East Dulwich Neighbourhood Fund Allocations

This year Arpil’15-Mar’16 we have £30,000, + some underspend from last year, of revenue to spend in East Dulwich ward – Neighbourhood Fund.

We allocated the following – if you’d like to understand more about these projects please get in touch. If you have any great idea for how to improve East Dulwich please let us know we still have £31,365 to spend on local projects.

Name of Group: Name of Project: Funding awarded £]:
Bangladeshi Welfare Association Asian Elders Lunch Club £4,000
Crystal Palace Road Big Lunch 2015 Crystal Place Road Big Lunch £500
Dulwich Helpline and Southwark Churches Care Communities Reducing Social Isolation for Older People in the Dulwich Community Council Area £1,421
Dulwich Milan Association Eid and Christmas Event £970
East Dulwich Community Centre Association Open Day £640
Girl Guiding UK – Southwark District Southwark Guides Carnival Camp weekend £334
St Anthony`s Road Safety Action Group Road Safety Feasibility Study for St Anthony’s RC Primary School £5,000
St. Anthony’s Road Safety Action Group Safe Crossing Patrol for St. Anthony’s RC Primary School £5,000
Southwark Explorers Club Southwark Pensioners’ Club £1,500
The Vale Residents Association Physic gardening £1,900

Noise Leads To Obesity

Swedish scientists have found what appears a link before road and jet noise and obesity.

Apparently living near a busy noisy road or under a noisy flight path can cause obesity. The mechanism isn’t clear yet but this could partly explain why poorer people suffer from obesity – they generally can’t afford to live on quieter streets.

One suggested mechanism for this is that noise exposure could be an important physiological stressor increasing cortisol production. High levels of cortisol have a role in depositing fat around the middle of the body.

Apparently all noise production – whether motor vehicles trains or aircraft have this impact but aircraft noise was found to have the highest association with increase weight.

Short term I hop this will be the final nail in the Heathrow airport expansion. On so many levels and now this it shouldn’t proceed. But it also suggests Gatwick shouldn’t happen which is almost as bad an idea as Heathrow.

But medium to longer-term we need to make where we all live so much quieter.

How do you think this can be achieved?

Aircraft noise – steeper landing and takeoffs would cut noise, banning the noises aircrafts, working internationally on a replacement for Chapter 3.

Train noise – ends diesel trains coming into London, noise baffle walls along noisy train routes and end noisy platform PA’s that can be hard outside stations.

Traffic noise – get more people cycling and walking, make the London low emissions zone low pollution AND a low noise zone. Add noise pollution cameras along our busier roads to enforce this.


Local Train Air Pollution

Southwark and Lambeth being inner London boroughs suffers from some of the worst air pollution in London and the UK. Without significant changes in the way we live and work we will never meet EU air quality standards that we’ve been breaching since 2010. In fact the UK Supreme Court has told the UK government it must draw up plans to meet them by the end of this year.

Even with such plans many south London residents will needlessly die while we await these plans to be implemented.

Where does this air pollution come from?

The worst offenders are diesel engines – they produce Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and particulates – that’s from diesel engines in buses, taxis, lorries, cars and trains.

Buses and taxis are something Transport for London control and can directly influence. Lorries and cars can partly be controlled by Transport for London through the congestion charging zone and low emissions zones but also UK and European regulations around taxation and design standards.

The last remaining diesel train services into London Bridge rail station come from the Hurst Green to Uckfield railway line. But we also have diesel trains serving Exeter and Salisbury into Waterloo station. Air pollution doesn’t follow political boundaries so on most days that Waterloo air pollution gets blown across Lambeth and Southwark.

So what can we do about it?

We can all support the electrification of the Hurst Green-Uckfield train line so they no longer have diesel trains coming into London Bridge. The coalition government asked for this to be studied and £100,000 to do this was allocated in the last coalition budget.

To help things along please sign this petition.

To end diesels trains coming into Waterloo please email wessexroutestudy@networkrail.co.uk asking them if they will help London meets its Air Pollution legal requirement by ending diesel trains into London Waterloo.

Aylesbury Estate

In April the main Planning committee agreed to the demolition of the 2758 homes that form the Aylesbury estate. The vast majority being social rented council homes, all 2,249 of them + 509 leasehold homes.

The replacement will be 2,745 new residential units in tower blocks up to 20 storeys high with only 37.5% social rent and 12.5% shared ownership with the remaining 50% private homes. So a huge decrease in social housing.

I sat on that planning committee and we heard much contradictory evidence. Assertions such as the estate had high levels of crime, ill health and low employment levels. But after 20 years of low investment is this surprising. The crime rate was an odd one as past years when they had their own Police Safer Neighbourhood Team they reported record lower levels of crime compared to the surrounding areas. We heard the heating was unreliable. But we also heard how for long periods it hadn’t been maintained properly. Much of the ill health is probably from poverty rather than the homes they live in.

Several times residents have been asked how they would like to see the future of council housing. Overwhelmingly they’ve said they want to live in council homes rather than Housing Associations homes.
Other consultations people have said they like the vision for the Aylesbury estate but we heard from a number who didn’t agree. No one attended to support the application which I found telling.
For leaseholders it was suggested years of agony arguing over the value of their properties with offers falling woefully short of the replacement cost. From the heygate debacle it looks like social cleansing of leaseholders from the area.

From an environmental perspective it didn’t feel good.
The plans will see more than a one third reduction in open space. From 4.8 hectares down to 3ha. No segregated cycle paths. Routes within the park don’t all align with paths in Burgess Park.
The target is to only reduce CO2 emissions by 30% when we know the planet needs 80% reduction. But this will be more than swallowed up by the huge loss of embedded carbon in the current structures. We heard and I’ve visited a number of blocks that could be kept and urgent residential leaseholders
Could be decanted to them over time. But the applicant rejected this out of hand.

We heard that the building weren’t safe and could collapse like a pack of cards. Objectors pointed out it was the same design as the Heygate estate which didn’t fall down like a pack of cards during demolition. So the expert evidence just did;t come across as credible compared to real world experience in Southwark.


So I found myself unable to support these plans and no longer supportive of the general Aylesbury plans. They appear wrong headed on so many levels now that the detail has been fleshed out. Problems could be fixed through helping people find work to boost their incomes. Through long-term proper maintenance. And yes I have visited homes on the estate. AS a minimum many blocks are perfectly sound.

So I voted against the plans and application which I was surprised at as I had anticipated before reading the report that it would have been well thought through and convincing

Action For Warm Homes

I’ve been approached by Action for Warm Homes. They are great Manifesto for Warmth which I fully endorse and support.

Insulating our homes, public buildings and businesses must be a strategic priority. In Dulwich & West Norwood it’s estimated that 3,514 homes or 7.9% suffer from fuel poverty. Although this is a smaller proportion than the London average in the 21st century no one should be living in fuel poverty.

It’s calculated that this fuel poverty has led to 30% of the 27 excess winter deaths in our area.

Lib Dems in government have ensured a million homes have been insulated so many more clearly need  to be insulated. And just because a family isn’t in fuel poverty doesn’t mean they don’t have huge energy bills.

We must fight this for peoples health, social cohesion – people sacrificing other family budgets to pay for heating, environmental – we must reduce our CO2 emissions. But it is also a strategic priority. We don’t want to import more energy than we absolutely must.

Is your home fully insulated. You can also save money with climbers.

For ideas and a checklist or here.


Labour ‘Rackman’ Landlord Behaviour

I’ve have had a number of residents contact me from East Dulwich and neighbouring areas living in Southwark Council street properties with rotten windows. I’ve even had neighbours of such properties contact me.

These ancient sash windows are rotten, without locks, victims of burglary, breezy from ill fitting, wet from condensation, stop residents heating their homes because the heat blown straight out of the home.

I’ve tried working with council officers but they’re stuck. When Lib Dems ran led Southwark Council we replaced such windows.

Last night I asked the Labour councillor in charge the following question:

“Why is the council not implementing its Warm, Dry and safe policy of ensuring “windows in good condition or double glazed with secure locks” for acquire street properties and instead leaving tenants with cold, we, dangerous ancient sash windows, well over 40 years old, which consist of more putty, fuller and rot than wood and are often without window locks?”


“The Arm, Dry and Safe standard ensures that all residents’ windows will be wind and water tight.

The current Warm, Dr and Safe brief for street properties is to repaid the existing windows and decorate as and where required to ensure that this standard is achieved and are in a secure state. The council will also renew sections of any such windows that are beyond reasonable repair on a like for like basis.”

To push the point I spoke solely about this during the debate about Southwark Council spending £2 billion pounds of capital works over the next 10 years. But still they refuse to replace windows in street properties.

All of these properties are worth more than £500,000 and the council has a policy of selling such properties when they’re no longer tenanted.

A cynic would suggest they’re not replacing the windows because they’re waiting for the tenants to leave from desperation or die. Rackman landlord behaviour that Labour Southwark should be ashamed of.

Dulwich Community Solar – when ?

Chase Community Solar, working alongside Cannock Chase District Council has what appears a ground-breaking initiative. They’ve created a Community Benefit Society to install PV solar panels on the roofs of council properties.

The council tenants or leaseholders will receive £100-£200 of their electric bills for hosting PV solar panels on their roofs.

This is funded by people investing a minimum of £100 with a 7% projected rate of return for 20 years from selling electricity generated by the solar panels to pay this interest and expenses. Bit better than 0.5% with any money sitting in the bank. The capital raised pays for PV cells to be bought and installed. Additionally community shares are eligible for 30% tax relief through the Enterprise Investment Scheme. So this appears a cracking deal for local investors as well.

Solar energy can play a key part improving energy efficiency, as well as helping the environment by reducing carbon emissions, but the cost of installing panels is a deterrent. Community share issues such as this may be an ideal solution. Those who put up their cash not only help to improve their community but may also get a decent rate of return. The project is also very attractive to councils as it helps both their tenants and their carbon footprint.

When will we create Dulwich Community Solar?

Green Investment Bank

One of the big green developments of the Lib Dems in government has been the creation of the Green Investment Bank. It starts with £3.8bn to lend to promote green investment.

Some councils have taken green loans to upgrade all their street lighting to LED lights. Savings of 80% in electricity and all the commensurate CO2 reductions are not to be sniffed at. The LED lights also produce a much brighter white light in the process.

TfL plan to replace 35,000 of its street lights by 2016.

So lets get Southwark Council and Lambeth Council to do the same. Borrow the money to replace them now from the Green Investment Bank, save lots of CO2 and in the process fund the loan and still have save lots of money. Win, win, win.

I’ve suggested this to the cabinet member for Environment…we await hopefully a positive response….

Lasers To Replace Spark Plugs

December 2014 Lib Dem Nick Clegg helped lead the UK government persuading the EU to agree 40% carbon reduction by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. An amazing achievement.

40% many think amazingly hard to achieve. We actually need an 80 or 90% reduction to avoid irreversible climate change. Either way 40% felt amazing.

This week it was announced that tests replacing regular spark plugs with laser ignition in a normal combustion engine had been successful. Not only does it work but in the first ever tests of the idea they had a 27% boost in combustion efficiency. That is a huge leap. Not only that they found fewer pollutants such as NOx which causes smog from incomplete combustion. This could benefit cars, lorries, ships, generators. In the US transportation engines account for 28% of all CO2 emissions.

The scientists involved are saying that a laser can be much more finely tuned to cause ignition at the best possible moment. That it could occur multiple times in one RPM of an engine. That unlike spark plugs which cause ignition at one end of the chamber it can be focused for the middle or edges or both. So 27% is probably just the start of boosting combustion efficiency.

40% could actually turn into a rather pedestrian target – he says hopefully.