Monday, 13 June 2016

SLM Digest 28-4-16

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Save Lea Marshes is an open group of  local people concerned to keep the marshes and green spaces of the Lea Valley open and green for wildlife and local people.  For further information go to

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SLM Weekly Digest

Keep Our Marshes Open and Green!

Found on Walthamstow Marshes this week by @Exposure17 (Nathaniel Legall) - here's a glimpse of a pygmy shrew! Nathaniel found a range of different mouse and vole species

This is the Weekly Digest of Save Lea Marshes.  We are an open group of people living in the Lea Valley area working towards preserving and improving the condition of the local marshes and green spaces for wildlife and people now and in the future.  Find out more about our work via our website

Living conditions – the air we breathe, the water we drink, the land we use to grow food – basic conditions for human and other life, without it, we and the planet would die.  So why does the environment come second or lower in the scale of making planning decisions, and money issues get first slot human thinking.  Why does it so often come down to confrontation, when a bit of common sense could make things work better?  I’m raising this because of the issues confronting us locally this week:

ICY-BLASTS – last night one of the consultation meetings organised by the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority (LVRPA), over the placement of a new twin-pad ice rink, took place.  Some SLM members attended and have reported back on the situation so far.  It looks like, the preferred option is, as we feared, Leyton Marsh.  This would involve construction work further out towards the roadside frontage but may also involve building a temporary rink (maybe in a tent), onto the main area of Leyton Marsh, which is deeply concerning from a wild life point of view on Metropolitan Open Land, and for local residents, who have already experienced noise issues from the current building plus ongoing building work and other usual noise disturbance.  We are not kill-joys and recognise that the rink is a popular local resource, but the rink doesn’t have to be built on the marsh and from what we have seen of the figures and information provided, the arguments are less than convincing.  Rink users too, will  have to think about whether building on the current site will meet their needs.  Is it best for transport?  What happens during the estimated 18 month construction period.  Surely, it would make sense to keep the old ice rink in operation while a new one is built rather than have inadequate provision which may affect competition training.  We will report back in more depth about this, however we would strongly urge you to come to either of the meetings this Saturday 30 April, either at 11.00am at the Ice Rink or from 1.00pm to 3.30pm at the Waterworks Centre, both in the Lea Bridge Road.  The Waterworks Centre, is also one of the sites for the rink that has been under consideration.

ADVICE & VOLUNTEERS – we hear that the Tree Musketeers and Hackney Marshes Users Group have been invited to a meeting to discuss tree/shrub planting and on-going tree maintenance for the area that will supposedly screen the proposed Cricket Pavilion on Hackney Marshes.  As independent organisations they will obviously make up their own minds on whether to do this.  On the one hand, we would want to opt for the best planting and care possible, but on the other, both groups along with SLM fought hard to have the pavilion built on the site of the existing changing rooms and not plonked right in the middle of the marsh, causing more disruption to some of the 1,000 tons of war rubble that lies beneath...

OXBOW ISLAND – SLM are continuing to monitor the situation re. Oxbow Island, which is controlled by the Canals and Rivers Trust (CaRT).  Last week we reported Glyphosate spraying near the Island but we are also concerned about the nature area surviving occasional moorings by party goers and indeed the possibility of CaRT putting in permanent moorings to earn income.

FRACK PACK – Emma and Sophie Thompson of acting fame are currently acting up noisily, with egg whisks and wooden spoons, making lots of noise in a field in Lancashire that is due to be fracked.  You can view their humous antics with a serious purpose and spread the word via

PEDAL POWER – although we don’t want to advocate more of the mistakes we have seen with the Mini Holland Scheme, improved cycling routes are of concern and the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) have a petition to see cycling kept on the GLA’s agenda, sign the petition by visiting

IN THE PRESS – nationally and locally glyphosate use is in the news.  First we have received a tweet from @PAN_UK  that pesticide industry is trying to make it look like they support bees rather than kill them with their poisons.  Then we have the Hackney Gazette 28 April, p.2 “Council unswayed by call to ban weedkiller; Chief insists spraying London Fields meadow is safe”

Then comes news from Bristol that the Council there is experimenting with keeping certain areas of the city free of pesticides and are trying out the use of vinegar as a weedkiller.

The same publication also has a story on dogs being burned by Giant Hogweed

Hackney Today, 25 April, p.p.1 4-5 features “Wonderful  wetlands”, about the new Woodberry Wetlands.  This has also been covered in the Evening Standard this week and elsewhere. (Great about the Wetlands, shame about the social cleansing and property speculation involved). Also, Evening Standard Wednesday 27 April, pp.8-9 Homes & Property

The Waltham Forest Guardian has a story about an old cinema in Buxton Street, Walthamstow that seems destined to become a five story block of flats “Conservation Society ‘disappointed with art-deco cinema’

“Toxic air kills 1,000 in 4 months; call for diesel ban”, is the headline of the Evening Standard, Thursday 28 April, p.p.1&4.

“Kapoor: slide was foisted on my tower by Mayor”, story on the slide of funds,  (the Mittal Orbit tower loses £10k per week) and they think the addition of a slide costing £17 per trip will solve the problem. The Guardian, 27 April, p.12

“No fungi: the crackdown on foraging as Epping Forest forager gets a criminal record and a bill of £364”.  The Guardian, G.2, p.2  Also, more silliness on slides ...


Baby Tree Care at Hackney Tree Nursery on Sat 30th April. See website for details:

Next SLM meeting, Monday 9 May at the Princess of Wales pub, Lea Bridge Road, E5.

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