Please come and help remove plastic bottles from the bank of the Thames

A report from Thames 21

The Big Bottle Count will be taking place September 2 @ 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Join Thames21 and the #OneLess bottle campaign for our biggest ever counting project on the Thames. On the 2nd September, we will be sending volunteers to around 20 collection hotspots, including by Hammersmith Bridge,  on the Thames to count (and remove) that rising scourge of the world’s rivers and oceans – plastic bottles. Over our 20 years of cleaning the Thames we have noticed how the rapid rise in the use of drink bottles has been reflected in the river. Teaming up with #OneLess, we going to attempt to count and remove all the bottles on Thames foreshore. Last year, we visited 11 sites and retrieved 2,500 bottles. This year we are going a step further and visit every site where we know bottles accumulate.

If you are interested in getting involved, please register here.

In August, we will get in touch again to arrange a suitable time and place for you to participate.

If you have any questions you can email us on

How much is the Council’s flawed weed removal policy change costing us?

It is obvious to residents across Hammersmith and Fulham that the Council’s policy of using a “hot water spray applicator” to remove weeds from the borough’s pavements is ineffective.

Their claim that the change is “green” is also dubious – as noisy diesel generators need to be running the whole time to run the water heater and the pumps.

But what about the cost?

I have asked the Council:

“Please advise the annual spending on removing weeds from pavements in the borough for 2014/15, 2015/16, 2016/17 and the budget for the this service for the current financial year.”

The reply from the Waste Contract Manager

“I’m afraid the information regarding the annual spend on removing weeds from pavements cannot be provided due to commercial sensitivity by virtue of paragraph(s) 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972.”

I have responded:

“I wish to formally request this information under the Environmental Information Regulations. The exemption you cite under Schedule 12A is not an exception under the EIR provisions. Any potential exception under EIR is also subject to a public interest test. Disclosure will be in the public interest since (a) it relates to the spending of
council taxpayers’ money, and (b) it will help inform public debate and democratic scrutiny of the council’s functions on protecting local amenity and the local environment.

“There is no legitimate economic interest in refusing to disclose this information and there is no tangible harm that would be realistically caused to the council by revealing its annual spending on controlling weeds. I note that the total spending on individual contractors is already public by virtue of the spending data which must be published by the council under the statutory (DCLG) Transparency Code and therefore does not have any quality of confidence.

“Indeed, the Transparency Code states: “The Government has not seen any evidence that publishing details about
contracts entered into by local authorities would prejudice procurement exercises or the interests of commercial organisations” – this is clearly guiding when assessing the public interest under the EIR provisions.”

Maybe they will eventually give me the figures. Maybe they won’t. But it’s pretty likely that the costs have gone up by rather a lot, isn’t up? Common sense would suggest that and their obstruction in disclosing the cost to the Council Taxpayer would seem to confirm it.

So Labour rule means more weeds, at a higher cost and with more pollution.

Council to hold helicopter meeting

Following the concerns about increased helicopter noise I have requested that the Council takes some responsibility for discovering the causes and considering how to protect residents. Specifically I asked that a report on helicopter noise be brought before the Community Safety, Environment and Residents Services Policy and Accountability Committee –  and that it includes what action (if any) the Council is proposing to take.

I am pleased that this request has been agreed. The Committee Co-ordinator says:

“Further to your request below, please note that the issue of Helicopter Noise will be discussed at the Community Safety, Environment and Residents Services PAC on 20th November 2017.

“The meeting will start at 7pm and be held in the Courtyard Room at Hammersmith Town Hall.”

Residents are welcome to come along and have their say.

That’s annoying that it won’t be until November and I will obviously press the Council to take action before then.

Labour MP for Hammersmith backed Venezuelan regime

Andrew Slaughter, the Labour MP for Hammersmith, was among those who backed the regime in Venezuela.

The Venezuela Solidarity Campaign patrons include the Labour MP Diane Abbott. It boasts it has 18 national trade unions affiliated to it (as well, naturally, as those champions of free elections the Communist Party of Britain.)

Their magazine in 2012 included a statement from Andrew Slaughter, then Labour’s Shadow Justice Minister, that a Chavez victory was:

“A great result for the people of Venezuela, progressive politics and the democratic process.”

The independence of the judiciary under the “progressive” arrangement commended by Mr Slaughter is indicated by this report from Amnesty International:

“Judge María Lourdes Afiuni remained under house arrest throughout 2012. In September, unidentified gunmen drove past the building where she lives and opened fire, aiming towards her apartment. In November, she disclosed publicly that she had been raped while in jail. Judge Afiuni was detained in December 2009 and remained imprisoned for over a year. She was charged with offences including corruption, abuse of authority and association to commit a crime. She had ordered the conditional release of a banker who had been held in custody awaiting trial for more than two years, a decision within her remit and in line with Venezuelan law.”

Will Slaughter now renounce his backing for this regime?