Monday, 26 May 2014

SLM Weekly Digest 18/4/14

This is the weekly digest of Save Lea Marshes (SLM) - an open group of local people who care about the marshlands and green areas o the Lea Valley area.  We want to see the land retained for wildlife and for the careful enjoyment of local people.  See our website for further information about our work 
Well, as some of us get down to enjoying choccy eggs and other ways of having meaningful and/or fun-filled Easter holidays, things continue to happen on our dear marshes - some good, as in the number of events that seem to be happening to encourage people to discover and value the marshes (see below) and some less positive.  This week's special assortment of goodies and those less inviting in the box includes:
ORIENT WAY - rather than the three kings making a visit, we reported a couple of weeks ago about the hacking away of the wild area of Orient way, supposedly due to "undesirables" camping out there.  Further information has come to light about just who broke the Countryside Act laws in terms of cutting back during bird breeding season.  An SLM "super sleuth" has revealed that it was it was the Probation Service/SERCO.  There are at least two things to take up here - one, whether this group of offenders was sufficiently trained and had the horticultural and health and safety knowledge they should have and two, the fact that this work was done without sufficient knowledge of the Countryside Act laws.

OXBOW ISLAND - the issues of the complicated "ownership" of Oxbow Island and the rubbish clearance of said area, have continued to be a discussion topic this week.  Councillor Ian Rathbone of the Lea Bridge Ward (Hackney), has again taken up the cause and plans to arrange a meeting in June.  We'll update on progress.

GREATER LONDON NATIONAL PARK - there is a new campaign to have the green spaces of greater London formed into a national park.  This is probably what should have been done with the Lea Valley area in the first place.  If you are interested in finding out more about this see  and see the arguments.

INFORMATION FROM THE OPEN SPACES SOCIETY - SLM are members of this organisation and get much useful information about changes which affect the green spaces of our land in general.  Information to pass on to other readers this week is that there is a new threat to village green status, since the introduction of the 2013 Infrastructure Act.  I've put this item here because it directly relates to the topic above and those below in that the changes represent part of the growing onslaught of our green spaces and rights of public access versus the "development Goliath".  In short the legislation only gives people up to a year to apply to register land following a landowners challenge.  There is also another item on Local Green Spaces.  See for further information.

PETITIONS (1) Kew Gardens Under Threat - it seems our Government is looking at ways to break down the long-held traditions of this space see the petition site (2) Our dear Mr. Pickles (whose department had a big rise in its hospitality costs for tea and biscuits this year...) is casting a greedy eye over allotment spaces as another area that developers could build on and add money to the coffers of the town halls, that the Government has taken away.  This is extremely bad timing as it coincides with the BBC's new "Bake-Off" style programme about allotments, which will obviously influence the great British public to put aside their cupcakes in favour of trying to get a non-existent available plot.  Campaign now "Cudgels over Cupcakes" say I. See

MABLEY GREEN IN BLOOM - we have received news that Mabley Green (working towards being the largest Edible Park), has been recognised by no less a horticultural body than the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), as a study.   See  Well done, them!

EVENTS/COURSES ETC. - we are positively brimming over with events on the horizon ...(some I'll leave to a later date).

First up, a reminder that tomorrow (Saturday), the lovely Joan will be doing her foraging walk starting at the Ice Rink Car Park at 2.00 pm and ending at the Springfield CafĂ© at 4.00 p.m.  This woman really knows what she is talking about, so if you fancy a little walk and really want to learn something, do join her.

Hackney Museum and Hackney Tours have joined forces to do at least two brilliant informative walks:  3 May we have"Clapton, Vikings & the Importance of East London" - a 2.7m walk 11-12.30 am, led by Simon Cole of Hackney Tours - kicks off from the Princess of Wales on Lea Bridge Road, Hackney and on Sunday 15 June there is "Artists, Industrialists & Urbanites, a 2.5 m walk starting at the same time but leaving from Hackney Wick Overground station.  Both walks are free but you need to register first with or Tel 020 8356 2509.

Friends of the Earth Walthamstow - have sent us details of their planned activiites in the April newsletter - we mentioned this one a while back but anyone up for Tree Planting, get to Lloyd Park on 26 April, wearing suitable clothing.

London Wildlife Trust are also in the middle of a run of free guided walks - the next available one is "Foraging for Spring Greens" and the one after that Sunday 9th June "Bird Spotting".  These take place 2-4 p.m. for full details.

Tree Course - twelve weekly sessions with a course fee of £80.00, led by Hackney's Tree Musketeers - everything you wanted to know about trees, pruning trees properly etc., but were too scared to ask, is dealt with on this course

Hackney Renters - our friends at Hackney Renters, tell us that they are having a demonstration outside Hackney Town Hall on 25 April at 12.00 mid-day against the hikes in rent and benefit issues.  This will include "Housing Crisis Bingo".  They would value support.

Thinking Green week 28 April to 2 May - various seminars being organised by Open City on building and sustainability see   This is mainly oriented to people in the buildings industry about ways of building that are different to that demonstrated by those that are bringing you Essex Wharf ...

Next SLM meeting - SLM are forgoing valuable Easter egg munching time for a few pints at the Hare & Hounds at 7.30 on Bank Holiday Monday.  We didn't want to change our schedule and there is, as always, lots to discuss.  So if you fancy joining us, do come along.  Chocs Away ...!

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