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The Information Commissioner Decisions re. Ealing Council

Two recent ICO Decisions re. Ealing Council referred to:A request for information about two areas of land re. Ealing Council's pre-application advice given to developers in 2019 was REFUSED by the Council. The first area of land was to the north of West Ealing Station, which led to the submission of planning application ref: 202231FUL on 11th June 2020. The applicants being Southern Grove and Thames Valley Housing. The second area was to the south east of the station on land at Hastings Road. This development was being proposed by the A2 Dominion (formerly Acton Housing Association Ltd). A planning application (ref 192864FUL) was submitted on 27th June 2019 (but was not formally validated by the public authority - the submission being considered premature in relation to ongoing discussions).The Council initially cited EIR Regulation 12(5)(f) (voluntary supply) as the reason for its refusal to provide the requsted information. Subsequently, the Council also gave additional reasons for its refusal citing: Regulation 12(4)(e) (internal communications) and also Regulation 12(4)(d) (unfinished material).The Complainant reported the matter to The Information Commissioner.The Information Commissioner's conclusion was that:"The public authority has not persuaded the Commissioner that any of its cited exceptions are engaged, thus she directs that the withheld information be communicated to the complainant. However, it is not to disclose the names and contact details of all persons therein, as this information is outside the scope of the complainant’s request."ICO Decision Ref: Reference: IC-51437-C5Z2Dated: 27th October 2020..........................In the case relating to development at 15A Tring Avenue near Ealing Common, the Complainant had requested Ealing Council to provide a number of different documents. On 9th October 2017, the Complainant wrote to the Council and requested information in the following terms:1. All internal procedure documents detailing how the planning department makes decisions under their delegated powers, in particular regarding residential properties.2. All terms of reference of internal planning department decision making bodies and/or forums.3. All authorities of planning department staff under any delegated powers.4. All documents (including but not limited to emails, instant messages, telephone call notes (and recordings thereof) and manuscript notes) relating to: 1. The original grant of planning permission (redacted); and 2. The variation of condition 5 of that permission’.The Council withheld the e-mails requested citing:  Regulation 13 (third party personal data)However, following the complaint to the The Information Commissioner, the ICO Decision stated:"2. …The Council incorrectly applied the exception to the sender/recipient details of emails sent to and received by the applicant in the planning matter related to the complainant’s request. The Commissioner therefore requires the Council to take the following steps to ensure compliance with the legislation.PROVIDE THE COMPLAINANT WITH THE SENDER/RECIPIENT DETAILS OF EMAILS SENT TO AND RECEIVED BY THE APPLICANT.3. The Council must take these steps within 35 calendar days of the date of this decision notice. Failure to comply may result in the Commissioner making written certification of this fact to the High Court pursuant to section 54 of the Act and may be dealt with as a contempt of court. 4. The Commissioner has also found that in handling the complainant’s request, the Council breached regulation 5(1) and 5(2) of the EIR by failing to make environmental information available. The Council also unreasonably and  excessively delayed in providing the information to the complainant. Additionally, the Council breached regulation 11(4) and 11(5) by failing to conduct an internal review within 40 working days."

Victor Mishiku ● 244d3 Comments ● 244d

Historic Route no 607 to end on Friday

With no public consultation whatsoever, the heritage hating Mayor is using TfL again as a political tool to push through the rebranding of the 80 year old 607/207 bus Route.This has been rushed through to coincide with the Uxbridge and South Ruislip By-Election and to beef up promised coverage in the area next week by the BBC - especially BBC London who have been in 'talks' with the Mayors office for some weeks on 'ideas'.  Hardly impartial.All rather bizarre.The 607 was the original route number for the 207 dating back to when it was a trolleybus route.In 1960 it became the 207.Then in a rare successful initiative the 607 was revived as a comfort and speedy limited stop Express route complimentary to the 207.Some bright spark has now selected the route to be renumbered SL 8  Not to be confused with Slough Local routes and bears no instinctive association to the 207 route or finding one's way around by logical association.SL stands for Superloop. It seems to have failed TfL SuperSalaried that the 207/607 is an almost entirely straight route end to end and not even a radial route. It is a trunk arterial route.It's pure vanity marketing. The latest gimmick livery and publicity claimed all sorts of features but even the USB chargers are actually just stickers !  So rushed purely to meet a political event so it's not going to happen anytime soon.The route remains the same, with the same frequency, with a bit of basic poor graphics. In reality the 207 -427 -607 already has had a substantial cut in capacity as the 3rd component of the 207 route, the 427, has already been cut back with journey, waiting times increased some months ago, along with capacity so as to not clash with this purely imposed political vanity exercise.TfL's own road improvements along with those of Local authorities have actually lengthens the travel journey times considerably even on early and sunday trips. Compare the original timetable with the mess of the newer ones and it's dreadful. The 607 is not really the express route it was or should be.  This Branding makes no difference to the actual service.Disregard for the long established and easy to familiarise London Bus Network with stupid renumbering, flaky claims and misleading marketing of a loop system that makes no sense unless you have time on your hands is indicative of the mess that TfL has become and how  politicians meddling is stuffing up so many aspects of London's better bits.SuperLoopy Indeed.

Raymond Havelock ● 276d34 Comments ● 261d

Tring Avenue now under attack from the architects who failed with 6 Marlborough Road

Congratulations to the residents and campaigners who convinced Ealing Council's planning team that the proposed 6 Marlborough Road development was unacceptable.A moral victory indeed and one which will hopefully stand up to the scrutiny of the Planning Inspectorate. But sadly, other parts of this borough face similar challenges from developers who care not one iota for the architectural integrity or the cohesion of our neighbourhoods.Across the North Circular from Marlborough Road lies the Rothschild Orchard Estate, built in the early 20th century and similarly under attack from unwanted development proposals and, by coincidence, the same architects as Marlborough Road, Red and White, led by Luke Pulham.In Tring Avenue a perfectly serviceable family home now faces being bulldozed to make way for a block of nine flats.  The Rothschild Orchard Neighbourhood Forum – an association recognised and approved by Ealing Council – represents residents in the Tring Avenue area and virtually all of our members are opposed to this scheme.Like Marlborough Road there are restrictive covenants in place to guard against over development.  These state that only one private dwelling house can be built on a plot, and no house should be unsuitable to the character of the neighbourhood.  Local residents nearby in Carbery and Kingsbridge Avenues have the benefit of these covenants and have been informed of this fact in case anyone wishes to exercise their rights in case of any breach.

Jo Bond ● 278d14 Comments ● 261d

South Ealing/Little Ealing traffic light chaos

The replacement works at the Junction of South Ealing Road and the A4 have been completed but TfL have inexplicably changed the phasing causing a time delay of 100%.This is causing huge delays to North- South Bus journeys with many buses having to terminate at the A4 along with tailbacks on the Westbound A4 Ealing Road and South Ealing Road.TfL have been doing similar 'alterations' on the A205 SCR east of Clapham and even at night there are delays and queues where previously there were not.It appears that this may be deliberate. It was tried before in the 1980s and the same problems occurred and was abandoned within a fortnight.With much larger vehicles than 40 years ago, less road space means even longer delays.This 'engineered' delaying, though creates other problems, vehicles three point turning, rat running seeking an exit elsewhere, and pollution as well as wasted fuel.It benefits no one and is costly with missed appointments of all sort and commercial delays.Disrupted bus journeys.The junction was even snarled up early on Sunday Morning which on a normal day would be near deserted.As usual no-one representing local people is listening or taking any action.So here courtesy of Brentford residents are some contacts if you are affected even as a non driving or bus using resident.The original sequencing of lights needs reinstating ASAP.We all need to email Guy Lambert ( a Hounslow Councillor who has been involved),  but importantly TFL and LBH and LBE. Although it is just over LBEs boundary, the effects are radiating well into Ealing & NorthfieldsGuy.Lambert@hounslow.gov.uk,Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Operational Servicestraffic@hounslow.gov.ukstrategicmodelling@tfl.gov.uk

Raymond Havelock ● 293d1 Comments ● 293d

6 Marlborough Road

I'm sure many will know that the area around St Marys in South Ealing is a conservation area.... and a lot of the surrounding area is an "area of interest" with some lovely streets and great characterful buildings.It's under threat as is much of our way of life.Pubs are closing and being turned into flats, open space under pressure, roads, parking, drainage, doctor services etc.... developers looking for a quick buck everywhere.Latest to be of urgent concern is Number 6 Marlborough Road.This is a lovely house and one of the oldest in Ealing. Unfortunately it appears not to be listed but really should be and it sits in a great position on a cracking road.It's been bought by a developer who is on the record of having zero concern or anything other than making money and sod the effect on the local area. Plans have been lodged to actually demolish the building and replace it with 8 bland, box sized, drab flats.The area simply does not need these - a load have just been built at the site of the old Grovesnor Club near The New Inn and lots of recent studies point to housing demand in London being on the slide.If you disagree with this ongoing systematic destruction of the local area I would urge you to log onto the Planning Portal and lodge an abjection.I would never trust our Council to see sense on anything but as many objections as possible can't hurt.Link https://pam.ealing.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?keyVal=RMKY05JMI5F00&activeTab=summary

Colin Goodman ● 455d22 Comments ● 295d

Warren Farm-going through the motions

The latest edition of “Around Ealing” has been sent to my inbox. It reports that the results of the consultation on Warren Farm have now been published on the council’s website. 1,520 people responded. Around Ealing has quoted Peter Mason: “The results show that the space is valued by many local people in Southall, Hanwell and beyond and that there are a range of different opinions and views on the future of the site.“We can see that that many people want to see the rich nature and biodiversity of the site protected in the future, but we also see calls for new sports facilities from across the community as well.“A whole decade has passed with young people missing the opportunity to play football, cricket and other field sports on the Warren Farm Sports Ground. We need to make sure that the sports players of tomorrow have that chance”However, if you do go to the Ealing website and bother to read the consultation (it’s quite short) it states that only 171 of those respondents thought it should be “rejuvenated as a community sports facility”. Bizarrely, in the consultation there was this question: “What type of sports provision is needed for the Hanwell & Southall areas?”  How curious.Next to the responses to that particular question, the following two points are made:*A swimming pool and a leisure centre are widely requested, however these relate mainly to the closure of Gurnell Leisure Centre. Residents ask for a new provision with swimming and other facilities for the area but not on the grounds of Warren Farm*Many responses refer to preserving Warren Farm as a nature reserve and not utilising the land for sports facilities. Warren Farm is currently actively used for walking, running and relaxation -residents ask to improve the paths and maintain them well.So while the request from the community seems to be for the return of their swimming pool, Peter Mason has decided they really want field sports. Why did they bother?

Terry Freestone ● 618d10 Comments ● 311d

Twyford Court -- Need your support

Hi FolksWe need your support if you can - need sensible objections and/or harrassment/ skirmishing action of the planning dept for a local planning application to Twyford Court.The matter is urgent - we're in contact with the Planning Officer - she is writing her Officer's Report as we speak and it looks like the proposal will be approved. This is really hard for us to understand, and to accept. So there are only days left - we are fighting to the finish line, marshalling our support and so we turn to you. We need Volume.Twyford Court (W3 9QE) on Twyford Avenue is close to Ealing Common and within the Creffield Conservation Area (CCA). It's a really lovely 1930's long two-storey building which manages to complement & totally fit in with the surrounding Edwardian & late Victorian streetscape. It has long & sleek flowing lines - it makes you smile when you look at it - you could say the designer of this building was talented. Twyford Court is singled out for significant praise in CCA Appraisal of 2007 (see below at the end of this post).It houses 16 decent sized 2-bedroom flats, with a variety of long-term residents - from young families to hard working professionals to older people - one of the residents has just this week given birth to a new baby, many people work from home, some are retired, etc. It has small but very pleasant gardens at front & back which are used extensively by the residents especially in the summer months.The proposal (230905FUL) is to add a third floor above the building to provide 5 one-bed & studio flats.https://pam.ealing.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?keyVal=RR3VHPJMKHU00&activeTab=summaryIt will raise the height of the existing walls and provide a flat-top roof with balconies & dormers at the front. This will destroy the look of the building and turn it from sleek & harmonious & well-designed into stumpy, out of character & ugly. The word "naff" comes to mind - there are many more clinical decriptions of this heresy in the objections. This is harmful to an Ealing heritage asset.The proposal will significantly overlook the patios & gardens to the rear destroying the existing residents' privacy and will look directly across into the large classroom windows of the Japanese School London. At the front the balconies (where there are currently none within the CCA) will overlook the street and the children passing by every day, as well as into the windows across the street many of which are private bedrooms.There will be living rooms & kitchens above bedrooms below.They are proposing putting bike sheds for 39 bicycles in the rear garden turning a pleasant & much loved garden into a parking lot.There's much more ...If the proposal is approved by planning, once the works start it will be absolute hell for the existing residents. Building works with demolition then tons of banging & hammering, dust & all that goes with such works - will be going on directly above their heads - within inches. Ealing Planning will simply say "this is not a material planning consideration" - but then who at the council will give consideration to the existing residents, to existing residents of London Borough of Ealing? The answer is Nobody - in this way Planning just wash their hands of it, like Pontius Pilate.But what about the baby, the people working from home, the older residents? "Not a material planning consideration" This is a disgrace.You will see there are many objections on the council webpage for this proposal and not a single 'neutral' or 'supports'. Many really good objections covering all the bases. Now what we need is VOLUME. A Tidal Wave!I have nothing against "modern" I'm all for sensible development when it is needed but this is too much - and all for 5 poky 1-bed & studio flats?It makes no sense. But planning will approve it anyway.Unless we raise a stink. People Power - spread the word - get your objections in - call the planning officer.No ranting please - outraged is ok - sensible objections - firm & to the point.And I look foward to inviting you all to the celebration if & when the application is quashed - due to the tidal wave of people-power and their actions.You know that song "I fought the Law and the - Law Won" -- by the Clash?Well if we win we will sing: "We fought the Council and - We Won"Thanks for listening.Now Go Get 'Em. (Please)Steven-----Creffield Conservation Area (CCA) Appraisal -- March 2007 Not a massive document but depsite having a great deal to cover, it still manages to find space to single out Twyford Court with the following comments:-- Twyford Court is a handsome lowrise 1930s set of flats in a toned down Art Deco style. While the designer did not take architectural cues from the surrounding buildings, the quality of the design and respect showed for the surroundings means that it does enhance the area.-- Due to its later vintage and individual style, this building stands out from the rows of Edwardian houses in Creffield. However, it also stands as an example of how such differences in appearance do not necessarily result in a jarring visual effect or a loss of character in the area. This building’s low-rise design and soft tones add to the rich suburban mix.

Steven Pawlyk ● 320d11 Comments ● 311d

Building London's sustainable and inclusive future.

I'm sure we'll all be cock a hoop when we learn about the far reaching decisions made on our behalf and without public consultation. PLENTY of non-public "consultation" though, if you read on.....  Building London's sustainable and inclusive future.London boroughs are set to unveil a list of key infrastructure projects needed to secure "a more prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable" future for the capital.The London Infrastructure Framework will be officially unveiled at UKREiiF 2023 – the UK's real estate investment and infrastructure forum - in Leeds later today.The framework, which has been developed with the boroughs by the economic consultancy Metro Dynamics and through close working with the Greater London Authority and Transport for London, will promote more efficient planning and delivery of infrastructure and enable a more united pan-London voice to support projects in accessing funding.London Councils' Executive Member for London's Future: Business, Economy and Culture, Cllr Elizabeth Campbell, said: "By setting out boroughs' agreed priorities and the exciting range of development opportunities across the capital, the London infrastructure framework will drive investment towards where it will make the most difference."But alongside this new framework, we are also calling for a new devolution deal for the capital to support boroughs' ambitions around growth and infrastructure. Letting boroughs keep more proceeds from locally driven growth would help us secure investment for these strategic projects and bring benefits not only to Londoners but the UK economy as a whole.    "Boroughs are more determined than ever to work with each other and with our partners in City Hall and central government, as well as with private investors. Together we can secure the infrastructure London needs to thrive in the coming years and maximise its contribution to the UK's economic well-being."

Rosco White ● 333d12 Comments ● 330d

Join Our Team: Become a Community Representative at Action West London

Are you passionate about making a difference in your community?Do you believe in empowering people to improve their lives? If so, we have an exciting opportunity that might just be perfect for you! Action West London, a dynamic charity committed to addressing social exclusion, is seeking a Community Representative to join our dedicated Board of Trustees.About Action West LondonAction West London (AWL) is a respected charity that has been serving the local community for over 20 years. Our mission is to help disadvantaged individuals, particularly those facing social and economic exclusion, to change their lives through employment, education, and enterprise. Our work spans several key areas including supporting young people at risk, assisting job seekers, aiding refugees, and providing educational and training opportunities.The RoleAs a Community Representative on our Board of Trustees, you will play a crucial role in guiding the strategic direction of AWL. You will bring your local knowledge, insights, and passion to the table, helping us to make decisions that best serve our community.Your primary responsibilities will include:• Providing a voice for the local community in board meetings• Helping to shape the strategic direction of the charity• Collaborating with other trustees to oversee the charity's governance• Assisting in the development and implementation of AWL's policies and goals• Advocating for AWL within your networksWhat We're Looking ForWe welcome applications from individuals who are committed to our mission and have a deep understanding of the community we serve. You should have:• A strong connection to and understanding of the West London community• A passion for social change and a belief in the power of employment, education, and enterprise to transform lives• Excellent communication skills and a collaborative approach• Integrity, independence, and good judgementPrevious experience in a similar role would be beneficial but is not essential. We are particularly interested in hearing from candidates who can bring diverse perspectives to our board.Why Join UsServing as a trustee for AWL offers the unique opportunity to make a significant impact in your community. You will:• Gain valuable experience in leadership, strategic planning, and charity governance• Have the opportunity to influence the direction of a respected local charity• Work alongside a dedicated team of trustees and staff members• Be at the forefront of effecting social change in West LondonApply TodayJoin us in making a difference. If you believe in the power of community action and want to be a part of a team that's transforming lives in West London, we want to hear from you!For more information on how to apply, please visit our website at www.actionwestlondon.org.uk or email us at gary.buckley@actionwestlondon.org.ukPlease note, this is a voluntary role. However, reasonable expenses will be covered. The closing date for applications is May 31st.Action West London is committed to diversity and inclusion. We welcome applications from all sections of the community.Together, we can create positive change in West London. Apply today to become a Community Representative on our Board of Trustees. We look forward to welcoming you to our team!

Action West London ● 332d0 Comments ● 332d

ZSL Hedgehog Highways planned for West London

A new network of Hedgehog Highways has been planned to help London’s hedgehogs, a mammal that is declining so rapidly it is now classed as Vulnerable to Extinction. To address a major cause of the decline, Ealing Wildlife Group is making CD-sized holes in fences across Hanwell and Pitshanger and plans to extend the project further in the Borough of Ealing. Created with the permission of fence owners, Hedgehog Highways make it easier for hedgehogs to find food and a mate.The initiative is part of a joint project with Zoological Society of London (ZSL) to use cameras to survey existing hedgehog populations, create new hedgehog habitats and educate residents about how they can help the species.ZSL’s London HogWatch Project Manager, Kate Scott-Gatty said:“Our survey shows that gardens and allotments are particularly important habitats for hedgehogs in Ealing and connecting them is critical for their long-term survival in the area.” Ealing Wildlife Group Chair, Sean McCormack said:“We’re delighted with the success of our project’s first phase in Hanwell and now really need help to roll out Hedgehog Highways across the borough. Improving and connecting hedgehog habitats will help lots of other wildlife species and give our Ealing community the chance to discover the value of protecting nature and green spaces.”Ealing Wildlife Group is staffed entirely by volunteers who will use trail cameras to identify existing hedgehog populations that can be connected by Hedgehog Highways. Extra funding will be used to purchase drilling equipment, create new habitats and deliver education campaigns in schools, communities and parks in Acton, Northolt and Southall.To donate, please visit https://www.spacehive.com/build-hedgehog-highways

Lydia I Martin ● 367d5 Comments ● 360d

Unsolved West London Murders.

In March 2023, The commissioner of the Met Police Sir Mark Rowley admitted the force has 'racists, misogynists and homophobes' in its ranks – as Home Secretary Suella Braverman blasted 'serious failings of culture, leadership and standards' at Scotland Yard. On 6th April I sent a lengthy email to Mark Rowley pleading with him to review The Hammersmith Nudes' murders of the 1960's. I told him that I am in contact with adult children and other members of 6 of the murder victims.  I told him that many of the victims' family members are convinced that if the victims were police women, doctors, nurses or solicitors there would have been a review. On April 11 I recieved the following."Dear Mr Milkins,My apologies for the delayed response. I have forwarded this matter to the appropriate team for their review and direct reply to you.Kind regards,*****  ********      *********  | Inspector | Staff Officer to the Commissioner."Today I received a a phone call from New Scotland Yard followed by the following email.Dear Mr Milkins "It was good to speak to you on the phone just now, and as promised, I am emailing to confirm my details. I recognise the huge amount of dedication you have put into your investigations and I am sorry that these terrible murders remain unsolved, despite your efforts.There have been various reviews conducted regarding these cases over the years and I know you were in contact with DC Paul Rogers in 2007, and most recently, DC Adam Bailey in 2020. It remains the case as per DC Bailey’s letter that the links between Harold Jones and the victims are not substantive enough to enable a definitive finding that he was responsible for their deaths. I hope you understand that because Jones died in 1971 and there is no additional material further to what has been looked at in the above reviews, we won’t be reviewing the cases again at this time.Having said that, I know you are determined to continue with your work, and if there is something substantive and probative that you find that you would like to bring to our attention in the future, please do so.I wish you all the best."DC *****   ****** | CSC - Major InquiriesSpecial Casework TeamTHE MUST GO ON. AND IT WILL.

Neil Milkins ● 360d0 Comments ● 360d

Tut tut. Naughty cyclist punches Mayor’s cycling tsar!

I don’t like the Daily Mail but this story has been confirmed by Seb Dance.Cyclist punches Sadiq Khan’s cycling tsar after being challenged for failing to stop at a pedestrian crossing from a floating bus stop. What’s staggering is that only eight percent of cyclists surveyed stop for pedestrians at crossings. Who’d have guessed?https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11903603/Sadiq-Khans-cycling-tsar-punched-face-cyclist.htmlSadiq Khan's cycling tsar was punched in the face by a cyclist after he confronted them for for pedalling through an Amsterdam-style 'floating bus stop' without stopping for pedestrians at a zebra crossingDeputy London mayor for Transport Seb Dance revealed the attack happened while he was on his bike last year, allegedly committed by someone on a hire bike. These floating bus stops, overseen by Mr Khan, see busy cycle lanes wedged between the pavement and a bus stop island and are joined by a zebra crossing.However there have been warnings that cyclists often don't stop at them or even slow down.And Mr Dance, the man responsible for London's cycling, has experienced this first-hand, according to The Telegraph.In a video shared with the outlet, he told blindness campaigners that he was cycling alongside a floating bus stop and there was 'someone like you waiting to cross.''I stopped and two of my fellow cyclists didn’t,' he added. 'I then caught up with them and remonstrated with them, and I was punched in the face for my efforts.' Mr Dance agreed that cyclists not following rules was a 'big problem' and the incident he mentioned was reported to police.A survey of 397 cyclists by the publication looked at how the riders behaved while pedestrians waited at three crossings in central London.It found that only eight per cent (33) of the cyclists gave way to the pedestrians - which is required by the Highway Code - and 91.7 per cent did not.Earlier this week, Mr Khan admitted that more needs to be done when asked about the investigation at Mayor's Question time by Conservative health member Emma Best.He said enforcing of the rules is required rather than just raising awareness, as he revealed a review has been launched by Mr Dance and Tfl.'What we can’t have is a situation where somebody is seriously hurt, or even worse, as a consequence of cyclists not following the Highway Code and running over somebody, so it’s really important we do this before, God forbid, that happens rather than afterwards,' he added.Sarah Gayton, the shared space coordinator at the National Federation of the Blind of the UK, suggested cyclists have number plates and said that Mr Dance's alleged attack highlights the risk the bus stops pose to pedestrians.'But what has Seb done about it since then?' she added, as he stressed the need for building of the bus stop to be halted.Mr Dance insisted he was committed to making London a more inclusive city and communicates with Londoners about road safety and accessibility concerns.

Simon Hayes ● 383d1 Comments ● 382d

SUPREME COURT - Protecting Public Open Spaces - Statutory Trust

Gerald Moran reports that the UK Supreme Court has today ruled in favour of a challenge regarding land which had for years been part of a Public Recreation Ground at Shrewsbury and which the Town Council had sold off in 2017 for intended development. A revised planning application for 15 new dwellings was approved by Shropshire Council in 2018, despite objections from local residents. Dr Day, a local resident, had not known of the sale but was aware of the planning application. He investigated and found that the Town Council had held the land upon Statutory Trust for the public, either under section 164 of the Public Health Act 1875 or section 10 of the Open Spaces Act 1906, but had sold the land without having followed the Local Government Act 1972 prescribed procedure for removing the land from the Statutory Trust. This procedure involves giving some publicity to that proposal and allowing the public to make objections before the Council resolves that the land is no longer required for the purpose, which incidentally happens to be of financial benefit to the Council in facilitating development and/or sale of the land.Dr Day brought judicial review proceedings to challenge the planning permission on the basis that Shropshire Council ought to have taken into account the material consideration that this had been part of the recreation ground held by the Town Council upon public trust for that use and that there had been failure to follow the prescribed procedure for removing the land from the public trust. The High Court judge was inclined to agree but did not exercise discretion to quash the planning permission, supposing that Shropshire Council would anyway still grant planning permission even taking account of the position. The Court of Appeal (incorrectly) considered that the sale meant that the land was no longer subject to the public trust as it was not for the buyer to be concerned about what procedure the town council ought to have followed regarding the sale.The Supreme Court agreed with Dr Day both on the underlying legal question and that the planning permission should be QUASHED as the material consideration had not been taken into consideration. The statutory provision for protection of the buyer did not extend to removing the land from the Public Trust where the prescribed procedure had not been followed.Lady Rose, towards the end of the decision for the Supreme Court, referred to the advice from auditors that the Town Council should put robust procedures in place to ensure that an oversight such as had occurred here is not permitted to recur. On any future sale of its land the council must be able to demonstrate that it has taken sufficient steps to establish the legal status of the land and act in accordance with all relevant legislation prior to sale. It should consider whether it has the power to proceed with any future disposals and, for the sake of good governance, should formally document the powers on which it has relied when making such decisions. Lady Rose considered that it would be all to the good if, as a result of this appeal, other local authorities/parish councils would decide to follow that advice and take stock of how they acquired and now hold the pleasure grounds., public walks and open spaces that they make available to the public to enjoy.Landmark Chambers presentation of issues on their website mentions that local residents had struggled to finance the legal challenge, for instance with sponsored walks and drag nights. It sounds as if there may be a possibility that the Town Council might repurchase the land for public use, although councils rarely have as much money as they would like.1st March 2023.

Victor Mishiku ● 409d5 Comments ● 393d

Substitute "Ealing" for "Croydon"?

Eerily similar?  Read this and weep..........Ealing Council Labour, a VERY safe pair of hands with YOUR money.... 🤣https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11782287/How-Labour-playing-Monopoly-public-money-saddled-Croydon-record-15-tax-hike.htmlHow Labour 'playing Monopoly' with public money saddled Croydon with a record 15% tax hike... As Starmer says only his party can be trusted on the economy, the shameful saga of the council that went bankrupt three times in two yearsCroydon Park Hotel, once a four-star 200-room establishment, to be demolishedCouncil sold hotel to private firm for less than what it paid to purchase it in 2018Residents now face hike in council tax to pay for commercial property mistake Croydon Park Hotel, once a four-star, 200-room establishment but now empty and rundown, is about to be demolished. Rising, phoenix-like, from the dust and rubble will be a gleaming skyscraper of luxury apartments.The development is a coup for international property firm Amro Partners, which could make millions from the transformation of the site in a prime location in the town near the railway station. But it represents a costly embarrassment for the council under Labour.Here is why. The council itself bought Croydon Park, which had seen better days, in 2018 because of potential to build on the land. But, for reasons which will be explained in more detail shortly, the local authority ended up selling the hotel to Amro for even less than its purchase price.Two consequences ensued: one was that the council lost £5 million of taxpayers' money on the deal. The other was that it missed out on an opportunity to make a fortune from the plot, like the new owners undoubtedly will, once the tower block, awaiting final planning approval, is built and the flats sold.The fiasco, and a string of other disastrous forays into the commercial property market, were among the main reasons the authority was plunged into bankruptcy — for the third time in two years — in November 2022 and why Labour lost control of the town hall in the local elections in May after nearly a decade in power.It is also one of the reasons residents discovered they are facing a 15 per cent hike in council tax — the biggest rise in history — to pay for these mistakes, adding almost £235.50 to the average band D bill. To keep afloat, the council has asked for half a billion pounds of debt to be written off, following a £120 milion government bail-out in 2021, which has to be repaid.Croydon Park Hotel, once a four-star, 200-room establishment but now empty and rundown, is about to be demolished. Rising, phoenix-like, from the dust and rubble will be a gleaming skyscraper of luxury apartmentsMore than 24,000 people have already signed an online petition condemning the rise and calling 'for fairer funding for our borough'.The new administration, now led by a directly elected Conservative mayor in which no party has an overall majority, has been left with a toxic legacy of cutbacks to balance the books; libraries, community hubs and retail parks are at risk of being sold. Admittedly, councils of all political stripes have been hit by the pandemic, the flatlining of the economy and government cuts to public spending.Every region of England bar one (the Conservative-led Central Bedfordshire) will increase council tax from April to avoid slashing services. But the crisis which precipitated the financial predicament in Croydon went much deeper and may yet involve the police.The causes are analysed forensically in two highly critical reports — in 2020 and 2022 — by the authority's own auditors, Grant Thornton, which has a statutory duty, in the public interest, to investigate in such circumstances.A third, the most incendiary, report into the internal culture and practices of the council during the Labour years, is about to be published. The Mail has a copy of the initial investigatory report. The title is: 'Collective corporate blindness: how did we get here?' The inquiry, commissioned by the Local Government Association, was carried out by former local authority chief executive Richard Penn.Penn, who interviewed chief officers, cabinet members, trade unionists and other employees, paints a picture of 'organisational dysfunction at the most senior level'.Staff who came from other councils say they were shocked at the way Croydon was run. One likened the town hall to the 'Wild West'.There was a lack of transparency, interviewees claimed, bordering on cover-up . . . proper financial controls were not in place . . . inconvenient evidence, even from the council's own legal department, was sometimes ignored . . . important paperwork was missing . . . failure was rewarded . . . democratic processes were not always followed. Too often those at the top also displayed an 'almost reckless disregard of the potential adverse consequences of risk'.The Croydon Park Hotel, it seems, was just one of the legacies of this culture. In the final paragraph of the 160-page, overarching report, the author asks members of the council to consider referring his report (which draws on evidence from the auditors) to the Metropolitan Police —'for assessment of any further action being warranted'. Brick By Brick has also been at the centre of a separate internal inquiry — commissioned by the previous Labour administration — by Kroll, the corporate investigations firm. The main focus has been the botched refurbishment of Fairfield Halls, an arts and entertainment complex. It was shut between 2016 and 2019 for the revampEither way, the Penn report is a terrible indictment of the standard of local government in some parts of the country.Most, if not all, of the senior staff who presided over the chaos, including Tony Newman, council leader for 6 years, and Jo Negrini, who served as chief executive for four years, have gone.The departure of Negrini, in August 2020 — with a payout of £437,000 — perhaps epitomises why so many people have become disillusioned with politics. The issue was raised by auditors. The council later admitted there were 'significant failings' in the way the award was decided, and while it was lawful, it should never have been made.The committee which made the decision, the authority said in its response, was held in conditions of secrecy. Agenda papers were not sent in advance to members as they normally would have been. The relevant item was misleadingly listed under the heading 'governance matters' to avoid potential leaks — bad publicity, in other words. Proper records were not kept of the discussions and legal advice was not sought on the possible success of any tribunal claims. The payout, which has caused anger locally, should now be 'reviewed', the Penn report says.Jo Negrini, who set up as an independent 'regeneration' specialist after losing her job, has just been made a director of Arup, the renowned global engineering consultancy involved in a number of major projects in London including the Shard and the Aquatics Centre in the 'Olympic Park'.At least one major public contract was awarded to Arup in 2015 during Negrini's time in Croydon to assist in a five-year regeneration programme in the town.She was an 'executive director' of the council at the time and it is not known if she was responsible for awarding the contract to Arup. But, in a quote on the Inside Croydon website, she said of the plan: 'It shows we are ready to turn Croydon into a modern, European city and means investors and developers can have complete confidence in the council's ability to deliver.' She was, it should be stressed, only one of a number of senior managers and councillors responsible for decision making.The strategy for transforming Croydon into a 'commercial, leisure, living, retail and cultural hub' involved entering into the commercial property market. 'Playing Monopoly' is how one opposition councillor put it.Low-interest loans were taken out from the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB), which was part of the Treasury, to pay for the regeneration. It is not uncommon for councils to obtain funds from the PWLB but Croydon has done so on a huge scale.In three years from 2017, Croydon borrowed £545 million. The lion's share, £250 million, went to the council's own in-house property developer, Brick By Brick, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the authority, incorporated to address the housing shortage in the town.Yet, in what would become a familiar pattern at the town hall, the initiative got under way two months before the full council had approved it.Even then, there was insufficient time to discuss or challenge the high-risk policy —which involved Brick By Brick building and selling properties on land owned by the council — because 'guillotine' procedures were introduced to cut the meeting short.The auditors found little evidence that staff at the new firm understood 'the complexity and associated risk' of the job they were doing.Half of the properties were supposed to be for affordable housing through shared ownership. Brick By Brick, which employed more than 40 staff, was not registered as a 'shared ownership provider', which meant potential buyers were unable to obtain mortgages for the properties and, as a result, all sales had to be suspended. It was a humiliating and costly mistake.Jo Negrini, who set up as an independent 'regeneration' specialist after losing her job, has just been made a director of Arup, the renowned global engineering consultancy involved in a number of major projects in London including the Shard and the Aquatics Centre in the 'Olympic Park'Jo Negrini, who set up as an independent 'regeneration' specialist after losing her job, has just been made a director of Arup, the renowned global engineering consultancy involved in a number of major projects in London including the Shard and the Aquatics Centre in the 'Olympic Park' Another almost farcical episode is highlighted in the Penn report. A section 106 agreement is where a developer agrees to provide financial contributions to improve the local infrastructure in return for planning permission.On one occasion, according to a member of staff, a section 106 (for a future development) was left 'sitting on someone's desk at the council for 11 months just waiting to be signed off'.The delay is said to have cost Brick By Brick, and therefore the council, more than £800,000; nearly £1 million that could have been saved gone in circumstances hard to believe. The precise reason is not spelled out, but spiralling building costs is probably the most likely explanation.Brick By Brick was £25.26 million in the red in 2021, which followed a loss of more than £800,000 the previous year. Hundreds of properties are now in the process of being sold off but will not cover the cost of the council's original loan.The bill for the taxpayer? It will run into tens of millions of pounds, a source at the council confirmed.Brick By Brick has also been at the centre of a separate internal inquiry — commissioned by the previous Labour administration — by Kroll, the corporate investigations firm. The main focus has been the botched refurbishment of Fairfield Halls, an arts and entertainment complex. It was shut between 2016 and 2019 for the revamp. But a litany of 'serious financial control and legal failings', auditors said, ended up costing the taxpayer £70 million, more than double the original budget.One of the most serious failings, according to the auditors, was that the project was not put out to competitive tender and Brick By Brick did not have the proven credentials to execute the contract. Kroll is expected to publish its report next month. The company's services have reportedly cost the taxpayer at least £300,000.Croydon Park Hotel is perhaps the most visible symbol of mismanagement. It was acquired by the council for £29.8 million in 2018 as part of the regeneration programme and would 'generate around £1 million revenue' a year, the authority predicted.Auditors said the venture was 'inherently flawed'. It was a prime example of the culture of 'unbridled optimism and an almost reckless disregard for the adverse consequences of risk' that pervaded the Croydon corridors of power.We now know from the Penn report that Croydon Park was bought for a price 'greater than the professional valuation' and sold last year for £5 million less than it was purchased. The hotel had fallen into administration during the pandemic and was costing £600,000 a year to maintain, without any income coming in.Nevertheless, the council was strongly advised against selling by a government-appointed panel, which warned: 'Given the impact of Covid-19 on the hospitality sector, disposing of a hotel in the current climate is not ideal. The council's cabinet will need to consider whether delaying the sale and perhaps finding alternative source of income from the venue in the interim offers the potential for a more favourable outcome overall.'The council was not in a position to heed the advice because of the parlous state of the town hall coffers. So, the council — taxpayers, that is — took a £5 million hit on the sale, and in the process, missed out on potentially making millions from developing the land, which will now go to Amro instead.'Croydon Labour wasted millions playing Monopoly with public money,' said Tory councillor Jason Cummings. Round the corner from the Croydon Park Hotel is Cedar Road. 'Where has all the money gone?' asked one resident. 'They haven't pumped it into services.'Single mum Kerry Kane added: 'The council tax rise is disgusting . . . the roads are awful. Repairs are not being carried out. There are problems with rats.'Tony Newman, the former council leader, quit in October 2020, but continued to serve as a councillor before resigning his seat in March 2021. He made the following statement: 'Everyone who served as a councillor, myself included, truly regrets Croydon's financial crisis, and the constraints it continues to put on public services and families in the borough. But it would be wrong to attribute Croydon's problems just to spending decisions.'Things can go wrong without there being any wrongdoing. Indeed, Croydon has suffered from chronic underfunding for over three decades and the past few years of austerity have been especially tough . . . we were unable to weather it because of years of underfunding and austerity, which left us with very limited financial room for manoeuvre.'He has insisted in the past that there was no wrongdoing on his watch and that he and senior colleagues, who 'acted at all times with honestly and integrity', had been the victims of a 'politically motivated witch-hunt'.Jo Negrini left her post as chief executive three months before her boss. We invited her to comment but she chose not to. But at the time she said: 'This a challenging time for local government and I am leaving with all the structures and the team in place to navigate through this post-Covid period.'Labour inherited a £717 million debt from the Tories, which was manageable, when they came to power in 2014. By the time they left in May last year the debt had more than doubled to £1.6 billion.The council was warned three times by auditors to address the authority's low level of reserves before going bust. Three times the warnings went unheeded.Why are the people of Croydon facing the biggest council tax rise in history? This is why.Additional reporting by Tim Stewart This article has been updated to correct the number of year Tony Newell served as council leader, from 15 to 6

Rosco White ● 416d18 Comments ● 402d

LCC tail wags the council dog!

This week the LCC published a guide about how to coerce councils into doing its bidding: https://lcc.org.uk/news/lccs-pathways-approach-explained/The language used is quite chilling in its passive-aggressive attitude. Anyone doubting that a pressure group representing a very small minority of Londoners isn’t dictating transport policy should put that notion to bed. They are not here just to advise people about how to ride a bike, this is an unaccountable political organisation.Here’s the whole text so people can see what’s really going on:‘This blog explaining LCC’s new ‘pathway’ approach to local group campaigning was originally published in longer form in our ‘London Cyclist’ member’s magazine…Over the last few years London has shifted dramatically on active travel. The delivery of cycling projects and so many other good things, while faltering, has been in the right direction and, at the start of the pandemic, at unprecedented speed. But the results are still far too patchy. So we’ve been thinking hard about how to get each and every borough moving faster and forward. Ultimately, that boils down to the political will to deliver on active travel, climate emissions reductions etc. of the council. But there is a lot borough groups can do to improve the level of political will on these issues a council has.Building on our local election Climate Safe Streets campaign, and work by Dr Megan Sharkey for the University of Westminster, plus that of Chris Kenyon, Cycle Islington, we have distilled down the journey boroughs tend to go on towards becoming a cycling hotspot into a ‘pathway’ of just four stages. These relate directly to the level of political will of the borough council – but it will be the actions of the borough group that help gain political will we’re focusing on.Each move from stage to stage, with the borough group acting to improve the council’s level of political will, might well take time and a lot of effort, but is doable. Some groups may do stage one and two simultaneously, others may leapfrog from one to three. But if we’ve got this right, you should know roughly where your borough currently is and what we have to do next after reading this. And this isn’t a sprint – the journey from stage 1 to 4 is unlikely to be done in less than a couple of years.We’ll increasingly be tailoring our mentoring and information around these key steps, for instance via the soon to arrive ‘Campaigning Resources’ section of the LCC site. This will be a free to use, but sign-in required area of the site where we put all our advice and expertise for campaigners – you’ll be able to access it if you’re working to decarbonise your city’s transport network and make active travel the norm whether you’re in Bromley, Birmingham or Berlin.The first step to a successful local campaigning group is to ensure it’s not just a tiny band of lone voices in the wilderness. Of course, you need a campaign to rally people to (your Climate Safe Streets most immediately achievable, but reasonably high-profile ask is the most obvious starting point). But you will likely need to focus on new members before you fulfil that campaign successfully. So build a campaign to rally people to – then go get those people involved.Where do you advertise your group meetings? What does your social media feed look and feel like? And why should people want to get involved? Make your campaign and meetings lively and welcoming. And reach out not just to cyclists, but to people who’ll agree with your group aims, and build coalitions too.You’re missing a huge audience if you only speak to those who look like you. So talk to everyone and aim to enable anyone from any walk of life to attend meetings (as long as they’re keen on more cycling being a thing, rather than less). ‘Diversity & inclusion’ means being a more inclusive group – that doesn’t put people off attending and indeed goes out of its ways to bring people in. To go further, consider focusing on communities that are impacted most negatively by car dominance – have the worst roads, the worst health outcomes, the lowest access to cycling – often the people in your borough least likely to own cars, and who may well actively benefit from cycling’s affordability. And make sure when someone walks in to a meeting, whatever their walk of life, they’re greeted and gently try to make sure they walk out with someone to talk to or something to do that suits their interests and skills.“When someone is just beginning their campaigning journey, help them reflect on their experiences and skill sets: what can they bring?” Divya Sharma, Cycle Islington‘STAGE 2: ANY WIN AT ALLSo, you’ve the bones of a functional group — you’re warm, you’re welcoming, new people are joining and you’ve got a core campaign that is engaging. Now you need to turn that into a win. You need to be able to point at something in the borough and say ‘we did this — and you can help us win the next thing’.At this point the win won’t likely be miles of high-quality cycle track or half the borough covered in Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs). This isn’t the time for big visions and long delays on action from council or you. Start small and simple and ask for good (enough), now.Try not to get too caught up in holding the council to account over whether it has achieved the DfT’s technical, new cycle infrastructure design guidance and its high funding bar. What you’re looking for is a scheme that either gets lots more people cycling (and ideally a wider range), makes current people cycling far safer, is really good value for money, is a big leap for the council, or is just really cheap, okay-ish and doesn’t make putting in a better scheme later impossible.Obviously, if a scheme won’t achieve any of the things above, you need to oppose it — but even that should be done to maximise your outcome, not just annoy a councillor enough to tune you out. ‘If only you could do X, Y or Z to improve this scheme we could support it’ is useful framing.To get something happening, you’ll mostly need to target the council leader (the cabinet portfolio holder for transport and officers are useful, but far less important). The leader controls the purse strings, sets the agenda and largely says yes or no to schemes. Spend most campaigning time and effort on them. Try and get a meeting — even better, try and get them out for an hour-long, one-on-one bike ride of the best and worst of the borough.Make sure you show some good the council has done: an old modal filter, parklet or a School Street. But, yes, also show them a road no one in their right mind would let a 12-year-old child ride on and explain why and what their role is in doing something about that.If the leader won’t come on a ride, go for a walk, or just keep trying stuff aligned to what appears to make them tick. Whether it’s social justice, fiscal responsibility, healthy kids or the climate, chances are cycling is a win for that. Again, as part of this process, pick your easiest-to-deliver Climate Safe Streets ask and push them on that.A win on anything will make noise about your campaigning with the public, gee up your existing members to get more involved, and give politicians more confidence they can do this stuff and get good results and praise. Which all makes the next step much easier for them.Of course, any win — even if it’s a single modal filter, a parklet, or a School Street — comes with opposition and risks of wobbles or missteps of the politicians. That’s why going through the journey of a scheme or two will not only build confidence for politicians, it’ll also tend to build trust for them in your group, as you act as an expert on weak points in the scheme and champion for the schemes despite their weak points.“There is no path to trust and action if you treat politicians as an enemy” Chris Kenyon, Cycle Islington‘STAGE 3: CRITICAL FRIENDThis is one of the stages on the journey groups struggle with the most. You’ve got your first few wins under your belt, but they’re not miles of gleaming cycle tracks or giant LTNs. Now is the moment to get the council to step up — it is a climate crisis after all!“Listen and understand. Try to be the adult in the room with councillors. Be people councillors can trust and be easy to deal with,” Michael Robinson, Hounslow Cycling CampaignYou’ll need to be confidante, expert external voice, chief cajoler and cheerleader all in one role. The moment a few half-decent schemes come along, grab a pair of pom-poms and go crazy. Because councils even delivering so-so schemes tend to get noisy opposition.Everyone will hate the council suddenly and politicians often buckle under this pressure. And the last thing they need at this moment is to be shot by both sides. In other words, you cannot get to great schemes without a few average ones.Behind the scenes, yes, you may well need to say stuff like ‘this scheme is good, but…’ with a long list of caveats, but you must back it up by saying something like ‘we support this scheme overall because it will get lots more people cycling, but we urge you to consider X, Y, Z urgently’. In public, you’ll need to be less nuanced and more effusive — because you can be sure those opposed to the scheme will be loud and numerous.This is however, the stage when technical expertise is most needed – you’ll need to be able to scrutinise and assess schemes and adept at constructively cajoling councillors and officers to ‘do better’. After the dust has settled from each scheme, you can again point out your expertise, fix the gaps and get the council to learn from mistakes, so it does the next schemes better, bolder, quicker.“When giving critical feedback always start with some praise” Charlie Fernandes, Brent Cycling Campaign‘STAGE 4: FILL IN THE GAPSOnce the campaign to win political will at a cabinet level is over and borough officers are skilled and experienced at delivery, there will still be gaps to fill. Yes, that means gaps in the cycle route network, but importantly also likely in the representativeness of your group.“Reaching our communities is not that difficult. But people may find it hard to trust you. That’s why LCC should make the most of local partnerships and support groups like ours who work with communities in their own language,” Belgizar, Londra Bisiklet KulübüIf all your meetings are in the south of the borough, and car ownership is higher in the north, chances are there’s roads there yet to be tamed. And a whole bunch of potential campaigners out there that never hear from you, who don’t even feel they’re represented by you.Similarly, while we want all borough groups to always be doing outreach (see Stage 1, above), it’s fairly clear that the arrival of really good infrastructure rolling out at pace is the point at which it gets a lot easier to diversify the kind of people who cycle.There are also often huge inequalities in health outcomes between the richest and the poorest in the borough. Often this is due to hostile roads, car dominant environments, pollution levels etc. You should be seeking to focus on the areas with the worst impacts from Stage 1 as part of your work on equality, diversity & inclusion. But when you’re at Stage 4, any remaining gaps will likely be starkly highlightable on this basis.After you fill in geographic and demographic gaps? We’ve yet to work out stage 5 — and it’ll be interesting to see which borough gets there first. But, hey, the Dutch still have cycle campaigners there too!“During a session for children with disabilities, one of the little girls didn’t seem to have any issues at all. It was only at the end when we got off the bikes that it became clear she had cerebral palsy and could hardly walk at all. This is why I want safe streets, why we do what we do,” Mariam Sayed, JoyRiders Britain

Simon Hayes ● 415d0 Comments ● 415d

Bike helmets save lives. No argument.

Dan Walker on his bike crash in Sheffield:‘TV presenter Dan Walker has said wearing a helmet saved his life in a bicycle crash in Sheffield.Mr Walker, 45, said he was hit by a car while cycling on Monday, leaving him "battered and bruised".The Channel 5 presenter, who used to work on BBC Breakfast, was taken to hospital and was "amazed" to have not broken any bones."The helmet I was wearing saved my life today so - if you're on a bike - get one on your head," he tweeted.Mr Walker posted photos from inside a Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) vehicle alongside two members of staff, after the incident on Moore Street in Sheffield city centre on Monday morning.He said he had been "blown away by all the lovely messages" he had received."Very thankful to still be here. I have no memory of anything and just remember coming round on the tarmac with paramedics & police around me," he wrote on Twitter."Smashed my watch & phone, ruined my trousers, my bike is a mess but I'm still here," he added.He said he would be drinking food through a straw following the crash, and thanked the NHS staff for their help during his ordeal.However, he said since posting about the crash he had been lectured by people telling him "bike helmets aren't important"."The emergency services at the scene yesterday told me I probably wouldn't be here if I wasn't wearing one," he added.https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-south-yorkshire-64722710

Simon Hayes ● 417d4 Comments ● 417d

Health risk from Fast Chargers in Public places

To date not one local authority has been able to produce a safety certificate or insurance certificate permitting on street fast chargers.It's not just pacemakers, they can seriously damage Hearing Aids and some older devices as well as electronic chips in Non EV vehicles up to 25ft awayI wonder if Ms. Costigan is aware given her Union role on Heath and safety?  No-one else seems to be including the operators.This is one report of many and in some countries warnings are marked on the pavements.Issue: BCMJ, vol. 63 , No. 3 , April 2021 , Pages 120-121 MDs To BeBy: Caleb A.N. Roda, MDABSTRACT: Patients with cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIEDs) are susceptible to electromagnetic interference and its potential harmful consequences from a variety of sources. Recent widespread consumer adoption of electric vehicles poses a new source of electromagnetic interference in the daily environment for patients with CIEDs. Current research shows no interference for CIED patients charging electric vehicles at low power; however, the effects of high-powered electric vehicle charging have yet to be experientially tested. Understanding the potential consequences of this powerful technology for patients with CIEDs is necessary to keep them safe while progressing toward a more sustainable future.A look at the potential consequences.A+ A-IntroductionCardiac implantable electronic devices (CIEDs), including pacemakers, implantable cardiac defibrillators, and cardiac resynchronization, have become well established standards of care for a variety of tachyarrhythmias, bradyarrhythmias, and in more recent years, heart failure.[1-3] Cardiac implantations have been increasing globally due to improvements in technology, growing medical indications, and an aging population.[4,5] More than 1 million cardiac implants in 61 countries occurred during 2009, a substantial increase over the previous world pacing survey conducted in 2005.[4] CIEDs are known to be susceptible to electromagnetic interface (EMI) from environmental, industrial, and hospital sources.[6-9] The electric current flowing through these sources generates a magnetic field (valid proxy for EMI) that can induce electrical fields in CIED circuitry, leading to pacing inhibition, device reprogramming, and inappropriate shock delivery.[9] Electric vehicles (EVs) have become ubiquitous in the global vehicle market and pose a new potential environmental source of EMI for CIED patients, especially as it pertains to their high-powered charging.[10]Effects of electromagnetic interference on cardiac devicesDuring EV charging, the current flow in the charging cable creates a magnetic field that can potentially induce EMI in nearby devices. It has been experimentally shown that current flowing through an electronic arc welder cable during operation generated a magnetic field strength of 100–130 micro Tesla (µT), and induced inappropriate atrial sensing in a participant with a unipolar sensing pacemaker.[11] Current CIEDs almost exclusively use bipolar leads and have a higher magnetic field threshold of about 300 mT before EMI is apparent.[12,13] Ventricular oversensing is clinically the most relevant problem caused by EMI, which may lead to asystole in the case of pacing inhibition in pacemaker-dependent patients. Device manufacturers have taken many steps to limit EMI on modern CIEDs through shielding, filters, bipolar leads, and components with less ferromagnetic material.[9] Despite these efforts, there remain reports of EMI in the general environment at an incidence of 0.27% per patient per year.[14] As EV charging continues to become more powerful with higher current flow, it is important to test whether charging an EV can generate a magnetic field strong enough to cause EMI in patients with CIEDs.Safety of electronic transportation systemsCurrent research assessing the safety of electrically powered transportation systems for patients with CIEDs shows no measurable interference. Magnetically levitated linear motor cars, trains, trams, and hybrid vehicles have proven to be safe for patients with CIEDs to ride in and or operate.[15-17] More recently, the magnetic fields generated during regular-powered charging of the consumer EVs Volkswagen e-up!, BMW i3, Nissan Leaf, Tesla model 85S, and Tesla model S P90D have been examined on patients with CIEDs.[18,19] The highest magnetic field recorded was 116.5 mT by the Tesla model 85S around the charging cable. In both experiments there were no episodes of over- or undersensing, inappropriate pacing, pacing inhibition, or device reprogramming. Furthermore, Lennerz and colleagues recently published the complete methodological details of their 2018 study, highlighting the wide selection of cardiac devices tested and thus the generalizability of their safety results.[20] Both experiments had a small sample size and were underpowered to detect rare events; nonetheless, CIED patients should feel reassured operating and charging EVs under similar circumstances.High-powered electric vehicle chargingCurrently, EV manufacturers such as Tesla have established a public global network of high-powered charging stations for their vehicles. The “supercharging” offered by Tesla is able to charge their EVs faster using higher current flow. It was shown experimentally that magnetic field strength around the charging cable during Tesla EV charging increased almost proportionally with current flow.[19] Tesla V2 direct current superchargers generate a current flow twelvefold higher than the charging that has been experimentally tested on participants with CIEDs. This creates the potential for generating magnetic fields around the charging cable that exceed the 300 mT shown to cause EMI in unipolar and bipolar CIEDs in vivo.[12,13] Caution is warranted given the gap in knowledge surrounding the effects of high-powered EV charging on CIED function.ConclusionManufacturers of CIEDs are regularly improving their safety and effectiveness; however, these devices are not without risks and will likely continue being susceptible to EMI from a variety of sources. Currently, EV manufacturers offer the capability to charge at much higher powers than previously shown to be safe. More research is needed to elucidate the effects of high-powered EV charging on patients with CIEDs and allow for the continued adoption of more efficient and powerful EVs without sacrificing safety.

Raymond Havelock ● 430d0 Comments ● 430d

Update on energy companies SSE and OVO.

ILLEGAL TRANSFER FROM ENERGY PROVIDER SSE TO OVO.A response given on Trustpilot on 26-1-23  by energy provider SSE regarding my illegal transfer from energy company SSE to energy company OVO which are part of the same company."Hi, Thank you for your recent email, I apologise for the delay in my response.We appreciate you contacting us. When I check your account, it has already been transferred to OVO Energy. As a result, your account has been closed and we no longer have access to it. I suggest you to get in touch with OVO Energy because they are the team that can assist you.Thank you for contacting SSE."John from OVO has informed me that I was tricked by SSE to sign up to OVO with a false promise of a £50 energy credit.And the response given on Trustpilot by OVO. Thanks for getting back to me, Neil.I've checked over your account and I can see you've managed to reach the team. I am sorry that the letter has caused such confusion, but the install would have had to have been with SSE.Thanks,Dave.Both SSE and OVO are continuing to argue that the other party are to blame for the illegal transfer. I have to wait about 7 weeks for SSE and OVO to sort the mess out before the Energy Ombudsman will intervene. Anyone wishing to change energy providers would be wise to check on Trustpilot the company they are thinking of using before deciding. SSE and OVO are having shocking reviews. See part of Which magazine review of OVO below.                                                              "Ovo Energy came near the bottom of the table in 13th place out of 16 energy companies rated by 10,197 members of the public in the annual Which? customer survey. This is a big drop from last year, when it came joint second. It had poor two-star ratings for almost all of the aspects of service we looked at, managing an average three stars for just one - the accuracy of its payments."One dissatisfied customer said: 'It’s impossible to contact them. Online options don’t make it easy to solve problems.'

Neil Milkins ● 437d6 Comments ● 437d

Research: City dwellers in the UK ‘"need more botanical beauty."

Wottasurprise!  As if LBE under Labour give a flying fornication .....A study published today (16 January) to mark Blue Monday – dubbed the most depressing day of the year – reveals that city dwellers feel that a lack of greenery adds to their blues. Research by Mitie’s living wall specialist Biotecture highlights that 66 per cent of people living in urban environments want to see more botanical beauty where they live and that more than 26 per cent are demotivated by the lack of green space, with one in five feeling isolated. Biotecture’s living walls are panels of plants, grown vertically on structures that are either freestanding or attached to walls containing plants that help to clean the air, provide enhanced insulation and shading for buildings, and improve the aesthetics of an area. More than half of the 2,000 people surveyed think there is a lack of investment in urban greening and 43 per cent observe that there is too little space for nature to thrive. As there is limited horizontal space for parks and open areas, 57 per cent of respondents said they wish to see more vertical greenery – such as living walls up the sides of buildings – to make up for the sparsity of ground-level plant life. Others want more trees (43 per cent), flower beds (38 per cent) and grass (36 per cent) – with 78 per cent saying that greenery improves their mental wellbeing. Although 79 per cent of respondents cite the convenience of urban living for work opportunities and social life, 67 per cent would consider moving to a suburb or the countryside to get more out of nature. However, 62 per cent would consider staying in a metropolitan environment if there was more investment in urban greening, citing the key benefits of having cleaner air (47 per cent) and more wildlife (45 per cent). Richard Sabin, managing director of Biotecture said: “Having access to green space shouldn’t just be a bonus when it comes to living in a city, everyone should be able to easily enjoy nature. It’s no surprise people feel demotivated and isolated if they don’t have access to greenery, whether that’s at their place of work, where they live or where they socialize. “But it’s true cities can lack the space, which is why vertical living walls can be a great solution. The countryside has its draws, but it’s easy to see why people love living an urban life. Plants and greenery can make our cities healthier, happier, and more resilient to climate change.” 16 January 2023 Deborah Shrewsbury, The PlannerSOURCE:   https://www.planningportal.co.uk/services/weekly-planning-news/planning-news-19-january-2023#research:-city-dwellers-in-the-uk-'need-more-botanical-beauty'

Rosco White ● 450d0 Comments ● 450d