What have you recycled this week?

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Street blitz

streetblitz

Cllrs Ware-Lane and Nevin, about to get stuck in

Cllrs Ware-Lane and Nevin, about to get stuck in

Four Labour councillors joined residents and community activists in cleaning up a part of Milton ward today. Milton councillors Julian Ware-Lane and Cheryl Nevin were joined by the new Deputy Leader of the Council, Cllr Ian Gilbert. The portfolio holder for Children and Learning, Cllr Anne Jones, lent her time and energy to this good cause as well.

The area covered ran from Whitegate Road to Heygate Avenue, and was bounded on the east by the Queensway. Many skips and rubbish bags were filled, giving a bit of a logistical headache to the organiser, SEAL, who were faced with overloaded skips.

A number of Labour activists were also present, and residents were grateful for the help given to making their area tidier.

As well as drinks cans, bottles and other bits of rubbish, furniture, mattresses and fence panels were also removed. At least one hypodermic syringe was found as well,

“I turned gardener at one point as well, helping one resident hack back ivy that was threatening to block an alley. I collected all sorts of rubbish – it amazes why the stuff was dumped when most of it would be collected in the street side weekly rubbish collections” said Cllr Ware-Lane.

It is hoped that residents will help keep the area clean and tidy, although a return visit at some point is not ruled out. Other areas of the borough will also want some attention – the next blitz is believed to be pencilled in for September.

Two new dog waste bins in Milton ward

Park Road

Park Road

Leonard Road

Leonard Road

Two new dogs have been sited in Milton ward, all down to me. Dog excrement is a big issue in some parts of the ward I represent, and trying to find a solution has been one of the challenges I have faced in my two years as a councillor.

Part of the solution in tackling this blight is to have more dog waste bins – although in a packed residential ward finding a suitable site is not easy.

I am pleased to report that we now have two, brand new, dog waste bins. One is at the western end of Leonard Road, the other is at the southern end of Park Road.

Carrying on

010Cllr Cheryl Nevin is not allowing the dust to settle after the recent campaign, she is already out and about trying to improve the environment in Milton ward for its residents and visitors.

She accompanied me to a well-known black-spot for litter and fly-tipping, an area that we are forced to report to the Council on many occasions. Once again we have requested rubbish and weeds to be cleared here.

A councillor for only nine days, Cheryl is determined to be as good as her word and strive for a cleaner and better Milton.

Milton now has two Labour councillors – we are hoping to complete the hat-trick in 2015. In the meantime if you wish to contact one of Milton’s Labour councillors you can do so by emailing either cllrnevin@southend.gov.uk or cllrware-lane@southend.gov.uk.

Rising landfill costs

One of the things the Conservative administration like to be triumphant about is the rising rates of recycling for household rubbish. This is welcome news. We have to look after the environment, and recycling rather than dumping is part of the solution to climate change and pollution. It also addresses the issue of dwindling finite resources.

I was intrigued to find out the true nature of the other factor in recycling – cost. Dumping stuff in landfill sites, we were continually being told, costs all of us a lot of money. The problem for me was that the actual amounts involved were never given. And so, I went about finding out what these were.

Year Disposal and Landfill Tax cost Tonnage Landfilled
2010/11 £2,672,004.96 41,213.81
2011/12 £2,852,860.28 39,009.14
2012/13 £2,982,099.82 37,095.94

These numbers tell us that despite improved recycling rates we (the tax payers in Southend-on-Sea) are paying more than ever. Thus, whilst it can be seen that the landfilled tonnages are dropping, the cost is rising.

Surely we should be aiming to reduce cost as well as tonnage, and I hope that progress in this area will be reported on in future. I think seeing the costs involved will act as a further incentive to maximise our recycling. Not only will we end up with a greener borough, we will have saved money doing so.

Essex Green View

EssexGreenThis four-page newspaper-like affair from the Green Party dropped through my letterbox recently. There is no mention of Julian Esposito, who is the Green candidate in my home ward, this issue is aimed at the European elections.

The Green Party has no MEPs in the East of England at the moment, and I doubt that this will change after May 22nd. Not only is their polling poor, their coverage as regards to candidates in local elections is patchy. To maximise your vote in the European elections you have to have candidates everywhere,

I am an environmentalist, and believe the best way to deliver planet-friendly policies is to vote Labour. Labour can and should form the next Government, and have the clout to deliver. A Green vote in Southend-on-Sea is a wasted vote – until we change the electoral system anyway.

If we had had AV (or a form of proportional representation) the Green Party would most likely have had my second preference vote on many occasions. Labour would always get my first. I support a number of environmental causes, although I do think that the Greens are often blind to economic reality – something that a socialist cannot afford to do.

What if we could create an urban woodland somewhere in Southend-on-Sea

Sherry, Graham and Jamillah

Sherry, Graham and Jamillah

I was invited to attend the latest What If… session last night (anyone can go along, I just happen to know a couple of people involved). We met upstairs at The Railway Hotel. The evening was hosted by Sherry Fuller, ably aided by long-time friend Graham Burnett.

By the end I was able to talk about a long-cherished aim of mine, I desire for an urban wood somewhere in the borough. (I cannot recall exactly when this idea first planted into my consciousness, but it at least dates from March 2011.

The Borough of Southend-on-Sea is blessed with a number of wonderful parks. These exist because of far-sighted and beneficent citizens of this town in years gone by. Not much in the way of new green spaces has been made during my lifetime, and this is understandable. A growing population clearly puts stress on open and undeveloped spaces.

What I wrote three years ago is worth repeating: I want to investigate the possibility of having urban woodland within the borough. These need not be vast tracks set aside for trees; house-sized plots can be used. I do not want demolition of existing structures to create these urban woodlands, but do see areas around the borough that would make ideal sites, areas without buildings, or where buildings have already been knocked down.

I believe an urban wood has merit on a number of levels. It gives back to nature and helps in the fight against climate change and pollution. It provides a space for wildlife (and could be integrated into a green corridor). It also has educational possibilities – schools and young people could be asked to create the woodland and maintain it, as well as using it to explore.

Its biggest selling point, in my opinion, is that it would be a place of repose, and recreation, for all.

In addition to my pitch for urban woodland I think I was able to persuade a gorilla to do some guerrilla gardening. Watch out for Dusty Bottems and a bunch of bananas at a waste ground near you …

A good evening, and I hope to take part in future events. I hope to see some of you there too.

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