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  • Adam Hardy 2:46 pm on September 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Love Clean Streets app – nice work @IslingtonBC 

    Impressive stuff, wouldn’t it be great if everything worked like this: Clean Islington reports

    We need more people using this app!

    It also seems to work seamlessly with Haringey BC across the other side of Stroud Green Road.


    • susan640 8:47 am on September 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I have just had a look at the Clean Islington web(?)site which also uses this address: I don’t know how much publicity this facility has been given, but the more people who know that they can report offensive material on our streets, and tripping dangers like potholes or loose pavings, on a ward by ward basis, the better. The reports can be viewed collectively ward by ward as they come in. Hillrise has no reports yet, is it possible that it is pristine? I think it more likely that residents have not realised that this is a nifty new reporting method, many thanks to Islington Council for setting it up.

  • susan640 2:02 pm on September 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Merchants of Doubt; climatechange deniers; big tobacco; DDT; big coal; big oil   

    Film: Merchants of Doubt showing tonight at the Highgate Institute 

    Merchants of Doubt Film
    Tues 20th Sept:
    Venue: Highgate Literary and Scientific Institution (HLSI) Pond Sq Highgate N6 .

    Film: Based on the book of the same name by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway. The documentary interprets the book to expose the techniques adopted by a small number of Americans, backed by commercial interests and free maker and libertarian mindsets to spread misinformation and pseudo science regarding tobacco smoke, DDT, acid rain and now Global Warming. The book is a shocking expose, well written, possibly a little heavy going in places, but essential reading for anyone concerned with human health and environmental security. The film should be a short-cut to understanding the book.

    Time: 8pm Free Admission

    HLSI Science Group and Yransition Highgate together with the Highgate Film Society

  • susan640 1:29 pm on September 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: consultation, Parks; open spaces   

    30 September is the (official) deadline for comments on the future of our green spaces – PLEASE RESPOND. 

    Reminder: 30 September is the (official) deadline for comments on the future of our green spaces. Responses can be submitted via link below. As recent local press coverage demonstrates, we’re already seeing the effects of budget cut-backs on our local parks as these are used for commercial money-making activities. The row over the future of Barnard Park is partly about this. Meantime Spa Fields was recently closed for filming without warning to local residents, while no date has yet been fixed for the planning application for a market inside Mary Magdalene Gardens (which will net little, if any income for the council after the church/applicant have taken their cuts). Again, in the LB Islington, Paradise Park was closed twice during the hot summer weather for deeply unrestful and unquiet funfair.

    • Meg Howarth 1:34 pm on September 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for posting, Sue.
      Would IWWG like to submit a group response, alongside individual contributions? It might carry more weight.

  • Adam Hardy 9:47 am on September 19, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Meadow cutting at Talacre Gardens NW5 – #rurallondon :) 

    Just a pity it’s not at the weekend – I guess there’d be too much risk of scythe-related injuries to the general public.

    Camden Green Gym – Meadow cutting at Talacre Gardens

    Thursday, Sep 22, 2016, 10:45 AM

    Talacre Gardens
    Prince of Wales Road Entrance NW5 3AF London, GB

    1 Members Attending

    Help us to preserve this site’s beauty and wildlife while improving your health. We will be working on the the Talacre Gardens meadow, supporting the thriving bee and butterfly biodiversity. The Green Gym® is a unique way to get fit, transform the environment, meet new people and learn new skills. Each day starts with a warm up and finishes with a …

    Check out this Meetup →

  • Adam Hardy 11:00 am on September 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    litter, rubbish and dumping @islingtonbc 

    It’s just daft that everyone puts their rubbish out on the streets in plastic bags, which seems to be council-backed policy. Here’s one on Oxford Street that is ready to unleash a whole load of polystyrene packing noodles down the street as soon as a car hits it.


    And here’s another one on my street that just got hit:


    I know the lady who runs that shop in the background and she takes care that it looks nice, so I didn’t stop by for fear of hearing a tirade about it.

    LB Islington have brought out a smartphone app for reporting this kind of thing. It uses GPS to grab your location and allows you to upload photos.

    LB Islington Street Cleansing smartphone app

    I’m going to be using it on a daily basis and hopefully I’ll be able to report back positively.

    For non-smartphone  owners, there is also the possibility to make reports via the LB Islington website ‘myAccount’ page.

    Things to do backlog includes finding out which councillor to hassle about their policy. I know in other places people can’t just leave stuff to be taken away – especially firms, shops and restaurants – they actually have to be there when the collection lorry arrives and then bring it all out. I can’t see that being popular, but there must be other alternatives.

    • Meg Howarth 5:25 pm on September 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Fly-tipping/heavy-duty dumping also a problem. Have long asked council to be pro-active in promoting its heavy-household item collection – free up to four times a year. In my street, we’re hoping to have cycle-parking planters installed to reduce the former which is sometimes found on a corner. A reminder, too, that in addition to Adam’s recommended means of communication, the council’s Twitter account – @IslingtonBC – is an effective way of reporting not only litter.

    • Adam Hardy 6:47 pm on September 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, they replied already asking where that bin bag in the street was! But still, I don’t want to feel required to report all the bin bags I see lying around and torn open. They shouldn’t be there in the first place. What is the council doing? Some kind of misguided just-in-time management?

    • Adam Hardy 8:37 pm on September 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Used the smartphone app today to upload a photo along with the GPS location of some litter and a forlorn rubbish sack. I was on the west side of Stroud Green Road, but still it was processed by Haringey, and has now been closed 12 hours later. I’ll double check tomorrow morning on the way past.

  • susan640 1:54 pm on September 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: PUNL; solar; M&S Energy;   


    Power Up North London’s solar panels share offer has been fully subscribed very quickly! PUNL would once again like to thank the 60 amazing people who invested in their first share offer, which has meant that they can go ahead with their project at St. Anne’s Brookfield in time to meet the September 29 deadline for Feed- in- Tariff registration.

    That’s a great green success!.

    PUNL are hoping to go one better and get battery storage for their pristine electricity as well. They’ve entered a competition from the M&S energy fund to install a battery storage system alongside the panels at St. Anne’s Church. this would allow the Church to use the energy in the evenings too, so they don’t have to sell as much back to the grid. Please click here:

    and click the “vote for project to win” button at the top of the page to vote and help PUNL take the project to the next level!

    • Kate Calvert 2:09 pm on September 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      This really encouraging news – part of a positive story. Good Energy reports that already, despite minimal government support, 25% of UK’s power comes from renewables.

      Now we just need to build on that. The Guardian was reporting that for the cost of Hinkley Point we could fund much more sustainable renewable power which would generate for far longer.

  • Adam Hardy 4:01 pm on August 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: garden birds, wildlife   

    Feeding garden birds …and skirmishes with freeloading pigeons and squirrels 

    A 12-kilo sack of birds seed from the RSPB costs about £20 when on offer, which is the cheapest I’ve found it anywhere for the type of seed that’s meant to attract chaffinches and goldfinches (inc. sunflower seeds, millet and canary seed).

    However that’s still expensive when it seems that something is managing to empty the bird feeder in one day, which is what kept happening. This was my naive first attempt with the bird feeders – just hanging it from a tree.


    I soon discovered it was squirrels. Luckily they didn’t destroy the feeder, according to some comments on the RSPB website reviews.

    So we bought a pole to put the feeder on, the idea being that the squirrels wouldn’t be able to shimmy up the pole. But they did. So we bought a pole extension and made the squirrels perform Olympic feats to get their bird seed. Which they did.


    We even greased the top of the pole with bicycle grease. This little trick didn’t stop them either.

    So we deployed the “cone” after consulting the reviews on all the “feeder defence” products at the RSPB website.


    This finally stopped the squirrels. Admittedly, at first we had positioned the pole too close to the wall and the tree, and the squirrels could still leap across and land on the feeder. Once we’d moved the pole out of range, it was fine. As long as they didn’t evolve wing-suits like their North American cousins, the gliding squirrels.

    So all was fine and dandy in the garden for a while, although the feeder cone looked a tad ugly and the whole thing got covered pretty fast in blue tit guano.

    Our garden got a reputation among the bird life and we were visited daily by a charm of goldfinches (that is the correct collective noun for goldfinches!).

    However, the peace was not to last. The pigeons learnt to land on the bird feeder and feed on it, despite huge amounts of flapping and scratching. This way they could empty the feeder in one day. So I purchased an ‘arm’ to hang the bird feeder from. If the bird feeder is not firm and stable, the pigeons can’t land on it. Instead, they managed to knock the whole thing off.


    I came home one day to find the feeder on the ground, with a pigeon, a squirrel and a rat feasting on the contents.

    So back to the RSPB website. Following advice in reviews of various feeders, I think I now have the ultimate solution. The Fort Knox bird feeder.


    It’s not exactly pretty, but then, hey, this is London.

    • Kate Calvert 4:19 pm on August 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I do have a grudging respect for the efforts of the squirrels, though a friend who grows beans would quite happily have the squirrels in her pot as well after the havoc they wreak.

      The wood pigeons on the other hand this year have eaten every one of our lovely cherries. Maybe we need a fort knox for cherry trees.

      • Adam Hardy 5:43 pm on August 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        My brother has put up netting right over his whole cherry tree. You have to find a compromise between getting your fruit apparently, and destroying the atmosphere of your garden. Our enemies are not the wood pigeons, which I like, but the feral pigeons. In fact I’m sure it was only one pigeon that did it. I saw it hanging around constantly, perched innocently on a branch.

  • susan640 11:46 am on August 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply  


    Have you ever wondered what goes on in the park after the gates are closed? Waterlow Park is home to more than one species of bat who wait until we’re gone before emerging in search of food.

    Next Saturday, 3rd September at 7.30, just as the gates are locked, the Friends of Waterlow Park are conducting a bat walk. A local bat expert will take us in search of these elusive night flyers with the help of special bat detectors and tell you everything you ever wanted to know about native bats.

    Why don’t you join us? Tickets £5 each but we are limited by numbers, so if you’re interested, book soon. You can buy online by clicking on the link below, or if you prefer to pay by cheque, call Patricia Walby on 07710312105.

    We will meet at the Lauderdale House gate at 7.30pm and the walk will finish at 9pm in the same place.

    • Adam Hardy 10:55 am on September 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Sue, did you go? I was disappointed not to make it because we were away but I would love to go if they do it again. My cousin who’s an ecologist said that it’s late in the season for them though.

      • susan640 1:26 pm on September 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Sorry, but I didn’t go, I was away at the time. But SO glad to know that they have bats in Waterlow Park. Should be not surprising as the fantastic wildlife site of Highgate Cemetery is next door.

  • Kate Calvert 7:53 am on August 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Antarctica, ice melt, sea levels   

    Antarctic Problems 

    Info provided by Northumbria Uni in the hope of recruiting more students – but worrying stuff

    Fresh understanding of West Antarctica has revealed how the region’s ice sheet could become unstable in a warming world.

    Scientists from Northumbria University, the University of Edinburgh, Newcastle University and the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre, have determined how the West Antarctic Ice Sheet reacted to a period of warming after the coldest point of the most recent Ice Age, some 21,000 years ago.

    As the Earth warmed, the ice sheet reached a tipping point after which it thinned relatively quickly, losing 400m of thickness in 3,000 years, researchers found. This caused sea levels around the world to increase by up to two metres. Their findings will help scientists understand how the region may behave under future environmental change.

    Researchers studied peaks protruding through ice in the Ellsworth Mountains on the Atlantic coast of the continent, to determine how the land’s ice coverage has changed since the Ice Age. Scientists used chemical technology – known as exposure dating – to calculate how long rocks on the mountainside had been free from ice cover. They used their results to determine how the height of the ice sheet had changed over thousands of years.

    They found that this sector of the ice sheet – close to the Weddell Sea – had remained covered with thick ice long after other parts of the Earth had begun to emerge from the Ice Age. Heavier snowfall, caused by warmer air, probably helped to maintain the ice thickness. As the seas warmed, ice at the coast began to be lost to the oceans. Eventually, a tipping point was reached after which the ice sheet thinned more rapidly, retreating inland. The study was published in Nature Communications. It was supported by the Natural Environment Research Council.

    Professor John Woodward, of Northumbria University, said: “Ice sheets never quite respond in the way we would expect – in a warming world some ice sheets become unstable and collapse, yet some grow larger due to increased snow fall. This study helps us understand the timing of such responses in west Antarctica.”

    Dr Andrew Hein of the University of Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences, who jointly led the study, concurred, saying: “West Antarctica has undergone complex changes since the last Ice Age, and it quickly became unstable – similar processes may dominate the future of the region in a warmer world.”

    Cold and paleo environments are one of Northumbria’s research specialisms in the Department of Geography. Research involves field based projects in cold regions across the globe, including Antarctica, a range of high Arctic European and Canadian sites, New Zealand, the Alps, Alaska and Chile.

    The group applies novel techniques to field data collection, including ground-penetrating radar, new borehole radar technologies, seismics, NIR camera techniques, meteorological monitoring technologies, the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and terrestrial laser scanning (TLS), to address fundamental questions in Earth Systems Science. Cutting-edge physical and numerical modelling, remote sensing and laboratory techniques for palaeo-environmental work are also applied.

  • Adam Hardy 8:32 pm on August 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: litter   

    Starting campaign against litter, rubbish and dumping @islingtonbc 

    I went on holiday for a week to the countryside and talked to a couple of people who both said, “Oh London is great for a day but I couldn’t live there, too dirty!”.

    I’ve always known it’s dirty but I’m sure like everyone else here I manage to block it out and not be bothered by it most of the time.

    On the beach on holiday, we picked up and threw away the half dozen or so bits of rubbish that we came across during the day. At home again last Sunday, we went to the park and within 5 minutes had seen about 100 bits of rubbish and litter. I explained to my 4-year-old that we would never get anything else done if we spent all our time picking up all the litter we saw here.

    And at the moment it is actually clean around here compared to June and July!


    This bag has been sitting on our pavement right outside our church since before we went away and it’s still there. I couldn’t pick it up because it’s so heavy so I left it.

    I see 2 problems:

    • the way rubbish is collected by Islington BC and everyone and every business leaving rubbish in fragile plastic bags that spill frequently and let their contents blow down the street
    • the general grottiness of much of our neighbourhoods with bad paving, lack of greenery, miserable architecture, damaged and delapidated street furniture all doesn’t inspire anyone to think twice about dropping litter or dumping their unwanted stuff out on the street for someone else to deal with

    Let’s start letting people in the council know that this depressing and grotty situation has to change.

    Fortunately LB Islington have made it easy with an app: Islington Street Cleansing

    Next post, I’ll put up the link to email the councillors.


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