Saturday, 21 October 2017

50,000 killed by pollution in the UK each year and the poor are most affected

This week's environmental story is a revised assessment of the impact of pollution on health published in The Lancet:
    "Pollution is the largest environmental cause of disease and premature death in the world today. Diseases caused by pollution were responsible for an estimated 9 million premature deaths in 2015—16% of all deaths worldwide—three times more deaths than from AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined and 15 times more than from all wars and other forms of violence. In the most severely affected countries, pollution-related disease is responsible for more than one death in four."
Campaigning against pollution is a the heart of the Green movement right from the days of Silent Spring which woke millions up to the problems of pesticides (sadly it is not a battle that we are winning, pesticides are being implicated for the 75% decline in flying insects in the past 25 years).

The Lancet study shows that 8% of UK deaths are attributable to pollution equating to 50,000 people each year or 140 every day. The recent LA shooting killed 59 people yet more than double that number are dying every day in this country.

Where is the action to tackle this?

The solutions are with the government, corporations and the rich yet the impacts are most heavily felt on the poorer people in society. Globally this is quite stark. One in four deaths in Bangladesh are attributable to pollution which 1 in 12 are in the UK. Even in the UK we know that air pollution, one of the biggest components is focused in poorer areas.

Here in Maidstone, the poorest areas have the highest levels of air pollution, levels that are similar to the worst areas in London. I pointed this out on KMTV last night:

Meanwhile the government cannot be bothered to come up with a plan, big business gets away scott free with deceiving the public and people continue to die needlessly.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Methinks the Lib Dems doth protest too much

Letter to the KM:

Dear Editor,

While Bruce Ditcher (KM Letter 28 Sep) calls for council officers to be sacked for the decisions the council makes, it should be noted that it is elected councillors that make decisions and they need voting out rather than officers being sacked. Maidstone's Lib Dem run council are making the same appalling decisions that the previous Tory administration were making yet sadly people continue to vote them into power.

I suspect this is partly due to the blame shifting that some politicians do. Lib Dem Cllr Tony Harwood bemoaned a 'broken planning system' (KM Letter 28 Sep), yet his party currently run the council and his party spent 5 years in national government supporting the Tories while failing to tackle the same broken planning system. Methinks the Lib Dems doth protest too much?

It is very clear that the only sure way to get change is to vote for it. You don't get change by voting for the same parties that continue to make appaling decisions.

Stuart Jeffery,
Maidstone Green Party

Monday, 4 September 2017

Letters to Kent Police

I said that I would write to them and I have. Looking forward to the responses!

Dear Mr Pughsley,

I was surprised to see a Kent Police van at the Cuadrilla site on Preston New Road in Lancashire last week, I can only assume that Kent Police are providing support to your Lancashire colleagues.

Given your force's previous interest in fracking at a university debate in Canterbury in 2014, I would welcome your explanation as to why you are supporting your colleagues at the opposite end of the country when almost every other force in the country will be closer to them. I would also be grateful if you would confirm whether Kent Police have funded this support and if not whether the funding was from Lancashire Police or a central fund.

As a Kent tax payer I would rather Kent Police focused on stopping criminal activity in Kent (such as the potential hate crimes being committed by Britain First in Maidstone most Saturdays) than getting involved in lawful protests elsewhere.


Stuart Jeffery

Dear Kent Police

Under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act I would be grateful if you would provide the following information:

Firstly, for the period from April 2015 to end of August 2017 and relating to each time Kent Police provided officers to support other police forces:

    Which force was supported
    The reason for the support, e.g. protest march, criminal investigation, etc.
    The date the support commenced
    The number of officers loaned
    The length of the support
    The cost to Kent Police of the support

Secondly, for the period from April 2015 to end of August 2017 and relating to each time Kent Police were supported by other police forces:

    Which force provided support
    The reason for the support, e.g. protest march, criminal investigation, etc.
    The date the support commenced
    The number of officers loaned
    The length of the support

Feel free to provide this in spreadsheet form if it is easier for you.

Stuart Jeffery

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Who fracking knows why are Kent Police working in Lancashire?

A Kent Police riot van was filmed on the Preston New Road (PNR) site where the anti-fracking demonstrations have been held for many months now. PNR is currently the front line of the anti-fracking campaign after Lancashire County Council turned down an application to frack there only to have it overturned by the Secretary of State.

Importantly PNR is nowhere near Kent, so what are Kent Police doing there almost 300 miles away at the opposite end of the country? Who is paying for them? What are they there to learn? Who decided that it was ok for them to go there?

A couple of years ago Kent Police went undercover to infiltrate a university debate on fracking in Canterbury. They asked for the names of people who would be in the audience and they planted a senior officer in there too. What are they worried about?

I visited Preston in 2015 and will be returning in a couple of weeks to show my solidarity with the protesters and to make a protective offering!

See this video from PNR starting at 13:50

Kent Police have an unhealthy interest in fracking. Three years ago they went undercover to infiltrate a university debate on fracking in Canterbury. They asked for the names of people who would be in the audience and they planted a senior officer in there too. Now we find them working in Lancashire as part of the ridiculously huge security detail that is guarding the Caudrilla site against peaceful protestors.

I want to know what they are doing there and who is paying for them. I want to know why they have an interest in the anti-fracking movement when there are crimes being committed on the streets of Kent. I want to know who decided it was OK for them to travel 300 miles to Lancashire rather than policing the towns in Kent.

I will be writing to the Chief Constable to ask for an explanation.

Britain First may inadvertently raise funds for the Maidstone Mosque

I love this idea. It came from a town in Germany that donates money to anti-fascist causes whenever the fascist march there - and they taunt the fascists as they march, letting them know how much money they have raised so far.

So here in Maidstone, which has seen numerous protests by Britain First this year who don't want the Maidstone Mosque to be rebuilt, the Maidstone Anti-Fascist Network which I proud to be a member of, have decided that when Britain First come down to protest we will raise £10 for each one of them who turns up and donate it to the Mosque to help get it built more quickly.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Air pollution letter to Kent on Sunday

Letter to Kent on Sunday:

Dear Editor,

Terry Hudson's claim that the huge death toll from air pollution is a lie is frankly bizarre. He claims that the science is flawed while stating that he isn't a scientist. It is easy to shouts "lies" at things that you don't like to hear but the death toll from air pollution, a significant proportion of which comes from traffic, must not be allowed to continue.

He is right to claim that the figure of 29,000 deaths each year is wrong though. This is the number of deaths from just one of the pollutants: particulate matter, if you add in NOx then the figure is around 50,000. These figures are from  scientists who work for the government, a government that should have a desire to suppress the truth of the air pollution problem rather than exaggerate it.

While scientists can make mistakes, these are usually isolated examples rather than large bodies of evidence from multiple sources. The evidence on air pollution and its primary sources is well understood so let's not argue about facts, let's try to find solutions to reduce the number of people dying because of the pollution that our vehicles pump out.

We must stop using the air that we breathe as an invisible sewer. It is killing us.

Stuart Jeffery, Co-Chair of Kent Greens

Thursday, 17 August 2017

KCC’s £3m six lane bottleneck on Sutton Road

I am deeply concerned that spending £3m on making Sutton Road six lanes wide for a short stretch around Willington Street will be a complete waste of money and simply create bottlenecks at either end of the road widening.

The loss of mature trees and green space which protects Sutton Road residents from traffic noise and pollution cannot be justified.

To reduce traffic and congestion the council needs to put a bus lane in from the new housing on Sutton Road to the centre of Maidstone, increase the frequency of buses and reduce the fares. Only better public transport will reduce traffic, congestion and pollution.

I’m also concerned that local residents aren’t being properly consulted. The residents on Sutton Road who are most directly affected by the scheme found out by accident after KCC failed to notify them. I am writing to KCC to oppose the scheme and to ask them to properly consult with local residents.”


Picture: Me in front of the oak tree on Sutton Rd that will be removed under the proposals