Saturday, 30 November 2013

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Local History and Schools

Date: 28 November 2013 14:43
Subject: Waltham Forest Local History Societies and Schools
To: David yahoo Boote <>

It was a pleasure to see you at the meeting on Tuesday about Local History Societies and Schools.  Most if not all of us found it a very worthwhile experience, and agreed to meet again on Tuesday 18 February.  Robert Wilkinson chaired the meeting superbly, very gently and effectively guiding us along.  Martin Spafford and Lissa Chapman were as inspiring as I knew them to be, and very generous in the effort they made to show how they give young people an understanding of and enthusiasm for local history.  One challenge for local history societies is this : how can we use our knowledge to help primary school teachers fulfil the national curriculum requirement for local history ?  Teachers have great pressures upon them, and it is vital to persuade them that local history societies can save them time in lesson preparation.  Graham Millington of Leyton & Leytonstone Historical Society has promising ideas for involving schools in commemorations of the terrible First World War nearly a hundred years sgo.
Lissa is rightly keen to decide upon a name for these meetings, and suggests "Waltham Forest History Network", in other words covering more than schools and children.  My own wish is to make contact with the increasing number of universities which have a presence in east London.  We can have a web presence with links to WF Oral History Workshop, the activities of Clio's Company etc.
Most urgently, if you feel this email fails to convey something important, please let me know before I circulate it to contacts who did not join us on Tuesday, such as Walthamstow Historical Society which had a committee meeting.
Do let me know if you wish to be taken off the emailing list for these Waltham Forest local history society meetings - and do invite others to join it.  Once we have a name we can publicise more easily.  If you would like the emailing list to be visible to everyone on it, help that process by confirming you agree to your own address being disclosed.
Someone left behind a poem 'Coalhouse', the music for 'Make Them Hear You' and other papers.  Would you like them back ?

David Boote
Co-ordinator of the Research and Publications Working Group
Leyton & Leytonstone Historical Society


Forest Philharmonic

Friday, 22 November 2013

Planning Committee 3rd December


The Planning Committee meets for the last time this year on the 3rd December at 7pm with an enormous agenda so what the chances of them completing their deliberations are goodness knows!

Here are the highlights:

1. South Grove - Morrisons supermarket - 130 objections including 63 standard letters which means 67 original objections were received. Of course the officers recommend GRANT permission. My guess for the voting  7 in favour 0 against!

2. Lincolns Pub in Leytonstone High Road - now demolished and plans for a 5 storey block of 17 flats to be considered. Officers recommend GRANT permission. 10 objections received. My guess for the voting 5 in favour and 2 against.

3. 8 Flag Poles around the Borough - only conditional permission recommended by the officers.  No representations, last item on agenda 7 in favour 0 against!!

Winter Solstice Walk

Highly recommended! This week's Chingford Walk was excellent - it explored some of  the footpaths around North Chingford. 

Walking Free

SLM Digest Nov 21st

HOUSING PRESSURES - attention has been drawn to an article on "The Guardian's" website that says one-tenth of new house building in the country is destined for London and of that, about one eight will be in Waltham Forest.  Obviously, housing is much needed but we need to be vigilant that it is the right kind of housing and not used as an excuse to gobble up vital green space by property speculators and does not overload the infrastructures of an area e.g. the Essex Wharf scheme.
ALL WE ARE SAYING - IS GIVE GOLF A CHANCE ...  today there is an executive meeting of the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority (LVRPA) - on the agenda is a customer satisfaction report and general how did we do?  Well, regarding the Waterworks, not very well - 17,000 less visits last year for a start.  Campers also not very happy about the hike to the Olympic Park.
PHOTO COMPETITION  "What I love about the marshes" - plans are forging ahead.  We are aiming for a couple of venues to display the photos in the spring.  We will be inviting people to send jpegs and a short caption and statement about their picture and have an on-line poll to shortlist a selection to go a judging panel.  We are aiming to get twelve good pictures for reproduction into a fundraising calendar.  Full details will be put up on the website.
WEBSITE - talking of websites - we are busy updating ours with our new name.  It will have an archive linked to the present site as we are keen to preserve the input of many who helped found the campaign and keep that spirit alive.
MARSHMAN WALK - last Saturday, was attended by about 70 people.  We heard too late, that the Sutton House reading of the book (yesterday) was cancelled.  We'll await further news.
FILM - "Loosing the Marshes" - last week's showing was also very well attended.  SLM is following up opportunities to show the film locally in the near future.
EVENTS - first another reminder of our Cross Marshes Meeting on Sunday 1 December from 2-4 p.m. at Ye Olde Rose & Crown Theatre Pub, 55 Hoe Street, Walthamstow E17 4SA.  Our topics will be the LVRPA commissioned report by the London Wildlife Trust on the state of Leyton Marsh and our response to it and the need for having permanent bio-diversity offices in Hackney and Waltham Forest and also suggest that all officer planning reports should include a statement about bio-diversity.
Waltham Forest Voluntary Action - have lots of good things going on - training, events, job opportunities and their AGM on Thursday 28 November from 5 to 7.30 p.m. at Waltham Forest Resource Hub, 1 Russell Road, E10 7ES   Waltham Forest, in common with the whole network of councils for voluntary service/action are really the backbone of the community movement, providing  vital information and training support.
Organic Lea - there will be another open day on Sunday 24th November from 12-4 p.m. at the Forest School. The focus will be on the importance of saving and sharing seeds.  There will be a guided walk for children and an excellent lunch made from locally sourced food.  See their website for full details and also for news of the Baker's Arms Xmas Fair and job opportunities.
NEXT SLM MEETING - this will be at the new time (for Hackney meetings) 7.00 at the Princess of Wales pub, Lea Bridge Road on Monday 2nd of September.  So we'll be discussing the outcomes of the Cross-Marshes meeting amongst other things.  New people always welcome.  Perhaps you would like to come along and raise any issues that concerns you about the local green spaces and waterways?

SLM Digest Nov 15th

This week there has been a water theme running through our news and email exchanges:
PISCICIDE - this has to be the word of week.  The " Evening Standard", ran a story about "killer fish" in the tributaries of the Lea.  The Asian Topmouth Gudgeon has been described as the "Japanese Knotweed" of the river (Be afraid, very afraid!).  Not only is this an invasive species (accidently shipped in with other fish), but the Environment Agency (E.A.) are looking at flushing it out with chemical means that are not supposed to harm native species.  There are wider worries about the practice of re-stocking fish in the Lea and other human meddling in the delicate eco balance.  Full story

WATERWAYS MEETING - the London Waterways Commission has cancelled its meeting at City Hall.  Instead, there will be a meeting at the London Canal Museum, King's Cross on Wednesday 20 November at 7.00 p.m.  The main topic will be the River Trust's contribution to trying to solve the issues of waste, keeping the canal clean and working.  Further details

MARSHMAN - he cometh again!  Feature article by Emma Bartholomew in this week's "Hackney Gazette" p.11.  Author,  Gareth Rees is also doing a guided tour of Hackney Marshes this Saturday at 12.45, meeting at the Princess of Wales in Lea Bridge Road.

BACK ON DRY LAND - There are various campaigns and events going on that are worth people knowing about:

Stokey Local - still wanting people to sign the petition to help save overshadowing of Abney Park by "Sainsburyfacaction" of the Church Street Area of Stoke Newington.

South Bank Undercroft - skateboarders battle to retain their space see - sign the petition.

The East End Preservation Society - there will be a meeting to launch this organisation to help keep historic and much loved buildings in our area on Wednesday 27 November at the Bishopsgate Institute at 6.30.  Speakers include the eminent Dan Cruikshank (who's known in our household as "Whispering Dan" - but I digress..).  This is featured in the excellent website
Spitalfields Life.  Which, if you haven't yet discovered it, is far more than just being about the Spitalfields area - it is a cornucopia of delight and a very effective campaigning platform.  See
Greenpeace - local groups are also organising marches on Saturday, in support of the eco-activists incarcerated in Russia ..

CROSS-MARSHES MEETING - we want to remind everyone with an interest in the marshes to come along to the
next cross-marshes meeting.  These occasional meetings are designed to bring all the various groups together (plus any individuals) to discuss common issues and look for ways to extend our campaigns and support each other.  The special topic of this one is to agree an approach to the report that the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority (LVRPA), has recently commissioned on Leyton Marsh, by the London Wildlife Trust (LWT).  We will also be discussing how to lobby for permanent Biodiversity officers in Hackney and Waltham Forest.  We feel that this would be better use of money than using harmful herbicides on our streets and green spaces at great cost in both  monetary and environmental ways.  This will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Red Room, Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre Pub, 55 Hoe Street, Walthamstow E17.

The next SLM meeting will be Monday 18 November at 7.30 at the Hare & Hounds, Lea Bridge Road (opp. B& Q).
Topics that we will be discussing will include: the planning for the Cross-Marshes Meeting; reports back from events attended; updates on campaigns and plans for the "What I love about the Marshes" photo competition.  New people always welcome.

P.S. Our new Heron T shirts will be available for sale at the Cross-Marshes Meeting - merchandise and other fund raising initiatives help support our basic running and publicity costs.

Is Planning Policy Working?

Civic Voice - talking civic sense


Immediate publicationNovember 2013

Government select committee to ask “Is national planning policy working?”

Civic Voice welcomes spotlight being placed on planning policy

Civic Voice – the national charity for the civic society movement – today welcomed the announcement that the Department for Communities and Local Government Select Committee is to undertake a review of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). Clive Betts MP, Chairman of the Committee, has announced that it will undertake the review in 2014 to see how the framework is working two years after implementation.
Dr Freddie Gick, Chair of Civic Voice, said;
“I am pleased to hear that the Select Committee will be focusing attention on the NPPF. We agree that we need more housing but we have found that the NPPF has failed to put communities at the heart of the planning system. Civic Voice campaigned for significant changes to the original NPPF document and said at the time that not providing councils with more time to adopt Local Plans in place in line with the NPPF was always going to be a huge issue for communities. The consequence has been to put many communities at greater risk of speculative development”.
Clive Betts MP announced at a conference of planning professionals on 20th November that a 2 year review will start in March 2014 when the committee will ask interested parties to submit evidence on the impact of the planning changes.
Gick finished by saying “.Our members have been informing us about situations where the NPPF is, in fact, undermining localism and we will be submitting evidence to the review and meeting the committee. Communities who want to inform the civic movement response should share their experiences of the NPPF in their local area with Civic Voice.”


Civic Voice is the national charity for the civic movement. We work to make the places where everyone lives more attractive, enjoyable and distinctive and to promote civic pride. We speak up for civic societies and local communities across England. We believe everyone should live somewhere they can be proud of and we know how people feel about places because we feel the same way. Civic societies are the most numerous participants in the planning system. Since its launch in April 2010 Civic Voice has been joined by over 290 civic societies with 75,000 members. Further information is available at including how to join Civic Voice (£10 individuals) and contact details for local civic societies.


Civic Voice wants volunteers


We are a small, light footed organisation with few staff and lots to do!
We want to make the best use of all the volunteer expertise in the movement. If you want to help Civic Voice then let us know at There is plenty going on – from managing memberships and organising meetings to developing websites and researching new campaigns. You may also have particular expertise – on land use planning, listed buildings, volunteers or fundraising for example - which might help other civic societies or experience to share. If you'd like to volunteer locally, please contact your local group. You can find your local group here.
Civic Voice is run on a shoestring of just two staff and depends on volunteer support to be effective. We have received a number of enquiries from people wanting to know how to volunteer. The following opportunities are just some of them available:
Office support - Volunteers are required to help with general office support including database management and assisting with telephone duties and internet enquiries. We have further opportunities for more specific roles such as fundrasing and helping with publicity. Much of this work can be done at home as well as in Civic Voice's office.
Website resources – we are keen to improve the quality of information and support available on the website. Do you have ideas? What information should we be signposting on fundraising, volunteering, land use planning and heritage? How can we provide the online support which best meets the need of civic societies? How can the website build a stronger civic network? Can you help manage the site?
Policy analysis – are you interested in reviewing Government and other policy reports and publications for their implications for the civic movement? What should we think of English Heritage’s future? What should we include in a General Election Manifesto for 2015?
Topic networks – would you like to lead an informal network of civic societies and volunteers interested in particular topics?. Networks have already begun on coastal towns and core cities and there is interest in blue plaques. What about conservation areas or canals, Heritage Open Days or out of town supermarkets?
Planning reform group – a review of the national planning policy framework will be started in 2014. Would you like to join a group offering advice and providing evidence and examples which can be used to ensure the results work for the civic movement?
Photographs - are you a keen photographer with an eye for a good picture? We need you! Civic Voice is always on the look out for photographs that fit our style and we also need a volunteer to manage the Flickr site.
Contact Ian Harvey on  or on 0151 707 4319 to find out more 
If you would like to volunteer locally, please contact your local group. You can find your local group by clicking here

Footpath between Queens Road and Central - update

It's hard to believe this nonsense has been going on for at least 20years!!

Dear Bryn,
At Tueday night's Transport Liaison Consultative Group meeting I tried, unsucessfully, to get some clarity regarding the interdependence of the different components of the pedestrian link.
LOROL have stated several times that they only require the installation of Oyster readers for the users of the Edison Close entrance to Walthamstow Queen's Road station to allow it to open to passengers. It should be noted that the station's own CCTV system has already been extended to include the Edison Close entrance.
A few months ago it emerged that TfL had agreed with representations from LOROL that there should be a Ticket Vending Machine (TVM) installed at the Edison Close entrance so that passengers would not have to cross the station footbridge to use the TVM at the Edinburgh Road entrance. TfL had also agreed with LOROL that as a matter of policy London Overground stations should have two TVMs. TfL then revised its installation proposals to put the Oyster readers at the bottom of the Edison Close entrance ramp and install a TVM at the top, however the TVM would require planning permission. After several proposals were rejected, the Council's planners are now satisfied and the TVM is about to recieve planning permission. It appears that TfL want to install the Oyster readers and TVM in the same works package, so it is unlikely that this work will be completed before the year's end.
The Waltham Forest Cummunity Safety Panel (I think they are called) threw a spanner in the works a few months ago when they said they wanted the link to covered by LBWF's CCTV system as the Exeter Road/Edison Close is designated a high crime area. The link route has been surveyed and a requirement for four cameras identified.
The footpath from Edison Close to Walthamstow Central station has been delayed by Solum slowing the pace on their development and is now supposed to be completed during March 2014.
BGORUG's position has always been that the Edison Close entrance to Walthamstow Queen's Road station should open as soon as posible, regardless of progress with the rest of the link. This is because it on its own it will still improve access to pedestrians from the North East side of the Barking - Gospel Oak railway. BGORUG also believes that the increased footfall along Exeter Road and Edison Road will improve community safety and that opening the station entrance should not be dependent on the commissioning of the borough's CCTV provision.
The implication at the WFTLCG meeting on Tuesday was that the new Edison Close entrance to Walthamstow Queen's Road station will not be allowed to open until the Council can open the entire link route in "April 2014". It would be very helpful if the Council could confirm if this is the case.
Glenn Wallis
Barking - Gospel Oak Rail User Group


Dear Neil 

Please can you give us all an update as to progress with the link between the stations. It would be great if this could be opened in time for Christmas? The issues re oyster and CCTV must have now been resolved as there has been more than adequate time. 

Thanks again for your work on this really crucial project. 


Cycling Survey

Cycling Survey

Housing in Waltham Forest

This article from the national Guardian says 16,000 homes are being built in London - this must mean Waltham Forest must be taking a much larger share than average!

House Building

Opportunity and Intensification Areas

Fuel Poverty

Fuel Poverty: Towards integrated approaches to health, energy, social justice and climate change

This one day FREE conference is relevant for you if you
·      work in the voluntary & community, statutory, housing, health, employment or energy sectors
·      advise / support people in fuel poverty or who might be at risk of fuel poverty
·      support /advise organisations that provide services to people in fuel poverty
Also with the Energy Bill due to become law, the time for positive and integrated action is now!

Date: 10th December from 10.30 am (registration from 10am) till 17.00pm

We have a great line up of speakers:
·         Jenny Saunders OBE, member of the Fuel Poverty Advisory Group (FPAG is an advisory non-departmental public body of the Department of Energy & Climate Change ) and CEO National Energy Action
·         Murad Qureshi, Chair of the Environment Committee, London Assembly members, Greater London Authority
·         Christina Marriott, Senior Manager addressing health inequalities, NHS England
·         Ed Matthew, Director Energy Bill Revolution
·         Mary Milne, Senior Campaigns Officer, Age UK
·         Jane Landon, Director of Policy & Deputy CEO, UK Health Forum
·         Agamemnon Otero, CEO Repowering London

Fuel poverty is a major problem across London. Action and policy change is needed on a large scale, to cut energy waste in this city, to improve health, increase employment opportunities and save lives and to create warm homes for all Londoners. This event will seek to bring together organisations that work to tackle fuel poverty with social housing landlords, local authorities, public health agencies, community and residents associations, environmental organisations, energy companies, academics and government bodies to identify new integrated approaches to health, energy social justice and climate change.

There will be a range of practical workshops on: local community & housing association energy and efficiency schemes; lobbying & campaigning, working with local authorities and trusts and others. Confirmed workshop presenters are from Repowering London, Energise Barnet and Living under One Sun.

The event will be chaired by Chris Church from Community Environment Associates

This event has been organised by the London Voluntary Sector Council’s Climate Change Leaders for a Low Carbon London project

More information about the event and booking details are available on the LVSC website

For more information you can also contact Sandra van der Feen: email: (Mon-Fri) or Tel: 020 7832 5830 (Mon-Wed)

Best wishes


Sandra van der Feen

Policy Officer
London Voluntary Service Council (LVSC)
200a Pentonville Road
London N1 9JP
Twitter: @lvscnews

PEACe HR services for the voluntary sector
General enquiries 020 7832 5880
More details on PEACe services
Twitter: @PEACe_HR

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See our new training courses at Happy Ltd, designed specifically for voluntary and community organisations.
programme provides the highest quality training at the lowest prices
Think Green! Do you REALLY need to print this e-mail?

Sandra van der Feen

Policy Officer
London Voluntary Service Council (LVSC)
200a Pentonville Road
London N1 9JP
Twitter: @lvscnews

Philippines Appeal - update

Adrian -
This week we called for The National Lottery to donate the un won £12 million prize to the Philippines disaster appeal. On Friday that money was won in the EuroMillions draw.
In our thousands we put the pressure on -- the petition grew to over 145,000. And just hours before the draw Camelot got in touch with me. Their response earlier this week was to say that the lottery money belonged to ticket holders and the issue was out of their hands. Their response changed. They are now directing me to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport who ultimately decide how the money for lotto’s good causes is spent. 
This is progress and I will be following up with Camelot. This money, which for one week belonged to nobody, could have helped people that really needed it. The Lottery should have the ability to allocate funds for overseas relief, whether it is unclaimed lottery money, or a regular amount allocated in the same way we donate to UK causes. 
We know soon the story of the Philippines will slip from the headlines, but the suffering will continue long into the future as these people begin to rebuild their tattered lives. If you would like to give financially to the relief effort you can do so via the Disasters Emergency Committee, which is made up of charities working on the ground distributing aid right now. Every donation counts, however small, and will go towards the gap that the lottery didn't fill.
Once again, thank you so much for your support.
Rachel Riddall

Herbal Health Session

Winter Herbal Health Sessions for Walthamstow/Leyton
with Hedge Herbs & Wholistic Medicine

10am-12noon, Fridays 22nd & 29th November, 6th & 13th December
Lea Bridge Library Community Room

We continue our well-attended herbal medicine workshops in The Mill’s community space at Lea Bridge Library, with a special focus on using herbs in the home for parents, carers and children. Come to learn about how we can vitalise our lives with the beauty and value of herbs and get some practical experience of making remedies for winter ailments like cough syrups and tonics. We'll also make some skin creams & balms - ideal for Christmas presents!

Just turn up. If you’d like to find out more before coming, contact Rasheeqa on 07784 506 494 or
Cost: £2.50 per person

Rasheeqa Ahmad
Hedge Herbs

07784 506 494

Friday, 15 November 2013

Tree Planting

Significant Seams Knitathon

Significant Seams, the community interest community and social enterprise at 131 Wood Street, are hosting a world-record attempting Knitathon in aid of the Big Issue Foundation onSaturday 16th November 2013. Knitting lessons from 1-3pm and more information can be found on the website

Leyton Leisure Lagoon redesign problems

I spoke to Ella, Manager Leyton Leisure Centre, yesterday, having previously spoken to the duty manager last Thurs.  I had also completed the Customer survey last week.  In my opinion and that of lots of other users  I have spoken to the refurbished facility whilst looking very pretty,  is not fit for purpose and some terrible design errors and decisions have been made.
My urgent reason to speak to Ella yesterday was, however, about the very slippery floor in the Studio, it was not slippery last week and it seems perhaps some inappropriate cleaning product had been used. Ella said she would investigate and rectify this.
I also wanted the contact details of the appropriate person to whom to list my concerns - no it goes beyond concerns - which is the word we're supposed to use - to outright disgust that someone has been paid good money (our money) to design the refurbishment.
Some unbelievably ridiculous decisions have been taken  (toilet facilities).  In addition we have lost the opportunity to offer an improved facility - the spa area - which has been taken from us.
I attach some thoughts (very rough notes) which I have every good intention of using as a basis of a petition.  Ella and I also discussed the general apathy the public suffer from as the reason for their being very little public feedback, However interestingly my conversation/ complaints with her duty manager the previous week had not got back to her.
I would be happy to meet with anyone in the position of decision maker to discuss/elaborate on my concerns and in particular with a view to rectify the appalling toilet situation and making sure the same mistakes (spa area) and lack of consideration for customer needs are not repeated at Cathall and other facilities.
I look forward to your reply, Maureen Jethwa - (GLL member and  Waltham Forest resident)


Spitalfields Life

Spitalfields Life

London School's Atlas

School's Atlas

Wood Street Survey

Wood Street Survey

Donate Lottery Millions

Lottery Millions

Tedious Recycling

British increasingly turned off by 'tedious task' of recycling

Nearly a third of people admit to not recycling as much as they could because they can't be bothered.
A survey by Greenredeem highlights a growing complacency among the British public to go green. This survey follows in the wake of recent statistics from Defra which revealed the rate of increase in recycling rates has slowed.
Two-thirds (64%) of Brits reckon government doesn't yet do enough to incentivise recycling, which would suggest current schemes to drive up recovery rates are not having the necessary consumer impact.
According to the study, a quarter of respondents (25%) claim to be concerned about the environmental future of the planet, but not enough to motivate them to be green.
Just under a third (29%) admit to not recycling as much waste as they could because they cannot not bothered, and a worrying minority (3%) admit to never having recycled.
Perhaps crucially, more than a quarter (27%) of British adults say they do not recycle as they don't get anything out of it personally, with a similar proportion (24%) who claim they would recycle more if they were to get something tangible back such as vouchers, money or money off-goods and services.
A personal sense of selfishness aside, the study also highlighted that more than a third (37%) who don't recycle claim that it's because of a lack of convenient facilities. Currently only a quarter (26%) of people will recycle their waste in recycling bins in their communities.
This means many people who do recycle at home are not transferring this behaviour when on the go, and this presents a clear opportunity for local governments to boost local recycling rates by offering more recycling facilities in high traffic locations such as high streets and local supermarkets.

Unused School Furniture

Wanted: unused school furniture

International Development Partnerships has a project to establish a Schools Resource Centre in the rural north of Ethiopia. It is planning to ship a sea container, or two if it can, of school furniture to the country during  December. The centre will have a language lab, a homework hub (a space for after-schools study) and a library. Andrew Chadwick, director,  asks if any of LCRN’s members have school desks and chairs and/or library shelving which they would like to donate to the project.  
Most of the schools in rural Ethiopia have had few resources for the past 20 or or 30 years.  Many classrooms are in a poor state of repair (where they exist at all) and, despite the Ethiopian Government’s attempts to build new classrooms in some areas, it is not able to provide furniture and fittings.
We would be most grateful if any of LCRN’s members with library shelving or school furniture could contact on 020 7286 9756

Free Paint

FREE 10,000 litres of reclaimed paint up for grabs

FRP The Paint Place has just launched an initiative to give away 10,000 litres of reclaimed paint to community groups in Hackney.
And it is free!
The ‘Free Paint 4 Hackney’ offer aims to help organisations or community groups and through them, low-income residents.
However, applicants must be: located or active in Hackney; seek to brighten up a community room or space; support low-income families which need paint to redecorate their homes; or deliver creative projects and activities which require paint. Organisations and community groups may distribute the paint to individuals within a domestic setting provided they adhere to the above criterion.
The project aims to reach 1,000 people and around 100 organisations or community groups. The free paint offer will end  when 10,000 litres have been distributed.
Interested parties can download an application form from the FRP website For more information call FRP on 020 8539 9076 (please leave a message) or
“Hackney is one of the most deprived boroughs in London, and with support from Comic Relief and The London Community Foundation, the ‘Free Paint 4 Hackney’ project will help FRP reach the people who need help most.” said Nicole Muris, General Manager for FRP. 

London's Biodiversity

Mayor urged to act to protect London’s biodiversity
More than half of respondents to a new London Assembly biodiversity survey believe Mayor Boris Johnson is not doing enough to protect and support the capital’s green spaces and wildlife habitats, amid revelations that his Mayoral Strategy[1] has not been updated for more than a decade. 

The Assembly Environment Committee survey of 841 nature conservation and community groups, plus individuals in London[2] found 56 per cent thought the Mayor could do more to protect London’s biodiversity, and over sixty per cent felt local boroughs were also not doing enough.

The survey also revealed that almost four in 10 respondents were particularly concerned about pressure from developments. 

One respondent said: “(There is) pressure from developers to build on green spaces or so called 'waste land' which is in fact a valuable wild habitat for all sorts of plants, insects and animals. The trend towards 'green desert' gardens with over-manicured lawns and borders is depriving wild birds and insects of food and habitat”.

During the course of its work, the Committee heard in the three years up to 2012, some 215 hectares of “open space land” has been lost and the numbers of sparrows and song thrush have been in decline for years.

The Committee has now written[3] to the Mayor, urging him to take a strategic lead and act as an essential catalyst on issues relating to biodiversity conservation in London, and to update the Mayoral Biodiversity Strategy to reflect changes in policy and thinking since it was published 11 years ago. 

It has also set out a number of actions it wants the Mayor to consider, including raising awareness on how to protect and encourage wildlife in green spaces and giving support to relevant organisations and volunteers.

The letter also highlights how with the increase in decking and paving on private gardens - which make up a third of London’s green spaces - there is a need to increase public awareness of their value in maintaining biodiversity in the capital.

Murad Qureshi AM, Chair of the Environment Committee, said: “There are pockets of land all over London, including private gardens, wasteland, protected nature sites and parks, all of which contribute to the biodiversity of the capital by providing habitats for animals, birds and plants.

“However, our research suggests they may be under pressure from development and those working to preserve these spaces think the Mayor and local councils are not doing enough to protect them.

“With the Mayor’s Biodiversity Strategy now more than a decade old, it really is time for him to look at this issue again and demonstrate he is serious about biodiversity issues in the capital.  We need him to provide a clear strategy for developing programmes to help achieve better resilience of London’s wildlife.”

London Wildlife Trust has also given its support to the Assembly’s call for more action on biodiversity.

Mathew Frith, Director of Policy & Planning for London Wildlife Trust said: “London has a fantastic – if sometimes under-appreciated – legacy of conserving its natural assets. The city has over 200 nature reserves, over 1,500 sites of ecological value, and innovative work by dedicated people has helped to ensure that wildlife has breathing space in the midst of the city - in parks, gardens and even some new developments.

“However, the pressures on the capital’s wildlife are increasing, and we are witnessing significant declines in some habitats and characteristic species. Collectively, we need to move to reverse these declines.

“We welcome the Assembly’s call for the Mayor and local authorities to demonstrate more specific action to protect nature in London, not only for its own intrinsic value, but for the benefits it provides to the city – making it a more attractive and pleasant place in which to live, work and play.”

Notes to editors:
1.      See the 2002 Mayor’s Biodiversity Strategy
2.      The online survey conducted in August and September 2013 was promoted through a range of channels including the GLA’s website and Twitter. Direct invitations were also sent to over 300 community groups and networks with an interest in London’s environment. In total we received 841 responses.
3.      Read the letter.
4.      Murad Qureshi AM, Chair of the Environment Committee, is available for interview.  See contact details below.
5.      As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For more details, please contact Lisa Moore or Julie Wheldon in the Assembly Media Office on 020 7983 4228/4283.  For out-of-hours media enquiries please call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the Assembly duty press officer.  Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit, Greater London Authority, on 020 7983 4100.