Thursday, 16 September 2021

Cllr Krupa Sheth questioned on Brent Climate Strategy targets and measurement of progress

 

The public are able to ask Brent Cabinet members a written question at Full Council meetings and follow up the answer at the meeting itself. The questions and answers are published on the Agenda in advance of the meeting.

A key question on the Council's Climate Emergency  Strategy has been asked by local r
esident Pam Laurance:


About a year ago the Council launched the Brent Climate & Ecological Emergency Strategy, with a considerable amount of publicity, setting out specific aims and targets. The First Year Delivery Plan 2021-2022 set out 23 targets for that period. The Strategy documents states that:


'Progress against the key objectives will be monitored and measured regularly, and progress on the delivery of the specific actions in our yearly delivery plans will be reported in detail, alongside a commentary of progress of the overall programme each year. Available datasets and baselines will be measured against the most up to date statistics at the time of the adoption of this plan. This strategy is currently a long-term strategy, but we will keep under review the need to refresh its aims and objectives in the years to come'.


Please will the Council say:

 

1) What criteria are being used to measure progress?

2) How does the Council plan to keep the public informed on progress?

3) Does the Council believe that any of the targets need to be more ambitious in the light of recent climate developments?

Response:

1) What criteria are being used to measure progress?

 

 The overarching means for measuring progress on direct carbon emissions in the borough is from the local authority dataset provided by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) each year. It is from this dataset, for example, that we have been able to ascertain that there has been a 35% reduction in total carbon emissions on a borough-wide basis since 2005 (when this method of accounting began) and it is also by utilising this dataset that we are able to analyse different pathways of getting to carbon neutrality by 2030.


Unfortunately, the complexity of carbon accounting means that these figures are only available with an 18-month timelag – and therefore the latest set of figures for Brent is from 2019. We also have a baseline estimate of the consumption emissions (wider greenhouse gases, not just carbon) which are attributed to Brent and one of our key objectives is to reduce these emissions by at least two thirds by 2030. Due to this timelag in receiving specific data, councils are reliant in the meantime on assessing progress through other ‘proxy’ measures which will indicate the direction of travel in reducing emissions. We are currently working on developing an internal dashboard with the council’s Corporate Performance Team which currently includes around 80 potential underpinning long-term indicators and datasets. These can include specific datasets such as EPC ratings, waste statistics, TfL travel data but also through more the practical delivery of initiatives we have set out in our yearly delivery plans. Progress will be reported to Cabinet each year. The current 2021-22 delivery plan for example, comprises of actions that we expect to have a direct impact on emissions, or lay the building blocks for emissions reduction in the future.


2) How does the Council plan to keep the public informed on progress?

 

 The council has been keeping the public informed of progress through regular updates via Brent’s main communications and engagement channels. This includes the council’s social and digital channels, through news updates, webinars and social media feed on specific projects and themes from the delivery plan as well as in the physical copies of the Your Brent magazine or at any in person event where the climate emergency team has a presence. We have also developed and established the Brent Environmental Network which is now approaching 1000 members. The network is ultimately proposed to be the key overarching mechanism for sustained and ongoing engagement with communities on tackling the climate and ecological emergency and achieving the council’s sustainability aims for the borough. Signed up members receive, at the very least, a monthly e-newsletter which provides information on how individuals can live more sustainably and contribute to tackling the climate emergency, alongside updates about the council’s climate emergency programme and a ‘community corner’ which seeks to shine a light on all of the positive environmental initiatives that are happening in Brent led by brilliant individuals and local organisations. Members also receive specific alerts about local events, issues or new initiatives like grant funding as and when necessary. We have also established and meet regularly with the Brent Environmental Network Advisory Group not only as a means of providing updates, but also to gather regular community input on how we expand our engagement to all of Brent’s communities. As an example of an outcome of this work, we are also hoping to develop new dedicated social media platforms for the Brent Environmental Network as a means of providing even more regular and dedicated information about environmental initiatives in Brent. We have also committed to providing a comprehensive yearly report to cabinet which set out the progress made against all actions within the yearly delivery plans, plus any key contributing actions which have developed through the course of the year outside the formal delivery plan. This report will also be the opportunity for cabinet to approve future yearly delivery plans.


3) Does the Council believe that any of the targets need to be more ambitious in the light of recent climate developments?


Page 41 of the Council’s Climate and Ecological Emergency Strategy sets out of that this is a long-term strategy but that we will keep under review the need to refresh its aims and objectives in the years to come. Whilst recent weather events around the world and in London, plus the findings of the IPCC report, have been very troubling, we are one of only twelve London councils to have adopted a carbon neutrality target both for our own operations and for borough wide emissions by 2030. We therefore sincerely feel that we are being as ambitious as we can be with resources at our disposal at the present time. We remain open to ideas and suggestions from residents or communities as to what else the council can do to upscale our plans. We are very clear throughout the strategy document that the council cannot achieve these targets alone and we need all individuals and communities in Brent to play their part and strive for carbon neutrality.

 

 

Wednesday, 15 September 2021

North End Road closed from September 16th for 3 days and South Way for a longer period from September 27th

 From Brent Council website LINK

·      North End Road will be closed to traffic from 09:30 on 16 September to remove the temporary Hostile Vehicle Measures (HVM) (Concrete Blocks) and to install the permanent HVM on the footway. It will take up to three days to complete the works and there will be a signed diversion route will be in place for the duration of the  works

·       South Way will be closed at the junction of Wembley Hill Road from Monday 27 September to allow for gas, water and electric connections to be made for the new development on South Way at the junction with Wembley Hill Road. A signed diversion will be in place and we expect the road to reopen to traffic before the 10 October

 

Editor's Note: These are concrete blocks that presently impede pedestrians crossing North End Road and particularly affect wheelchair users and parents with buggies. It remains to be seen whether the replacements improve access.  Traffic lights are still awaited.

 

 

 

 

 

Brent Council announcement that the proposed development of Kilburn Square is to be 'adapted' in collaboration with residents welcomed by campaigners

The existing design  (figures are the number of storeys) - Kilburn High Road is top right

 

This is Brent Council's Press Statement

The design proposal for the new homes on Kilburn Square Estate is set to be adapted through collaboration with residents, the council has announced today.

This comes after extensive engagement throughout the summer with those living on the estate and the local community. The council has listened to people’s feedback and agreed to review the proposals taking into account some of the most commonly raised concerns, while also maintaining its commitment to delivering a significant number of new council homes.

Each council housing scheme is different and will always be considered within its own specific context.

Cllr Southwood, Brent’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Welfare Reform, said:

 Brent is in the grip of a severe housing crisis. There are more than 1,400 families living in temporary accommodation and many more whose home is completely unsuitable. We are doing everything in our power to build more council homes and create a fairer and more equal borough.

Since autumn 2020, we have been working with Kilburn Square residents on proposals to build new homes on the estate. We have received some helpful feedback and I want to thank everyone who has worked with us. I also want to thank everyone for being patient with us while we review the scheme and decide how best to take it forward.

We are keen to amend the existing design, working with the residents of Kilburn Square. It is essential that all tenants and leaseholders attend the workshops we will be holding shortly to have their say. By doing this, we can make sure the new homes we build and the changes we make across the estate are as good as they can be for the community, for future residents and for the council.

A letter and a newsletter will be sent to all residents living on Kilburn Square this week (w/c 13 September). This will include more information about this decision and the upcoming opportunities for residents to get involved in shaping the design.

The statement is partly in response to a public question posed for Cllr Southwood at Monday's Cabiner meeting on the Kilburn Square development that by the Kilburn Square Stakeholders Group,  a coalition of four local Residents' Associations and the Kilburn Neighbourhood Plan Forum. The KSSG is spearheaded by Kilburn Village Residents' Association - whose territory includes the Estate itself as well as the surrounding streets.

 

Keith Anderson, Kilburn Village Residents' Association chair said.

 

·       The saga of this huge "Infill" project has been running since last October. The Stakeholder Group was formed in January and since then we’ve been patiently dealing with Cllr Southwood, senior Officers and the project team, explaining why we believe the scheme is much too big. 

·         The drawn-out process came to a head in August, and our Question was designed to press the Council to finally deliver on its promise to heed the voices of the residents and the local community. We are grateful to Cllr Southwood and her colleagues for the written response being presented on Monday, to Council and the wider public.

·         We look forward to the promised shift to a more collaborative approach to finalising a smaller scheme that can, in Cllr Southwood’s words, “work for everyone".

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Coal, Dole & Dinner Ladies - theatre on how Brent locals supported the Miners' Strike: Starts this weekend


 

Local theatre performances this autumn from Brent Museum and Archives

Coal, Dole and Dinner Ladies will bring to life the untold story of how dinner ladies and other Brent locals supported the Kent miners during the Miners’ Strike in the 1980s. The story has been uncovered in the Trades Union archive collection, held by Brent Museum and Archives, and will be told on stage for the first time this autumn.   

1984 - the Miners Strike was in full swing and a group of Kent Miners, desperate in their struggle against Thatcher's Pit Closures, marched from Kent to Nottingham. Arriving in Willesden, they were heralded by a group of Queens Park Community School (then Aylestone School) Dinner Ladies, given a standing ovation and served a slap up meal in the Dining Hall. Coal, Dole and Dinner Ladies takes us back to 1984 and tells the story of a community supporting the Miners at their darkest hour. Tea and jam roly poly at the refectory included

Performances held at The North London Tavern, 375 Kilburn High Road, London NW6 7QB

  • Saturday 18 September 2021 – 11am, 12.30pm and 2pm
  • Sunday 19 September 2021 – 3pm, 4.30pm and 5.30pm
  • Sunday 26 September 2021 – 3pm, 4.30pm and 5.30pm
  • Saturday 2 October 2021 – 11am, 12.30pm and 2pm

Fully accessible performances held in the Performance Space at The Library at Willesden Green, 95 High Road, London NW10 2SF

  •        Sunday 3 October 2021 – 2pm and 3pm

Tickets

Tickets are by donation, with the money going to Mutual Aid Food Willesden. We will also be collecting food donations on the days of the productions (we will send out more information about what to bring by email).

Each performance includes refreshments

 

Coal, Dole and Dinner Ladies is part ofBeing Brent – Heritage for Health and Wellbeing, a project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and delivered by Brent Museum and Archives.  

TICKETS HERE

Monday, 13 September 2021

Wemba's Dream in Wembley Park showcases local creative talent and the Royal Philharmonic in a fusion of colourful costumes, dance, music and spoken word

 

 Photo: Chris Winter

 I was really sorry to have missed Wemba's Dream on Saturday due to other commitments.The event by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and local talent included fusions of orchestral music with contemporary dance, theatrical performances, carnival arts, film and spoken word showcases. A creative experience for audiences of all ages within the community across several sites in Wembley Park.  These photographs give you an idea of what took place.

 

Looks amazing!

 

Photo: Chris Winter


 
Photo: Chris Winter
 
 

 
Photo: Chris Winter
 
 

Photo: Chris Winter

 

 
Photo: Chris Winter

Residents angry as precious green space on polluted road 'imprisoned' by hoarding ahead of development - meeting at Neasden Lane North development site Wednesday morning 10.30am (near bus stop)



Local social media burst into life over the weekend after in the space of a few days  hoarding was erected around a wooded green space next to busy Neasden Lane North. Many residents claim this was the first they knew of a planned 3 storey development of 9 flats on the green space.  They further claim that the delegated decision (ie made by officer, not sent to Planning Committee) was made when people were preoccupied with the pandemic. Brent Council claim that 57 letters were sent out to residents but only two comments were received.

The satellite view below shows the extent of the space between Aylesbury Street and West Way. Residents said that the trees screen them from pollution, noise and dust from the main road.


They have launched a petition entitled 'Stop killing trees in Brent '  LINK:

Brent Council granted permission (19/3738 July 2020) to erect a three storey block of flats in the land FULL OF MATURE TREES, next to Aylesbury Street and West Way, in Neasden Lane (A4088) by the bust stop after the flyover. Using Covid as a coverage Brent Council sold a public green space to a housing development company and pushed throug the planning permission to cut all the trees and built 9 flats next to a polluting road allowing the neighbouring streets surging with pollution too once the trees are gone.

If you care about whats happening in the area and the environment or this "development" affects you please sign this petition forcing the council to re consider the application and stop the works immediately before any of the green gets damaged in any way.

The Arboricultural Implications Assessment LINK submitted to Planning found many of the trees to be low quality (although that doesn't stop them doing their screening job) and concluded:

The proposed development would require the removal of 22 individual trees and one small group, all but one of which are BS category C. These are mainly small, short lived or poorly formed trees which should not represent a significant constraint to the proposals, according
to BS5837:2012. A further 10 trees are recommended for felling on safety/short lifespan grounds whether or not the development proceeds.

 

Three offsite Ash trees will not be affected by the proposed building and nominal potential impacts of a path are mitigated by existing trees for removal dominating the areas of near surface disturbance.

 

The retained trees will be appropriately protected by robust tree protection fencing in accordance with BS5837:2012 requirements. Only temporary foot access for hand tool construction of the proposed path will be allowed with details indicated on the Tree
Protection Plan.

 

The Tree Protection Plan can be referred to in a specifically worded condition to ensure that the retained offsite trees are appropriately protected during the construction process.

 Trees in the development including new planting (note the view through the gate above is now car parking for the flats)

 

cgi of the development - the new trees would not reach this size for a long time

The residents I spoke to this morning were not only concerned about their own exposure to pollution once the mature trees were removed but that of the residents of the new block of flats.

There is an Air Quality Report. These extracts show that it is not an ideal spot for anyone to live LINK.


Based on the assessment results, exposure of future receptors to exceedances of the annual mean AQS objective for NO2 is considered likely as a result of the proposed development. The development would be classified as APEC-C on all levels of the proposals; therefore, mitigation measures to protect future users from poor air quality are included in Section 7.

Not withstanding this the Final Delegated Report states (typos in original) LINK:

The applicant has not provide an Air Quality Assessment subject of this proposal due to the habitable windows proximity to the Neasden Lane Gyratory. Brent’s Environmental Health Team have reviewed thereport and confirmed that as the NO2 levels at the windows facing Neasden Lane arew upto 57.17μmg3.


This would require mitigation in the form of a mechanical ventilation system to ensure that the resdients are not exposed to harmful levels of NO2 concentrations. Such systemj does still enable windows to be opened and not required to be sealed shut. Environmental Health have supported the recommended subject to a condition.

 It is clear that a decision to approve the development was made more than a year ago, the erection of hoarding indicates that either work is due to start or, perhaps,  that the developer is protecting the site from possible community action to save the space!

Nevertheless residents are launching a last minute bid to halt the development and told Wembley Matters this afternoon:

A good few people in the neighbourhood are utterly shocked that this thing can happen out of the blue. Loosing a green space full of mature trees to turn into a concrete block right by a busy road looks like a good initiative for Brent Council to exercise their green policies and drive to a healthy environment for people to live in. Brent Council used lockdown to push through this outrageous plan, first of all to sell a public land to private developers for profit and then approve a planning permission to turn a green space  into a concrete jungle in an area where flooding is already an issue and done it so low profile that no one could suspect anything until the area been boarded up.
It might be too late as many of us pointed out but without fight we cannot stand and watch it. We have created a petition to present it to Brent Council officials to put pressure on them showing that it is against the public will and they have to halt the works to investigate whether any failings occurred during the process.
 
The link to the petition is HERE:

We are also having a meeting with Clr Roxanne Mashari on Wednesday, 15th of September at 10:30 am on the site of the “development”, anyone who feels strongly about the environment and Brent Council policies please come and show your support.

Saturday, 11 September 2021

Harlesden sends a resounding 'ACT NOW!' message to COP26 in Glasgow

 

 

The first of Brent Friends of the Earth's actions ahead of the COP26 meeting in Glasgow gathered lots of support yesterday when residents were invited to send messages about the Glasgow to Conference partipants and the government.

The messages on bunting were strung outside the Harlesden Tesco store making a vivid display showing the extent of concern amongst locals that COP26 should take immediate and effective action.

When queues of school students formed to write their individual messages it was clear that their generation are aware of the threat to their future.

The Mayor of Brent, Cllr Lia Colacicco, joined fellow councillors Janice Long and Orlene Hylton in collecting signatures alongside Friends of the Earth activists.

FoE will be running another bunting stall  Wembley  on Saturday September 25th, 11am to 1pm.


 









Friday, 10 September 2021

Wembley Park station closed for Sunday's ParalympicGB show at the Arena

 

Organisers have warned attendees at the Paralympics Homecoming Show at the Wembley SSE Arena that public transport will be disrupted.  It is unfortunate, to say the least, that accessibility will be reduced at a paralympic event. One would expect a coordinated attempt by the organisers and TfL to ensure this did not happen.

 Public Transport - if using public transport then there are several stations and bus stops serving The SSE Arena, Wembley.  However, due to planned works, Wembley Park station will be closed on both Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th September and there will be no service on the Jubilee line between West Hampstead and Stanmore and on the Metropolitan line between Aldgate and Harrow-on-the-Hill.

To help you make your journey, Transport for London is providing additional advice on alternative accessible routes using the Bakerloo line and London Overground services as well as replacement bus services for the closed tube routes.  TFL Bus routes will serve Wembley Park as normal.  Click HERE to plan your TFL journey to the venue. 

Chiltern Rail will also be providing an increased service to Wembley Stadium Station before and after the event.