onlineFOCUS – News and Stuff For Rochford District since 2003

 

Archive for Green Issues

Beware Of Bogus People Trying To Sell You Insulation

There’s a warning on the District Council website:


Residents in the Rochford District are being warned to be on their guard after reports that a company has been cold-calling people in the area posing as council officials and trying to sell loft and cavity wall insulation.
The Council has received reports that a company has been cold-calling residents on the telephone and saying they are from the Council’s grants department.
The Council would like to make it clear that its officers would never, under any circumstances, cold call residents to try and sell them anything.

We know that Cllr Jo Mcpherson, the Cabinet Member for Community Safety, is particularly concerned about this, and we are happy to repeat the warning on onlineFOCUS.

As she says:

“If residents receive a telephone call from anyone saying they are from the Council they can check their credentials very easily. You can take their name, the department they say they work for and ask to ring them back.
Then telephone the switchboard on and ask to be put through to them or their department.”

Now, That’s A Lot Of Solar Panels

Council officers are recommending planning approval for a big array of solar panels at Oldbury Farm, Southend Road, Great Wakering.

You can download the full report here (104kb) but here’s an extract:

Location :
Oldbury Farm Southend Road Great Wakering
Proposal :
Ground Works to Cut Away Section of Reservoir Bank and Installation of Ground Mounted 76m Long Array of Photovoltaic Panels.
NOTES
Planning permission is sought for the erection of a ground mounted array of solar panels on the side of an existing reservoir at the Oldbury Farm complex.
The site is located on the outskirts of Great Wakering some 600m due West of the village edge and approximately the same distance from the built up edge of Southend which lies to the South. The site is immediately bordered by open agricultural fields. The site and area surrounding the site is flat and rural in character and appearance with the site immediately bounded by open agricultural fields with sporadic residential and farm complex developments in the wider surrounding area….
_
….. Each photovoltaic panel would be approximately 1.62m by 0.99m with a depth of 46mm. The panels would be supported on a mounting frame at a lower height of 66cm and an upper height of 2.25m such that the solar panels would be supported at a 30 degree angle.

A Really Good Garden Idea ?

With the price of food going up , more people want to grow their own vegetables and fruit. But a lot of modern gardens are really too small for this, and there’s often a waiting list to rent an allotment.

On the other hand , some people have a big garden but are either too frail – or too busy – to make the most of it.

So an idea in the Guardian last week seems rather a good one. It’s to have schemes that help garden-owners and frustrated vegetable growers get together, and share the produce:

“I grow as much at home as I can to try to save money on food bills, but we live in a flat so it’s mainly herbs and salad leaves in window boxes. When I heard about this scheme I was really interested. I had an interview about the kind of growing I wanted to do and got matched up. It’s worked so well.”
_
The garden was initially overgrown; the owner was too busy with work commitments to look after it. They now share the planting and watering with two other women and divide the produce, which includes peas, beans, radishes, beetroot, potatoes, rocket, spinach and carrots.
_
“I didn’t know much about gardening but I did a lot of research online and picked it up as I went along,” Gloster says. “Things like salad leaves and sweetcorn can be quite expensive, so we make a good saving there. And I keep or swap seeds for the following year to keep costs down.”

There’s a number of schemes operating. One is a national website called Landshare which is worth a look. But there are also some local schemes in different places – the Guardian article mentions Edinburgh, Totnes and Brighton.

Should we be thinking about having a similar scheme in our area? Or is there one already?

A Dimmer Future….

As the Echo explains here:

This week Essex County Council decided it would push ahead with plans to turn off 70 per cent of the county’s street lights between midnight and 5am, saving £14million in electricity bills and cutting carbon emissions Lights in town centres and at major junctions will stay on.
The lights will stay on in the Thurrock and Southend areas, which come under unitary authorities…..

It will save energy, in the medium and long term it will save money, and it will allow us to see more of the night sky (which can be something beautiful).

On the debit side, people will be concerned about more crime….

In response to this, Tory County Councillor (from Rochford) Tracey Chapman was quoted as saying:

The woman behind the proposals, Tracey Chapman, Essex County Council’s Tory councillor responsible for street lights, said people’s fears were unfounded.
She said a trial of part-time lighting in Uttlesford and Maldon had seen crime fall during the light switch-off.
In Maldon, offences between 11.30pm and 5.30am dropped by 14 per cent, while offences dropped by 12.6 per cent in Uttlesford.
Mrs Chapman, who announced the proposals at County Hall, said: “Many people are worried about crime statistics going up, but we have seen from the trials we have had in Maldon and Uttlesford that crime statistics did not jump. I hope having these trials already will put people at ease.

This looks like being a talking point for quite a long time, with mixed views cutting across party lines….

Bees And The Future- And Sainsbury’s

Sometimes the issues that people talk to you about on the doorstep don’t fit neatly under a political label.

And one issue that is cropping up is the decline in the bee population.

Here’s an interesting post from South London Lib Dem David Boyle, particularly where he says:

I took this up with an important looking manager in my local Sainsbury’s in Crystal Palace this morning, asking him – as I usually do – where the English honey was. Long search, and – sure enough – they don’t stock it.
But he did tell me that every Sainsbury’s store within the M25 will soon have its own hive, and that did take me aback. It’s difficult for me to say anything good about the supermarket giants, but I thought this was rather far-sighted. The next stage is to get them to have more than one, and make their own honey locally.

Airport Expansion Given The OK For Takeoff

As the BBC reports:

The government has approved plans for a runway extension at Southend Airport in Essex.

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government John Denham claimed the right to a final say on the extension earlier this year.

He could have called for a public inquiry on the decision made by Southend Borough Council planners.

But he has now told the council he is happy for the council to progress with the plans.

Get A Thermal Image of Your Home

One of the useful things about a snowfall is that you can look at your roof and see if the snow is melting. If it is, you have poor roof insulation.

But instead of waiting for snow, you can now ask the District Council to bring their thermal camera to your home and take a picture. That gives you an indication of how well each part of your home is insulated.

You can ask here for them to come. If you look at the comments at the bottom of the page, they already have one satisfied customer!

What Do You Think About Open Space In Rochford District?

The District Council are carrying out a consultation here.

If you are going to comment- You might like to consider that at the moment the District Council has a deliberate policy of having a lower amount of sports pitches in Rayleigh and Hockley than recommended by England . (See here). Now would be a very good time to demand that the council changes this.

Who Are Ya?

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To continue with our recent avian theme, an onlinefocus reader took this picture of a bird in a Rayleigh back garden this morning. Can anyone identify the species? Suggestions we’ve had so far are juvenile starling and juvenile Green Woodpecker….

Rayleigh’s Dawn Chorus….

One Rayleigh resident has told us he’s had six different species of bird nesting in his garden this year- chaffinch, hedge sparrow, house sparrow, robin, wren and blackbird.

Can anyone equal this or do even better?

Organic Gardening

We’ve had the following email from SE Essex Organic Gardeners:

SE Essex Organic Gardeners are running a series of organic gardening seminars in the community across SE Essex, which are being led by Robert Wiseman.

This project has been funded by a Grassroots Grant from the Office of the Third Sector, which is managed by Essex Community Foundation. Our next seminar is as follows and is sponsored by Rochford Housing. I hope very much that we shall see some of you there as sadly at the Benfleet seminar earlier this month Castle Point was not represented.

DATE AND TIME Saturday 25 July, 1.30pm

DETAILS OF EVENT
Our seminar is designed to encourage the “growing of your own food” both on an allotment, in your own garden and even on the patio using the principles of organic gardening.

VENUE Greensward Academy, Main Hall, Greensward Lane, Hockley SS5 5HG

ADMISSION PRICE
Everybody is welcome at these seminars, for which there will be a nominal charge of £2.00, with many concessions. Children under the age of 16 are also free if they are with their parents. Please book early to avoid disappointment.

EVENT CONTACT DETAILS

Robert Wiseman

07941 078135
robert.wiseman@talk21.com

http://www.gardencoursesessex.org.uk

Grasshopper Warblers and Little Stints

For those interested in local wildlife, the website of the South East Essex RSPB is worth a look. They have for example, details of upcoming events, the latest bird reports sent in (today’s report includes grasshopper warblers and little stints) and details on the best places to see birds.

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Daily Reporting by Chris Black

With support from:
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  • Sue Murton: I am delighted it was refused it is like a heavy weight lifted from my shoulders and I cannot thank those...
  • A.Matthews: What concerns me is the lack of County responsibility to Highways and Waste Management issues .It was...
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500 HOUSES BETWEEN LONDON ROAD AND RAWRETH LANE

There's lots of information on the District Council website about the planning application "North of London Road ". To see it , just click here.

The Core Strategy

This is the official master document for planning policy in our district! To download it, click here click here. (2.5mb)

Planning Applications…

If you want information on a particular planning application, you can find it on the District Council website here.

If you want to know what new planning applications have been submitted this week, click here.

Reporting A Problem

If you want to report a problem, you can email Lib Dems councillors by clicking here.
There's also an independent website called FixMyStreet. It's very good for reporting minor street problems like holes in the road, grafitti or failed streetlights. You can find FixMyStreet here.

Food Hygiene Ratings

To find the food hygiene rating for eating places and other businesses in our district , click here.

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“Rayleigh was the birthplace of Britain’s first surviving quintuplets, but that’s just one of its many claims to fame”

When the Olympic Torch came to Rayleigh, Chris Black wrote about the town in the Guardian - read it here

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