The Natural History Society

The Natural History Society Autumn Season starts Thursday 13th September, 7-30 pm at Holy Trinity Catholic Church. “Introduction to Spiders”.

We are always actively looking for advice & assistance so that Suttonians can create an enriched habitat for wildlife with though-corridors crucial to ensuring the widest, healthy gene pool. Therefore, before Autumn comes, make gaps in your fences to open your garden to the survival of species. A key speaker at the Natural History Society in Sutton last April stated: “The total area of all our gardens together in this country exceeds that of our Nature Reserves.”

We are pleased to see the ‘Natural History Society’ lectures reported on the Club’s Page of the Sutton Observer. Given that one Green Group member attending a recent Nat’ Hist’ Soc’ talk came away with four pages of notes, it is little short of a miracle that Lilian Holmes their press person, manages to condense her reports to fit the slot. For a link to the Society and its Autumn Programme,  click here.


Remember, click this image to enlarge it.

July Committee Meeting Minutes

MINUTES of SUTTON GREENS meeting held on 17th JULY 2018

The current status of the website was displayed on screen and operational features discussed. Further plans for content, presentation & staffing were agreed.
The blogging facilities set up on the site are already good, and have been proved very easy to use. Forthright reactions & suggestions received from the wider, local, green community had already recently been acted on by the website team.

Walmley Ward: It was agreed that an assessment of waste and pollution in green areas and wildlife corridors in the ward should be made in order to target group remediation particularly of plastic contamination in late summer, the peak point of rubbish build up. Stevens Pool & Minworth canal are under consideration; CRTs in W.Mids were referred to.

Langley & Peddimore development: EcoSutton has made its submission to B’ham City Council regarding the future developments under the Supplementary Planning Regulations. These will be circulated to members.

Ben Auton, candidate, on behalf of his fellow Walmley and Minworth residents lamented & lambasted the promised twenty years of disruption which the deliberately slow pace of construction work is bound to inflict on the area. Construction & sale of homes in batches ensures that profits from rising house prices progressively increase firms profits. The need for homes is urgent; Ben advocated the need for greater use of modern prefabricated components for speed. He will continue to attend residents’ meetings and make an input in his ward.
[Note: Ben’s detailed letter on housing in the Sutton Observer of Friday 24th July publicly amplified Green Group policy .

Members’ Newsletter: It was agreed that the current target of a ‘flexible’ monthly issue for Colin M & the team should continue, incorporating technical improvements. A major requirement is for greater contributions, comments and articles, from all Sutton Coldfield wards.

Air quality: We still await site visit dates but are sympathetically aware of the short-fall in staffing imposed by Birmingham City Council.
EcoSutton & air pollution: Councillor Kath Scott (Lab) for Vesey ward has been with EcoSutton personnel to Abbey School to raise awareness of pollution using the EcoSutton Project to do so. This is likely to set a precedent. The topic will also be the focus of EcoSutton’s contribution at their pitch during the September Expo-Sutton.
In connection with B’ham City Council’s consultation document on clean air zones (CAS) , EcoSutton supports a local councillor’s report on “green walls” (living plants bedded across and vertically to trap carbon & other particulates & harness CO2) at the mooted Brassington Avenue Bus Station.

Letters on issues:
Peter C has written to the Sutton Observer in reaction to the stance of Cllr. Rob Pocock (Lab) & others in the press about the recent arrival of Travellers in Sutton coldfield. [Read this and his subsequent letter at Topics of Interest.
The  Group discussed its long-term concerns over the inherent risks of international trade agreements and their potential for damage to rights and health safeguards during a a sluggish slide toward Brexit.  Andrew Mitchell MP was written to focussing on key aspects and subsequent to the meeting a reply was  received.
[ In the New Internationalist  of May 2108, page 24 ‘The Almighty Investor’ substantiates the reasons for extreme concern over international trade agreements with case histories worldwide.

Town Council; Falcon Lodge Community Plan: Little specific could be said at this point. A member present did remind us that a Community Plan is not legally binding – unlike a Neighbourhood Plan, consistently opposed by our councils. The Falcon Lodge Plan was described as an “attempted sop to the Lodge area”.

AOB: Ben stated his intention to raise at the SC Amnesty International Forum on 17 July with Andrew Mitchell MP the case of the human rights post-Brexit of a UK relative living in the Netherlands but working also in France and Belgium.
[Subsequent to the Green group meeting: The local A.I. Forum was very successful & well attended. Andrew Mitchell MP was extremely informative.
Regarding the case put by Ben, he expressed ultimate optimism though acknowledging the current distress & stated that he had three other cases brought to him – one also concerning the Netherlands.

EcoSutton supplied information about the process related to possible passenger use of the Sutton goods line in answer to a query from Tim Weller, a transport campaigner west of the city.
An EcoSutton spokesperson updated the meeting regarding the system of propagation of sessile oaks from acorns at Sutton schools for eventual planting after two years in the north of Sutton Park. The park rangers supply the acorns & manage the planting. The species of English Oak is not used. This is because of its low survival rate due to low rainfall in the W. Midlands, it is reported. Finance comes from the Mayor.
[Those wishing to encourage their local school to take part rely on the School Head’s good auspices. The best way forward is to win the enthusiasm and commitment of a teacher willing to take it on as a project.]
For Info’ contact John Heywood of EcoSutton: [email protected]

June Committee Meeting

SUMMARY  of the Sutton Greens Meeting 
14 June 2018.
 Held at Hill Allotments Social Club

Election Appraisal:
  A disappointing result, Conservatives won 80 % seats.
“Sutton electorate to blame.” says Green spokesperson!
Green candidate votes:–
Walmley & Minworth ward: B Auton (Green Party) – 800 votes: One Green Party leaflet was delivered to each household in the ward of the whole ward; D. O’Hagan of Independents for Sutton (IfS) gained 1096 votes: he delivered 3 leaflets to every household.
Both had contributed to the cross-party opposition campaign in the press.
Vesey ward: C Marriott (Green Party) – 1493 votes: He attended and spoke at the hustings in a generally strong Labour ward. He too had participated in cross- party work, advertising and inclusion in election publicity. This may have persuaded many voters that IfS, Greens and Lib’Dems were Labour cronies.
Ironically the only non-Tory party to make gains in SC was Labour. The high Green vote in Vesey was clearly due to it being the strongest ‘Alliance’ ward, though the Independents for Sutton (IfS) group lost all the seats it once held.
A Proportional Representation system of vote counting would only have given Tories approx’ 60% seats on Town Council.
It’s concluded that Green Party stance at time of the “Independence  for Sutton” vote was correct – we should have fought for a PR system before voting for independence.

Town Council election:
The proportion of votes was:- 61.72% Con; 20.05% Lab; 9.85% IfS; 4.33% Green; 4.05% Lib Dem.  Green candidates stood in three wares. The Party is now up one place as fourth party.
Reddicap, 24.06%: Vesey 38.83%: Mere Green 36%: Roughley 31.69%: Trinity 31.5%: Walmley 29.36%: Four Oaks 33.69% .
Birmingham City Council election.
The Green Party fielded candidates in 7 of the  8 and polled 3.35% of the votes.
1. Leaflets are of little measurable benefit. More use of social media needed to attract younger activists & voters. Compare this with Julian Pritchard’s election success in Druids Heath, Birmingham: this was a Green Party target ward where a concerted long-term Green effort was made including delivery of a regular Green Party  Newsletter to every household.
2. To provide infomration to help in targeting future Green campaigning our own counting agents attended the official count of votes after the election. They kep a tally of Green votes as the ballot papers arrived from the individual polling stations of the Walmley and Minworth ward. The figures gave inaccurate total percentages but provided  useful information about the voting patterns in different parts of the ward.
3. The method of vote sampling has been written up as a guide for future practical use at future elections.
It was agreed that C Marriott will produce and distribute the local members’ Newsletter and that P Cooke shall format it onto a Green Party template.

Sutton Greens’ Website.
This was was agreed as being a priority need: a Home page and menu are to be designed. P Cooke is  to provide this using WordPress.
M Okole (Bham Green Party) will be requested to contact all SC members encouraging them to sign up for our local bulletins.
Contacts with other groups for website are being compiled to establish a reference and resource bank with a listing of what is going on and where.

Other notes.
Next meeting 17 July 2018 at Hill Allotments 7.30pm
Sutton grass area mowing: Noted that some green areas in P Cooke’s vicinity are being left un-mown. He has been told he can
 wild-flower seed it. P Cooke will contact S Lyne to find out more about availability of wild-flower seed supplies.
Air pollution: PC is to contact New Hall sampling station to obtain up to date figures and follow up S Lyne’s request for a site visit.
CM received letter from A Mitchell re EU palm oil.
The meeting closed at 9:15 pm

AOB:You may already have received the Notes / Minutes of the SC GP Meeting of 14th June. As a result, there has been something of a flurry of emails which the Newsletter Team has respectfully tried to take account of here. As stated, the next meeting will be on Tuesday 17th July 7-30pm at Hill Allotment Social Club. (Enquiries to starpsykeATtalktalkDOTnet )   Agenda to follow.

Local members will recall the superb response from supporters, teens to octogenarians, to the appeal to tramp the letter boxes of Walmley & Minworth ward. As a party committed to workers’ rights, we are proud to announce that thanks to the 100% use by door-to-door leaflet volunteers of the standardised Sutton Group, recycled,“butter-pat” design posting device, 1) zero injuries to fingers were sustained from letter box mechanisms & from guard-dog attacks; 2) No householders were alienated by partially visible leaflets still protruding. 3) 87% landed “candidate-face-up” inside.

Despite election result disappointment expressed at our meeting some days ago, as a publicity exercise and supporter motivation action, the Newsletter team holds that 6,000 deliveries well initialises further groundwork. Other local political parties present at the election count revealed involuntary surprise at certain higher figures we did achieve. Let us not forget that!

Nor let us forget that, three days before the May election, Alan Clawley, long- standing B’ham Green Party activist died in his early seventies after a battle with cancer. He was a long-standing Green in both senses: he had been a member for a number of decades; he had also regularly stood as a Green candidate including in the May election through which he did not live to see the Party’s first Green councillor elected in Birmingham, a goal for which he had worked. Sutton Green Group members attended the funeral and are in touch with Hazel. Though dwelling in Small Heath, Alan had many times tramped the streets of Sutton helping to collect signatures for the nomination of our candidates and been our joint election agent. His detailed obituary in various newspapers has been well deserved.

On these efforts must we build. The agenda paper, “May 2018 ONWARDS” is already being acted on at the levels of up-skilling, campaigning range and integrating out-reach activities.

So! We again say:-
“Optimism of the Will, pessimism of the Intellect!”
(Grazie, Signor Gramsci!)