This portfolio covers such matters as Parks and Open Spaces, (Conservation, Ruislip Lido and Woodlands are dealt with separately), Pollution, Rubbish and Recycling, Street Care and Cleaning.
Over time we will update members on a wide range of local environmental issues, including our reponses to proposals for waste management and other public consultations, our approval of vigorous Council action on local graffiti, our delight at local parks achieving Green Flag status, and our concerns about local pot-holes in roads - the scope is enormous, so we face a challenging task!
Surface Water Management
At the Council Cabinet Meeting on 24 January, under the heading “Hillingdon Surface Water Management Plan”, the Cabinet approved the Evidence Base for the Surface Water Management Plan for publication and noted that it would help engage residents and other stakeholders in flood risk issues. The Evidence Base document can be seen at:- http://modgov.hillingdon.gov.uk/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=14967. The Council officer responsible is Vicki Boorman – Residents' Services.
Thames Water have revealed that the Thames Tideway Tunnel, due for completion in 2023 at a cost of £4.1 billion plus inflation, will begin to impact sewerage charges as early as 2014. Sewerage charges are paid as part of householders’ overall water bills, so if you live in London you will be affected, even if you do not pay Thames for your water.
There is no information yet as to by how much water bills will rise during the early phase of construction, but the maximum impact is predicted to be £70 - £80 per year, again plus inflation, during the later phases of the work. A public consultation on the scheme is in progress, with details available at www.thamestunnelconsultation.co.uk
The proposed Thames Tideway Tunnel is a major new sewer. Thames Water say it is needed to capture the tens of millions of tonnes of untreated sewage that currently overflows into the tidal River Thames from London's Victorian sewers after as little as 2mm of rain.
Population growth, and the continuing loss of undeveloped land able to soak up rainfall means that these overflows are increasing. The new tunnel will tackle the overflows, leading to a cleaner, healthier River Thames for people and wildlife, ensuring that the UK meets legal environmental standards set by the EU.
At its meeting on 26 April, Hillingdon Council Cabinet agreed local and national recommendations from the Residents’ and Environmental Services Policy Overview Committee designed to mitigate the environmental effects of telecommunication masts and cabinets.
It was noted that although the demand for mobile and wireless products and services was increasing as technology developed and consumer demand increased, Hillingdon residents were increasingly concerned as to the escalating number of planning applications received for larger masts and ancillary equipment and the effect these were having on the environment and landscape.
The proposals in the Committee’s report would be actively pursued with the mobile phone industry, OFCOM and Central Government to ensure a better balance of regulation and control of such equipment within local environments.
At the Council· Cabinet meeting on 30 March 2012, officers were instructed to prepare draft proposals for such a Levy for Hillingdon.· Legislation for the Levy came into force in April 2010. It allows local authorities in England and Wales to raise funds from developers undertaking new building projects in their area.· The money can be used to fund a wide range of infrastructure that is needed as a result of development.· This includes new or safer road schemes, flood defences, schools, hospitals and other health and social care facilities, park improvements, green spaces and leisure centres.·· Officer to action - James Gleave: Planning, Environment, Education and Community Services.
At its May meeting our Executive Committee agreed to object to any further encroachment onto those fields and to inform Hillingdon Borough Council accordingly. Here is the body of the letter sent to Councillor Ray Puddifoot, Leader of Hillingdon Borough Council:
Dear Councillor Puddifoot,
Re: Eastcote Hockey Club’s lease of part of King College Fields
Eastcote Hockey Club (EHC) has currently withdrawn its planning application to develop an all weather hockey pitch on Kings College Fields, Ruislip, but it is expected to submit a similar application in the near future. That possibility was considered by Ruislip Residents’ Executive Committee at its May meeting when it was unanimously agreed that we are against any further encroachment on Kings College Fields.
All the Pinn Meadows are greatly valued by the local community, both as a public open space and as a contribution towards the very pleasant environment in Ruislip. EHC’s existing all weather pitch already dominates one of the Kings College Fields and effectively discourages public access. Our members are concerned that the EHC’s hope of developing a second all weather pitch would exclude the public from a significant part of another field, encroach on the Celandine Way, have a detrimental effect on the local environment and spoil some of the best landscape views in Ruislip.