Welcome to Hendon Greens

Welcome to the blog of the Barnet Green Party's Hendon group. Andrew Newby was Green Party candidate in Hendon constituency in the 2010 general election.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Greens demand BXC public enquiry

Andrew Newby, the Green Party parliamentary candidate for Hendon, is urging the government to call in the 4.5 billion pounds Brent Cross Cricklewood redevelopment scheme so that a public enquiry can be held.

In a letter to John Denham MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Newby says: "You have no doubt received many other letters highlighting the major problems with the scheme but there are two overwhelming reasons why the project should go to a public inquiry.

"1/ Even supposing the developers fulfill their pledges of high standards for all aspects of their monstrous proposals, the size of the scheme is so enormous that it will have an impact on the national target of an 80 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

"The BXC plans include only token sustainability measures, so the expanded shopping centre, the new homes and the other buildings are likely to churn out hundreds of thousands of tonnes of CO2 in their many decades of existence. Residential buildings will only achieve level three (out of six) under the Code for Sustainable Homes although the government's target is for all buildings be carbon neutral by 2016.

"This scheme is an ideal opportunity to install energy conservation measures and sustainable power facilities right from the beginning. There is plenty of scope on the site for enough wind turbines, solar arrays and ground source heat pumps to make the whole area carbon positive, never mind carbon neutral. Yet the requirement for 20% renewable energy is proposed to be met entirely by burning domestic waste. Not a single solar panel or wind turbine is proposed.

"As well as benefitting the environment, carbon neutrality would save money for the people who live in the new town and for the businesses, as their energy bills would be much lower – they might even make money by feeding electricity back into the grid. Can it be that the developers are more interested in building cheaply than in saving on running costs for the future occupants of the homes and commercial buildings?

"It is vital that all nations reduce their CO2 emissions rapidly in order to prevent global temperatures rising to levels likely to trigger environmental disaster. But there is no chance of Britain achieving its crucial CO2 reduction target if other planning authorities adopt the Barnet planning committee's approach of ignore the wider environmental impact of schemes under consideration.

"2/ The scheme is not just about new housing and a so-called town centre, the whole thing is based on "an expanded and improved" shopping mall, with an "enhanced retail offer including new stores at Brent Cross Shopping Centre", to cite the developers' own documents. It would seem very probable that the expansion of Brent Cross would have further harmful affects on the several shopping areas within a few miles of the development.

"Shopping district likely to suffer from the expansion of Brent Cross include Golders Green, Hendon, Temple Fortune and Finchley Central. Many businesses in those areas are already struggling under the impact of the recession and Barnet Council should not have approved the BXC plans without studying their likely impact on local communities and implementing whatever measures are needed to support those communities.

"I also urge you to call in the scheme for these further reasons:

"*There are elements of the plan that have significant impacts outside the Borough of Barnet: in particular 29,000 extra cars per day on the road, and the impact on local shopping and communities. A North West London Light Railway would mitigate some of these effects.

"*The proposal's sustainability needs to be reviewed in terms of: density, the environment, pollution, carbon emissions, the incinerator, siting of waste processing plant, and the effect of high-level walkways on cyclists and pedestrians.

"* The huge dump and 140 metre waste incinerator will pollute the air we and our children breathe. Barnet Council (with six other boroughs) wants to build the domestic waste dump next to an infants school, possibly harming the most vulnerable."

If you want to ask the minister to call in the plans, write to: john.denham@communities.gsi.gov.uk
The deadline for submissions is March 12th

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Greens warn young people ‘Beware of ID cards’

Zain Sardar

Barnet Green Party is urging young people in the borough to shun the government’s new offer to sign them up to the national identity card scheme.

The Home Office this month invited 16- to 24-year-olds in London to apply for identity cards at a cost of £30. For any young person who does apply, up to 50 categories of personal and biometric details about him or her will be added to the National Identity Register. These will include finger prints, National Insurance number, current and past addresses and full history of the card’s use.

There is little or no practical benefit for young people in having the card over other current forms of ID, as shops, bars and other premises don’t have biometric scanners. However, even more worrying than wasting the upfront £30, is that while getting a card will be voluntary, once on the National Identity Register, young people will not be able to get off it, will have to keep the register up to date with their personal details for life and not doing so could lead to a fine of up to £1000.

Also, the life-time cost to the card holder of updating the register and obtaining replacement cards is completely unknown.

Barnet Green Party Youth Officer and Council candidate for Colindale, Zain Sardar says, ‘With the current economic climate, and the pernicious effect this had had on youth and graduate unemployment the last thing we need is for the government to be wasting money when it could easily have been used to help universities fund extra places for students that are currently out of work.

“The London School of Economics estimated the costs of the scheme will be between £10 billion and £20 billion but there is no evidence that this scheme will reduce terrorism or benefit fraud. Thus is a smack in the face for students and young people, who really need the government to invest in their future right now.”

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Let's be eco-friendly in Hendon

Everyone in Hendon needs to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions they cause and adopt a more sustainable way of life to help in the worldwide fight against climate change. Why not start in 2010 with a 10 percent cut in your carbon "Perkin - the purrfect draught excluder" footprint? And there's no need to be miserable. We can still have fun while we adapt ourselves.


Food and clothing:

1/ Eat food grown in Britain when possible, to save on 'food miles' -- energy used in transporting imports. Eg, don't give up bananas but when you eat an apple make sure it is a British one.

2/ Eat meat no more than once or twice a week. Producing a kilogramme of beef uses ten times the resources needed to produce the equivalent amount of vegetarian food.

3/ Grown your own food. Grow fruit and vegetables in your garden or on the patio, where tomatoes, peppers and chillis will ripen nicely in pots. In a flat, grow herbs in pots on the windowsill.

ECO-FUN: 4/ Fed up with your clothes? Swap items with your friends instead of buying new garments that need a lot of energy to make and to import to Britain. Hold a clothes swap party!


5/ Walk or cycle as much as possible, eg when going to the shops. It is good exercise, it will save you money and you will see sights and hear sounds you would have missed inside a vehicle.

6/ Use Hendon's many bus services or the train or underground instead of going by car. You can relax on buses and trains by reading or sleeping. If you are tired (or drunk!), public transport is the best way home.

ECO-FUN: 7/ When planning a holiday see if you can avoid travelling by air, which has a high carbon footprint. Try the Eurostar train to Paris – it's luxurious and can be cheap as a bargain flight.

In your home:

8/ Close your curtains at night. Day-to-day habits like closing your curtains and internal doors can lower your gas and electricity bills. You can save even more money by ensuring the loft and walls of your home are well insulated and by installing high-grade doubling glazing.

9/ To make a meal use a microwave instead of the oven, when suitable. On average, cooking a meal in a microwave uses only half the electricity of cooking the same food in an oven.

ECO-FUN: 10/ Sit under a duvet to watch television instead of turning up the heating in your living room. Better still, invite a friend to sit under the duvet with you.