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.


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