First things first


Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Waste and Recycling

Date for your diary:

Meeting on Waste & Recycling.

7.30pm, Wednesday October 20th, Mycenae House, SE3 7SE.

Peter Dalley, head of Greenwich Council’s Waste Services Department. Also local businesses & charities which repair and resell old goods. And international businesses that specify new goods which have a short life and are hard to repair.

Greenwich Town Centre Traffic

Transition Greenwich and Transition Lewisham
Greenwich Town Centre Traffic.
Tuesday 20th July 2010, St Alfege’s Church Hall

Greenwich, Lewisham and Bromley residents, businesses and traffic officers were invited to this meeting about traffic in Greenwich Town Centre. 35 local residents and businesses attended. Statements were received from Len Duvall GLA member for Greenwich & Lewisham, and from James Cleverly GLA member for Bexley & Bromley. No reply was received from Nick Raynsford M.P., or from Greenwich Councillors. Exploratory conversations were had before the meeting with officers concerned with traffic in Greenwich, Lewisham and Bromley, and they sent apologies. Comments were received from Greenwich Hospital and the Greenwich Foundation, as well as the Greenwich Society’s official objections to the scheme.
The background to the meeting is the long-standing question of how to improve the traffic situation in Greenwich Town Centre, in light of Greenwich Council’s current consultation on its pedestrianisation proposals. The London Mayor’s Guidance on the Local Implementation Plans, which Boroughs have to submit by December 2010, specifies that local Boroughs should work together to reduce transport’s contribution to climate change, and to integrate it with wider economic, social and .environmental objectives at a local level.
Working as a plenary group and in smaller groups, the meeting agreed a statement:
“Local residents and businesses oppose Greenwich Council’s proposals for a new gyratory system. This is a flawed scheme which is not good in any aspect for Greenwich Town Centre.”

· The narrow advantage to two pedestrianised streets is far outweighed by the wider disadvantages to West Greenwich, to those living inside the proposed gyratory system and to the shops on the streets that are not pedestrianised. The shops in Nelson Road and Greenwich Church Street would die economically as a result of pedestrianising the two streets in Greenwich which have few shops on them – King William Walk and College Approach.

· There would be disruption to many of the bus routes through Greenwich, with longer journeys, longer waits and longer walks because of the loss of the bus stand in King William Walk, which is the natural dropping-off point for the town centre.

· A new long gyratory system would be against the national trend, and Transport for London is trying to reduce them. Traffic, including buses, would have to travel much further, increasing the tendency to speed, and adding pollution.

· More drivers would rat-run through residential streets with the proposed scheme.

· The new scheme would divide the 500 homes and school inside the proposed gyratory from those outside, splitting the community. There would be long detours for drivers living inside or visiting inside the proposed gyratory system.

· Cyclists are against the scheme due to Increased traffic speeds (therefore risk of injury) and the lack of a contraflow cycle lane on the gyratory roads.

· There appears to be no allowance for the extra vehicular traffic generated by the proposed 100-bed hotel in Greenwich Market.

· Instead of a scheme which (contrary to the Council’s policy of promoting the more sustainable modes of transport) worsens conditions for both buses and cyclists, we believe the most effective way of easing traffic problems in the town Centre is through a general reduction in traffic. We therefore urge LBG to explore with neighbouring boroughs ways to reduce overall traffic by 10%.

Proposals for a 10% Traffic Reduction
The meeting also explored how Greenwich Council and Transport for London could bring about a 10% traffic reduction through Greenwich Town Centre, using part of the £3.5 million saved by not doing the pedestrianisation.
It is well known that congestion is responsible for not just air and noise pollution, but also for extra delivery costs especially for small businesses.
The disadvantages of congestion charging are that it is expensive and causes traffic distortions outside the chosen zone. But several low-cost proposals seem technically feasible in the current financial climate of austerity. They also avoid a proliferation of ‘Big Brother’ vehicle recognition cameras recording car movements.
· The first proposal is for two electronic toll-gates, one on Romney Road (by the University of Greenwich) and the second on the A2 (near the General Wolfe Road intersection). These would allow local vehicles to pass without charge, and charge only those whose vehicles are registered outside L.B. Greenwich.
· The second proposal is for through vehicles to be required to display London Travel Cards, with a fine for those found to be without a valid one.

Proposals for Greenwich Town Centre with 10% traffic reduction:

· L.B. Greenwich should instate comprehensive cycle lanes in the existing road layout of Greenwich Town Centre, with other pro-cyclist measures as detailed by the London Mayor's Guidance to Boroughs. There should be block paving on road surfaces to slow traffic.
· L.B. Greenwich should investigate Sunday pedestrianisation of Greenwich Town Centre. Street parking should be made available on Sunday for market traders who have to arrive by vehicle.
· L.B. Greenwich should investigate instituting a short and reliable circular local shuttle bus service between Greenwich Town Centre, Lewisham, Blackheath, Charlton, East Greenwich and back to Greenwich Town Centre.
· L.B. Greenwich should promote lower car usage by all three sectors, with surveys to identify unnecessary car trips such as the school run and education to get people to slightly modify their travel habits.
· L.B. Greenwich should discuss with Greenwich Hospital how to ensure that market stalls and shop leases are given to a balanced range of useful providers of goods and services for all the local community, as well as to specialist personal traders with novel, unusual or unique products. This will involve differentiating between rental levels to bring in desirable tenants who cannot afford the ‘market’ rent. The sum total goods and services of Greenwich shops and markets should make most day-to-day items available for local people so they need to travel less for essential shopping, while also having a changing range of new products to attract visitors.

Taking forward the proposals for a 10% traffic reduction.

This Transition Greenwich & Transition Lewisham report will be sent to all who attended or wanted to attend the meeting, and further comments will be invited. The technical aspects of the 10% traffic reduction proposals will also be taken forward with traffic officers in Greenwich, Lewisham and Bromley. Please keep sending in your further comments and information, and these will be included in further updates on progress.

It is important that you email your own views to Greenwich Council’s consultation, which is open until August 1st.
By email:
Or by post:
Jeff Horsman, Directorate of Regeneration Enterprise & Skills, Town Hall, Wellington Street, London SE18 6PW
Please forward this email to friends.


Supermarkets Meeting
Wednesday July 21st, Mycenae House.

This community meeting with local supermarkets was to discuss how to promote healthy, locally sourced organic food, as well as about minimizing food waste, packaging and the use of plastics. We invited all the local supermarkets such as Asda, Co-op, Costcutter, Iceland, Lidl, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Poundland, Tesco and Waitrose, as well as talking to the smaller local convenience stores.

The meeting was attended by managers from Asda (Charlton), from the Co-op Supermarket (Greenwich) and Marks & Spencer (Charlton Standard). There was also Mike McNally from Fareshare, and Claire Pritchard from Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency.

The supermarkets managers described various ways in which they were trying to avoid handing out free plastic bags, to reduce plastics & packaging and improve recycling. They said that educating the public is fundamental to progress on eating healthy food and using re-usable shopping bags.

Mike McNally of Fareshare described how the logistics and efficiency required to collect surplus food from supermarkets inside strict time limits. He also described their experience in the legal aspects of public liability, food safety training and health & safety training.

Claire Pritchard of Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency described their educational and training work around healthy food, especially with children and schools, and with disadvantaged groups in food poverty. GCDA are also active promoting local food growing, and running stalls selling locally grown organic food. There are also healthy volunteer networks in Greenwich & Lewisham, linked to the NHS.

The supermarkets present all agreed to take forward the following local initiatives in Greenwich:

1. To be part of International Plastic Bag Free Day on September 11th this year, which is supported by the Marine Conservation Society.
• The supermarkets will display educational publicity posters and material about how plastic bags kill marine life for two weeks before the event. Images are available from the Marine Conservation Society. They can also promote the event through their advertising and in-store promotions.
• On the day, the supermarkets can hand out free hemp UK-sourced bags-for-life with a message. Hemp is a useful crop with many product applications, and was once widely grown in the U.K.. It is easy to grow, and does not require either pesticides or lots of water.
• Apart from this day, supermarkets will always ask customers if they want a plastic bag rather than just give them one, and keep plastic bags out of sight at the till. There could be a message on the bags.

2. To have in-store promotion of healthy eating menus by the Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency.
• This need not involve hot food
• Insurance is already dealt with, and risk assessments done
• These demonstrations do not involve criticism of other foods

3. To employ Fareshare to take away food at its sell-by date, and to distribute it to local Greenwich & Lewisham groups who are in food poverty.

4. Reducing packaging
• Have in-store bins at the door for customers to discard unnecessary packaging before leaving the store.
• Brown paper bags rather than polythene bags for fruit & veg
• Use more refills
• Ask suppliers to reduce packaging

Marine Conservation Society
Each household in the UK uses around 300 plastic bags every year. In 2008, our volunteers found 8,174 plastic bags in just one Beachwatch weekend. During the 2008 International Coastal Clean-up, which took place in over 100 countries worldwide, nearly 1.4 million plastic bags were found!
Even when we dispose of them correctly, plastic bags are often blown out of bins and landfill sites and end up littering our land and oceans. They never degrade and will remain part of the landscape forever. In the sea, plastic bags look very similar to jellyfish and many birds and marine animals, such as whales and turtles, accidentally eat them. This can cause a blockage in the digestive system and lead to death by starvation.
MCS has made an information pack .pdf about going Plastic Bag Free.
Or you can contact MCS on 01989 561597 / email to receive the information by post.

P.O. Box 396, Brighton, BN1 1SX. 0845 22 44 367
Hemp uses the sun's energy more efficiently than virtually any other planat. Originating from Asia, it has been cultivated by mankind for more than 6000 years and until the late 16th century was our planet's largest agricultural crop and most important industry. Almost every part of the plant was used to provide the overall majority of our fibre, fabric, lighting oil, paper and medicinal needs, as well as being a primary source of essential food oil and protein for humans and animals. Hemp flourishes without the use of pesticides or herbicides, does not need bleaching and recycles very well.

FareShare has been operating since 2004 and today has 12 locations around the UK. Established in 1994 as a project within the homelessness charity Crisis, FareShare aims to help vulnerable groups, whether they are homeless, elderly, children, or other groups in food poverty within our communities.
• Providing quality food - surplus ‘fit for purpose’ product from the food and drink industry - to organisations working with disadvantaged people in the community
• Providing training and education around the essential life skills of safe food preparation and nutrition, and warehouse employability training through FareShare’s Eat Well Live Well programme
• Promoting the message that ‘No Good Food Should Be Wasted

Greenwich Cooperative Development Agency

The Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency (GCDA) exists to develop social and cooperative enterprises. It has been contracted by the London Development Agency to provide free training to increase the levels of healthy and sustainable food provided by public sector caterers.

Transition Greenwich contact is Edward Hill 07890 013379
Transition Lewisham contact is Fran Rogers

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Transition Greenwich and Traffic Meeting about Greenwich Town Centre

Transition Westcombe and other Transition Towns in Greenwich are joining together to organize meetings about issues which affect a wide area, and are forming a network called Transition Greenwich.

The first meeting of Transition Greenwich will discuss how best to balance the various transport, business, residential and visitor requirements of Greenwich Town Centre in terms of traffic management. Greenwich Council has produced its own draft proposals on which they are currently consulting.

The meeting will be from 8pm to 10pm on Tuesday 20th July, in St Alfege’s Church Hall, behind St Alfege’s in Greenwich.

Anyone from Greenwich and Lewisham is welcome, including community groups, businesses and council officers. Please come and share and compare your insights and ideas for a long-term strategy for traffic management in Greenwich Town Centre.