On Monday I met with Chief Superintendent Lis Chapple, Commander of the Metropolitan Police Southwest London Borough Command Unit. She told me that Southwest London recently received funding for more town centre patrols in Richmond and Kingston on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, and they are also recruiting more officers for their neighbourhood policing teams.
I have been campaigning hard for additional police presence in this constituency throughout the year, regularly bringing it up with the borough commander, meeting with the Met Police Commissioner about it, and speaking about it in a recent adjournment debate in Parliament. I am delighted to report that we will soon be seeing these extra officers out on the streets keeping my constituents safe.
CS Chapple also shared with me her concern about online fraud, with the rise in people using online shopping due to the lockdown. If you are doing your Christmas shopping online this year, I encourage you to look at the Met Police's advice on the subject here before you shop: https://www.met.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/fa/fraud/personal-fraud/online-shopping/
I was also asked to remind my constituents to please report any crime or anti-social behaviour you witness to the police, either using the police non-emergency number 101 or on their website: https://www.met.police.uk/ro/report/ocr/af/how-to-report-a-crime/
It is vitally important that the police have as full and accurate a picture as possible of what is happening in our community in order to allocate resources correctly.
QUESTIONING THE HEALTH SECRETARY ON LOCAL RESOURCES
Yesterday I questioned Health Secretary Matt Hancock in the chamber about whether the Government's offer of rapid testing devices to Richmond and Kingston boroughs would be accompanied by additional resources to help the councils trace the contacts of the people who are found to test positive, and to support those who are asked to give up work to self-isolate. I am sorry to say his reply was not very informative. You can see my question and his response here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yfy5cwhxWRE
MORTLAKE BREWERY HEARING DELAYED
I met with the planning team at the Greater London Authority last Friday, along with Gareth Roberts, leader of Richmond Council, to express my concerns about the constraints on this site. I particularly drew their attention to the impact that the closure of Hammersmith Bridge is having on the area, and the fact that the recent public meeting revealed that the closure could continue for up to 7 years.
Today the GLA announced that they are postponing the hearing on this application from its scheduled date of November 26 in order to gather more information. I am pleased they are taking the considerations I raised into account, and I welcome the decision to stop and fully assess the situation before holding the hearing.
GREEN RECOVERY PLAN
The Government announced a new Green Recovery Plan yesterday, which sadly misses some key opportunities to make a real difference. Here are some of the reasons why the plan isn't as good as it seems:
Two-thirds of the money in the plan has already been pledged. Of the £12 billion "announced" today only £4 billion is actually new funding.
The plan wastes taxpayer money investing in nuclear energy, which now has a higher unit cost than renewables.
The funding announced pales in comparison with other similar-sized countries. Germany is investing £42 billion and France £35 billion. We need to invest much more.
This plan will not get the UK anywhere near our Paris Agreement targets. We need to do our part to keep warming to less than 1.5 degrees.
This plan does not even mention preserving peatlands, wetlands or woodlands.
Ending the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2030 but allowing the sale of hybrid cars to continue beyond that date will keep fossil-burning cars on the road for too long.
This plan does not include net-zero homes legislation. It will allow the continued building of energy inefficient homes, which will have to be retrofitted later.
Extending the Green Homes Grant by just a year does not give the construction industry the time and investment it needs to deliver home upgrades on the scale needed. If we are serious about providing green jobs we need a much longer-term commitment.
We need a comprehensive long-term plan backed by meaningful funding to kickstart a green recovery from Covid-19. The Government needs to go much further much faster in the fight against climate change.
TESTING IN CARE HOMES
I was very encouraged to hear over the weekend that the government aims to have coronavirus testing available to allow visitors to go into care homes in England by Christmas. Although the Health Secretary has overpromised and underdelivered throughout the pandemic, I am heartened that he has come to understand how devastating it is for vulnerable care home residents and their loved ones to be kept apart.
The screening pilot that launched on Monday across twenty care homes in Hampshire, Devon and Cornwall is a good start. I applaud the goal of rolling out on-site rapid testing at all care homes by Christmas, and hope that we will at last be able to properly protect and care for elderly and disabled people, who have born the brunt of the pandemic all year.
ROYAL PARKS CONSULTATION ON RICHMOND PARK
For the past few months, Royal Parks has been carrying out a traffic trial in Richmond Park, looking at how they can reduce the amount of traffic and air pollution in the park. This follows a study of traffic movement in London parks in which they consulted over 7,000 users, 78% of whom supported a reduction of private motor vehicles using park roads as commuter routes. The Royal Parks has produced a plan for each park, which you can find here: https://www.royalparks.org.uk/managing-the-parks/park-strategies/the-royal-parks-transport-and-movement-strategy Royal Parks has now started a consultation process to find out what park visitors and local residents think of the traffic trial. This consultation will be open until the end of December, and you can access it here: https://sustrans.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/richmondpark
INDEPENDENT COMMISSION ON CIVIL AVIATION NOISE
The ICCN is hosting a series of online focus groups. If you would like to share your views with them on how aviation noise should be managed in the future, please sign up for one below:
Tues 17 November, 12.30-2pm
Thurs 26 November, 12.30-2pm
Weds 2 December, 12.30-2pm
Thurs 10 December, 12.30-2pm
Click on the button below and tell them:
Which date(s) you would like to apply to attend
Whether you are attending as an individual or to represent an organisation or group
WEBINARS FOR PARENTS OF SEND CHILDREN
Newbold Hope is offering a series of 10 webinars for professionals and parents of SEND children and young people who have extreme or violent behavioural challenges. Each workshop looks at a different aspect of how family life is impacted by a child with very difficult behaviours, and explores how to help a child cope better in a safer and happier way. All webinars are subsidised by the NHS and cost only £2.50. Participants will be sent a webinar replay link which is available for one month, so you can watch it whenever you like. "How to feel happier and less exhausted as a SEND parent" 24th November - 8.00pm "How to keep brothers and sisters safe and happy" 8th December – 8.00pm "How to help a demand avoidant child cope better with life" 19th January – 8.00pm "Understanding Communication and how it impacts on behaviour " 2nd February -- 8.00pm "How to reduce stress about screen & internet use" 16 February - 8.00pm "Understanding anxiety & how to reduce it in both you and your child" 2nd March – 8.00pm "How to boost your SEND child’s self-esteem" 16th March 2021 – 8.00pm
ALCOHOL AWARENESS WEEK
With the holiday season upon us, Richmond residents are encouraged to drink responsibly, keeping track of how much they are drinking to improve their mental health.
Some of us may use alcohol to try to help manage symptoms of anxiety and depression, even though alcohol is proven to exacerbate these common mental health disorders. Managing your drinking and getting the right support are important for your mental health.
You can use the Council’s DrinkChecker website to help set goals to drink less, see how much you can save in money and calories by reducing your drinking, and find information about local support services.
If you think you need support, the Richmond Community Drug and Alcohol Service (RCDAS) is here to help anyone over the age of 18. You can call the free service on 020 3228 3020.
You can get free, confidential support with alcohol, drugs or mental health from we are with you – a webchat service where you can get support and advice. If you are feeling anxious, low or stressed please contact the Richmond Wellbeing Service for ways to improve your wellbeing. You can call them on 020 8548 5550 from Monday to Friday.
If there is a young person in your life who might need support, the Young People’s Substance Misuse Service aims to provide specialist substance misuse treatment to young people aged 13 to 19 years and their families. You can contact the service by emailing email@example.com or calling 020 8547 6920.
For more information on alcohol and mental health click here.
GRANTS AVAILABLE TO STRUGGLING RICHMOND RESIDENTS
If you or someone you know are experiencing financial hardship as a result of Covid,
struggling to afford food or other essentials, Richmond AID and Citizens Advice Richmond (CAR) may be able to help with a DEFRA emergency assistance grant for food and essentials. the grant can be up to £500 for households with two children or £300 for household without children. It’s for food and essentials like gas and electricity, winter clothes, beds, etc.
Applicants must be over 18, live in the borough of Richmond and be struggling from the impact of Covid, for example due to:
o Reduced pay or lost job
o Benefits issues
o Struggling to afford food and other essentials
o Extra costs as a result of Covid
Individuals with no recourse to public funds are also eligible, particularly if
there are community care needs
they have serious health problems
there is a risk to a child’s wellbeing
Richmond AID and Citizen Advice Richmond can talk to you about the grant and advise you on a range of different options or support available to you.
Richmond AID www.richmondaid.org.uk
or call 020 8831 6464 (Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Citizen Advice Richmond www.citizensadvicerichmond.org/
Citizen Advice Richmond supports all residents living in the borough of Richmond.
Call 0300 330 2114 (Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm) or email via the website: www.citizensadvicerichmond.org/get-advice/email-us/
NEW AIR QUALITY ACTION PLAN FROM KINGSTON COUNCIL
A new plan sets out the actions that Kingston Council will take with partners and communities over the next five years to improve air quality across the borough. The plan has been shaped by Kingston residents via a Citizens’ Assembly on Air Quality -- the first ever citizens’ assembly in the UK to focus on air quality.
The Air Quality Action Plan contains a variety of measures, such as removing pollutants from school boundaries, planning and enforcement, greener transport and infrastructure, awareness-raising and transition to sustainable transport.
The plan is available to read and for comment at kingstonletstalk.co.uk/AQAP until 17 January 2021.