Sunday, 14 January 2018

Labour claims to be the only party to oppose the gyratory in Maidstone!

Well this is the bizarre claim in the Kent Messenger this week. At the Strategic Planning, Sustainability and Transportation Committee on 1st Dec 15, Labour leader Cllr Harper stated clearly that "overall (he) welcomes this scheme" - so I can only assume he has changed his mind??? As for the only party to oppose the scheme, frankly that's rubbish and he knows it see:

http://www.stuartjeffery.net/2016/09/good-coverage-on-gyratory.html and http://www.stuartjeffery.net/2016/08/getting-in-to-maidstone-on-foot.html and http://www.stuartjeffery.net/2016/10/response-to-lib-dem-attempt-to-shirk.html and https://maidstone.greenparty.org.uk/news/2016/08/28/gyratory-protest-new-traffic-flow-will-increase-pollution-and-congestion/

I have sent in a letter to the KM:

Dear Editor,
Cllr Harper's letter in last week's KM on Labour's opposition to the gyratory was disingenuous to say the least. While he raised concerns about cycle access (as the Greens did), he is on record on 1 Dec 2015 at the council's Strategic Planning, Sustainability and Transportation Committee as stating that "overall (he) welcomes this scheme".

His letter last week also claims that only Labour challenged the changes. While we welcome Labour's change of heart, Cllr Harper is ignoring the repeated challenge to the scheme by the Green Party in Maidstone.

We Greens stated very publicly that the gyratory changes were a phenomenal waste of money, money that could be spent making alternatives to travel by car easier and thus reduce the need to drive.
Once again the Greens were ignored by those in power but proved right.


Stuart Jeffery, Maidstone Green Party

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Plastic

I've just been on KMTV talking about plastic. Theresa May's announcement that she will get rid of all unnecessary plastic in 25 years time is frankly ridiculous. As Greenpeace have suggested, 25 months would be more reasonable.

Plastic has only been around for a very short time. Injection moulded plastic was invented in the 1920's and plastic shopping bags have been around since the 1970's. The use of plastics is a one generation thing so it can be reversed. Easily.

People will have seen the plastic soup in Blue Planet 2 and the news that China has stopped importing the 4 million tonnes of plastic that we were sending them is welcome news. It means we have less opportunity to off-shore our crap.

There are easy wins. Just look through the veg shelves in the supermarket. Open plastic bags around cauliflowers is a real bugbear for me - what is the point of them? This is just one of hundreds of examples of course.

Will it cost more?

  • Will it cost more to fill your own bottle from a drinking fountain or tap, or spend £1 on a new one. We will have to make tap water and drinking fountains available again. 
  • Pay an extra 25p for coffee or bring your own reusable mug? More and more people are bringing their own. Also some of us fill it with coffee before we leave home if we are getting on the train. 

So no, it shouldn't cost too much more. But even if it does we can't carry on as if nothing was wrong.

Finally, sorry about the dearth of posts recently. I will try harder!

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Become a Trustee of the Earth

This is great! 
A vitally important message from Mission Lifeforce:
Right now, ECOCIDE (destruction of ecosystems) is legally permitted, while resisting it is criminalised. But we can change this. Become a Trustee of the Earth to:
  • gain an additional legal defence as an activist
  • support earth protectors worldwide
  • help fund a law to make ECOCIDE a CRIME – protecting our planet, our communities, and all those who take action as conscientious protectors.
WATCH THE ANIMATION BELOW for all you need to know in 2.5 minutes. For more information and to get involved please visit the website

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Lords reform backed by 63%

A poll out today showed a significant increase in support for reform of the Lords, i.e. for it to become an elected chamber. This is very welcome - it may be a few years since I posted on Lords reform but my views have not changed, we urgently need to elect our upper chamber rather than have it appointed to by parties or occupied by others by virtue of their job or position.

UK democracy is a sham and it is clear that the public are starting to realise this. It is not just the Lords that need reform, the Commons does too. Today's debate on PR was sparked by a 100k+ petition yet it seems difficult to persuade people who are elected under one system to agree to another. Turkeys and Christmas spring to mind.

Of particular disappointment is Labour's position. Despite the Jenkins Commission under the Labour government recommending PR in 1998 and it being in their manifestos, they now refuse to back it after failing to deliver on their manifesto commitments 15 years ago when in power.

To quote the Brexiteers, we need to take back control. We don't have a democracy in the UK and we won't have until our antiquated parliamentary and local government voting systems are brought into the 21st century.

I have put myself forward for the Council of the Electoral Reform Society. If you are a member, I would appreciate your vote.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Maidstone councillors adopt an unsustainable local plan

On Thursday Maidstone's Local plan was agreed by the Borough Council. The plan sets out where housing is to be built, predominately on farm land around the town. Much of the building is underway as those of us who have been down the gridlocked roads of Hermitage Lane and Sutton Road demonstrating clearly what happens when you build high numbers of houses on the edge of town. The plan also puts industry at Junction 8, where we fought the KIG development 10 years ago.

Residents in west Maidstone are particularly angry at the developments along Hermitage Lane. There is near unanimous condemnation of them with at least two campaign groups fighting them.

Let us hope that the residents of Maidstone check how their councillors voted. The evidence will be in the minutes and is captured on film here (go to 1:15).

Of particular note was the Lib Dems' keenness to second the motion to approve the Local Plan but here in Bridge Ward where feelings run high, both the Lib Dems voted in favour of the plan. Indeed all the councillors in Bridge, Heath, Fant and Allington wards voted in favour, one Tory, two Labour and 7 Lib Dems.

The KM has a write up here: http://www.kentonline.co.uk/kent-business/county-news/council-backs-maidstone-homes-plan-134278/

We urgently need homes, affordable ones, social housing and so on, near to jobs and transport links. We don't need large houses built on farm land that require cars to get people to their jobs or shops.


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: http://www.kentonline.co.uk/kent/news/pollution-in-part-of-kent-as-bad-as-london-134060/

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