Kent Greens - One World. Once Chance.

Recent letters to the press by Kent Greens

Fri, 22 Jul 2011


To: The Editor, letters page, Kent on Saturday - From: Hazel Dawe, campaigns officer, Tonbridge and Malling Green Party 27 Audley Avenue, Tonbridge Kent Tn9 1XF Tel: 01732 355185, Mobile 079444 71083

Dear Sir or Madam, Dr David Scott of Cancer Research overstates the case for animal testing in medical research. There is no need to torture and kill animals in laboratories to carry out relevant and effective research into cancer treatment. Unfortunately the "rigorous government guidelines." are not always applied rigorously. For example, opponents protest that "the Home Office is too quick to approve an experiment and … grants project licenses without adequate scrutiny " Critics of animal testing have complained that "researchers who are presenting their case may perform the cost-benefit assessments [themselves] rather than the Home Office " Hardly a rigorous procedure. 1)

The relevance of animal testing for human biology is questionable. The Safer Medicine Campaign states that "the effectiveness of animal tests has never been measured against a panel of state-of-the-art techniques based on human biology." Why not? The Campaign has established that "92% of new drugs successful in animal studies go on to fail in clinical trials" 2)

FRAME, the Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments aims to completely eliminate the use of animals in medical experiments. There are alternatives: human tissue and cells which have been donated can be used to model reactions and, as soon as it is safe, trials are needed on human volunteers anyway.

Tonbridge and Malling Green Party would urge people to support the Animal Aid campaign and halt donations to Cancer Research UK, the British Heart Foundation, Parkinson's UK and the Alzheimer Society until these charities agree to minimise and, eventually phase out, the use of animal testing in their research.

Hazel Dawe, Campaigns officer, Tonbridge and Malling Green Party



Fri, 22 Jul 2011


TO: editor, letters pages, Courier - FROM: Steve Dawe, Tonbridge and Malling Green Party 16th July 2011 27 Audley Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1XF - 01732 355185 - 07747 036192

Dear Editor, Colin Bullen needs to be corrected (letters, 15.7.2011).

First, there is no energy crisis, only failures by successive Governments. The UK has no national energy efficiency strategy. Our generally energy-inefficient buildings are poorly insulated and lack solar water heating or solar panels. We could cut 20% of our energy use quite easily, according to the Association for the Conservation of Energy, and figures as high as 50% have been suggested.

Recent research shows UK wind turbines are more efficient than in Denmark and Germany. We should bear in mind that the first industrial revolution started here in the UK powered by about 12,000 wind mills. And the wind did not blow all the time then either. Nuclear power, when uranium mining and storage of waste for thousands of years are taken into account, is the most expensive energy technology available. It should not be contemplated, and the two Zero Carbon Britain reports (available online) show how we can meet future needs.

Climate change as a result of human action is a matter of scientific consensus, supported by the scientific academies of the 13 major countries in the world, including our own Royal Society.

I certainly agree that the privatization of energy companies, like that of our railways, has proved an expensive disaster, raising prices but not dealing with fuel poverty, energy efficiency or the need for safe, renewable energy technologies.


Fri, 22 Jul 2011


TO: editor, letters pages, Kentish Express - FROM: Steve Dawe, Press Officer, KENT GREEN PARTY

12th July 2011

Dear Editor, News that Kent County Council is to promote another attempt to create a lorry park is surprising, given public opposition. However, there are good reasons why KCC should be ultra-cautious about such an initiative. First, the Government has committed itself to a charging scheme for foreign lorries which will result in comparatively low charges, well below what is permissible in EU law. Charging the maximum amount allowed would help to reduce foreign lorries moving through Kent.

Secondly, the recent increase in UK greenhouse gas emissions by 2.8% in 2010 when compared to 2009 means the Government will have to consider new measures to reduce transport sector emissions. In particular, it will have to re-examine the idea of national congestion charge scheme to maximise the movement of freight by rail and sea. It does not do so, it will not be able to meet its own targets.

Thirdly, the Government is also considering permitting articulated trucks 2 metres longer than the current maximum of 15.65 metres. This would make for problems in what would at present quickly become an over-used lorry park. It remains to be seen how well such mammoth vehicles would get through junctions in many parts of Kent too.

Reducing long-distance freight movements by lorry would prevent spending on a lorry park. It is time KCC told the Government this.

Yours sincerely Steve Dawe PRESS OFFICER - Kent Green Party

Note: Material for this letter was obtained from from the newsletter of the European Federation for Transport and Environment, Private Eye and my thesis 'Business and Environmental Groups and the Trans-European Transport Networks.'

Fri, 04 Mar 2011
TO: editor, letters pages, Courier

FROM: Steve Dawe, Tonbridge and Malling Green Party

4th March 2011

Dear Editor,

The 'Big Society' idea is open to question (article/editorial 4th March).

First, voluntary organisations estimate a loss of 4.6 billion over 4 years as a likely impact of Government cuts. This is because cash-starved local councils are being forced to cut grants to charities, and national Government resources to charities will also be cut. This 4.6 billion loss compares with about 600-700 million devoted to the 'BIg Society' by the Government including recent additions to compensate charities for imminent losses of income. Since volunteers need to be coordinated by trained, paid workers, the whole voluntary sector faces a rapid loss of resources which will undermine its capacity to support volunteers.

This problem, as the Green Party has noted, is coupled with severe cuts to already under-funded local government here in Kent. This means services we take for granted will diminish as will jobs in local councils over the next four years. Road and pavement repair, services for young and elderly people and above all access to social housing will all be declining. There is no realistic prospect of the voluntary sector taking on the work involved. Why? Because although donations to charities have kept up quite well in the recession so far, research shows that the average number of donors each year is declining and the average age of donors is rising.

Joined-up Government would mean increasing the share of public spending which goes to local councils like Tonbridge and Malling, to allow them to fulfill their statutory duties and support key activities of the voluntary sector for the benefit of our area. Perhaps the Chancellor will improve his Coalition Government's appalling record on tax collection, and step up action against all forms of tax avoidance and tax evasion to help support front-line services?

Yours sincerely
Steve Dawe

The problems with Kent's academy schools
Mon, 03 Jan 2011
Letter to the Kent on Sunday in response to their front page story yesterday:

Dear Sir,

So more evidence on the problems of taking education away from local government and privatising it in the form of academies in last week's KoS. Just like Labour before it, the Tory - Lib Dem coalition seem to think that the private sector have all the answers. At a very basic level we all know the real reason that some schools were struggling - a lack of investment in them by sucessive governments.

Labour's plan to turn failing schools into academies was the thin end of the wedge for privatising our education system and it is hardly a surprise that the Conservatives and Lib Dems, who are ideologically in love with the free market, want to complete the job.

Taking schools out of the state system is not just more expensive in the long run and not just damaging to those left under government contol, it fails the democratic test. Accountability for education must remain with elected representatives - it is too important to hand to private companies.

Yours faithfully

Stuart Jeffery

Sat, 01 Jan 2011
To: Courier, Letters page - From: Steve Dawe, TONBRIDGE AND MALLING GREEN PARTY, 27 Audley Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1XF Tel: 01732 355185 - 1st January 2011

Dear Editor,
Re: My week of adventures minus a car (Courier, 31/12): All credit to your reporter for taking the decision to live without a car for a week. I have been living without a car all my life. I note that for some short journeys i.e. the journey to work from her home walking, even on icy pavements, was faster than car travel. But people are discouraged from using other forms of transport by price: whilst the cost of motoring went down 14% 1997-2009, rail fares rose 13% and bus and coach tickets by 24%. This does not take into account the recent massively increased rail fares.

I agree with your reporter that rural bus services are inadequate. Yet, I have spoken to older people who used to live in one village, Ightham Mote, without a car. They can recall when the frequent buses. Consequently, living there without a car was feasible. Research I have done for the Green Party shows our rural bus fares are about 50% more expensive than the average on the Continent.

Your reporter is too kind to our rail services: although they are frequent and, usually, quite dependable, they are far too expensive. We have the highest rail fares in the world: approximately 40% higher than the rest of Europe. Green Party policy is to reduce fares by 20% in the short term and bring them down to the European average in the longer term. This would make rail use more affordable and attractive.

Yours faithfully, Steve Dawe, Tonbridge and Malling Green Party

Letter on Kent's Railways to KoS
Sun, 28 Nov 2010
Letter to: Kent on Sunday
Dear Sir,

You could almost be forgiven for thinking that the Conservatives were the champions of Kent's rail users following their Fares Fair campaign in the run up to this year's general election and with last week's threats to Southeastern by Roger Gale MP (Kent on Sunday, 28th November).

However, those of us with a slightly longer memory will recall that the Tory campaign to curb the rail fare rises placed the blame squarely on the government rather than the franchise holder. Perhaps someone ought to remind Mr Gale who is in government now.

And of course we must not forget that the real reasons that rail fares are the highest in Europe are due to the Tory privatisation of rail, the massive closures in the 1960's and of course the lack of investment by successive governments.

Public transport should be a public service run by the government. Investing in clean public transport while taxing more polluting forms is how government should support our rail service. Perhaps someone remind Mr Gale of this?

Stuart Jeffery
Kent Green Party

Sat, 20 Nov 2010
TO: letters page, the Courier

FROM: Steve Dawe, Press Officer, KENT GREEN PARTY 12th November 2010

Dear Editor, Responsibility for traffic congestion in our area is a matter for those who contribute to it (letters, 12th November 2010). The County Council is the primary cause, as it has consistently failed to give proper priority to measures which would reduce traffic. These include supporting more teleworking; supporting comprehensive green travel plans for schools; ensuring bus fares are cheaper; building good quality walking and cycling networks.

Since Kent's population continues to grow, and with it the number of vehicles, no road widening or road building project or programmes will reduce traffic congestion. In the case of the A21 widening, relief of congestion may not occur after widening for a period of more than about 4 years, before rising congestion returns traffic on the A21 to congested levels. In consequence, traffic-reducing measures are needed.
The suggestion of ambulances being stuck in traffic on the A21 gives the impression that the public are suddenly going to stop moving their vehicles out of the way when the emergency services require space.

A more realistic worry is that the Pembury Hospital is not large enough to meet local needs. Also, the reduction in the budget for nurses in West Kent by 17% over the next five years (Courier, 21st May 2010) suggests diminishing services when local needs are rising due to increasing numbers of people and an ageing population. Should we spend 125 million on widening the A21, or 125 million ensuring that NHS funding in our area is adequate?

Yours sincerely,
Steve Dawe
27 Audley Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1XF - 01732 355185 or 07747 036192

Thu, 14 Oct 2010


TO: various Your town editions, KOS Media

FROM: Steve Dawe, Press Officer, KENT GREEN PARTY

14th October 2010

Dear Editors,

When I said that the UK has the best offshore wind resources of any country in Europe and that there was no reason why these should not be exploited, in a TV debate with Nigel Farage (letters, 13th October 2010), he had no answer. Since a leaked Government report indicates Dungeness is being dropped from the Government's preferred list of nuclear sites, Mr Farage's promotion of a Dungeness C station has already failed.

But there is a more serious problem in the claims made in his letter. Wind farms obtain money from Government when they are operating, not before. The major energy companies have told the Government they want it to pay for new nuclear power stations: the Government has refused. So even if the Dungeness site were selected for a new nuclear power station, apparently no one wishes to pay for it to be built.

Wind Farms like the new one off Thanet and the proposed London Array will create jobs, but the efficiency of the technology means there will be very few of them. However, if we had a national programme of improving insulation for all buildings and installing microgeneration technologies (solar water heating/solar PV panels) on homes and buildings this would generate employment in every district in Kent and indeed in the UK as a whole. If Mr Farage is serious about obtaining more employment in the energy sector, then why has he failed to advocate energy effiency and safe, renewable energy technologies - preferring instead the polluting, costly and problematic coal and nuclear options. And nuclear is more expensive than any other energy technology because nuclear waste has to be stored for up to 250,000 years.

Yours sincerely,
Steve Dawe
PRESS OFFICER, Kent Green Party
27 Audley Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1XF
01732 355185 or 07747 036192


TO: letters pages - Kent on Sunday/Saturday

FROM: Steve Dawe, Press Officer, KENT GREEN PARTY

3rd October 2010

Dear Editor,
Nigel Farage is hopelessly uninformed about energy policy (opinion piece, 3rd October).

First, he ignores energy efficiency measures which could reduce our overall UK energy demand by 20% quite quickly and by up to 50% over time. Secondly, he ignores microgeneration which can make our built environment a source of energy with solar water heating and solar photovoltaic panels. Thirdly, he assumes static prices for different types of energy in the future. He seems to be unaware that our Government is refusing Freedom of Information requests concerning its research and meetings about the global peak supplies of oil and gas, despite evidence that the peak for cheap recoverable supplies of these types is very soon.

Worse, he does not seem aware than part of a renewable energy strategy is biomass - making use of fast growing species to fuel power stations. In addition, tidal, marine and estuarine barrages can add to our energy mix. So back up for wind power is within our grasp.

If nuclear is so easy to build, why is the private sector refusing to build it without Government funds? And the Government is refusing to supply such funds at present. And the supply of uranium is so limited that a recent Swiss research report suggested supplies would peak by 2013 and then decline: long before any new nuclear power station could be built in the UK. And coal is not going to save us either, since profligate use of coal by developing countries has brought forward the likely peak supply date for coal to about 2030.

So Mr Farage cannot keep looking to the past to meet our energy needs. We need a Green industrial revolution beginning in the energy sector in which both private and public sector funding will play roles.

Yours sincerely
01732 355185 - 07747 036192
27 Audley Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1XF



TO: letters page, Your Thanet , FROM: Steve Dawe, Press Officer, KENT GREEN PARTY 27 Audley Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1XF - 01732 355185 - 07747 036192

Dear Editor, Nigel Farage is, as usual, misguided and misinformed about the growing Wind Farm industry(front page, 29th September). He actually believes electricity generated from wind power at night is wasted! In fact, it adds to UK electricity supplies for all night time uses. Apart from welcoming Thanet's new role as a hub of the offshore wind industry, he should know that windpower generated about 10% of UK electricity used on 6th September 2010 - a new UK record (1). And, despite serious under-investment by our Governments in recent years, we now have 5 gigawatts of installed wind capacity. Land offshore currently allocated to wind farms will be able to produce electricity to power 4 million homes, and this is just the beginning.

Mr Farage's opposition to wind power reflects badly on him and his Party.

More renewable energy of all types, with increased energy efficiency such as better glazing and insulation, is needed to cut greenhouse gas emissions which add to Climate Change. The scientific academies of 11 major countries, including those of the UK, India, China, Russia and the USA issued a joint statement back in 2005 indicating that Climate Change was a major threat to life on Earth and required immediate action (4). Mr Farage, like his Party, denies that human-induced climate change exists. However, one of the key UK responses to both Climate Change and our energy needs is indeed 'blowing in the wind.' The failure of both coal and nuclear proposals to add to UK energy capacity in recent years, despite Government support, tells us we cannot look to the past for solutions to today's challenges.

Yours sincerely, Steve Dawe - Press Officer, KENT GREEN PARTY

Farage on nuclear
Sun, 03 Oct 2010
Letter to: Kent on Sunday

Dear Editor,

Nigel Farage is right to point out the coming energy crisis and that government should be working to close the energy gap but he is way off the mark with his solutions.

As a well publicised climate denier, Farage is content to dismiss the overwhelming evidence of scientists on climate change prefering to cite well known capitalists with vested interests instead. Rather than trusting the people who have brought us the current economic crisis, I would rather put my faith in what almost all the climate scientist are agreed on and look for energy solutions that are not going to worsen climate change.

Nigel Farage's pet solution, Dungeness C, is particularly strange. Ignoring the fact that it would be sited on an area most at risk from sea level rises, ignoring the fact that there is no long term solution to nuclear waste and ignoring the fact that nuclear power puts us into even more dependency on imported fuel, nuclear power cannot a long term solution as it relies on finite resources.

The amount of nuclear fuel is constrained in a similar way to oil, gas and coal, there is only a limited amount that can be dug up. The impact of continuing to use up these resources, especially with their impact on the climate, will be staggering. It is surely immoral to use up these finite resources when renewal energy is available.

If Mr Farage hates wind power so much there are other alternatives such as concentrated solar power, geothermal, tidal and wave power - all of which can combine to make power dependable. If we cut down on our energy use as well, we can have safe and affordable power now and power that our grandchildren can enjoy too.

Stuart Jeffery

Clone Town Survey - Maidstone
Sun, 19 Sep 2010
Letter to: Kent Messenger

Dear Editor,

It is hardly surprising that Maidstone has once again been labeled a Clone Town by the New Economics Foundation. While there are a good selection of independents away from Week St and Fremlin Walk, these two main shopping areas are simply overflowing with the chain stores that are the staples of many large towns.

There is a real problem with this. While the large corporate stores do attract shoppers to the town they also damage local businesses and the local economy. Money spent in any chain store quickly leaves the local economy whereas buying from independent shops ensures that more money is circulated locally supporting other local businesses and people.

Out of town, the damage is even worse. Opening an average out of town supermarket causes a net loss of 276 jobs and we have all seen the devastation to our local post offices in the past few years.

Maidstone needs more independent shops in its main shopping areas. Getting the balance right is essential. Rather than the filling these areas with mobile phone shops and carbon copy clothes shops, some variety would give real charm to the town. I have to ask how many Next stores or Waterstones does a town really need?

Bringing more independent stores to the main shopping areas would prove to be a real asset to Maidstone. The character and tone of the town would be drastically improved and the benefit to the people and Maidstone based businesses would be huge.

Stuart Jeffery
Maidstone Green Party

KIG rejected
Sun, 08 Aug 2010
Letter to Kent on Sunday: Dear Editor,

While it was kind of KoS to describe Kent Green Party as being 'heavily involved' in the battle to stop the Kent International Gateway in last week's edition, I would suggest that more credit for defeating the plan should be given to StopKIG, the joint parishes, Maidstone Borough Council and Protect Kent.

In particular, the local campaign group, StopKIG, provided tireless opposition and ran one of the best campaigns that I have seen! They deserve true thanks for their excellent work.

The defeat of KIG was a team effort with united opposition from many groups. It was an honour to play our part in such a successful campaign.

Stuart Jeffery

LibDems call for PR has failed
Mon, 17 May 2010
Letter to: Kent on Sunday

Dear Editor,

While I completely agree with Peter Carroll's call for proportional representation rather than the archaic and undemocratic system that we currently suffer under (KOS 16 May), it was a real shame that the LibDems agreed to have a national referendum on a new voting system that is not proportional. Sadly the Lib Dems seem to have thrown out their key policy of proportional representation for the chance of power.

The Con-Dem coalition is one that many Lib Dem voters, especially those in Maidstone who voted for Mr Carroll to simply stop the Conservatives, will find hard to accept. Of course, when you scratch the surface of Lib Dem economic policy you find just how close it is to Conservative economic policy so it is perhaps of little surprise that they got together so easily.

Fortunately there is a growing force in politics, one that is principled, truly green and committed to social justice. The Green Party now has its first MP and has established its place as a real alternative to business as usual politics.

Stuart Jeffery

Candidates demand apology
Sun, 21 Mar 2010
Letter to: The Courier

Dear Editor,

In one swift move, Helen Grant's team has managed to move the election in Maidstone and the Weald from one focussed on policy and issues into one of insults and a slanging match (Courier 19th Mar). So much for her pledge of a clean campaign!

The patronising claims levied at us are both wrong and pathetic. We are more than happy to debate and discuss issues in public without Ms Grant and it certainly is not the case that "the others wouldn't have turned up if the main candidate was not there". There is no main candidate in the election and Ms Grant should remember that she is not above other candidates or above the people that she may or (hopefully) may not represent in a couple of months.

Furthermore, we were all party to the excellent communications and organisation by Ben Carpenter, the sixth former who arranged the debate in Cranbrook. The negotiation and discussion on dates was clear and unambiguous. It is disappointing that Ms Grant seemed unable to engage with the process, but to insult Ben after his hard work is dreadful. Ms Grant should be ashamed of herself and Ben deserves an apology.

Yours faithfully

Peter Carroll (Lib Dem)
Stuart Jeffery (Green)
Rav Seerthrun (Labour)
Parliamentary candidates for Maidstone and the Weald

Save the V Team
Sun, 14 Mar 2010
Letter to: Kent Messenger

Dear Editor,

Like many of your readers I have been shocked to hear that the V Team will end for the want of such a small amount of money. Local councils have a duty to improve the well being of the people and they can surely find 20,000 to keep this essential service going. The V Team provide such an innovative service across Maidstone, supporting people with a range of problems by enabling them to become volunteers and therefore to help even more people. This fantastic service must not be allowed to close.

Kent County Council and Maidstone Borough Council need to consider the impact on the volunteers if they allow this service to close. With such a small amount of money needed to keep it going, I have written to both organisations to urge them to ensure the continued sucess of the V Team by providing the extra cash and I urge others across Maidstone to write too.

In the meantime, perhaps the KM could lead the campaign to raise the funds to keep the V Team going? With the KM's wide readership, 20,000 would not be hard to raise - after all it is only about 50p per reader. This is a great charity and should be supported - if our councils won't do it, then we must.

Stuart Jeffery
Green Party parliamentary candidate for Maidstone and the Weald

Tue, 09 Mar 2010

Operation Slack? MEP Catherine Bearder is correct to identify Operation Stack as a problem, but we already knew. In both reports last week, she identifies attendant problems, the prominent one seeming to be money, but offers little in the way of solutions. Nothing, in fact. Chris Took, Lib Dem PPC for Ashford, did actually offer a solution, albeit short term, a few weeks ago, including using existing lorry parks and service stations, during times of channel crossing frustration. But a longer term, and more permanent solution is required and the Green Party proposes, as we have for some time now, getting cars and lorries off the roads.

The noise and pollution from the M20 even during quiet periods is enough to justify moving freight movement to the railways and improving rail services for domestic tourism whilst reducing fares, and to achieve this we further propose bringing the rail service back into public ownership. Like the NHS it should be a service, not a business, something the Lib-Lab-Con club no longer seem to recognise.

Steven Campkin PPC Ashford Green Party 37 Beecholme Drive Kennington Ashford Kent TN24 9AA
01233 634 246 ...Thinking Allowed?

Tue, 09 Mar 2010
To: Kent on Sunday - letters pages
From: Steve Dawe, Press Officer - Kent Green Party

21st February 2010

Dear Editor,

Ian Taylor, (letters 21st February) is as usual, wrong.

When the Dartford Tunnel was being promoted, it was to relieve traffic congestion; when the Dartford Crossing was being imagined, it too was to relieve congestion. And now Kent County Council wants to spend 1 billion on a highly polluting additional crossing. If steps had been taken to improve public transport in the past, this immense waste of money would never have occurred. New road building does generate more traffic and longer journeys, as the Government's Standing Advisory Committee on Trunk Road Assessment has shown.

The Zero Carbon Britain report, available online, demonstrates that a combination of energy efficiency measures and renewable energy technologies can deal with the UK's energy demand. Since this report was produced, supporters of old and polluting technologies have not been able to fault its conclusions.

Contrary to Mr Taylor's belief, local planning authorities have no role in making planning decisions about solar water heating units or solar panels on any roof. So long as they are below the roof line, there is no planning issue to address. And prices for these units are dropping steadily.

And, once again, the scientific consensus remains that human-induced climate change is a serious threat to the Planet. Thirteen of the scientific academies of major countries have indicated this, including our own Royal Society. Opinion cannot refute this, only alternative scientific evidence that is hardly likely to be accepted by scientific bodies - like the UK Met Office - which have made their concerns about Climate Change abundantly clear.

Yours sincerely
Steve Dawe
01732 355185 - 07747 036192 - 27 Audley Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1XF

Sun, 28 Feb 2010
23rd February 2010 "Gorewell" Selling Road Old Wives Lees Canterbury, CT4 8BD
The Editor Kentish Gazette
Dear Sir, From reading last week's Gazette it is glaringly obvious that there is huge public disquiet over the manner in which local and national governments are treating its citizens. So the museums are threatened with closure, new or expanded Park & Rides are planned for Harbledown and the Dover Road, a gypsy encampment that will put paid to the largest brownfield site in the District is planned for Hersden, Polo Farm wishes to greatly expand and 4,000 homes are proposed for south Canterbury.
Some of this disquiet arises from a Labour government which uses baffling and ludicrous planning laws to impose housing developments via their unelected quango (the South East England Regional Assembly), but most of the blame lies with the Tory-controlled City Council and its officers who completely fail to open up a discussion before they have made up their minds. So, although the Council has produced a "Statement of Community Involvement", where are the surveys, questionnaires, discussion forums, information stalls, leaflets, public exhibitions, etc, on any of the above? There is lots of evidence that the Council will discuss and indeed encourage planning applications with developers so that they can get their applications sewn up, but almost no evidence of prior discussion with the residents who will be affected.
Can I remind local citizens that there are national elections within three months, and local elections next year. When you stand in front of the ballot box, think again whether you really want to carry on with the tired old parties.
Sincerely Geoff Meaden Green Party Parliamentary Candidate.

Sun, 28 Feb 2010
LETTER TO Your Ashford:

I would like to applaud the efforts of the Sagarmatha Gurkha Nepalese community in Ashford in cleaning up the Warren. Only the week before I was telling a friend of mine (Jade, 4) that the little people were watching us to make sure we weren't the bad people who drop rubbish in the forest, and that the little people have to clean up the mess after the bad people were gone, with every intention of doing it myself. It would seem I was pre-empted by these wonderful, magical people, with their amazing sense of community, their religion of peace and environmental responsibility, and I fully intend to join them should they wish to do this again, though I wish we didn't need to.
There have been concerned mumblings recently concerning a Nepali invasion, but if this is what they get up to in their spare time they are more than welcome to our formerly green and pleasant land. I would also like to take this opportunity to oppose the Park & Ride scheme planned for the field adjacent to the Warren. Previous schemes in places such as Canterbury have proven to be more trouble than they are worth, and the building and use of a Park & Ride would have a detrimental effect on the Warren itself. CPRE's Election Manifesto, which I support, calls for protection of our green spaces and tighter laws on littering and fly-tipping. Green Party policy states that we shall "...retain and rigorously strengthen Green Belt legislation..." (CY561) and I intend to uphold both.
Once again, a huge 'Dan Ya Bad' to the Nepalese community, and I hope to join them next time,
Steve Campkin - PPC Ashford Green Party 37 Beecholme Drive Kennington Ashford TN24 9AA -