Redhill

Non-toxic pet waste

Ask election hopefuls to sort pet waste discrepancy

What are you going to ask your candidates when they come knocking on your door ahead of the May 6 local elections?

A reduction in taxes to help UK residents get back on their feet after Covid? That’s national level politics. There must be an abundance of issues that Reigate and Banstead borough, or Surrey County, councillors could affect, from elderly and social care to education and rubbish.

It might seem well down the list for many people. But I was glad to see someone else, via Twitter, have a moan that Reigate and Banstead Borough Council do not collect organic pet waste.

On the “no thank you” list for the brown garden waste bin, Reigate and Banstead lists “animal or pet bedding”. The reason is that they do not want cat or dog waste, because it is toxic. Witness when you have to remove stray feline excrement from the vegetable patch!

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Five ways to lead a more sustainable life

Many institutions have been actively campaigning for a more sustainable world and tackling climate change for years.

This year, A Rocha UK celebrates 20 years of campaigning on conservation. It began as a local Christian conservation project in Southall, West London. Now, it runs an eco-church scheme which gives out bronze, silver and gold standards to churches that can demonstrate various levels of protecting and restoring nature on land they manage. This inspires organisations to take climate protecting action.

Another group, CDP – initially named the Carbon Disclosure Project – is celebrating 20 years, too. It urges investors, companies, cities, regions and states to disclose their carbon footprint, as a way of inspiring change.

Dozens of campaigns have formed in recent years to ask Governments, regional and local, to think about changing their ways. Pressure from the first Extinction Rebellion protests led to the UK Government declaring a climate emergency. Nearly 70% of UK local councils have declared one.

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Former gasholder site Earlswood is ripe for solar conversion

Could Redhill talk climate talk with a gas to solar tale?

Take a peek over a wall in a forgotten, derelict corner of Earlswood and you’ll see a muddy plot of land, acting as a flood plain at present, it seems. But could it be ripe for converting to a renewable energy project?

There is no sign that this abandoned pocket of this Redhill suburb was once home to a towering, cylindrical gasholder structure.

Warnings about the plot being monitored by CCTV adorn one end of this land. Nestling near a popular convenience store and surrounded by houses on pretty much all sides, its fate seems inevitable.

Housing. Yet more dwellings to add to the population, traffic to add to the busy Hooley Lane which, at the best of times, is reduced to single lane traffic because cars park on one side. Better that this site – a former industrial area – was used for more homes than, say, further large open space or greenbelt land, yes?

Read More »Could Redhill talk climate talk with a gas to solar tale?
Masks are now needed in shops

Relish anomalies to survive second lockdown

We’re more set up to cope this time aren’t we? For Covid-19 lockdown two I mean. We’ve done this once. Society can tough it out. We’re thinking positive…except…

This time there are several changes – and many people are still out of work.

The first lockdown was all new and scary. People thought it might be short, sharp shock of no more than a few months. At least, that’s what they hoped.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) was hard to find. For that, the NHS was the priority customer. But if you wanted to wear a mask in the shops – the supermarkets and food outlets – they were initially hard to find. Certainly at a reasonable price.

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We must all listen to passing Lightship Greta’s message

Extinction Rebellion’s protests have not been as high profile in the news as last year. They took London – and everybody – by surprise at Easter in April 2019 when addressing the climate emergency.

One report even asked whether Extinction Rebellion was itself extinct. The report carried a picture of just a few activists outside Parliament on Monday, the first day of two weeks of planned action.

Anyone who tried to buy certain papers on Saturday might have found they couldn’t, because protesters disrupted their printing. Activists argued that the papers concerned failed to report on climate change properly, or at all. It is frustrating when reading coverage about the climate emergency that the reports are frequent when there is disruption and a supposed lack of police response, but not so frequent about the issue itself.

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How hard is it to declare a climate emergency?

Just how difficult is it to declare a climate emergency? What does it mean? And if you don’t, is having a strategy to address carbon emissions good enough? Do you have to declare one to be effective?

The first local authority to declare one was in Australia at the back of 2016 and now 1,400 authorities in 28 countries have done so. This includes the United Kingdom as a whole last year. It was one of Theresa May’s last acts as Prime Minister.

Yesterday, a beer company called Brewdog appeared on TV news. It announced it was setting new standards for the brewing industry by declaring that carbon neutrality is no longer enough. The company was going carbon negative (this includes its supply chains). 

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Help put end to bad cycle signage via survey

Whether you are an experienced cyclist or new to “active travel”, it is worth taking part in the Surrey County Council Covid-19 transport map.

Plenty of people will have found – or rediscovered – cycling in particular since Covid-19 lockdown began. Some people will have done so for pleasure and leisure, others making a firmer commitment to reach work or schools via cycling, or walking more.

Anyone who now takes a bike out for shopping, with children, their family or just to travel from A to B should consider filling in the survey. It gives people the chance not only to put dots on a map with a suggestion for improvements, but to like, support, or disagree with other suggestions.

While it is Surrey wide, it is divided into boroughs. Would you like an extra crossing near a school on a busy road? Would you like better signage? More cycle lanes? What would make cycling or walking safer?

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Aerosols are recycled in some boroughs, not all

A single Surrey authority could end recycling inconsistency

Devolved Government. It’s an interesting argument, all round. Should Scotland be allowed to have independence? How much authority or “independence” do they already have? Is the United Kingdom important and how does it function with separate regional countries making their own decisions?

It’s not possible to answer all those questions here, but a few news stories this week prompt a few questions. For example, how efficient are we as a nation – with national, regional, county or borough authorities – at making efficient or effective decisions? Don’t forget parish councils, either!


Read More »A single Surrey authority could end recycling inconsistency
An old building in Redhill has been repurposed for modern use

Cherish historic buildings: they can’t go in museums

Our heritage has been in the news recently in various ways. One of the Black Lives Matter protests resulted in the removal of statues celebrating people of the past whose money was made from slavery. The National Trust, and other organisations, have started reopening their historic homes and gardens.

These points are at different ends of the spectrum, but linked. History brings us lessons of evil as well as celebrations of good. It is important to learn about them, either way. Recent events have highlighted that more needs to be written in our school history books about certain characters and their flaws.

Our curriculums are packed with histories of World Wars One and Two. Many people will have learned of Henry VIII, Martin Luther King, or Ghandi. Did you learn of Martin Luther too? As a protestant revolutionary, he’s central to Henry VIII’s story.

Do the depths of those stories evade us or resonate? Few people in history were cleaner than clean, if we choose to stop and study them. Few modern heroes are, either. Many have some vice by modern standards.

Read More »Cherish historic buildings: they can’t go in museums