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Archive for February, 2012

“There is enormous urgency behind the agenda as planetary boundaries are indeed being breached. If everybody in the world lived as we do in the rich north, we would need another three planets to provide the resources and absorb the waste. I hardly need to say that we do not have three planets; we have one, and it is already looking pretty degraded.

“It is important to state in black and white that there are limits to growth. I know that that is not a popular perception or idea, but it is very clear that on a planet of finite resources with a rising population and rising expectations, infinite economic growth simply is not possible.

“We could learn from some of the businesses that are already beginning to think about what it would mean for them to live in a steady state economy, rather than one that was based on more and more production and consumption.

“The time that we have in this Parliament—the next three or four years—will be critical as to whether we invest properly in getting off the collision course that we are on with the climate crisis. It falls on our generation to do that. It is a huge responsibility, but it is also an awesome opportunity.”

A full text of her contribution can be found here.

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by Charlie Kiss

Camden Council has received an application to hold an Irish music festival in Grange Park, Kilburn, from July 26 to August 12, when the Olympic Games are being held. This would be fine and welcomed by many people in Kilburn if this was a standard weekend festival, but to have a music festival for 18 days is excessive.

It seems like a blatant attempt to make as much money as possible from visitors to London during the Games, and there has been little thought about how this will affect the lives of local residents.

Grange Park is very small and not well know outside of the local area but it is immensely enjoyed by local people. Jogging, playing tennis, children playing, relaxing; there are not many green spaces in Kilburn but this is one and it is a treasured.

To have this park inundated by up to 5,000 people will place considerable strain on such a small area. Not to mention the noise late into the night. (With a licence up to 2am on Fridays and Saturdays!)

This will affect other people living and working in other areas around Kilburn as well of course.

To have your say about the plan write to the licensing team at:
Camden Town Hall Extension
Argyle Street
London
WC1H 8EQ
or visit: http://www.camden.gov.uk/licensing
and search for ref: APP\PREMISES-NEW01117

BY 12TH MARCH!

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11am-1pm, Saturday 10th March
Starting from the People’s Supermarket, 72-78 Lamb’s Conduit Street, Bloomsbury, WC1N 3LP

To mark Fairtrade Fortnight (27th Feb–11th Mar) there will be a Walk for Fairtrade through the borough of Camden on Saturday 10th March.

The theme of Fairtrade Fortnight is ‘Take a step for Fairtrade’. It can be a simple step, like swapping your tea or coffee at home to Fairtrade, or a bigger step, like hosting your own Fairtrade chocolate tasting party!

There’ll be a yummy Fairtrade Breakfast from 10am at The People’s Supermarket. Then the walk sets off at 11am, arriving at Thorntons Budgens in Belsize Park for a celebratory photo around 1pm.

Organisers ask if you let them know you’re planning to come along: camdenfairtrade@googlemail.com / 07815 771 939

There’s also a Debate:’ Does Fairtrade Really Work’ at 7pm, People’s Supermarket, 72-78 Lambs Conduit St, February 29.

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Cllr Maya de Souza

Some of our high streets are really struggling. Small businesses, which provide valued personalised services, and far more jobs than chain stores and supermarkets – up too six times as many jobs for each pound spent – are disappearing, and many more are just hanging on.

I’ve called for the council to take a long hard look at what it can do to help.

Hopefully the March Culture & Environment Scrutiny Committee will be considering this issue, and I’ll be taking a submission to it. If you have any thoughts about what that should include, please pleave a comment here, or email me directly: Maya.deSouza@camden.gov.uk

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by Cllr Maya de Souza

An article in the Camden New Journal, “Life after meals -on-wheels – a cut the elderly find hard to stomach,” makes it clear that we need a debate as to what can be done to protect important public services in the borough, in order to offer dignity to all.

It is not only these services that are being cut, but a whole host of others – from domestic violence provision to play services. Many will now have to close down, charge, or resort to fundraising (often an expensive and unsuccessful exercise with salaried fundraisers taking a large chunk of the money raised).

It is correct, as Labour say, that the government has cuts its funding to local authorities, which makes up a large part of Camden’s income.

However it is also the case that for about five years now the council tax in Camden has been frozen, and Labour proposes to do so again this year.

This means that the Council’s revenue has fallen in real terms because Council Tax receipts have not increased in line with inflation.

The government this year and last year has offered a £2.5m sweetener not to raise the Council Tax but this is a temporary income, and it means that in the longer run, because of the annual cap on Council Tax rises, the capacity for the Council to raise funds locally has fallen.

For this reason, in Brighton, the Green Party council has sought to increase the council tax by a small percentage (3.5%) so as to reduce the cuts it has to make and protect its ability to fund services in the longer run.

They have been courageous and upfront about this – tax rises are never popular – but in the long run the area will be in a better position to protect its services.

It’s a shame that both Labour and Conservatives in Brighton are seeking to make political capital by objecting to this rise. And to answer the expected Lib-dem retort in advance, we accept Council Tax may not be the fairest tax and should reflect wealth better, but raising this is a small amount is better than cutting public services.

Camden Greens will be asking the Labour administration to consider this option whilst also asking for a crackdown on wasted costs on spendingsuch as badly done repairs and external lights which are on in daylight hours, as its only fair to ask for this rise if all is being done to ensure money is being spent wisely.

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