Friday 30 June 2023

Good Law Project takes sewage scandal to High Court next week

 From Good Law Project

On Wednesday 5 to Thursday 6 July, the High Court will hear a legal challenge that aims to force the Government to toughen up its plan for reducing sewage dumped in England’s rivers and seas. Good Law Project is supporting the Marine Conservation Society, Richard Haward’s Oysters and surfer and activist Hugo Tagholm as they argue that the Government’s strategy is inadequate, allowing water companies to pollute waters and beaches for another 27 years.

England’s sewers were designed with 14,500 storm overflows to stop them becoming overwhelmed, allowing a mixture of surface water and sewage to be discharged during heavy rainfall. But according to the Environment Agency, these overflows are now used on a routine basis. Water companies discharged untreated sewage through storm overflows more than 300,000 times in 2022 for a total of 1.7 million hours.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) published the Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan to tackle this in August last year. It imposed a deadline of 2035 for reducing the sewage flowing into bathing waters and areas of ecological importance, but gave companies until 2050 to stop discharges elsewhere.

This legal challenge, which has been backed by cross-party MPs, aims to force the Government to bring forward these deadlines and introduce tougher targets. 

Facing pressure from this case, DEFRA has already announced a consultation on expanding its storm overflows plan to include protections for coastal and estuarine waters. This initial win for the claimants, which the Marine Conservation Society hailed as “a huge victory for our seas”, means that one of the legal grounds has already been settled before even being heard in the courtroom.

Success in this case could set a landmark precedent, which would allow others to use an ancient English legal principle called the Public Trust Doctrine to compel those in power to protect the natural environment.

Legal Director of Good Law Project, Emma Dearnaley, said:

The public is - rightly - angry and upset and calling for urgent action on sewage pollution.

This hearing is a huge moment for the future of our rivers and seas. This is our chance to force the Government to put in place a robust plan to put an end to the sewage scandal blighting our country.

Success in this case could also set a significant legal precedent by reviving an ancient legal principle that would require the Government to take positive steps to protect our shared natural resources. This is a potential game changer for future environmental challenges.

CEO of the Marine Conservation Society, Sandy Luk, said:

This is a momentous court case to hold the UK Government to account for our right to a clean and healthy ocean. 

This is achievable, but we need urgent and decisive action from the Government to make it happen. For the sake of people and planet, we need sewage-free seas.

8th generation oysterman, and Director of Operations at Richard Haward’s Oysters, Tom Haward, said:

For eight generations the Haward family have grown oysters in Essex and sold them throughout the UK and beyond. Our livelihood balances completely on water quality. 

We work hard to protect and nurture the environment we rely on to produce our oysters, and the relentless dumping of sewage into our seas risks destroying something so precious. 

Just as we invest in our business so that my daughter and future generations can be proud of and continue our legacy, so too should water companies be held accountable and invest in ensuring British waterways are flourishing and safe ecosystems that future generations can enjoy.

Thames Water - great video from Led by Donkeys

 Thanks to Led by Donkeys for this video:

July 4th London Renters Union Day of Action to end Rent Hike Evictions



From Brent Renters Union



Too many of us have been made to face the trauma and upheaval of eviction. On July 4th, LRU members are taking action to resist the government's failure to protect us from huge rent increases. Too many of us have been forced out of our homes by landlords hiking up our rent. The more members joining the action, the bigger impact we'll have! 



Thursday 29 June 2023

REMINDER - BRENTXTRA International Reggae Day in Harlesden tomorrow (Friday)



Pam Laurance steps up to try to answer all those questions about doing your bit on climate change but were afraid to ask - Chalkhill Radio, Saturday 10am-11am.



No, it's not about legalising drugs but a chat with Brent Friends of the Earth's Pam Laurance who will be tackling some of those thorny questions people find themselves  asking (or being asked) when it comes to taking action on climate change. 

What do we think about cutting down on flying when many people in Brent want to keep in touch with family back in their home countries and attend important weddings and funerals? Should you ration holidays by air or stop completely - particularly when it can be such a hassle? Stop short-haul?

Many people are changing their eating habits to cut down on meat and significant numbers of people, especially in the north of the borough area, are already vegetarian, what are the pros and cons of a vegetarian or vegan diet?  How should you start to change your diet and how does it work with changing the diet of a young family keen on fast food?

I am sure that driving (including the school run and shopping), low traffic neighbourhoods, reducing air pollution, cycling and much else will be raised by listeners.

Pam will be asked to choose a record to be played on the show. Speculation is rife about which song she will choose but I don't think it will be this one.

Well done PCS: Court of Appeal rules the government's Rwanda plan is unlawful

From PCS (Public and Commercial Services Union)

PCS welcomes today’s Court of Appeal ruling that the UK government's plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda is unlawful.

The court agreed with PCS’ argument that Rwanda was not a safe country to deport refugees to; and that there was a serious risk that they could be sent back to a country in which they may be subjected to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment, contrary to Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. 

In July 2022, PCS, alongside Care4Calais, Detention Action and eight refugees, launched a legal challenge by way of judicial review to the governments Rwanda policy, which is designed to deport refugees to Rwanda without allowing due consideration of their asylum claims. 

PCS was clear that we were taking action on behalf of our members in the Home Office, in order to improve their working environment by removing the hazards and hostility created by the policy; and in solidarity with refugees who were being subjected to its inhumanity. 

In September 2022, the High Court ruled that the policy was lawful, but it quashed the decisions to deport the eight refugees and ruled that they should be reviewed. An application was made by the refugees to the Court of Appeal, adopting our generic grounds of argument as to the general unlawfulness of the policy. 

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of PCS, said:

Although we welcome this decision from the Court of Appeal, PCS recognises that the fight against this government’s disgraceful anti-immigration agenda is far from over.  

It is not immigration but political choices by this government that have driven down wages and starved public services of the resources they need to prosper. Instead of facing up to the consequences of their actions, it acts to criminalise and scapegoat refugees who are fleeing from death, torture and persecution.  

As we have demonstrated through our work with Care4Calais and Detention Action, our union will not stand idly by as refugees are subjected to inhumane policy proposals and inflammatory rhetoric by this government.

PCS Head of Bargaining, Paul O’Connor, who has been leading the campaign for the union, said:

The decision of the Court of Appeal is a vindication of our position. We do not take litigation lightly, but we could not stand by and allow our members to be subjected to stressful, dangerous and hostile working conditions; nor could we stand by and allow refugees to be subjected to this inhumanity. 

The government is consistently pouring money down the drain in its attempts to stop the Channel crossings – none of its plans are working. In fact, since the Rwanda policy was announced, far from being a deterrent, the number of crossings has increased. 

It is time for the government to adopt the Safe Passage policy put forward by PCS and Care4Calais.  That is the solution to the Channel crossings. It is the only way to prevent tragic deaths in the Channel.  It would allow refugees to have their asylum claims properly and safely considered; and would allow our members to do their jobs without consistently ridiculous political interference.

Wembley Event Day Saturday July 1st - avoid stadium area unless you have tickets for Def Leppard & Motley Crue

 From Brent Council

Def Leppard & Motley Crue: The World Tour

Wembley Stadium will be hosting a Def Leppard & Motley Crue: The World Tour music concert on Saturday 1 July.


Def Leppard & Motley Crue: The World Tour is on at Wembley Stadium on Saturday 1 July. Doors will open from 4pm and road closures will be in place from 2.45pm.

We expect the area around Wembley Stadium to be very busy before and after the event so please avoid the area if you can, unless you have a ticket.

Event day parking

Event day parking restrictions will be in place from 8am to midnight on main roads and from 10am to midnight on residential roads on Saturday 1 July.

If you have a paper permit, please make sure you clearly display it in your vehicle. If you have an electronic permit, you do not need to display this.

Wednesday 28 June 2023

Excellent Letter from headteachers to the Chancellor. Save Our Schools. Will your headteacher sign?


I hope Brent headteachers will sign this letter that sets the issues out with great clarity:


We the undersigned, all being head teachers at state schools in England, are very concerned about the damage being done to the education system by the worsening problem of teacher shortages. Recruitment and retention have never been so challenging as they are at this present time. It is becoming increasingly difficult to put a qualified teacher in front of every class. We fear that educational provision and standards are at risk unless urgent action is taken to address this gathering crisis.


At a time like this, it is more important than ever that we have certainty that the pay award for 2023/24 will begin to address these problems. We are aware that you are in possession of the School Teachers’ Review Body recommendation. According to media reports, this recommendation is for a 6.5% pay uplift. It is of the utmost importance that you publish this report at the earliest date, together with confirmation of whether the government will agree to this recommendation. It is also vital that the government commits to funding any pay award for every school. This must not be based upon a notional assessment of what is affordable for an average school. There is no such thing as an average school and our concern is that many schools will once again be left in a position of having to cut staffing numbers in order to afford the pay award.


We must have certainty over the pay award and associated funding in order to give us some degree of confidence that the government is committed to addressing the deepening problems with recruitment and retention, and so that schools and trusts are able to budget for the new academic year. The late publication of the STRB report that we have seen in recent years makes it impossible to plan with any degree of financial certainty. No business could operate in an environment in which staffing costs were decided at the last minute and without sufficient funding to pay those costs, and yet this is how the government expects to run a vital public service.


This is a time when the government must act in the interests of children and young people by urgently putting in place a funding and pay settlement which eases the immediate crisis and establishes a foundation on which to build. Parents will rightly expect the education system to be properly resourced, and the workforce deserves a better deal which rebuilds morale and properly values the importance of teaching to the future of the country. We call upon you to show vision by backing education.





Final Boundary Commission constituences published. Brent wards will be covered by a total of 4 MPs. Brent East returns.



The Boundary Commission has published its final recommendations today. Brent East, formerly Ken Livingstone's seat, is back and largely covers the current Brent Central while Brent West covers the current Brent North.

Harlesden and Kensal Green,  Kilburn and Queens Park become the minority Brent wards in the Queens Park and Maida Vale constituency. The Camden side of Kilburn is in another constituency, Hampstead and Highgate.

Poor Queensbury, often seen as a bit semi-detached, is on its own in Harrow East.


'Why buy when you can borrow?' Library of Things to open at Willesden Green Library for all Brent residents


Why buy, when you can borrow? 

Start saving money this summer by borrowing items like drills, carpet cleaners and angle grinders, rather than forking out for a brand new one.

Brent's first ever Library of Things opens at Willesden Green Library this summer, offering a great opportunity to save money and help the planet by contributing to a more circular, sustainable economy.

80% of household items are used less than once per month, so it is worth checking out the prices on the Library of Things website, as it might be cheaper for you to rent rather than buy.

Although the installation will be physically based in Willesden Green, it will be open and available for all Brent residents to use. The library will include a whole host of items, many of which can be rented for £10 or under. It will store high quality brands, with everything from:

  • DIY tools
  • Pressure washers
  • Hand sanders
  • Hedge trimmers
  • Or even projectors, games consoles and waffle makers.
Sign up today and get 10% off your first Library of Things booking: CLICK HERE

Tuesday 27 June 2023

More than 400 people have signed petition calling on Brent Council to protect parks and green spaces from development. Please sign and circulate.


The petition calling on Brent Council to protect parks and green spaces, launched following public disquiet over the recent Planning Committee decision to approve four 3 storey houses in Barham Park, has reached more than 400 signatures.

As non-party political Philip Grant said in a comment on Wembley Matters:

Although the petition is shown in the name of Paul Lorber, the discussions leading up to it involved people from across political parties.

It was not just Lib Dems who stood up for the importance of the Sudbury Town Neighbourhood Plan in considering the application affecting Barham Park.

As well as Cllr. Lorber, the Labour councillor for Sudbury Ward, Teo Benea, also spoke against the application.

The Labour councillor for Wembley Central ward, and former Chair of Planning Committee, Cllr. Ketan Sheth, had a statement read out at the meeting, in support of tje Neighbourhood Plan and the importance of upholding its Local Green Space policies.

A link to the petition has been circulated by Brent Parks Forum, Brent Green Party and Brent Friends of the Earth. 

Meanwhile it has been established that the Covenant on Barham Park is still in place and Brent Council officers are  looking at the process required if it is to be removed, which should include the price developer George Irvin would have to pay. Readers will remember that Brent Council said previously that no steps had been taken to seek a valuation of the Covenant and thus establish the amount George Irvin would have to pay.

The Covenant protection is managed by the Barham Park Trustees, chaired by Brent Council leader Muhammed Butt,  and with a membership consisting only of members of his Cabinet. There is no independent community representation on the Trustees Committee. The Trustees are charged with protection of Barham Park which was left to the people of Wembley for their enjoyment by Titus Barham.

The Barham family made representations to Brent Council opposing the development as against the spirit of the bequest.

I urge people to sign as with an expanding population, and lessons learnt from the pandemic, we cannot afford to lose any more green space. Stonebridge is still smarting from the loss of the green spaces around Stonebridge Adventure playground and outside Stonebridge Primary School.

Signing on Brent Council website is a bit of a palaver but please persevere as loss of space will affect generations to come who will be hit by cliamte breakdown.


We the undersigned petition the council to uphold its long standing Strategic Policy of protecting Brent Parks and Open Spaces at all cost.

We are concerned that Brent Council's Planning Committee has ignored Strategic Core Policy of protecting Parks and Open Spaces and also the Sudbury Town Neighbourhood Plan, which designated Barham Park as a Local Green Space and developed a specific Planning Policy BP1 which stated that any housing building or redevelopment in Barham Park should be refused. That decision has effectively undermined Neighbourhood Planning, ignored the views of local people and put at risk other Parks and Open Spaces across Brent

Fields in Trust Interactive Map of Green Spaces LINK

 Brent area


Government's Affordable Homes Grant funding can now be used to fund replacement homes as part of estate regeneration plans. Will Brent Council apply?

This announcement from Homes England is likely to make a major impact in Brent if the Council makes a successful bid.

Homes England has today announced that grant funding provided through the Government’s Affordable Homes Programme 2021-26 can now be used to fund replacement homes, alongside new affordable homes, as part of wider estate regeneration plans.

This means that the housing and regeneration agency can better support its partners to replace housing that is outdated and no longer fit-for-purpose, with a larger number of high-quality, energy efficient new affordable homes.

Housing Minister Rachel Maclean said:

We remain committed to building the affordable homes this country needs and a key part of this is improving the quality and supply of social housing.  

The changes I am announcing today will unlock more affordable housing by ensuring we replace old homes with ones that are fit for the future. This is absolutely critical in helping us regenerate communities, speed up housing delivery and provide high-quality homes for more families.

I’ll continue to work with Homes England and developers to get delivering through this scheme as quickly as possible.

Peter Denton, Chief Executive of Homes England, said:

The affordable housing sector has always had to balance the investment it makes in existing homes with the investment in makes in building new homes. Over the past year, increasing financial pressures have made achieving that balance even more difficult to manage.

This change is something the sector has been calling for, and with it there is a real opportunity to accelerate the regeneration of social housing and help level up communities across the country.

We’ll be working quickly to make this funding available to ensure partners can get the maximum benefit from this change, and are ready to use all of the tools, capacity and capability we have available to us to support delivery. We encourage all affordable housing providers and local authorities to come and talk to us as early as possible if they need support to develop their proposals – we’re here to help.

This change to the Affordable Homes Programme has been agreed with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, and is part of the Agency’s wider efforts to help bolster the affordable housing sector and maintain housing supply.

It also aligns with the agency’s five-year strategic plan, published in May, which clarifies its mandate to drive regeneration and housing delivery to create high quality homes and thriving places across England.

Grant funding for estate regeneration is available to partners looking to replace existing homes with new affordable homes and build additional new affordable homes. Grant funding from the Affordable Homes Programme is also still available to those looking to only build new affordable homes. Providers can apply through Homes England’s continuous market engagement route, while existing Strategic Partners will be able to use grant already allocated to them.

The change will come into effect immediately and funding decisions will be made on a regular basis up until the end of March 2025, subject to availability of funding. Homes England is keen to see proposals that can deliver at pace, maximise the number of new affordable homes, and enhance wider efforts to level up and regenerate communities. All schemes must start on site by 31 March 2025 and will need to complete within the Affordable Homes Programme’s current timeframes.

Monday 26 June 2023

How you can hold the authorities to account. Effective FoIs with Martin Rosenbaum Preston Community Library Tuesday 7pm-9.30pm



It may seem a dry topic but this is a absolutely vital topic for anyone wanting to hold the authrities to account and ensure honesty and transparency. You may well be able to think of a number of issues locally where the effective use of FoIs may well be useful.

This is is the invitation from Preston Community Library

An Evening with Martin Rosenbaum
Tuesday 27th June 7pm-9.30pm.

Dear All,

We would like to invite you to join us for an evening with journalist Martin Rosenbaum, who will be talking about his new book Freedom of Information: A practical guidebook. Until recently Martin was an executive producer in the BBC's political programmes department, and for sixteen years was BBC News's leading specialist in freedom of information. The book is a comprehensive and up-to-date guide to the UK's freedom of information legislation, and will be an invaluable resource for anyone who wants to be better informed about the activities of government, councils and the public sector.  Refreshments available.

Parking and Finding Us:  It is not an event day , but it is better to park along Preston Road, on the left as you go uphill towards Wembley.  A map of where we are is below, with directions and details of buses.

With Regards,

Philip Bromberg,
Preston Community Library



Sunday 25 June 2023

Green jobs - or dangerous green wash? Zoom meeting 6.30pm July 4th on Zoom


Campaign Against Climate Change Meeting July 4th, 2023 6:30 PM  to 8PM on ZOOM


Speakers: Ellen Robottom, Campaign against Climate Change trade union group, 
Stuart Boothman, Stop Burning Trees Coalition,
Don Naylor, HyNot (campaigning against HyNet greenwash and the Whitby hydrogen village) 
Claire James, Campaign against Climate Change 
Greenwash is not always easy to challenge: the claims to offer climate solutions; the PR offensive in local communities; and promises of 'green jobs' that in reality are neither as numerous or as environmentally friendly as promised. But whether it’s a ‘zero carbon’ coal mine, heating homes with hydrogen, importing wood to burn in power stations, ‘sustainable aviation growth’ or offsetting, there are common themes that can enable a reality check on greenwash claims and misleading jobs promises. In this meeting we'll aim to draw these out with the aims of challenging greenwash more effectively, supporting local campaigns, and working towards a genuine Just Transition.

UPDATE: Some restoration of supply. No water in parts of Wembley HA0 and HA9 - likely cause burst water main in Preston Road

 From Affinity Water


No water in Wembley

We’re really sorry you haven’t got any water. We’ve been made aware of a burst water main on Preston Road in Wembley which may be causing this. Supply has been restored to most of the area and repairs are still underway to restore full supply

What we’re doing

Our repair team are working hard to fix the burst pipe and get your water back to normal. Once we know how long this will take, we’ll let you know as soon as possible.

We’re really sorry about this and thank you for your patience.

We updated this message at 09:45 and we'll update it again after 11:45

What's happened so far

(06:40) Technician on route to investigate.

(07:10) Our repair team are fixing the burst pipe.

(09:30) We’ve restored the supply to most of the area but some customers still may be experiencing low pressure or no water.



Interruption to your water supply - Wembley - HA0 and HA9

Sunday 25th June 2023

Assessing the issue

No water in Wembley

We’re really sorry you haven’t got any water. We’ve been made aware of a burst water main on Preston Road in Wembley which may be causing this.

What we’re doing

Our technician is on their way to your area to investigate and get your water flowing again soon.

What you can do

Until we’ve sorted this, please avoid using your:

  • Washing machine
  • Dishwasher
  • Electrical appliances that use water

If you still have water, we recommend you put some in your kettle or fridge for drinking in case your water needs switching off for the repair.

We’re really sorry about this, we’re working to get your water back to normal as soon as possible.

We added this message at 07:02 and we'll update it again after 09:02



Thursday 22 June 2023

LETTER: Announcing the 'Decolonising Wembley' project

 Dear Editor,


I hope you're doing well - I thought I would reach out to you, hoping that you might be able to support our campaign. I am looking to spread the word about ‘Decolonising Wembley.’


This project aims to address the imperial nostalgia among urban professionals involved in the construction of Wembley. Specifically, it involves retroactively renaming the streets and buildings that commemorate the 1924 British Empire Exhibition. We're approaching the 100-year anniversary of the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley where the famous Kings Speech took place - by addressing modern commemorations at Wembley, we hope to raise awareness about the legacy of British imperialism and encourage people to reconsider their relationship with it.


There will be a few high-profile public talks that we'll be delivering on this.


The figure below highlights the 22 known commemorations of the British Empire Exhibition.



‘Decolonising Wembley’ is a project aimed at challenging the celebration of British imperialism and the legacy of the 1924 British Empire Exhibition. The project aims to investigate the realities of British imperialism, the raison d’etre of the 1924 British Empire Exhibition, and the nomenclature of assets such as roads, buildings, open spaces, etc. at Wembley, London that commemorate and celebrate this contested event in history.

The project dissects the act of naming a street or building after an event, person, or building as an act of celebration that honours and memorializes the Exhibition’s legacy. Thereby preserving and romanticizing a contested narrative in Wembley’s history for generations to come.

Decolonising Wembley is a collaborative project that brings together academics, historians, activists, and community members – that seek to challenge the imperial nostalgia among urban professionals involved in the construction of Wembley and to promote a more critical understanding of the past. One of the key aspects of the project is the retroactive renaming of streets, open spaces and buildings that commemorate the 1924 British Empire Exhibition. This renaming process is an important step towards acknowledging the complexities of history and the impact of colonialism on the world.

The project also investigates the raison d’etre of the 1924 British Empire Exhibition and its role in promoting British imperialism. This research aims to deepen our understanding of the event and its impact, and to provide a more nuanced perspective on the legacy of British imperialism.

The launch of the Decolonising Wembley project is an important initiative that seeks to challenge the celebration of empire and to promote a more critical understanding of the past.

This is a serious cause of concern, especially as Brent is one of Britain’s most diverse boroughs – British imperialism has caused much strife and pain for our communities, Lord Woolley CBE said it best:

For many, including me, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, to revere about the empire. It means slavery, murder, theft, barbaric cruelty and colonialism. We cannot and must not attempt to erase our history, but we can choose which parts we put on a pedestal.”


For more information about the Decolonising Wembley project, please visit our website at and visit the socials @decolonising.wembley

Kind Regards,


Nabil Al-Kinani


Urbanist // Cultural Producer // Creative Practitioner