Why I’m Going Hungry This Weekend

This weekend I will be going on hunger strike.

Compared to some of the comrades who will be taking this action alongside me, I won’t be going that long without food (2 ½ – 3 days). But it should still be an interesting experience.

We are doing this for two reasons: firstly, we wish to highlight the madness and short termism of a government that wants to build an unnecessary 3rd runway at Heathrow. This expansion will bring negligible economic benefits to the country as a whole (as has been confirmed by the government’s own economic studies on the subject).

So the benefits will be little – however the impact on an already strained environment will be great. Air pollution, noise pollution and traffic congestion, already considerable in London, will be further proliferated.

But the greatest price we will pay for this vanity project is the acceleration effect towards catastrophic climate change that this will have. Aviation is one of the biggest contributors towards an atmosphere already heaving with human generated CO2.

And here we have a government that pays lip service to climate action while favouring the car industry and pushing fracking (even being prepared to override democracy) at the expense of clean, renewable energy sources.

We need to make a stand, now.

3 Line Whip

Jeremy Corbyn, if he is serious about climate action as he claims he is, needs to impose a 3 line whip on his Labour MP’s to vote AGAINST this disastrous expansion.

That’s why we’ll be sitting outside Labour Party HQ (105 Victoria St, Westminster, London SW1E 6QT) every day from Saturday 9th June: to put pressure on Mr Corbyn to do exactly this.

I will be with them on Saturday 9th between Midday and 4PM, then on Sunday 10th and Monday 11th June between 8AM and 1PM.

And then my hardier comrades will continue the hunger strike into the week.

Why not come and say hello to us, and lend us your support?

#No3rdRunway #StopHeathrowExpansion #RisingUp

Manifesto: 2018 Council Elections

We love Ealing, and we want to keep it wonderful for you by adding a Green voice to Ealing Council.

You have three votes.  Make one of them Green where you live on 3 May to get a collaborative, innovative councillor in your area.  If elected, we promise:

  • Green spaces: 

    We will protect, enhance and grow our green spaces, both parks and natural habitats.  We want a pesticide-free Ealing, with big plans to reduce plastics and fossil fuel use.  We will do everything we can to keep Warren Farm and all Metropolitan Open Land for the common good.  London can truly be a National Park City.

  • Democracy and transparency:

    We will always listen, and put residents first in everything we do. We work for you and will publish all the data, minutes and decisions we can.

  • Housing:

    We have bold ideas that are an alternative to runaway development and high rise flats.  We will be a voice for residents.  We will provide resident-led, genuinely affordable housing on existing developed land, with holistic planning.  We’ll change the Council Tax rules to make sure homes are for people to live in, not empty shells for investors. We endorse and will deliver Community Land Trusts.

  • Cinema:

    We will actually deliver a cinema.

  • Safety:

    We will make our streets and public open spaces safer and more pleasant for everyone, with reduced traffic. Walking and cycling must be safe and accessible.  Uxbridge Road and other roads need a Healthy Streets rethink.

  • Health:

    We must save Ealing Hospital as well as the rest of the NHS. Read more here.

  • Security and wellbeing:

    We will keep you safe and healthy, working with police and voluntary groups to help the most vulnerable.

  • Air pollution:

    We will make Ealing and Hanwell more beautiful and tranquil, with less noise and air pollution.  We will divest Ealing’s fossil fuel pensions.

  • Poverty:

    We promote dignity, equality, social justice and human rights for all. Nobody in Ealing will be homeless.

  • Local business:

    We will champion and revitalise local businesses and good jobs, listening to what support local entrepreneurs need while working nationally to prevent a hard Brexit.

  • HS2:

    We will make the redevelopment of Old Oak Common a ‘people’s’ development, fighting to mitigate pollution, disruption and noise from HS2 and its construction for local residents.

  • Heathrow:

    We will genuinely oppose Heathrow expansion and the noise and pollution that would bring, while protecting local jobs and making the existing airport a better neighbour.

‘8 for 2018’ by Stop Killing Cyclists

Stop Killing Cyclists

 

Stop Killing Cyclists

The campaign group Stop Killing Cyclists are asking Londoners to write to political leaders and candidates standing in the local elections in May to incorporate eight demands into their manifestos.

They are not all easy to implement and would need careful consideration and consultation with our fellow Ealing residents.

However, each demand is crucial to the health and safety of people living in Ealing, whether they are cyclists or not.

Ealing Council has been making positive movements in the right direction, but needs a Green voice to push the current initiatives further, and drive for new ones like a CSH quality segregated cycleway along Uxbridge Road, and the Mini Holland already specified in our original 2014 Mini Holland bid.

Therefore, the Ealing Green Party will commit to endeavouring to meet these demands,  and influencing other parties to implement them, should we be elected to the council in May.

Mini Holland and protected cycleways

Demands 1 and 3 refer to the creation of a ‘Mini-Holland’ and newly protected cycleways.

Ealing Council and Ealing Cycling Campaign have already carried out a lot of analysis and planning for their Mini Holland bid in 2014 and we will update and adapt this existing plan. Uxbridge Road is a prime candidate for a properly protected cycleway. We will insist that the current patchwork of substandard cycle route is upgraded to CSH standards.

Demand 7 refers to the danger of left-hand turns. We would fully support the introduction of protected left-hand turns and T-junction bypasses at traffic lights for cyclists where they don’t currently exist and audit the ones that are currently in place. We will push for the publication of the Uxbridge Road safety audit and ensure that its recommendations are actioned quickly and effectively.

If we are successful at implementing demand 1 and 3, we believe the safe left-hand turns should be addressed at the same time. In areas where we have not yet secured protected cycle lanes, we would want protected left-hand turns and bypasses created as soon as possible in consultation with the local community to better understand where these are most needed.

As part of our commitment to safer cycling, we currently support Cycle Superhighway 9 from Brentford to Kensington Olympia via Chiswick. In consultation with Ealing residents, we would also ask TfL for our own Cycle Superhighway for Ealing along Uxbridge Road.

Speed limits and traffic-free high streets

Demand 4 asks for a 20 mile per hour speed limit throughout the borough and Demand 6 asks for a traffic-free high street with a cycleway through it.

Given much of Ealing is currently under 20mph limits we would work to ensure the 20mph limit is implemented Borough-wide. We would also work with the Police to start to enforce this limit.

Driving in London is extremely frustrating as it is so congested, and drivers often forget that everywhere they go there will be people walking and cycling. With the 20 miles per hour speed limit we would greatly reduce the risk of accidents by vehicle collisions. People in Ealing are taking to walking and cycling at an increasing rate, we hope that safer roads will encourage even more people to do so. We believe this will help decrease the number of cars on the road.

Many high streets in other areas of London and throughout the UK have become pedestrianised successfully. We would support pedestrianisation of Ealing high streets in close consultation with local residents and businesses. Since West Ealing has won the Liveable Neighbourhoods funding we will work to ensure it delivers on its initial promise and provides a safe, liveable active travel area for all ages.

Money

Demand 2 of the 8 for 2018 campaign asks that the equivalent of £20 per person per year is spent on protected cycling infrastructure in the borough from the Council’s budget. Promoting cycling is a high priority for the Ealing Green Party in the view of air pollution reduction, health benefits through exercise, and reduction of risk of traffic accidents. We would, therefore, support this demand and commit at least £20 per person per year is spent on protected cycling infrastructure.

Ealing council vehicles

Demand 5 and 8 refer to the vehicles used by the council itself.

Demand 5 asks that the council encourages its staff to go to and from council business by bicycle instead of motor vehicle, where practical. We strongly support this. With the government’s Cycle Scheme in the workplace and initiatives such as the Santander Bikes and the newly introduced Mobikes, we feel people have genuine access to bicycles and therefore have no substantial reason for getting into a car. Especially with the right infrastructure, cycling to and from meetings will be much more time effective than cars or even public transport for short distances, and following their introduction in other councils, Ebikes for longer journeys.

Demand 8 refers to blind-spot equipment in the HGVs owned by Ealing Council, their contractors and their subcontractors. Ealing Council has already installed Cycle Safety Shield System in all its large vehicles and Ealing Green Party will insist that all HGVs that work within the Borough are equipped with the system or similar.

However, we do believe that HGVs and cyclists should not be sharing the same road space in the first place, so this demand would be implemented in parallel our efforts to create segregated and protected cycle paths. We do not want a false sense of security that blind-spot equipment could potentially provide and we do not want this demand to detract from the need of protected cycle paths.

For your information, the demands of the ‘8 for 2018’ campaign are listed below:

8 for 2018

 

  1. MINI-HOLLAND

 

Will you draw up and submit a bid for funding from the London Mayor’s Healthy Neighbourhoods Fund, plans to create a mini-Holland and a linked genuine Quietway route with roads closed to through vehicular traffic and removed parking, in Ealing  (Name locations of proposed Mini-Holland and Quietway route) in the first year of new administration?

 

  1. £20/PERSON/YEAR

 

Will you commit to spend the equivalent of a minimum of £20/person/year on protected cycling infrastructure in the Borough from your Borough’s own funds, to complement the funding committed by the London Mayor?

 

  1. NEW PROTECTED CYCLEWAY

 

Will you commit to creating and completing a fully protected new cycle-lane, connecting with the proposed expanded London’s Mayor’s Protected Cycle Network along a major road maintained by the Borough?  (Name the road/route you will create this on).

  1. 20 MPH BOROUGH WIDE SPEED LIMIT:

Will you implement a 20mph speed limit on all Borough maintained roads?

  1. COUNCIL BUSINESS BY BIKE

Will you initiate a programme to ensure staff vehicular travel on council business will instead be undertaken by bike, where practical?

  1. TRAFFIC FREE HIGH-STREET

Will you create a new vehicular traffic-free high-street with cycle-route through it? (Name which local high-street).

  1. PROTECTED LEFT-HAND TURNS

Will you introduce protected left-hand turns and T-junction bypasses at traffic light controlled junctions where there are low levels of pedestrians, as standard practice on relevant borough controlled junctions?

  1. SAFER HGVs

Will you install blind-spot CCTV equipment in all your EALING council HGVs, sign up your council to the CLOCS HGV safety scheme, to demonstrate a timeline for all your service vehicles (e.g. HGVs) to be FORs Gold within 5 years and make any new vehicle purchases direct vision lorries (in line with above and new 5* direct vision standard) and demand the same of any contractors working for the council or sub-contractors.

 

2000 Ealing Communities Face Ten Years In The Centre Of HS2 Old Oak Common Construction Site

Ealing Green Party is working with Amanda Souter, community advocate and local Old Oak Common HS2 campaigner, to help mitigate the devastating effects of HS2 on Ealing communities.

2,000 residents who live close to the HS2 Old Oak Common station will face some of the worst impacts of any community along the length of the HS2 line. Click on the below link for an illustration of what the residents will face in the coming years.

HS2 Map of Old Oak Common

  • The construction will take eight years and starts this year
  • The massive construction sites at Old Oak Common will take construction waste from Camden and Hillingdon
  • The waste will be carried across the area by a combination of up to 700 two-way HGV journeys per day and a vast conveyor belt that runs behind gardens in Midland Terrace and Wells House Road
  • Some of the work will take place 24/7
  • Residents will live through noise, air and light pollution, massive disruption and visual impact of viaducts the height of homes and new rail lines running at the end of gardens that currently have natural views of woodland
  • A massive tunnel will be bored under homes
  • Woodland will be destroyed and wildlife displaced
  • Some gardens are being subjected to compulsory purchase orders without compensation
  • Buildings of character are being demolished
  • 70 businesses in Park Royal are being displaced with hundreds of local jobs lost
  • Traffic is already gridlocked around this part of the borough and when work begins and roads in the area close, congestion is likely to increase across much of Ealing

The impact of the HS2 station will have permanent impacts on residents

  • When it’s completed, Old Oak Common station will be about the same size as Waterloo, with 250,000 passengers passing through it a day
  • What was once a quiet sleepy area will become one of London’s major transport hubs with vast increases in road traffic

Greens will take every opportunity to vote against HS2
The Greens support high speed rail in principle because it can improve Britain’s transport systems, reduce road and air traffic and cut carbon emissions. But this HS2 project causes too much damage to local communities and to the environment.

Unlike Labour, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, the Green Party is opposed to HS2 at both a national and local level.

To achieve HS2’s high speeds, trains are expected to use up to 50% more fuel than Eurostar and so carbon emissions will not be reduced.

The enormous sums involved – £56 billion and rising – could be better spent improving transport for everybody.

Air Pollution: An Open Letter to Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London

Ealing Green Party is seriously concerned about air pollution in the capital.  Below is our open letter to the Mayor of London.

Dear Mr Khan

We are aware that you are starting to prioritise the vital issue of air pollution that is a blight on this nation’s capital. However, we find ourselves in agreement with a direct action group that we have recently allied ourselves with: Stop Killing Londoners (SKL). Basically, Mr Khan, you are not doing enough, and the time frame for the actions you are taking is ponderous. There are people who are dying now Mayor Khan. The time has come for radical, urgent action – and you are still dithering.

SKL are activists with passion, who care deeply about their cause. So much so that several of them were prepared to be arrested for what they believed in, because they recognise the urgency inherent in allowing people to continuously breathe in toxic fumes. One of these activists,  Roger Hallam, wrote you his own powerful letter – a letter that was composed while languishing in a prison cell and on hunger strike: a sacrifice made of his own volition.

Air Pollution in London

We endorse every word of Roger’s letter, and urge you to meet with Stop Killing Londoners.

We are endorsing the message that SKL are sending to you, not just because we have listened to their arguments and been convinced by them, but because we have discovered, through our own research in Ealing, the scale of the problem that we face in London.

It was through this research that we discovered that the air outside schools such as Cardinal Wiseman High School in Greenford can be up to TWICE the legal limit for nitrogen oxide. Think about it. This is not Oxford Street, or Heathrow airport, this is a school in a supposedly “leafy” suburb of London – and it is saturated with toxic chemicals that will deform lungs, shorten life expectancy and cause diseases such as asthma.

In such circumstances it is reasonable to conclude that laws that allow such pollution to occur cannot be fit for purpose, and therefore it is valid to (peacefully) defy those laws.

Which brings us back to Stop Killing Londoners.

Mr Khan, we request, in the most heartfelt terms, that you move with more urgency to combat the deadly pollution that surrounds us in this great city. There is nothing more important.

Yours sincerely,

Ealing Green Party

Stop Killing Londoners
Stop Killing Londoners

 

Readers who wish to contribute to the Legal costs of Stop Killing Londoners can do so here: https://www.gofundme.com/air-pollution-campaign-legal-costs

You can read the Ealing Green Party’s report on local air pollution here:  EGP Air pollution report April 2016

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