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  • Kate Calvert 2:45 pm on May 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    So Boris Did Know How Bad the Air Pollution Was 

    A report in the Guardian reveals that Sadiq Khan after less than a week as mayor has unearthed a report on air pollution around primary schools Presumably the new mayor didn’t actually trawl through the documents himself. More likely some incredibly frustrated officer brought it to his attention pretty much the minute he stepped through City Hall door.

    Bottom line is that 433 schools in the capital are located in areas that exceed EU limits for nitrogen dioxide pollution – and four-fifths of those are in deprived areas. The report itself is at (you may need to sign in to read it).

    The article confirms that more than 9,000 people a year in the capital die early from illegal levels of NO2. London has been in breach of the EU NO2 limits since 2010 and is not expected to meet them until 2025. And in January this year parts of London breached annual limits within a week of the year beginning.

    Looks like Simon Birkett of Clean Air in London might be right when he says that Sadiq Khan is coming to London’s rescue in the nick of time.

    • Sydney Charles 3:11 pm on May 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Shocking. On the legal side I wonder how Sadiq Khans intention to enter into the Client Earth litigation to Defra as an interested party, whilst London was cited as partly responsible will play out. Interesting timing to sue Boris for deliberately causing childrens ill health. (though of course the actual significance of the results are the most important aspect.)

    • susan640 3:28 pm on May 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Islington’s Copenhagen School is singled out in the Guardian’s article as enduring average NO2 levels of 60.2 micrograms per cubic metre, well above the EU’s objective of 40micrograms, and placing Copenhagen amongst the 20 most affected schools in London.

      I look forward to Boris’ explanation as to why he did not properly publicise the study.

    • Meg Howarth 6:18 pm on May 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Wouldn’t put too much store by the new mayor’s promises just yet. The day before what appears like a cover-up, Khan overturned cleared the runway for the expansion of City Airport – by overturning the ban on a CPO (compulsory purchase order) of Royal Docks land. This was his first official policy decision.

      The area around the airport is densely residential, with high levels of already-existing noise-pollution.

  • susan640 9:48 am on May 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Solar power; renewable energy; Power Up North London;   


    Posting up a message from Camden Green Councillor and newly elected GLA member Sian Berry:

    “A planning application I fully support! The excellent Power Up North London group have teamed up with St Anne’s church to put solar panels on the south facing roof. This will generate clean energy for the church building and be a good investment for the rest of us too, bringing returns for community backers.

    Camden’s planning officers are concerned about the views of the church from the Heath and the effect on the listed building, but the roof itself isn’t part of the architecture that led to the listing – this is the lovely spire and the stained glass windows – and the panels will blend in with the existing roof colour so the visual effect will be barely noticeable.

    The planning application needs your support to get past these concerns – so please take a moment to add your views to Camden’s consultation, saying that the church’s appearance will be unspoiled and that you support the plans to bring clean, green energy to Highgate.

    It only takes a few moments – click here to leave a comment – application number 2016/1791/P

    More information here too:” including photographs of the Church.


  • Kate Calvert 10:32 pm on May 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Invest in Renewables? 

    Thrive Renewables is looking for investors, offering up to 3 million Secured Bonds with a nominal value of £1 each.

    Thrive Renewables plc is a renewables energy group which develops, constructs and operates a portfolio of renewable energy projects. It was established in 1994 by Triodos Bank, and today owns and operates 15 renewable energy projects across the UK – 14 windfarms and one hydro power project. The combined capacity of these is enough to power around 44,000 homes.

    The company has now identified opportunities to develop two single turbine projects in Aberdeenshire and has secured lease agreements with farm owners in locations with average wind speeds of 7.2 metres per second.

    Usually power companies look for big, institutional investors but Thrive says, ‘It is important to us to make this bond offer accessible to as many people as possible, so we’ve set the minimum investment at £250. We’ve also introduced a new initiative that makes the bond offer available to communities around the two wind farms.’

    If you like the sound of it, there are more details at

  • Kate Calvert 10:16 pm on May 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Germany’s Power 100% Renewable For First Time 

    Camapign group 350.0rg reports that close to 4000 people from all over Europe this weekend shut down one of the continent’s biggest and dirtiest polluters, a lignite opencast coal mine in Germany. Germany then showed how it could break free from fossil fuels by producing 100% of its electricity consumption from renewables.

    For more details see the film at or the Facebook page at



    • Adam Hardy 9:00 pm on May 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Amazingly under-reported. I did a google-news search for it and the only agency carrying the story was the German international radio website.

  • susan640 3:02 pm on May 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Energy Efficiency; SuperHome; Retrofitting; Climate Change; Sustainability;   


    The Muswell Hill Sustainability Group have got together with 21st Century Homes to organise two open days when local homeowners who have retrofitted their homes in various ways to conserve energy and save money will be opening their doors to show visitors what they have done.

    Please see more details on the website, and book (advance booking essential) :

  • Kate Calvert 5:39 pm on May 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: city national parks, city parks, parks   

    More Power to Parks 



    Fedenatur founded in 1995, and EUROPARC founded in 1973, are two European organisations covering land equivalent to all of Italy and Luxemburg in city, marine and country parks.

    These ‘periurban’ parks see up to 34.000 visitors a day, and Fedenatur member parks around towns and cities serve almost 24 million people. Combining the 73 million people who visit, the 56 million who live beside and 4 million who live in parks awarded with EUROPARC’s charter for Sustainable Tourism, the members of the combined organisation are reported to serve at least 25% of the European population.



    The two organisations are now combining. Let’s hope they can pick up on the idea of national parks in cities  with all the benefits that would bring to air quality, mental health, and pleasure in the city.


  • susan640 1:55 pm on May 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: wildflowers; biodiversty; Grow Wild Project;   

    Wildflower Planting in Pauntley Street (end of Harberton Road), N19 


    Whitehall Park resident Dorothy Boswell teamed up with St Andrew’s youth worker, and obtained wildflower seeds from Kew Gardens as part of the national Grow Wild Project Consequently, on Sunday St Andrew’s Kids Church had a great time planting wildflower seeds in the green verge in Pauntley Street, N19

    Narcissus planted by Dorothy earlier are still flowering in this patch, and cow parsley and green alkanet are currently making this verge look like the country. Green alkanet is particularly favoured by bees. Hopefully Islington’s Greenspace will delay mowing everything until the end of the season so that the new seeds can grow.

    Whitehall Park seems favoured by the tiny holly blue butterfly just now – after a run of disappointing years the holly blue can be seen fluttering around our streets and gardens. They use holly for their spring broods, and ivy flowers for their September broods.

    dorothy2 dorothy 1
  • Kate Calvert 10:41 am on May 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Good Energy; Scotland; falling carbon emissions   

    Quarter of UK’s Energy from Renewables 

    Good Energy has just reported that renewables (sun, wind and rain-powered) now account for 25% of the UK’s electricity, just 5% behind gas and ahead of both coal and nuclear which account for 23% and 21%.

    Renewables were at 4% just 10 years ago, so they’ve grown by more than 20% in those 10 years.


    The biggest strides have been made in Scotland which last year sourced 57.7% of its electricity from renewable sources, meeting its 50% target by some margin. This comes soon after the closure of the last coal plant in Scotland, marking a significant step in the move away from fossil fuels.

    Good Energy believes the tide has now turned, with UK carbon dioxide emissions dropping below 500 million tonnes for the first time since Queen Victoria was on the throne. They argue that with evidence showing that economic growth and emissions have been truly decoupled, it’s time to pick up the pace.


  • Adam Hardy 10:25 pm on April 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    London Wild Birds – first the comprehensive list so I can scan down it and tick off what I know 

    Still totally pleased that we’ve got goldfinches in the garden.

    I’ll look into finding a better way of doing this but I figured I’d just get some lists of wildlife up onto the net first.

    Birds first – and I found the definitive guide.

    Attached is a spreadsheet – click here for the source – “avibase” – who claim this is the definitive list of London birds. I’m not sure I’ll see any of these swans in my garden, but it’s fun checking. Even with the Latin.

    It’s going to take a while to work this one out.

    6 types of thrush to choose from!

    God knows what the sea-gulls are that fly around over the house in the mornings or pass over in flocks in the evenings.

    Plus there are the swifts / swallows / house martins to identify.


    I’m going to include birds that I see near-by as well, because I know there are various birds around the area which I never see in my garden.

    So – 371 bird species is the total possible we could see around London.


    • Kate C 2:48 pm on May 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      We have a very urban garden with Victorian cobbles on the ground, but visiting the flowerbeds we have had:

      Sparrows – either single or a couple
      Blue tits – generally a pair
      Blackbirds – generally a pair. At one point there was a nesting pair, but the jays generally got the young.

      More widely we see
      Jays – generally a pair
      Gulls – I guess either herring gulls (grey backs with pink legs), or black-backed (darker grey back and yellow legs)

      Will post more details if we see more over the summer.

      And last summer we did spot bats so hope to see more this coming summer.

    • susan640 2:35 pm on May 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      The first pair of swifts were spotted by someone in Whitehall Park five days ago. I think the sudden warm weather will bring them over from the south.

      In our garden we also get chaffinches, coal tits, great tits, wrens, blackcaps sometimes in the winter, woodpigeons, and occasionally, a goldcrest. Sometimes green parakeets in the street, and very occasionally a common thrush, and a greater spotted woopecker, Once, fairly recently, I heard tawny owls hooting at the top of Ashmount Road. In general, though, the number and range of birds in our garden has declined over the last few years, despite all year feeding, and I think this is due to magpie predation. We now have permanent magpies in the back gardens behind our house, and they eat the nestlings. We lost our sparrow colony probably ten years ago, sparrows seem to have a problem finding enough insects to feed their nestlings. Elthorne Park is managed in a wildlife-friendly way, as is the Sunnyside Community Garden, and they both support lots of birds, I have seen thrushes there, but not sure if they have sparrows.

  • Kate Calvert 4:10 pm on April 27, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Hampstead Heath; mayor; Clean Air London   

    More on London Air Quality 

    Now it’s leafy Hampstead’s turn to discover that the rarified air you breath around the Heath is not so rarified at all. NO2 readings have been reported by the Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum at

    The tests found that pollution at locations with heavy traffic, such as Spaniards Inn and the top of Arkwright Road, were approaching double the legal limit of 40 micrograms per cubic metre. That is perhaps to be expected. But even at Viaduct Pond on Hampstead Heath, away from any roads and surrounded by trees, the NO2 level was half the legal limit.

    It really is time for action on London’s Air Quality and Clean Air London is helping with that. As the mayoral candidates release their policy proposals they are being ranked at

    As of posting this the ratings are:

    Sian Berry              10

    Caroline Pidgeon  8

    Sadiq Khan            6

    Zac Goldsmith       4.5



    • Meg Howarth 10:04 am on April 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Re mayoral elections: a reminder for those thinking of voting for Sian Berry that it’s possible to do so twice: once as mayor and once as London-wide Assembly Member (she’s top of the Green Party list for latter).

      Earlier this week, she was nominated top of the National Federation of Housing hustings by the deputy editor of Inside Housing, the influential and respected weekly on social-housing matters. Caroline Pidgeon came second, mirroring Clean Air London’s air-quality placings posted by Kate above. Labour, represented by Islington’s James Murray, executive council member for the borough’s housing, came third.

      Why was Murray speaking – as he’s not a candidate in 5 May elections? Because neither Sadiq Khan nor Zac Goldsmith bothered to attend the hustings despite housing topping the list of Londoners’ concerns (air-quality a close second). Seems Khan said he needed to be in HoC to speak/vote (on unaccompanied refugee children) though an Inside Housing analysis of timings shows he could have attended both events – nor, in the end, did he speak in the parliamentary debate.

      And so to the interesting revelation that James Murray is tipped to become ‘deputy mayor for housing’ in the event of a Labour win. How so, as he’s not standing for election? Because the post is a political appointment, not an election position.

      Political patronage is clearly alive and well…

      The (excellent) GLA booklet ‘Have your say’ – with its short manifestos from all candidates – should have dropped through letter-boxes last week. Let’s all think carefully before we vote. This is only a contest between Labour and Tory if we make it so.

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