Recorder letters: Green waste, political point scoring, Goodmayes’ Tesco and Labour leader

PUBLISHED: 12:30 12 April 2020

Redbridge Council has suspended recycling and green waste collections because of Covd-19.

Redbridge Council has suspended recycling and green waste collections because of Covd-19.


Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.

What’s happening to our waste?

Robert Greenall, on behalf of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party, wrote to Cllr Jas Athwal, council leader, and Cllr John Howard, cabinet member for civic pride:

We in the Green Party were disappointed to learn that Redbridge Council has decided to suspend recycling and green waste collections because of Covid-19.

We understand that this has not been a universal response by local authorities up and down the country – in fact, neighbouring Waltham Forest has retained a reduced recycling service. We do appreciate, though, that in some areas limited resources may make it impossible to continue a normal service at this difficult time. We would urge you most strongly, however, to give a guarantee that recycling and green waste collections will be resumed as soon as this crisis is over.

We would also like to clarify what happens to the waste. You were quoted as saying that “recycling collected in this way would not end up in landfill but instead be turned into refuse-derived fuel”. Are you saying it will be incinerated? In that case, how will you deal with the glass bottles and metal cans which are a large part of the recycling collections?

Until we are satisfied that our paper, bottles and cans are being dealt with sustainably, some of us will be keeping back those items until recycling collections return.

Beyond political points-scoring

Wes Streeting, MP for Ilford North, writes:

I was somewhat taken aback by Mr Green’s letter to last week’s Recorder accusing me and Labour’s shadow health secretary of “trying to score political points from the Covid-19 outbreak”. The parliamentary record shows that when the chancellor announced plans to provide income protection for workers I said: “On behalf of my constituents who will benefit from the measures that the chancellor announced last week, may I sincerely thank him for the action that he has taken and for the responsibility that he is carrying?”

When I questioned the health secretary, I prefaced my remarks by saying “we are all rooting for him to be successful”. Mr Hancock has welcomed the shadow health secretary’s constructive approach publicly.

The success or failure of the government in tackling this pandemic is, quite literally, the difference between life and death.

Livelihoods are also at stake.

I am worried by the lack of PPE equipment provided to public service workers, the lack of testing available and the workers who don’t currently benefit from the income protection schemes on offer. Beyond the crisis, there are plenty of arguments I wish to make about the failure of a decade of Conservative government. For now, our whole country is united in a joint effort to beat this virus. We’ll continue to work constructively across party lines to that end.

Clear evidence, not conjecture

Keith Stanbury, chairman, Goodmayes Residents Association (GRASS), writes:

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I refer to Messrs Archer, Scott and Walker’s response regarding the Tesco flats plan (Recorder).

They talk about the Gladman judgement in terms of air quality alone as the source for planning refusal. If they are referring to the greenfield site close to Mansfield, Notts (DCS reference 200-008-955; or was it the Tiptree judgement? Or the Braintree case?) the highlighted grounds for refusal were those relating to increased traffic flow into existing local lanes.

Significantly, the local authority had not completed its Local Area Plan in a quantifiable way acceptable to the inspector.

The use, density and conditions for redevelopment of the Tesco “brownfield site” under Redbridge’s LAP is relatively clear and unambiguous and it is questionable whether the two are comparable.

The proposals in regards to the redevelopment under discussion indicate a reduction in vehicular activity/pollution for a number of reasons, including the proposals for a reduction in car parking density and provision for PHEV recharging, a modified Romford Road traffic flow to include a dedicated bus lane and an additional ticket hall to Goodmayes rail station, with vehicular access via the existing roadway.

There are two clear methods to reduce vehicle pollution: reduce queuing/increase average road speed, and encourage less-polluting vehicles. The proposals meet both criteria.

I quoted facts in my previous letter - where are the facts to support their accusation of “substantial additional traffic pollution”?

Quantify the “substantial”? What are the “series of measures” that Redbridge Council are taking to mitigate air pollution near schools? What facts support the “toxic” accusation in regards to pollution per m2 of habitable space in new high-rise buildings against a new bungalow or two-storey house? Why are Tesco “toxic”, as you infer?

Are 1,300 all-electric homes with a solar electric recovery system as toxic as 1,300 gas-burning homes of the same size? Should we ignore the impact that Crossrail will have on commuter traffic within three years?

The Tesco redevelopment is a five-year project, probably longer with the Covid-19 situation, and, within 10 years of its completion, petrol or diesel cars will be off the menu.

Giving clear evidence, gentlemen, rather than conjecture, might add weight and substance to your proposition.

I do not have the results of the air quality monitoring; I am sure these have been submitted to the council if the planning officers requested it at the stage of outline application.

What I will reiterate, however, is my commitment to cleaner air for all local residents and my willingness to discuss and negotiate with those who can implement change. You three would be more than welcome to join me in this endeavour, provided you accept that facts rebut fiction.

UK will never be the same again

Sadiq Khan, mayor of London, writes:

I’m delighted that Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner have been selected as the new leader and deputy leader of the Labour Party.

This is an unprecedented time and our country faces extraordinary challenges. We are fighting with all we have to slow the spread of this virus, but it’s clear we will be dealing with social and economic consequences of Covid-19 for many years to come. The United Kingdom will, frankly, never be the same again.

That just makes it all the more vital that Labour does its job by effectively holding the government to account - and by making the changes clearly necessary to put ourselves back on the path to forming a Labour government again. Keir and Angela are best suited to the scale of this challenge and I look forward to working closely with them to make it happen.

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