This is the Weekly Digest of Save Lea Marshes. We are an open group of people keen to preserve the precious marshes and green spaces of the Lea Valley area, with a view to maintaining and improving conditions for wildlife and as places of escape and contemplation away from the hectic life of the 21st century. To find out more about our work, please see our webpage www.saveleamarshes.org.uk or come along to one of our regular fortnightly meetings (see below).
I have just returned from a short holiday on the Greek Island of Santorini. Have been trying to find out exactly what is going on with the Greek economy, but the locals seemed reluctant to talk about it. However, more impressed by the local fauna – a wide diversity of wild flowers, herbs and shrubs all thriving on rock and volcanic soil. This is in stark contrast to the numbers of wild flowers that have disappeared from our landscape. There was some link, in watching the Swifts swirl about overhead, just like Hackney’s usual summer visitors, who returned in early May (currently, keeping the feline, Assistant Editor entertained looking out of the window, instead of sitting on my notes).
PINS & NEEDLES – some of you regular readers of the digest may have noticed that we have been reporting less on local news recently. This has not been through less activism, rather the contrary. We have all been hard at work, putting a case together for the Planning Inspectorate Inquiry meeting about the Hackney Pavilion and associated car parks on Hackney Marshes, taking place in June. After weeks of thorough research, covering every aspect of the plans, SLM’s position is that the pavilion should be built on the footprint of the old changing rooms and that the site of the East Marsh car park should be restored to playing fields, as intended post Olympics. In order to fulfil the needs of PINS we had to do some very un- green things with paper (although we used recycled materials wherever possible). The effort took 1 new printing drum; 4 new printing cartridges; 10k sheets of paper; 15 folders; 17 sets of dividers; one very tired punching arm and many people on the verge... We feel we have put together excellent arguments but as we are all aware from previous types of encounters, this doesn’t necessarily mean winning!
ICE RINK “FREEZABILITY” – we’ve been waiting for this to rear up again. A feasibility report has gone to the Executive Committee of the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority (LVRPA) today, presenting initial proposals for a new, twin-pad ice rink that will replace the Lee Bridge Road’s current “ice-sore” (a so called temporary building on common land). If approved, this could mean a new, larger, ice rink being built on the current position; it going to Pickett’s Lock in Hertfordshire or somewhere on the Olympic site. Whatever the outcome, there will be implications for the future use of this green space. The LVRPA have said that they will be consulting with local people. A good opportunity to get your voice heard on this matter is to go to the next LVRPA Workshop meeting at the Waterworks 1-3 p.m. on Sunday 6 June.
OXBOW – following up on a letter from Councillor Rathbone and colleagues from Hackney’s Lea Bridge Ward to Shaun Dawson, CEO of LVRPA, who has also been in consultations with the Canals and River Trust about joint action for improvement – the future improvement of Oxbow – which should benefit from £50k agreed with the development of “The Wharf” on Essex Wharf, will also be on that agenda. So too will be an opportunity to comment on plans for an art project to improve the underpass at Lea Bridge Road. So note the above date and come along. Also note that there will be an LVRPA Ranger’s Drop-In Session on Oxbow on Sunday 24 May from 12.00-6.00 p.m.
E-BOOK – some of you may have seen posters along the River Lea about a new e-book on the Walthamstow Marshes campaign of 1979, it is out on Kindle now (and you can download an app for your PC if you don't have a Kindle) - find out about the battle to save what is now the SSSI. Costs £2.50 http://amzn.to/1Hn1Opm
MEADOW, NOT SO SWEET – the digest has had an update from a local supporter about a campaign we mentioned about a year ago. This concerns the preservation of Keresley Hay Meadow and the campaign’s temporary injunction, pending a full judicial review to secure the future of the site (also to stop it being sprayed and cultivated by the current farm owner). The campaign is challenging Natural England, who are the body that is supposedly there to save such sites but, we’re told has only stopped one out of 1074 applications since 2005. To find out more and give support, go to http://www.naturalenglandFailedUs.org
IN THE PRESS – page 2 of The Guardian 21 May 2015 www.guardian.com/news a report on Harlequin ladybirds – “the fastest invader of UK on record”. According to this report the newcomers can prey on our more usual species but our local varieties are displaying UKIP like tendencies in trying to eat the newcomers too and the Harlequin’s might have some useful benefits on preying on smaller insects like aphids. Am surprised the headline wasn’t something like “Newcomer’s knock spots off old ladybirds” but maybe they left that for The Sun.
More local action on trees, with the latest events organised by the Tree Musketeers including: Sunday 24 May at the Tree Nursery, Hackney from 10.30 to 2.00 p.m. small tree care; A plant sale and advise on small trees session on 7 June – same time, same place, plus Abney Park Cemetery Bio Blitz on 29 June. These and other up- coming events are free and further details from http://treemusketeers.org.uk
The intriguingly titled http://eight-leggedhorse.co.uk are organising nature trails around Walthamstow to create your own kennings on the following Sundays: 31 May, 7 June, 14th June from 10-12.30 p.m.
Our next SLM meeting will be on Monday 25th May at 7.30pm.