Westcroft Square leading the way in the switch to electric cars

I am pleased to report considerable interest among Westcroft Square residents in switching to electric cars. This is something the Residents Association has been actively encouraging and monitoring in order to press the Council to provide the necessary charging points.

The Council’s Parking Projects and Policy Manager says:

“Thank you for the email regarding the provision of residential on-street electric vehicle (EV) charge-points in Westcroft Square.  The support presented by the Westcroft Square Residents Association is welcomed and comes at a very important juncture.

LBHF intends to be at the forefront for EV charging provision and we are currently developing a network of on-street EV charge-points across the borough.  We have just completed Phase 3 of this project that has delivered 83 EV charge-points in 28 locations.  The closest to WestcroftSquare is in Standish Road at the junction with King Street where two charge-points are operational.  We anticipate that later this year by the end of Phase 4, we will offer 160 EV charge-points across 55 locations with a charge-point within 400 metres of every residential property in the borough.  

Whilst EV charging technology has come along in leaps and bounds in the past decade, it is still evolving. So for example, we are exploring rapid charging infrastructure where an 80% charge can be realised in less than 30 minutes. Installing charging points within lamp columns is another option. This technology removes the consumer metering apparatus from the charging unit and puts in into the cable provided by the consumer. The advantage being that several charging points could then be provided at minimal cost.

The announcement from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) to support local highway authorities was welcomed and I contacted the Energy Saving Trust (EST) earlier this year to discuss the On-street Residential Charge-point Scheme (ORCS) in more detail.  They are administering the scheme and have provided me with further information, offered guidance and will review any grant funding application that LBHF may make to the ORCS.”

Talgarth Road Blooms Again

Cllr Caroline ffiske writes:

In the winter of 2015 I approached TfL to see if I and local residents could plant a small number of spring bulbs on the wide grassy strip on the north side of Talgarth Road between Barons Court and West Kensington.  I’m pleased I did because at that moment they were looking for a suitable site for 36,000 spring bulbs.

A week later the bulbs were planted.Talgarth 1  They did quite well in the spring of 2016, but they are even better this year.  They come in waves – the small crocuses have been and gone – and in this picture (taken a week ago) most of the daffodils are still to come.

So if you can’t make it to Kew Gardens this year to see the spring flowers, take a stroll down Talgarth Road.  You won’t regret it.

If you are interested in community gardening do please contact me at carolineffiske@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

Here come our spring flowers in Avonmore

Cllr Caroline ffiske writes:

Here come our spring bulbs in Gwendwr Rec. in Avonmore.  These were planted to flower last spring and I am delighted to see them doing so well this year.

The bulbs are thanks to the Bulbs for London initiative which was launched in 2012 by the MPGA, a long established charity, in conjunction with the Lincolnshire family firm, Taylors Bulbs.  Thanks to Taylors and the MPGA over 600,000 high quality spring bulbs have been distributed to around 550 parks and gardens throughout London. Taylors not only supply the bulbs free of charge, but also foot the bill for delivery.

 

Thanks to the scheme, at least 10,000 bulbs have so far been planted in Hammersmith.  The first of these (to my knowledge) were in Marcus Garvey Park – and since then word has got out. I will be putting up pictures soon of the bulbs we planted this December.

For more details about the scheme please look up the MPGA online or email me at carolineffiske@gmail.com.  If you are interested in doing some community gardening please also email me.

H&F Council still failing to deliver on refugees rhetoric

The latest Asylum data stats (see volume four) show that Hammersmith and Fulham Council took no further Refugees under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement scheme in the last quarter.

So the total is still three.

Barnet has taken 37, Camden 71, Islington, 25, Richmond upon Thames, 12. Even the tiny City of London has taken seven.

I had already challenged H&F Council’s poor record when matched up to its rhetoric. I have been very disappointed that the H&F Refugees Welcome Committee, really a branch of London Citizens,  has (so far) been completely uncritical of the Council’s failure. They provide an excuse and an alibi for their hypocrisy.

This is the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement is for 20,000 refugees nationally – which the Council attacked at the time it was announced for not going far enough.

Then there is the Dubs scheme. That is far more dubious as it is gives an incentive for people smuggling. That is because the Dubs scheme takes children from Europe (very often resulting in drowning in the Mediterranean) rather than the camps in Lebanon and Jordan. Others feel that despite this it is right to participate. But a recent FOI request I put in shows that the Council record is pretty feeble whatever you think of the merits of it. the Council has taken in 13 and is only offering to take in two more despite the substantial funding on offer from central Government.  Of the 13 only one is in the borough – the other have been placed by the Council elsewhere.

Furthermore so far as unaccompanied asylum seeking children more generally is concerned the Council is failing to meet its quota:

“The number of UASC (non DUBS amendment) children being looked after is currently below the 0.07% figure. The 0.07% figure for Hammersmith and Fulham is 24 children.”

The upshot is that the Council is still virtue signalling. It is still putting the focus on getting publicity in the media about how caring it is – while hoping that the reality of its record will pass unnoticed.

H&F Council is committed to unfairness in school funding

Cllr Caroline ffiske writes:

Last night I attended the LBHF Save our Schools rally where the Labour Council committed to fight against fairness in school funding.  (Labour against fairness – hurray!)

First I should explain some background to the proposed National Fair Funding Formula for schools about which thenff-meeting Government is currently consulting.  A group of local authorities – who call themselves the F40 Group – have been lobbying for a new schools funding formula for years.  The reason is that at the moment some schools receive more than £2000 per pupil, per year, less than other schools.

The authorities that have been fighting for a Fair Funding Formula are both Labour and Conservative authorities – and the F40 Group has the support of Labour and Conservative MPs.   And it has the support of hundreds of Labour and Conservative councillors up and down the country.

F40 local authorities represent between them 9,000 schools – that’s 41% of schools in England – and those schools cater for 2,817,857 pupils – nearly 36% of all England’s pupils.

The Labour vice-chair of the F40 group is Vernon Coaker MP.    He has said: “F40 has become an extremely important voice in education and has the respect of the government, which has listened to the group’s arguments, recognised the injustice of the system and promised to work with the poorest funded local authorities to develop a new and fairer national funding formula. I am extremely keen to be part of that discussion and look forward to having a central role in the group and fighting in Parliament for fairer funding.”

Labour MP, Vernon Coaker, and I both believe in fairness.  And I am proud that a Conservative Government is leading this review.

So that is the background.

The proposed new funding formula is simple.   It proposes a basic per pupil block.  Then funding based on additional needs such as deprivation, low prior attainment, and English as an additional language. Then additional funding based on the schools circumstances such as sparsity and split sites.  Then an uplift for additional area costs.  For London that is known as the Area Cost Adjustment.

What is great about the formula is that it is simple and that it is transparent.  It provides the framework – and the relevant variables – around which we can go forward and debate truly fair funding for schools.  Here it is:

Inline images 1

Turning now to Hammersmith & Fulham – and indeed London schools.  At the moment London schools are looking like they will lose out under the proposed formula because of the weightings given to different factors.  The maximum loss will be 3% of funding.  But this is coming at the same time as other funding pressures on schools.

As a Conservative involved in education I am extremely proud of the Conservative’s record on education. Last week when I saw Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening, I spoke to her about my concerns around the wider funding pressures and I will continue to do this at every opportunity.

Going forward I encourage educators and parents in Hammersmith & Fulham to look at the proposed funding formula here (see the Executive Summary):

And to consider responding via the survey.  We should all look very carefully at the weightings given to the “additional needs funding”.  (For example, in my daughter’s Y3 class, amongst eleven girls there are at least six first languages spoken.)  And to the area cost adjustments that need to address the disproportionate cost of living and recruiting in London.

At the meeting last night I proposed that people looked carefully at these factors and that the most effective way to respond to the consultation is likely to be around these factors.  Cllr Fennimore dismissed this idea as encouraging “pro-forma” responses.  Dennis Charman instead suggested that people just reject the commitment to fair funding as a bad idea(!).     H&F Labour Councillors advice was that people should ~ “email and tweet” the relevant Conservative MPs.   They also asked people to submit their email addresses to be kept informed about further activity.  I was very disappointed at this lack of seriousness.  To use his own words, perhaps Cllr Steve Cowan is simply “email harvesting”.

Joe Carlebach: In a post Brexit world the future must be built around the needs and aspirations of ordinary people

joecarCllr Joe Carlebach is the Conservative Vulnerable People’s Champion and an Avonmore & Brook Green Ward councillor.

We are now eight months on from the vote which has led to the much talked about Brexit. I think it would be fair to say that the result turned the world of politics and the country in general upside down. The shock was palpable and the landscape of our nation changed forever. For better or for worse we face a new and some would argue uncertain future (it is of course hard to talk about the future without being uncertain).

I thought this was a good moment to take stock of where we are and look at some of the key issues which for me are critical in helping secure a prosperous future.

I freely admit I was not a Brexiteer, I think the appropriate description for my position was a Remainer all be it a reluctant one. Reluctant in the sense that I am no fan of the Brussels bureaucracy and its fondness for dictates. For me any organisation so bloated with Civil Servants all looking for something constructive to do is a malignant entity. However as a ‘conservative’ with a small as well as a capital ‘C’ I much prefer evolution to revolution. I would have much preferred to remain and work with our fellow European colleagues to drive change especially as the decision to leave will have a material impact on so many people.

That said (and with a heavy heart) I feel duty bound to respect the democratic will of the people of this country and we must now prepare ourselves for leaving the EU and making the best possible job of it.

Clearly there will be much to thrash out to enable clarity for business and citizens alike and that may not necessarily be a bad thing. However the reason why I feel compelled to speak out now is a plea firstly to all the Governments involved in this process to make a priority of the rights, needs and aspirations of ordinary people who have been caught up in this turmoil. The uncertainty facing them is immense and it is the duty of Government and Politicians to protect them and ensure we do not trigger any large scale movement of people, forced or voluntary.

Jobs will be at risk, children’s school places are impacted, healthcare needs, indeed all the aspects of ordinary lives. We must provide certainty and assurance as a matter of urgency. It was very encouraging to see our Prime Minister pushing this issue hard and it is to her credit that she seems to understand the impact on  ordinary people. Equally it is to the discredit (some would say shame) of other EU leaders who simply refuse to address the issue until a totally arbitrary point in time ie the official triggering of the so called Article 50. For me this overly dogmatic approach to the plight of real people typifies what has gone wrong with the EU. As Disraeli said “Power has only one duty – to secure the social welfare of the people”. It is as true now as it was then.

Here in the UK we are still a divided country on the subject of Brexit. Arguments still abound as to the type, shape and flavour of any Brexit. I believe now is not the time to accentuate division, it is a time to work towards unity. Irrespective of whether you were a Brexiteer or a Remainer, – even these descriptions are significant simplifications of the multitude of positions many in both camps held. I urge all to come together and work through the difficult times ahead with a view to the concerns and interests of everyone. This is of course easy to say and difficult to achieve. It should however in my view be kept as the guiding principle in all our debates going forward.

If we keep the individual and families at the centre of the stage in the post Brexit world, taking full regard of ordinary citizens interests, ambitions, fears and concerns we will come through this uncertain period stronger and in better shape. If we get stuck in dogma and theory unable to grasp the consequences for ordinary people we will not do well and history will judge us as having failed this historic challenge.

Join H&F No third runway

handflogoDept for Transport Third Runway public consultation exhibition

Monday, 6 March 2017, 11am-8pm Town Hall, King St

H&F NoThirdRunway will be at the Town Hall on 6 March!

H&F RESIDENTS WOULD PAY THE PRICE FOR A 3RD RUNWAY AT HEATHROW

The Government isn’t saying what a 3rd runway will really mean for H& F residents:

  • More noisy planes with less respite
  • More flight paths – but they won’t tell us where…..yet!
  • More polluted air on our streets and in our playgrounds
  • More congestion on our roads
  • More overcrowding on the Piccadilly line

Don’t be fooled by the propaganda:

  • No decision has yet been made on a 3 rd runway
  • There are minimal new jobs for H&F residents
  • There is no compensation or insulation for H&F residents
  • £61bn benefits over 60 years across the UK is not a big prize
  • H&F residents get more noise, pollution and congestion

The consultation is a sham. It does not mention:

  • Noise New flightpaths over Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush
  • Air Pollution and Congestion More traffic on the A4 and other roads
  • More crowding on the Piccadilly Line

Ask these questions:

  • Where the new flight paths over H&F will go?
  • What noise levels will different parts of the borough experience?
  • What levels of air pollution will there be?
  • What increased road congestion will there be?
  • How many more passengers will use the Piccadilly Line?
  • Who owns Heathrow?

Don’t stay silent: