Monday, April 19, 2010
Greens’ protest kite soars into the empty skies
A protest kite launched by Barnet Green Party was the only authorised craft in the skies above London on Sunday 18th, as Donald Lyven, the party’s candidate for Finchley and Golders Green, attempted to fly the kite to 140 metres, the height of the chimney at an incinerator planned as part of the Brent Cross Cricklewood development.
The flight, for which Donald obtained prior permission from the Civil Aviation Authority, mocked the Brent Cross Cricklewood developers’ denial that the 140 metre chimney will spew fumes across the whole of North London.
“Of course it will,” said Donald Lyven. “140 metres is an enormous height, (460 feet). The legal maximum height for flying a kite is less than half of that – 60 metres in fact. It seems crazy the developers expect to get away with building a polluting chimney 140 metres tall when we can only fly a kite to 60 metres.”
Donald, helped by the Greens’ Hendon candidate Andrew Newby, launched the two-&-a-half metre wide Giant Cody box kite into sunny plane-free skies as all commercial aircraft remained grounded over London because of volcanic dust in the upper atmosphere.
“The fact that volcanic dust from Iceland can halt air traffic over Britain shows just how far any kind of airborne pollution can travel,” he pointed out.
The Green Party were joined by other environmental groups and concerned residents at Clitterhouse Playing Fields, Claremont Road, NW2.
When pulled along, the kite soared above the expanse of the Playing Fields, a stone’s throw from where the Brent Cross Cricklewood developers want to build a chimney taller than any cathedral in Britain. “Unfortunately variable light winds prevented us from getting the kite as high as 140 metres, but that just shows how tall the chimney would be,” Donald said.
Andrew Saffrey, Golders Green candidate for the Green Party in the coming Barnet Council elections, believes the incinerator would blight Golders Green and spread pollution far and wide.
The waste incinerator has been dressed up in the consultation material as a “gasification plant” or a “CHP station”. Whatever it is called, it will emit large quantities of harmful emissions from a 140-metre chimney into the suburbs of North London, and produce tonnes of waste,” he said.
With prevailing winds taking these emissions to the east, the Boroughs of Enfield, Haringey and Waltham Forest would also be affected, as would the Counties of Essex and Hertfordshire,” he said.
Andrew Newby said: “When the Brent Cross Cricklewood plans came before Barnet Planning Committee its Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat members of the planning committee all just rolled over and let their tummies be tickled by the developers.
They approved the plans almost on the nod when the sheer number of objectors and the broad scope of the various objections – the incinerator is just one of many problems – meant that the only truly democratic decision would have been to call a public enquiry,” the Hendon candidate said.
Barnet Council needs a strong Green group to hold the administration to account not just on environmental policy but on jobs, housing, social issues and certainly planning,” he added.
Labour’s Communities Minister John Denham may have blocked the development for the moment but he has not ruled out approving the scheme after the election, still without the vital public inquiry needed to expose the many flaws in the scheme.
Andrew Saffrey said in his submission to the ministry: “With an estimated 29,000 vehicle trips a day predicted to be generated by this development, clearly this project is seriously jeopardising efforts to control and reduce CO2 emissions.”
Suggestions that a light-rail system is sorely needed to serve Brent Cross have been derided by Conservative councillors yet providing light rail has been enormously successful in other large-scale development projects, notably Canary Wharf,” he said.