In October 2009 before he became Prime Minister David Cameron said: “The third runway at Heathrow is not going ahead, no ifs, no buts,” Within 30 months of taking power he set up a Commission widely expected to recommend airport expansion after his manifesto pledge runs out next year.
On Wednesday 18th June, more than 800 people packed into the Richmond Theatre to watch and judge the best viral films reminding Mr Cameron of his promise, and pressing the case against Heathrow expansion.
The No Ifs No Buts Film Competition staged by Zac Goldsmith MP in conjunction with the campaign group HACAN attracted well over 50 videos. Fifteen were shown at the event on 18th June.
In First Place: the residents’ film
In Second Place: the film beyond words
In Third Place: the comedy film
The 12 runners up are well worth watching.
As part of the Radical Housing Network, we’re pleased to announce…
The Housing Weekender, 2014
The Weekender is on the 26th and 27th April. It’s a collaboration among groups from across London, who work on a whole range of housing issues including private renting, access to welfare, squatting, co-operatives and social housing.
Please Note: All events are FREE and no booking required
DAY ONE: Saturday 26th April
Events happening across London.Click here for FULL SCHEDULE
NORTH WEST LONDON
INEQUALITY BUS TOUR
The Housing Inequality Bus Tour is coming to you! OUR CITY IS FOR LIVING IN A HOME IS YOUR RIGHT We are bringing: Music////Refreshments/// Useful information that can help with your housing problems///// Hop on the bus to find out more about what is causing London’s housing crisis and what we are doing about it. The Google Map route of the Bus Tour.
Haringey Housing Action Group (HHAG) will be hosting their monthly meeting Sat 26th April ///// 10am-12 midday ///// North London Community House, N17
Our Tottenham and Haringey Private Tenants Action Group (HPTAG) will be holding an info stall in Tottenham (opposite Bruce Grove Station, on the high road) between 1pm-2pm to give out information about the Our Tottenham Network and all campaigns to improve housing and support people to set up action groups in threatened estates in the area.
Saturday 26th April///// 12-1pm ////Hackney Town Hall
Join Digs and tell the council the private rented sector needs to change.
We will be sharing and listening to stories, playing renter bingo and presenting our dossier of stories to the council – come and meet councillors and tell them your story.
Over the last months Digs has been collecting tales of renting in Hackney. We will be presenting these stories to the council so they can’t claim ignorance on these issues, and we’ll be demanding longer tenancies and council action on profiteering landlords.
A night of films celebrating the struggle for decent housing in our communities
7.30pm til late, Saturday 26 April ///// St. Matthew’s Tenants Hall, 10 St. Matthew’s Rd, SW2 1NH/////Drinks and other refreshments will be available
We’ll be showing a series of short films which give an insight into housing activism, past and present, and provide acknowledgment and encouragement both to those who are precariously housed and those fighting to combat this social ill. They will include contemporary projects, such as the campaign to save and expand social housing in Cressingham Gardens, and inspirational examples from recent history, such as the co-operative living spaces established by the Brixton Faeries in the 1970s.
Happening in New Cross, Southeast London. For full programme click through to New Cross Programme page
Library: New Cross Learning, 283 – 285 New Cross Road, SE14 6AS
- 2pm – 3pm: Various Housing Shorts [FILM]
- 3pm – 4pm: Despite the City (1988) [FILM]
- 4pm – 5pm: SE London Co-ops Forum Presents: How Can Local Politicians Help Co-operatives Solve the Housing Crisis? [DEBATE]
- 6pm – 9pm: Grasp the Nettle (2013) [FILM]
Cafe: Café Crema, 306 New Cross Rd, London SE14 6AF
- 1pm – 2pm: Jon Glackin: Street Homelessness [SPEAKER]
- 2pm – 3pm: Owen Hatherley – Urban Blight [SPEAKER]
- 3pm – 4pm: Jon Broome – Self-Build [SPEAKER]
- 4pm – 6pm: Give Us Space (2014) [FILM]
- 6pm – 8pm: Housing Hangout Space, light entertainment and drinks
DAY TWO: Sunday 27th April
33-37 MORELAND STREET, EC1V 8BB
11-12.15: Media Training
Lots of groups find that engagement with the mainstream media is a useful way to further their aims, but not everyone is confident in dealing with journalists to get the best results. It would be great to see more housing groups getting their voices heard. This practical training session will be led by Joe and Theo, who have been part of various grassroots campaigns including the Plane Stupid campaign against aviation expansion, and the Squash campaign against the criminalisation of squatting.
MIPIM is the world’s biggest property fair, where our cities and communities are bought and sold. It brings together developers, speculators and politicians for a week of back-scratching and champagne. The Radical Housing Network is part of a cross-European network organising opposition to MIPIM. In October, a special UK event will take place in London. Come along to find out more, and plan for action in the coming year.
Ever thought about setting up a housing co-op? Or maybe building your own home? Or perhaps you would like to know more about Community Land Trusts and other means of community engagement with local planning and property ownership? This session will look at ways that people are working within and outside the broken housing system to find alternative ways of gaining control over their housing and getting the homes they want and need.
We will be joined by Jon Broome, a leading self-build architect who worked with Walter Segal; Rob Morris, co-founder of the Drive co-op in North London and active member of Radical Routes; and London Community Neighbourhood Co-op, an ambitious a live/work/community space in Westminster based on sustainability, affordability and accessibility.
12.30-4.45: Action planning and preparation
Throughout the afternoon, we will be planning and preparing for a housing action in the near future. Come with ideas, energy, cardboard boxes, and maybe some for sale signs?
2.15: Understanding the Crisis
Danny Dorling is Professor of Geography at the University of Oxford. His recent book, All That Is Solid (2014), argues that the solution to the housing crisis lies not in the construction of more homes, but in addressing the root cause: inequality.
Liz Davies is a housing lawyer and Chair of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers. She is particularly interested in homelessness and social housing allocations, and is co-author of Housing Allocation and Homelessness (2012).
Join us to look at the causes of the housing crisis and start thinking about some of the solutions.
2.30-4.30: Law surgery and advice training
The first part of this session will be a workshop on homelessness and eviction, looking and where and how to seek legal help when facing these issues. It will be equally useful for people who would like to be able to give advice and support, and those actually facing these problems right now.
The second part of the session will be an open law surgery – so if you have questions around housing and homelessness that need a lawyer’s thoughts, come along.
3.45: Organising and Action
Defend Council Housing, London Renters, Squatters Legal Network and Lambeth Housing Activists will discuss their diverse tactics and experiences of organising in the face of the housing crisis. Together with the other groups in attendance we will think about how we can better organise across tenure and locality to develop a join-up opposition to housing injustice, and what kinds of organising and action work best for us.
This will provide an opportunity to share the events of the weekend, including the Saturday events in Hackney, Haringey, Lambeth, New Cross, and Barnet, as well as the sessions throughout the day on Sunday. In particular, we we hear the plans and proposals for action, and feedback on how we can move forward together.
In New Cross:
Little Homes////Children and families event Time: 2-6 pm//// Location: Sanford Housing Coop (House Zero), Sanford Walk, SE14 6 NB Creative workshop for children and families exploring alternative housing solutions. Children will build and decorate their own houses using cardboard and colours. The workshop is run by some of the Sanford Housing-Coop members and members of We Love Cardboard.
If you’d like to get involved in helping your local community bloom and beautify, grab your trowels because now is your chance. On Saturday the 26th April at 9.30am, we’ll be joining volunteers and locals on Austin Estate to re-vamp their neglected raised beds and add a splash of colour to the estate.
We’ll be pruning and clearing up the beds, re-conditioning the soil, and then planting a mixture of woodland perennial shrubs and herbs. We’ll also be skill sharing on shade tolerant, low maintenance perennials for easy gardening.
There will be food and drinks provided for green fingered volunteers.
Any age or skill level is welcome and there will be lots to learn and do. Please bring tools such as secateurs and gloves if you have them. We need your help to make it happen!
We’ll be starting at 9.30am and working throughout the day, so feel free to drop in for all or just a bit of it and help us green the Austin Estate. For more information please contact info(at)transitionheathrow.com or call 07890751568
Join us at Grow Heathrow on the third Saturday of every month to learn basic maintenance and repair skills with tools and friendly support.
Every third Saturday of every month, 12-4pm
Grow Heathrow, Vineries Close, Sipson, West Drayton UB7 0JG
For more info, contact us at email@example.com or 07890751568
COMMUNITY MUSIC WORKSHOP
Every 2nd& 4th Tuesday of each month at 7.30pm to 9pm
Our first Workshop is on Tues 11th March at 7.30pm
Venue: St Peter & St Paul’s Church Hall, St Peter’s Way, Harlington
Come along and learn to sing as part of our new community choir and play various percussion instruments. You will also have the opportunity to learn the piano, keyboard, flute, guitar & ukulele.
People of all ages are welcome – we promise lots of fun!
For more details please call 07900 340 556
We are pleased to announce that the talented photographer Jonathan Goldberg has published a book which documents life at Grow Heathrow since it’s beginning back in 2010 all the way through to today.
Recently some Grow Heathrow residents paid a visit to a small scale farmer in South Wales to see what he’s been doing in the way of reversing the cycle of releasing carbon into the atmosphere by actually locking into the ground.
The first thing you see when you get there is his teeming one acre no dig annual vegetable plot. He combines alleys of perennials, including trees, with annual crops grown on 100metre long raised beds. The tree roots go deep into the soil, retrieving otherwise ‘lost’ nutrients. They also encourage symbiotic fungae which remain present when the annuals have been harvested. The trees will provide food crops and fuel for his biochar producing stove systems.
Just beyond the no dig agro-forestry garden is another field, currently grazed by horses with a small orchard forest garden and two poly-tunnels at the southern side. He plans to plant this field as a larger forest garden with willow and hazel coppice and other food and fuel tree crops which will also increase carbon draw down. These trees will be planted on the berm (the downhill side) of swales (water retaining landscapes) and it is hoped that, through creating these wetlands, some of the carbon drawn down by the trees will be stabilised in the soil.
In his home and in various guest and worker accommodation buildings and caravans, the heating and cooking is done using indoor wood burning stove systems which use pyrolisis rather than combustion to burn the volatile component of wood, leaving the biochar unburnt. This has the effect of stabilising much of the carbon in the wood, preventing it from readily decomposing when it is added to soil. The biochar is used on the stable floors, the chicken coop floor or added to composting organic matter in order to nutritionally activate the biochar before it is added to the soil.
Ed Revill is working towards closing the loop of his food and fuel crop cycle. More than closing the loop, he does the reverse of food and energy systems which release carbon dioxide into the sky. This he does in two ways; firstly by optimising carbon draw down through optimising plant surface areas and growth rates and secondly by stabilising some of the carbon which the plants have drawn down, making it resistant to bacterial and other decomposition and holding it in the soil. this in turn builds soil and improves soil structure.
He has been using conventional organic farming methods since 1997, using horses to ridge up the soil and hoe the weeds, but now he has turned to preserving the soil structure through using no dig raised beds which have biochar incorporated into the mulch material. The biochar helps to stabilise much of the organic matter used as the mulch through which crops are grow, saving work, conserving precious resources (the organic matter) and reducing run off and atmospheric pollution.
By adding the biochar to the mulch, the soil builds up because the biochar (which is around 95% carbon) will not readily decompose. It has a massive surface area and strong adsorptive properties which enable it to hold nutrients and encourage micro organisms such as arbuscular mycorrhizal fungae (AMF) which have a symbiotic relationship with crops and which help to build soil aggregates. Biochar has been found to dramatically increase the CEC (cation exchange capacity) of soil. This enables the electrical bonding of soil components (adsorption) which further builds soil aggregates.
Tilling or disturbing the soil can disturb the symbiotic fungal networks and destroy the aggregate properties of the soil. The symbiotic fungae (AMF) also produce a form of stabilised carbon called glomalin. This carbon is given to the fungae by plants and in return the fungae bring nutrients to the plant roots. Glomalin acts to bind particles in the soil to create soil structure with strong aggregate properties, soil which retains water, nutrients and fertility and which is resistant to erosion and decomposition.
The inspiration for using biochar to build soil whilst reversing the causes of climate change came from studies of Terra Preta, (Portugese for ‘black earth’), a man made soil found in much of the Amazon basin. This soil supported a large, settled civilisation. This is an important discovery because this civilisation grew as a result of the practice of building soil through stabilising carbon in soil. This is the reverse of our ‘civilisations’ practice of burning fossil fuels and degrading soil, releasing carbon dioxide into the sky, in order to produce food and energy.
Our agro industrial system is failing. It relies on burning fossil fuels, it degrades soil, releasing soil carbon which contributes to climate change which in turn further degrades soil. It relies on land grabs, deforestation and transgenic technologies. If we continue to discourage small scale, soil building, climate change reversing systems of food and energy production through the massive tax payer subsidies to the fossil fuel and agro industrial corporations and through buying food and energy from corporations which destroy soil, burn oil and pollute the Earth then we will inevitably continue to destroy the biosphere.
Inspired by this form of agriculture, some residents at Grow Heathrow have added these tools to it’s array of features, and is producing biochar using a gassifying wood burner and adding it to the mulch. We also have a new willow coppice for the production of fuel to be used in it, as well as drawing carbon out of the atmosphere. Come visit to see how the system works.
To find out more and to see plans for making biochar producing stoves please visit www.soil-carbon-regeneration.co.uk
Come and help build a 17 foot (5.1816m)! Geodome at Grow Heathrow. The workshop will run for a week from Friday 6th Dec.
We’ll be using a unique design that innovates the geodome structure for ease of assembly. This design incorporates a new star connection method that enables just one person to construct. Laying out the cover over the stars means that the cover will be already in place as the geodome is erected. Possibly included in the course will be waterproof seam sewing techniques and dome canvas sewing if we have time. The course will be limited in numbers to 4 persons each day so please email in advance to let us know your availability and interest so we can maximise participants.
Geodomes are based on triangular geometry and were popularised by Buckmeister Fuller. They are predominantly used for earthquake relief due to their intrinsic strength at intersecting joints, this makes it an ideal solution for earthships, which this model is intended.
We will be using recycled metal poles from the dilapidated greenhouses we have on site. Geodomes are one of the most versatile structures available; they are scalable and can be made into any size you wish, you can use all sorts of materials available, and can be used for all sorts of applications, and they can also be joined together.
We will be using a 3V design, which means it has 3 different size pole lengths. It also has the option of a 4/9 or 5/9 variant, which alows the dome to have 2 different heights, either less than or bigger than half a sphere.
Hope to see you budding eco builders on the week of the 6th.
We have an exciting new week to finish the roof of our wonderful straw bale house. It’s a whole insulated barn built out of waste, where all we’ve spent is £80 on some sand for the mixture of clay, sand and straw that protects the outside of the straw bales.
The local building materials make the environmental impact and embodied energy tiny, and the insulation means we need to burn much less wood to heat the space. It’s a brilliant buiding to learn about.