Improve sea defences at Shoebury but no new homes on the floodplain

Local residents, concerned by plans to improve the sea wall at Shoebury Common, have contacted this group for assistance. Their fear is that the council will improve the sea wall and then permit the construction of new homes on the floodplain.
With the gradual rise in sea levels (which will accelerate due to climate change) and increasing risk of storms, it is essential that flood defences are improved. However, the construction of new homes at or below sea level would be grossly irresponsible and must be opposed. Residents are advised to study this advice from the Environment Agency: – http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/research/planning/33698.aspx

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The need for more traffic calming, not less.

It has been very concerning to see some ill-informed comments by a minority of local councillors complaining about speed bumps around the town. Surely everyone ought to understand that speed bumps play a vital part in reducing speeds, making it safer for people to walk and cycle and leave a polluting car at home.

This group has a very proud history of intervening at a national level to help secure the 1999 target to halve the number of children killed and seriously injured on our roads within 10 years. That target, which entailed the use of far more speed bumps, chicanes and 20mph zones resulted in saving the lives of over 520 children. All humane people will support it and the measures that made it possible.

For those who might be tempted to consider replacing the nation’s speed bumps with average speed cameras it should be noted that at a cost of between £150,000 and £500,000 for average speed cameras the nation can never afford to replace all speed bumps that cost on average a mere £1,000.

For more information please read the following documents from DfT and PACTS: -

http://assets.dft.gov.uk/publications/local-transport-notes/ltn-1-07.pdf

(Page 9 on the effectiveness of signage, the cost of bumps and chicanes on pages 57 and 78, the limitations of chicanes at 6.6.1 on page 79 (must be used with speed bumps) and also note pages 90-91 on speed cameras

And this shorter document from PACTS: -

http://www.pacts.org.uk/docs/pdf-bank/snbt-00350.pdf

SEEFoE will continue to challenge ill-conceived comments on road safety schemes recognising, as we do, that speed bumps and traffic calming in general will help to slow traffic and ensure we come to enjoy living streets, safe enough for all to walk and cycle.

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The Energy Bill: Public Meeting

The group is holding a public meeting on the Energy Bill (energy we can all afford) on Friday 1 March at 7.45pm at the Leigh Community Centre, Elm Rd, Leigh. We will have two national campaign speakers and local MP, David Amess, to discuss the implications of the Bill. The format will be in question time style so people can pose questions on the crucial issues of the cost of gas and electricity, the need to decarbonise the energy supply and other issues of concern to them.

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Bee Cause they’re worth it…

Bee-friendly flowers spotted on the Bee Walk
Photos copyright © Denis Walker

Bees are under threat and without them, so are our food and our economy. We may not always see bees working away, but we rely on them and other insects to pollinate most of our fruit and vegetables. Without bees, food prices would rise because pollinating crops in other ways would cost farmers over £1.8 billion a year.

On 28th April, members of Essex Friends of the Earth local groups met in Chelmsford for a day of Bee training. This included honey tasting, information about the Bee Cause campaign, a talk from a local beekeeper and a Bee Walk. Some bee-friendly flowers spotted during the walk can be seen right.

To find out more about the campaign and sign the petition, calling on David Cameron to adopt a National Bee Action Plan, visit http://www.foe.co.uk/bees. With immediate action, we can reverse the decline in bee populations, protecting the environment and the economy.

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No Estuary Airport

SEEFoE has helped set up the No Estuary Airport campaign, contributing towards the first public meeting in Leigh on Sea (10th Feb) and distribute materials alerting people to the huge threat posed by these proposals. Working with Friends of North Kent Marshes, our campaigners have set up www.NoEstuaryAirport.co.uk to work to stop the destruction that any estuary airport would cause.
 
If you would like to support the campaign and keep informed of developments please contact: -
 
noestuaryairport@hotmail.co.uk
 
SEEFoE is opposed to all expansion of aviation, recognising that it is impossible to tackle the threat of climate change by increasing polluting activities like aviation. We are also concerned by the devastating impact an estuary airport would have upon wildlife, local wildlife habitats, noise and visual intrusion, and the negative impact upon the south Essex tourism industry. SEEFoE is doing all it can to support the No Estuary Airport campaign.

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PRESS RELEASE: Did Southend Council pay for Green Award?

Recent news that Southend Borough Council had scooped a green award will have struck very many Southend residents as surprising. But a Freedom of Information request [4] issued to Southend Borough Council has revealed that the council paid to join The Green Organisation [1], which makes the awards, at a cost to council taxpayers of £720.00 [2].

In recent years, Southend Council has made many environmentally damaging decisions, including their controversial approval of expansion of the local airport, road schemes that caused the felling of many of the town’s mature trees and bad planning decisions that have encouraged edge-of-town development and the associated increased car use. Inevitably, these decisions will lead to a dramatic increase in greenhouse gas emissions in the borough, making the “Green Apple Award” for “Looking for carbon” particularly ironic.

South East Essex Friends of the Earth [3] Group coordinator, Denis Walker said:

“Southend Borough Council has sought to paint a picture of environmental responsibility by joining an organisation which makes environmental awards. But the fact that the Council has paid for bronze membership of the Green Organisation casts doubt upon the credibility of the award. The public will inevitably question whether membership of the organisation resulted in the award being given, meaning that the decision to spend this money represents exceptionally poor value and poor judgement on the part of those who approved it.

The fact that Southend Borough Council has paid a not insignificant sum on such a worthless piece of “greenwash” publicity at a time of such extreme austerity must be condemned.

If Southend Council is desperate to be recognised for the good things that it does it could easily ask local groups to comment upon its work on a red, amber, green basis – a service which could easily be obtained free of charge.”

ENDS.

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Green Organisation exists primarily to issue awards. Its website is at http://www.thegreenorganisation.info/
  2. Membership fees for The Green Organisation are shown at http://www.greenorg.livewirecms.com/GO_Membership_FormV6.pdf - note that these exclude VAT, which has to be added
  3. More information about South East Essex Friends of the Earth at http://seefoe.org.uk
  4. Freedom of Information response from Southend Borough Council:

Subject: FOI Response 468
Date: Wed, 11 Jan 2012 11:15:21 +0000
From: DebeeSkinner@southend.gov.uk
To: Jon Fuller

Dear Mr Fuller

In response to your Freedom of information request number 00468, in which you asked the following questions

Please can you inform me if SBC is or has ever been a member of the Green Organisation, if it is or has been a member please inform me of at what level SBC joined (Bronze, Silver, Gold or life)?

I can confirm that a search for the information has been completed.

Southend-on-Sea is a member of the Green Organisation and we have a Bronze membership.

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our decision, you should write to Complaints Officer, Support Services Department, PO Box 6, Civic Centre, Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS2 6ER.  If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint, you may apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the IC cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints procedure provided by the Council. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliff House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

Debee Skinner | Business Intelligence Officer | Performance and Business Support
Enterprise, Tourism and the Environment 
Southend on Sea Borough Council | Floor 13 Civic Centre | Victoria Avenue | Southend on Sea | SS2 6ER
Email: debeeskinner@southend.gov.uk | Website: www.southend.gov.uk
P Before printing, please think about the environment.
Safe - clean - healthy - prosperous - excellent - Creating a better Southend

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