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.


Committee Meeting on 11th September


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.

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


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.

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.
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.

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.

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

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