us all, to say that you wouldn’t realise we’re living through an environmental emergency from looking at what’s happening in Westminster.
That’s why she tabled an Early Day Motion on a UK-wide climate emergency and asked Green supporters to contact their MPs to urge them to sign her climate emergency motion.
We do need to invest in a Green New Deal to rapidly decarbonise the UK. And we need to release funding to local authorities so that they can take bold climate action & it’s urgent.
We have written to Andrew Mitchell urging him to sign. Our letter is included below in the Appendices below.
——————————
The Date of the Next Committee Meeting is yet to be set.
Notification of the date will be sent out by Email [and announced on this website].
——————————
LINKS & E-ddresses:
http://Suttoncoldfieldgreens.uk
[email protected]
Help writing letters:  http://wiki.openrightsgroup.org/wiki/Letter writing
https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/councillors/ward
http://www.jeanlambertmep.org.uk/-news/
For Birmingham Greens Info.:   https://birmingham.greenparty.org.uk
David Ratcliff – SC Green Group contact: [email protected]
—————————————-
Scroll on down for APPENDICES:

BUSES DESERVE PRIORITY.
From  https://bettertransport.org.uk/
“How can major roads be made better for buses? That’s the question that Highways England asked us, and it’s an important one.

Our road network isn’t just for cars and lorries – it needs to work for cyclists and pedestrians, for nearby communities and for the environment, and, crucially, for buses. A fully loaded double decker bus can take 75 cars off the road!

Highways England manages the strategic road network of motorways and major trunk roads, including some used by important bus routes. They don’t control the bus services but can have a big impact on issues, ranging from how safe it is to cross the road at bus stops, to how traffic information is shared with bus operators. So when Highways England asked us to look at how major roads could be made better for buses, we jumped at the chance.

Together with Transport Focus we’ve been looking at bus facilities on the M32 near Bristol and the A27 in East Sussex, including visiting bus stops, bus bays and villages along the routes. Our findings will be applicable much more widely, however. Thank you to everyone who took the time to share your views. Many people particularly wanted to see:-

• The introduction and enforcement of bus priority measures (such as bus lanes) to beat congestion and deliver a reliable service
• Bus stops that are in the right place and well-maintained, with safe access and crossing points
• Traffic information shared with bus operators, so that live travel information can be displayed at bus stops and park and ride services
Our findings are now with Highways England, and we hope to see improvements for bus users in the near future.”
——————————
To end:-  two letters to Andrew Mitchell MP from one of our members:-

“Whole farm agroecological systems & the Agriculture Bill:
Dear Andrew Mitchell,
As a small-scale grower myself, a member of the Permaculture Association and the local Green Group, and aware of the acknowledgement by the UN FAO of the validity of ‘agroecology’, I urge you most strongly to make firm representation on our behalf to ensure that the new Agriculture Bill makes explicit reference to whole farm agroecological systems.
I was present yesterday at the meeting you addressed regarding UK government policy and your own stance on the issue of Climate Change. The approaches to cultivation as set out below – and Permaculture techniques are effective means of countering climate change and, in a number of areas of the world, reclaiming desert zones. Indeed, I understand that at least a year ago, the British Commonwealth accepted permaculture as a valid mechanism for land improvement and retention.
A sustainable food system is pivotal to human and environmental well-being. I urge you to consider what you have eaten today, we could make that plate more nutritious, kind to the planet, beneficial to communities, economically sound, and supportive of farmers.
How? Agroecology
The UN FAO provides the following definition -: “Agroecology is based on applying ecological concepts and principles to optimize interactions between plants, animals, humans and the environment while taking into consideration the social aspects that need to be addressed for a sustainable and fair food system. By building synergies, agroecology can support food production and food security and nutrition while restoring the ecosystem services and biodiversity that are essential for sustainable agriculture. Agroecology can play an important role in building resilience and adapting to climate change.”
The French government, which has made agroecology the central plank of their agriculture policy describes agroecology as having triple performance:
1 Environmental: increases to biodiversity and resilience, improves soils, mitigates climate change.
2 Economic: improving yield and efficiency.
3 Societal: beneficial to society at large including benefits to health and nutrition.

Almost everyone agrees that the purpose of an Agriculture Bill is to support the accessibility of healthy local food for everyone in the UK. Many MP’s have voiced that we need a Bill, which strengthens support for sustainable food production, promotes healthy outcomes and supports local economies. Many have raised the concern that good-quality, healthy food must not be allowed to become the preserve of only those who can afford it. Others say, restoring nature without producing food is a very real danger to a resilient food system.
I stand with the Land Workers’ Alliance to support the amendment to the Agriculture Bill by Zac Goldsmith (Con), Kerry McCarthy (Lab) and Caroline Lucas (Grn). I ask of you to support the following amendment in the Commons;
[proposed by] Kerry McCarthy MP, Zac Goldsmith MP, Caroline Lucas MP: 1. Clause 1, page 2, line 8, at end insert— “(h) establishing and maintaining whole farm agroecological systems.”
Kerry McCarthy MP, Zac Goldsmith MP, Caroline Lucas MP: 2. Clause 1, page 2, line 23, at end insert— ““whole farm agroecological systems” include any whole enterprise system for farming or land management which is designed to produce food and/ or fuel while delivering environmental and social benefits, and may include organic farming.”
Agroecology combines the need for good food for all with the absolutely essential goals of restoring nature and mitigating climate change. Access to agroecological and local food improves public health by encouraging people to eat nutritious, seasonal foods from farmers they trust. Local food produced by farms that work with nature is also of vital importance to our economies, supporting tourism, restaurants, landscapes, and communities.
Incorporating agroecology into the Bill will make a critical difference in maintaining a focus on whole farm systems producing healthy affordable local food over successive governments for generations to come.
Yours etc……..”
For more information contact the Landworkers Alliance policyteam:
[email protected] www.amendagbill.uk
———————-
Attn: Andrew Mitchell MP Friday 22 March 2019
“Caroline Lucas’ Emergency Climate motion:
I am aware of your consciousness of the major threat that climate change constitutes around the world.
I am not ignorant of the political practicalities which can be faced by an MP in the House nor, I think, of your feelings about Early Day motions

. However, as you have acknowledged in the past, the important issue of resolving the Brexit conundrum has elbowed aside the greater and more terminal challenge of adapting positively to mitigate our human 
contribution to global habitat destruction – including our own.

 I am therefore writing in hope on my own account as well as that of Sutton Coldfield Green Group and members of my family to ask you to sign Caroline Lucas’ Climate Emergency motion calling for a UK-wide 
climate emergency to make a start at least on “acting locally”. 

We share Caroline Lucas’ view that as more and more councils declare climate emergencies up and down the country, we need Parliament to declare a climate emergency. We need to invest in a Green New Deal 
to rapidly decarbonise the UK and to release funding to local authorities so that they can take bold climate action. 

In addition, it would seem that a Green New Deal would create hundreds of thousands of good, well-paid jobs in every region of the country. I cannot help but feel that in a post-Brexit era, it would serve as a 
very positive initiative.
I should like to take this opportunity to thank you for your reply today regarding the current maelstrom of our leaving Europe.
Yours sincerely,–“

Local recycling.

“Put the funk into junk”“Junk is for life and not just for landfill” – two of the mottoes adopted  by the Jericho Reusers Centre in Norris way next to the city’s recycling base.

We endorse these sentiments!!

They sell a huge variety of items which they’ve refurbished.

Another  Green venture is Joe’s small Studio at The Mitchell Centre on Weeford road.

There he  repaints, re-varnishes and renovates tired items of furniture and other articles which one might have been tempted to send to the tip.

 

Reducing the amount of waste that goes into land-fills is a key aim in the Green party’s encouragement of sustainable growth.

Let us know of any other such projects.