Sunday, 5 October 2008

Boris Stalls Elephant Regeneration

London Mayor Boris Johnson has put the vital £1.5 billion program of regeneration in Elephant and Castle on hold, concerned about Transport for London's £600,000 contribution to the project.

A new Mayor needs to examine the projects of his predecessors, but we are surprised Boris Johnson
is unable to support an essential regeneration project for one of the poorest parts of South London - especially when he so quickly found £30 million to scrap a charge on gas-guzzling SUVs and sports cars.

Lambeth Green Party Deputy Convenor George Graham said:
"Elephant & Castle should be an essential hub for everyone in Lambeth and Southwark. Instead, years of neglect and incompetence have allowed traffic to ruin the lives of its residents, and blighted its businesses.

"The regeneration is absolutely essential to all of us, but it is already behind schedule and without the support of the Mayor, may fail completely."

Monday, 18 August 2008

Urban Green Fair

Bake Oven at Urban Green Fair

Join us for a festival with a difference. Learn about current environmental issues and solutions, discover practical innovations in sustainable living and reducing climate change and, of course, have fun!

An ideal family event, with films, talks in the social justice zone and energy transition zone, workshops, kids activities, stalls, sunshine and unusual bicycles. With no bars or big stages the emphasis is on education and communication. A chance to share ideas, meet familiar faces and make new friends.

With little government action on peak oil and climate change there is plenty to discuss and lots we can do as individuals.

Click here to find out more.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Lambeth Greens Visit Western Riverside Waste Authority

By Rebecca Thackray, Councillor Herne Hill ward

It's not everyone's idea of a great afternoon out but for Lambeth Greens it was an absorbing way to asses the scale of the problem. The ethics involved of exporting our plastic waste to China, the health and safety difficulty of food recycling and the pros and cons of the incinerator in Bellevedere, Kent, were discussed. There is a growing willingness to recycle and we're getting better at it. But it is clear that more education is needed (particularly for adults; children are getting the hang of it in schools) and above all else, manufacturers and retailers need to be reducing the amount of packaging that can only end up as landfill. We have no time to waste.

A Day in the Life of A Coucillor

By Rebecca Thackray
This article first appeared in the Local Government Association's First Magazine

Boundaries between my various roles are clear to me but not always to others. I spend the morning at Brixton Advice Centre where I work as a general adviser.

You wouldn’t believe how many people come to a legal advice centre with queries in that category marked ‘other’. I admire the specialists and I pick up useful updates on debt and housing from them, but the questions I get asked are far more intriguing. A woman wants to trace her husband from a decade ago, realising that she cannot remarry until she is divorced. I used to be a police officer and my approach is a methodical ‘where, when, what, why and how?’ and I always bear in mind that there may be someone out there who would really rather not be found.

After the drop-in I metaphorically change hats. I cycle off as a councillor to look at railway arches with a local restaurant owner with a view to traders storing cardboard and bottles for recycling. You’d think Herne Hill was Camberwick Green to hear him talk. This corner of London will feel even more villagey if a farmers’ market comes to the area. I was keen to make this part of the council’s regeneration planning.

Lactose junkie
I go to the corner shop for milk. I am something of a lactose junkie, requiring endless mugs of milky tea and vast quantities of yoghurt. I get cornered by a large man. I am not alarmed by his urgent whisper nor by the scissors in his top pocket. He is the barber next door asking for help regarding the mental health of his daughter. I leaf through council mail and see some initiatives on waste. Tetrapaks are being recycled in Lambeth now – if only thick plastics could follow suit.

A friend emails me about her friend in East Grinstead: “she puts everything possible in her recycling box ever since the stuff that can’t be recycled stopped being called rubbish and became known as landfill.” So often a name change is a euphemism but I like the idea of referring to rubbish as landfill and I forward it to the executive member for environment. I am not entitled to serve on council committees but I did get my teeth into a cross-party commission on climate change and I share the recommendations with other Green councillors in London. It can be lonely without a network of mutual support.

I receive a phone call from a police sergeant wanting an out-of-hours warrant signing. My magistrate hat goes on – I’ve been a magistrate since 1997. The grounds for the warrant are sobering. I drop off some information for the barber who works long hours too, serving the heads of the local community. I include details of a nearby resource centre for the mental health needs of African and Caribbean people – I used to work at the health centre and this place has an excellent reputation.

It occurs to me to check with him: “Were you asking me as a councillor, advice worker or nurse?” “I just thought you were someone who might know” he says simply.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Doubts Over Stop and Search

Under the plans announced on Tuesday, police can search people without reasonable suspicion.

But London Assembly Green Party member Jenny Jones said the stop and search powers may alienate young people.

Lambeth Green Party Crime Spokesman Shane Collins said:

"We welcome any move that will reduce the scourge of knife crime. But people in this Borough remember what happened in the 1980s when police were encouraged to use stop and search powers indiscriminately. Police bullying of poor teenagers from ethnic minorities will do nothing to help reduce the social exclusion that is the real cause of youth violence.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Lambeth Pension Funds Helping Pay Dick Cheney's Salary

A Green Party investigation reveals that Lambeth Council's pension fund holds £3,749,426.56 worth of stocks in companies that manufacture weapons, including Dick Cheney's Iraq war profiteer Halliburton. This equates to just .5% of the council's assets, and so it would cost almost nothing to reinvest this money elsewhere.

Monday, 5 May 2008

Greens Take Anti-crime Message to Brixton

Siân Berry, Green Mayor of London candidate, visited Brixton to launch the campaign of Lambeth and Southwark London Assembly candidate, and well-known local campaigner, Shane Collins.
Siân and Shane highlighted crime issues affecting the area, and presented some of the Green Party's policies for London that will help solve these problems, including:
  • Extra officers to allow Safer Neighbourhood Teams to work round-the-clock; when piloted in Fulham this cut burglaries by 52%
  • Reducing officer numbers on overpoliced demonstrations and VIP security, and making commercial events pay for their policing, to free up resources for community policing
  • Better support for youth work and crime prevention projects, giving funding for a minimum of 3 years so they can spend more time working and less filling in grant applications. More established schemes will get 5 or even 10 years funding at a time.
Siân said, "If we're serious about cutting crime, we need to get more police on the streets. The most effective way to do that is through Safer Neighbourhood Teams - trusted officers who are known to their local community and who can do the vital work to reduce crime as well as prosecute it.

"We want to feel safe in our local area when we get home late in the evening and when we are asleep, not just during office hours. We'll beat crime not by tough-talking gimmicks, but by real community policing."

On voluntary sector funding, Siân added: "Too many great projects spend most of their time applying for the next short-term grant rather than actually working to improve options for everyone, including young people, in their local area. I want to change that and give them the time and security they need to do their vital jobs."

Shane Collins is also the Green Party's national spokesperson on drugs policy and has long campaigned for a more rational drugs policy for the UK. Regulation of cannabis supply, and management of heroin addictions by prescription, would cut the link between drugs and crime, he argues.

Shane said, "Drug use, and the consequences of their prohibition on London's culture, economy and crime rate are undeniable. Green policies aim to minimise the harm to those who use drugs and reduce the harm to society at large resulting from drug-related crime.

"Prohibition ensures that the drug trade stays in criminal gangs. Dealers and users are forced to stay out of sight of the justice system, so disputes between them are often settled with violence and weapons. This has led to an influx of guns and knives into urban communities which in turn has led to a fear of youth.

"The Prime Minister's Number Ten Strategy Unit found that 57% of all crime and 80% of burglary in the UK is to feed a heroin or crack drug habit. A Green drug policy will lead to a large drop in crime and less work for the police, court and prison system."

Railton Road Farmers' Market

The Lambeth Green Party are backing plans for stalls and a regular farmers' market on Railton Road. Having considered six different plans for the area, we agreed that the one that offered the potential for markets, trees and lots of bicycle parking, would best serve local residents and shop-keepers. Click the link below to see the current plans.


Save Our Services March

Green Party Councillor Rebecca Thackray joined marchers protesting about the rapid rises in the cost of care services in Lambeth, that are threatening some of Lambeth's most vulnerable citizens.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Greens and Lib Dems Fight for Lower Homecare Charges

Lambeth has the most expensive Home Care in London. Prices have risen from £7.55 per hour to £17.50. Undeterred by this, Labour are now talking about raising charges again in September, to £20, taking yet more money from those who can least afford it. The Liberal Democrat and Green members of the council are calling for a reduction to £10 per hour, paying for it with money from a recent windfall. The Motion will only be carried if all Backbenchers attend and vote plus 15 Labour councillors vote for it too

Councillor Becca Thackray said:

"I am delighted to support the cross-party resolution to reduce charges to £10 in the light of Lambeth Council being allowed to keep £23 million held in Council reserves until 2006.

I do so out of my experience witnessing ‘bed-blocking’ as a nurse when patients cannot go home till care provision is in place, as a carer for my late parents, and for all the reasons below which I have uttered in support of Lambeth SOS campaign."


If you want to support this resolution, write to your Ward Councillors and ask them which way they are planning on voting

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Lambeth Green Party Supports Women's Right to Abortion

Lambeth Green Party are supporting national sexual health charity the Family Planning Association’s campaign to protect the current 24 week time limit for abortion. MPs and anti-abortion groups want to slash the time limit when the Abortion Act goes through parliament this summer. If they get their way, women in the most tragic situations won’t be able to get an abortion anymore. Lambeth Green Party says 'No' to attacking vulnerable women, 'No' to cutting access to NHS abortions and 'Yes' to supporting women’s right to choose.

Herne Hill Green Party Councillor (and nurse) Rebecca Thackray said:
"Women’s right to choose cannot be taken for granted. There are groups lobbying for all abortion to stop and they see reducing the time limit as a means to this end. I have no hesitation in adding my voice to the campaign opposing it.

Having worked in Family Planning Clinics I know that there are many reasons why a woman may feel compelled to terminate her pregnancy. I would question the suggestion that any woman makes the decision casually or that her decision should be made be anyone other than herself."


More details of the FPA campaign
Petition and online resoures

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

In The News

New Labour's Climate Change figures do not seem to be scrupulously accurate (The Guardian)

Worries over plans for Granville Arcade (South London Press)

Streatham's Labour councillors can't tell the difference between their party and the Tories any more(thisislocallondon)

Green Party launch London campaign (Green Party)

Brixton Tesco wants to be even bigger (South London Press)

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Space Needed

The Council is about to undertake a further expansion of the borough's on-street car club network. A total of 33 bays (about 60 cars) are now operating on-street across Lambeth and are available for residents and businesses to hire by the hour, reducing the need for people to own their own vehicles. They aim to more than double this network to over 70 bays/140 vehicles.

If you have any suggestions about possible bay locations in your ward, contact
Tim Wedmaier in the next 2 weeks (

If you're interested in car sharing, visit

Climate Change Commission Recommendations

Lambeth Council's Climate Change Commission has suggested a comprehensive set of targets and procedures for the Borough. You can read the full report by clicking the link below.

Councillor Rebecca Thackray (pictured), who was a member of the commission, said

"The current government is famous for setting ambitious targets and then doing nothing. Here in Lambeth, we can show them the right way forward."


Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Smart Meter Loan Scheme

Transition Town Brixton has launched its 'electricity descent scheme' by lending 10 household 'smart meters' to members for 4 weeks to monitor and reduce their energy use. Their only obligation is to keep a record of how much energy they manage to save and what they discovered in the process.

They have also negotiated a £10 off deal with the manufacturer.

Contact to go on the lending list.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Any Questions comes to Lambeth Academy

Friday 28 March 2008 19.15

Any Questions, BBC Radio 4's forum for lively debate between leading public figures, chaired by Jonathan Dimbleby, is being hosted by Lambeth Academy School in Clapham this month. The programme will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 4 at 20.02 on 28 March and repeated on Saturday 29 March at 13.10.

On the Panel
Confirmed names for the panel so far include: Brian Paddick, Liberal Dem Candidate for London Mayor and John O’Farrell, writer, broadcaster, satirist and Chairman of the Governors of Lambeth Academy

Tickets for Any Questions are free to local people (subject to availability). If you‘d like to attend please either email: or ring Sarah Williams on 020 7819 4731, giving your name, address and a contact number.

Be part of the debate:

All those attending are invited to submit questions on the day – so please come along prepared with a question about what’s been in the news this week.

Stephen Potter principal of Lambeth Academy said:

We are delighted to host Any Questions at Lambeth Academy and to welcome the local community into our new school where debate and discussion form an important part of our daily curriculum.

Milkwood Solar Lighting Fixed!

The Milkwood Solar street lights had been broken for the best part of a year, setting a terrible example for other green projects. After a lot of effort by Becca Thackray and others, they've finally been fixed.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Vassal By-Election

My name's George Graham and I'm the Green Party Candidate for the Vassal By-Election.

If you have any comments, ideas or suggestions for me, please post them in the comments section below. I'll reply in the same section, and we can get a real conversation going about what Vassal Ward needs, and what I can do for you.

All you have to do is click the 'comment' link, and follow the onscreen instructions. I'll log on every couple of days, and answer your questions in the comments so that everyone can see them.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

A Simple Way to Save Money & Energy

We've come across a couple of products that make it a lot easier to

save money and energy at home. They are so useful that we're proposing

to buy them wholesale and make them available at less than retail price

if more than 20 people are interested in buying them.

Money raised will go towards the Urban Green Fair 31st August 2008 in

Brockwell Park, Brixton and also to the Lambeth Green Party GLA election

campaign on 1st May 2008.

The items are:

The OWL Wireless Home Energy Monitor

A wireless electricity monitor displaying the cost of electricity use in

the home on a portable, easy to read LED display.

* Displays cost of electricity, energy consumption and greenhouse

gas emissions

* Separate displays for temperature and humidity

* No additional wiring necessary

* RRP £49.95. Urban Green Fair supporter price £40.

Standby Buster

Standby Buster is a remote controlled electrical socket that lets you

switch appliances off completely so that they use no electricity. Each

socket can take a 4 way adaptor.

* Fed up with wasting money and energy by leaving things on standby ?

* Can't be bothered to turn everything off at an inaccessible plug every

night ?

* Standby Buster Value Pack. Three electrical sockets and one remote


* RRP £29.99. Urban Green fair supporter price £24.

* Standby Buster Starter Pack. One electrical socket and one remote


* RRP £14.99. Urban Green fair supporter price £12.

You probably don't need reminding but if we don't make 80-90% CO2 cut in

emissions in UK by around 2020 we will go over the tipping of a 2C temp

increase and into a temperature runaway scenario more grim than we can

possibly imagine. Our home produces about a third of our CO2 emissions

so these products are a good way to start.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008


Excellent article from the Economist about how local government is leading the way in dealing with Climate change.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Green Light for Lambeth Recycling

But more needs to be done

View Full Details
Lambeth exceeded its recycling targets this year with nearly a quarter of all household waste being recycled or composted. In 2008, energy-saving lightbulbs will join the long list of items that Lambeth residents can get recycled.

Becca Thackray, green party councillor for the Herne Hill war said: ‘It’s great news that we passed our targets for 2006/7, but more needs to be done. A proper recycling regime keeps our Borough beautiful, reduces waste and saves money. Bexley managed to recycle 40% of their waste last year, and that’s the kind of level we should be looking to achieve.”

We've created a rather fine map of Lambeth's recycling facilities to help you with your own personal targets, which you can see above.

Defoliating Lambeth

A failure of joined-up government

Herne Hill resident Nicolas Baker has noticed a worrying tendency for Lambeth council to fell trees without replacing them. There are now 14 tree bowls on Fawnbrake Avenue alone that have been filled in with concrete.

In a typical piece of bad governance, the council has the funds to chop down trees that might damage a building’s foundations, but no budget available for replacing them. Defoliating an area lowers property values and increases the risk of flooding, quite aside from its effect on Lambeth’s carbon footprint.

A Sad Loss for Brockwell Park

But a step in the right direction for Herne Hill's pedestrians

The final plans for the Herne Hill junction are being submitted for approval now. They will involve a loss of around 30m x 30m from Brockwell Park. On the plus side, there’ll be a large landscaped island, one end of Railton Road will be pedestrianised, we’ll have extra bus and cycle lanes, and a notorious accident blackspot will no longer claim its victims.

Herne Hill Councillor Becca Thackray said:

"This consultation has been the most difficult thing I’ve had to do as a councillor: many of my friends in the Green Party believe we should not tolerate any loss of park. Having seen the plans – and seen umpteen children nearly being hit by cars every summer – I genuinely believe that this is the best possible solution."

You can find out more from the Herne Hill Society

If you're opposed to the scheme, then you should get in touch with the Brockwell Park Society

New Youth Mayor for Lambeth

Congratulations to Lambeth’s new Youth Mayor Satya Panigrahi, who won a landslide victory with 750 votes.

More details here

Lambeth Green Party Launch New Website

And We Need Your Help

The new Lambeth Green Party website is live, and it includes this blog. We want to make it the most useful tool possible for anyone who lives in the Borough.

Please get in touch if there's anything you think we should have on there.

In the long run, we want dedicated areas of the site for Brixton, Clapham, Kennington, Waterloo, Herne Hill, West Norwood, Crystal Palace and Streatham. Drop us a line if there's a great organic greengrocers, a useful recycling service, or an important community organisation you'd like us to link to.

Monday, 11 February 2008

Taser Fear for Lambeth Bobbies

Electric shocks for the Bobby on the beat

Tazers – American handheld weapon that deliver a massive electric shock – are to be trialled by the Metropolitain’s rapid response teams in the next few weeks… without being made available to the ordinary police on the front line


Community Police Consultative Group and Green Party member Shane Collins said:

‘We appreciate the value of these weapons for a rapid response team. The ability to incapacitate without doing long-term damage is clearly very useful.

'However every new weapon given to the police encourages more criminals to go armed and to use their weapons earlier. Giving this equipment to some police but not others may place Lambeth’s local police in danger.'


Tazers are available to buy over the counter in America, and it may be difficult to stop criminal gangs from acquiring them once they have been introduced to the UK.