Good News Page

Camden Council declares a Climate Emergency

Success-of-the-Month goes to Sian Berry and our climate, at April’s Camden Council meeting. Great turnout for the rally everyone! Nice posters! And hats off to Cllr Adam Harrison, cabinet member for improving Camden’s environment, for listening to Sian and heeding our concerns.

Here’s what Adam said:

At Camden town hall this week I declared a climate emergency and set out three next steps in our journey in Camden to carbon neutrality by 2030.

First, the next themed debate of the full council will be dedicated to climate change, or climate catastrophe as perhaps we should properly call it. There we will bring together key figures who can help cut carbon locally; and we will ensure there is a strong international aspect to the debate. As a truly international borough, Camdeners can forge and strengthen links we have with communities across the globe, many of whom will be even worse affected by the climate emergency than we will be here.

Second, the council will convene a citizens’ assembly on the matter this year with a special focus on ensuring the voices of young people are heard. The recent meeting of Sustainers, the new schools sustainability forum, saw huge energy and enthusiasm on display. We need to welcome and encourage this.

Finally, we will agree a new environment plan to replace Green Action for Change, Camden’s decade-long dedicated plan first devised back in 2010 when Cllr Angela Mason became the council’s first ever named sustainability portfolio holder. This long-term view has enabled us to keep on track to cut carbon emissions by 40 per cent by 2020.

I am grateful to Green party leader Sian Berry for raising this important matter on the floor of the chamber. I am also grateful to Holborn and St Pancras youth officer Matt Cooper and Swiss Cottage councillor Nayra Bello O’Shanahan for sharing the idea of a citizens’ assembly.

With all these elements combined, I am confident that together we can play our part here in Camden to do what we can to avert climate catastrophe.



The Future isn’t orange! Camden bin-bag scheme axed

It is difficult to describe the euphoric feeling of elation and relief that overwhelmed me, as I thumbed through the latest edition of the Camden New Journal.

I always enjoy taking the Camden pulse via the pages of the CNJ, but here was something truly special; news that Camden Council was throwing in the towel – wrapped in an orange bin-bag, no doubt, and banishing the orange scourge that has blighted our borough for the past 18 months.

Back in 2017, despair and a degree of panic was starting to grip me, when regular, unsolicited deliveries of bulky packs of orange plastic rubbish sacks kept thudding onto the door mat.

Where did they come from? What was I supposed to do with them? I studied the instructions, emblazoned on each bag: “Household rubbish” – “NO RECYCLABLES” – “NO FOOD WASTE” – “NO BROKEN GLASS” – “NO HOT ASHES”.

But WHAT then?!

The trending pub-topic soon became about what constitutes “Household rubbish”. No one knew. The Camden Recycling and Rubbish web page helpfully suggested some suitable items of household rubbish: Clingfilm – cellophane – sanitary products – dog poo and cat litter – crisp packets – polystyrene – nappies – broken glass. Altogether an unsettling mind picture.

But wait, it says “NO BROKEN GLASS” on the bags? So am I on the completely wrong list?! Who can tell?

And anyway, as for the rest of the tasteful basket of waste products, how much dog poo and cling film does the average household get through in a week? Enough to fill a 50 litre bag? The ambient fragrance must be positively intoxicating.

But, waste not, want not, so time to get creative.  Suffice to say that every storage receptacle in the place is now filled with well loved keepsakes, large and small, swathed in a radiant shade of orange, probably for the rest of time.

But wait, now Camden Council have seen the future, and it definitely isn’t going to be orange, after all! The bags are going-going-gone, apparently saving us £220K a year in the process.  Don’t get me started.

When Sainsbury’s invented their orange ‘Bag for Life’ – they probably didn’t factor in stiff competition for their claim. But Camden Council have now provided us all with orange bags for life, even for those of us, lucky enough to live till we’re 103.

The high vis man from Veolia tells me that we can now use our orange sacks for any kind of rubbish, so stand by for lots of brightly coloured Camden trash!



Plastic Cup Final


Ok, so I’m not a natural cheerleader for faux continental coffee shops offering dizzyingly priced cuppas with names like Toffee Nut Latte Cream Frappucino, but credit where credit’s due.

On our troubled and challenged planet, anyone who does anything to lessen the climate carnage deserves a mention for showing willing, at least.

181231 GAIL'S K TWNSo this week’s High-Five goes to Gail’s Bakery for switching their disposable cups to fully biodegradable ones.

Of course, the environmentally conscious among us should all be bringing our own reusable drinks container but, by the time we’ve crammed our ready supply of canvas bags, reusable nappies, the water bottle and the packed lunch into our ecological rucksack, our reusable-made-from-recycled-materials-coffee-cup doesn’t always make it.181231 GAIL'S SUSTAINABLE CUPGail’s Bakery cunningly appreciated this, so to add to their paper straws and disposable cutlery made from potatoes, yes really, they can now offer us a take-away cup that is biodegradable and compostable at room temperature.

Does that mean that you have to drink your coffee pronto, before the cup disintegrates in your hand? They’ll have tested for that.

For the avoidance of doubt, I’ve only set foot in a Gail’s once, to take these pictures, and I am not likely to visit again anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate any small step to turn this global temperature tanker around.

The naysayers will no doubt swing in behind with lots of complaints about the untold environmental damage caused by shipping coffee beans across oceans and zooming exotic cake-related ingredients through our skies.

I’m with them all the way, but that’s for another conversation. For now, let’s just be in our cups. Or maybe not.




Bookies agree ban on TV betting adverts during live sports events

A group of the United Kingdom’s biggest bookmakers have voluntarily agreed to a “whistle-to-whistle” TV advertising ban during live broadcasts of sporting events.

The Remote Gambling Association – which includes Bet365, Ladbrokes and Paddy Power among its members – has struck a deal for the ban, the BBC reports, due to public concern over the number of betting adverts on television.

A study published in August 2017 by the Gambling Commission revealed that 430,000 people in Britain can be described as “problem gamblers” and there are also concerns that the TV adverts have helped to fuel under-age betting.