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Blackwater Valley Environmental Justice

Newsletter September 2003

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Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. -- President Eisenhower

Poverty is not something people impose on themselves for want of effort and community organisation. It is constructed by divisive and discriminatory laws, inflexible organisations, acquisitive ideologies of wealth, a deeply-rooted class system and policies which serve privilege in the short term and destroy society in the long term. -- Peter Townsend


You may be reading this newsletter for the first time as a result of the BVEJ Experiment. To ensure you receive future copies please subscribe.

To participate in the BVEJ Experiment please visit the BVEJ home page and forward a copy of the BVEJ newsletter to everyone you know, ask the recipients to do the same. [BVEJ newsletter #0031 December 2002]

Blackwater Valley Environmental Justice was formed three years ago as a response to the lack of any effective environmental group in the locality, sadly a situation as true today as it was then. Since then the personnel has changed, but we remain true to our founding principles (see links from home page), the only difference is we have gone international, but our roots remain in the Blackwater Valley.

The lack of any effective local environmental groups was not the only formative factor, the lack of any quality local press, we report what you don't read elsewhere. Our other guiding principle was the dismay at the failure of all existing groups to see the wider picture and the need to cooperate.

Locally we focus on Farnborough Airport, Farnborough town centre and exposing corruption in the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor. Recently we have taken a closer look at what is happening in Aldershot.

Internationally we are part of the anti-globalisation movement. We highlight the ills of Big Business, as of late Iraq has been the focus of our attention.

Unlike traditional groups, we link together issues, we recognise social, human rights and other issues and link them together. A group fighting rainforest destruction may need our help because it is a British transnational that is carrying out the destruction.

Almost all our back issues are available on our web site, we are slowly slowly, adding more. We used to produce briefings and urgent actions, resources permitting, we may again in the future. We have finally got around to updating our on-line diary (the newsletter contains an edited version).

At the moment newsletter production is our main activity. Our editorial team put together easily digestible articles, often with links and references for more in-depth information.

Latest version of the newsletter usually appears on-line a few days after we have e-mailed out the the newsletter. We will post a notice on Indymedia UK when available.

We would like to be able to put out a hard copy of our newsletter but lack the resources.

We have recently added ourselves to the Yahoo list server. If you are getting multiple copies it is because you are on both the listserver and the manual list. Tell us and we will remove you from the manual list. The two will be for a time run in parallel, but we will eventually use the automated system only. Please ensure therefore you subscribe.

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Now even easier, subscribe by entering your e-mail address on the BVEJ web page and click the Yahoo Groups button.

Our material may be freely used and quoted provided it is not used out of context and full credit is given to BVEJ. Our material may not be used without our written consent by for-profit organisations.

Readers are welcome, indeed encouraged, to run off copies and pass around to their friends.

BVEJ mail server

We are not sure if our Yahoo group mail server is working. We are also having problems with our yahoo e-mail account. For some reason it removes line breaks between paragraphs, making the text files difficult, if not impossible, to read (we have got around this by adding the newsletter as an e-mail attachment).

If you don't appear to be receiving an e-mailed newsletter, you can always find it on our website (and we post on Indymedia UK when it's there).

BVEJ website

Our website was down for a few weeks from the end of May 2003. It has since been restored and should be on a faster server, but seems to be running slower. The good news is that as we write, there are no popups. In the meantime, we created a new website.

We are taking the opportunity to completely overhaul both our websites, which we will now run in parallel.

In addition to using our search engine, you can also search the site by going to Google, typing BVEJ, followed by whatever you are searching for.

We will, as before, post on Indymedia UK when a new newsletter is on-line, but to be sure of receipt, please subscribe.

Rotten Borough of Rushmoor

This month's BVEJ Hero of the Month Award goes to Bert Fairclough for standing up to Rushmoor.

Like everyone else Bert was faced with an inflation busting council tax demand, but instead of like everyone else grumbling into their pint and meekly paying up, Bert refused to pay.

As a result he ended up in front of the magistrates where he received a sympathetic hearing, and although he was obliged to pay the none paid rates, Rushmoor were not allocated costs.

We would have no problem with increase in local taxes, even if these were above inflation, if it were a case of transferring money from the rich to the poor or we saw an improvement in local services. But this is not the case. We are seeing year on year inflation busting tax increases, for diminishing services. This year the elderly and disabled suffered through removal of bus passes, but money could be found for the mayor to go on a foreign little jaunt. Disproportionally, the poor and the elderly are hit the hardest by local tax rises.

We need a system that is in place in Porto Alegre in Brazil where it is the community that draws up the budget. The local mayor could refuse to implement the people's recommendations, but he is unlikely to get re-elected if he so chooses.

Global warming

The hot weather we are experiencing this summer is a foretaste of things to come. Two out of every three summers will be like this as global temperatures continue to rise.

Kyoto, weak and pathetic as it is, is in danger of collapse as the Russians refuse to ratify.

Summer heatwave

As England recorded record temperatures, in Paris alone at least 50 people died of the heat in the space of four days.

Holland and Germany were faced with power cuts as their systems were unable to cope.

The German city of Roth in Bavaria reached 40.4C (104.7F) on Saturday 9 August 2003, a new German record.

France's network of nuclear power stations were forced to reduce output, because of rising river temperatures, which had already happened at two plants in Germany.

Port authorities in Romania said levels in the Danube had dropped so low that two ships which sank in World War II had resurfaced.

Whilst Europe experienced temperatures of 40 degrees over two weeks, sub-Saharan Africa experienced tropical downpours.

Veggie oil power

The use of vegetable oils for engine fuels may seem insignificant today. But such oils may become in the course of time as important as petroleum products of the present time. -- Dr Rudolf Diesel, 1912

The idea of the journey is to promote vegetable oil as a motoring option as it is more environmentally friendly than diesel because it is virtually carbon neutral. -- Daniel Blackburn, August 2003

For all those who worry about pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every time they get in a car, there is a relatively easy solution to your dilemma. Chances are we will all get very old, and the planet a whole lot warmer, if we wait for the motor industry to gets its act together and produce a hydrogen or an electric car that really works. However running a diesel car on vegetable oil is an easily achievable reality for those wanting carbon neutral motoring today. -- Daniel Blackburn

When we think of diesel we think of the dirty smelly diesel that lorries, vans, buses and taxis use. Diesel engines run on poor quality fuels as that is what the diesel engine was designed for.

Exhibiting at the Paris Exhibition at the beginning of the 1900s, Dr Rudolph Diesel had on show his new invention, the diesel engine. It sat there happily chugging away running on peanut oil!

Rudolph Diesel had designed the Diesel engine to run a variety of fuels and during his Paris speech said, 'the diesel engine can be fed with vegetable oils and will help considerably in the development of the agriculture of the countries which use it.'

A few years later Rudolph Diesel’s body was found floating face down in the English Channel. After holding secret talks with the UK navy about fitting diesel engines into their submarine fleet Rudolph Diesel was killed by the French to stop his diesel technology being fitted into submarines over the world.

To add insult to injury, after Dr Diesel’s death, the petroleum industry capitalised on the diesel engine by naming one of their crappy by-products of petroleum distillation ‘diesel fuel’. That’s how dirty diesel fuel has come to be the fuel for diesel engines.

To prove that veggie oil really does work, without affecting the performance of his car, west Wales environmental campaigner Daniel Blackburn is driving from Land's End to John O'Groats. He is driving a converted Citroen ZX 1.9 diesel turbo into which he is pouring vegetable oil bought from supermarkets en route.

Using veggie oil in Wales is so popular that the police are mounting clampdowns. The problem is that drivers are avoiding Excise Duty. It is not, as some have led to believe, illegal to use veggie oil, but it is illegal to not pay Excise Duty on the veggie oil used.

Daniel Blackburn keeps a detailed tally of the vegetable oil consumed. He notifies Custom and Excise once a month and they bill him for the Excise Duty.

Customs and Excise say the duty on vegetable oil as a fuel is 25.82p per litre, ie 20p less than ultra-low sulphur diesel. The same rate levied on bio-diesel.

But even with Excise Duty, it is still cheaper to run on veggie oil. Daniel Blackburn estimates it costs him, duty paid, about 73p a litre, which is cheaper than diesel and perfectly legal.

Lab Rats in Australia found that they get better mileage on veggie oil than they do on evil smelling petrochemical diesel.

Lab Rats don't even bother to go to the supermarket to buy litre bottles of cooking oil, instead they take the old cooking oil from fish and chip shops, an otherwise waste product which in the UK would go to landfill.

Veggie oil tends to be too thick (too viscous), and needs to be warmed up. If recycled veggie oil is being used, it will also need to be filtered.

There are two methods of using veggie oil, one or two tanks. In the one tank method, the veggie oil has to be pre-heated, with the two tank method the engine is started on petrochemical diesel, then when the veggie oil has warmed up, switch over to veggie oil (some run their engine on diesel fuel afterwards to flush through the engine)

Lab Rats give an excellent demo of what they are doing in the video clip that is on the CD that comes free with the latest SchNEWS Annual (reviewed BVEJ newsletter #0039 August 2003). Daniel Blackburn gives details on his website, plus useful links from where to obtain DIY conversion kits.

Use of straight veggie oil, with or without a conversion kit, should not be confused with converting the veggie oil to bio-fuel, which requires some chemical processing. The SchNEWS site, in the DIY section, has details on this.

According to Lab Rats, the emission output is much cleaner than using petrochemical diesel.

Around 5,000 cars in Germany are run on cooking oil and farmers in Ireland are also converting their machinery. It should not though be seen as a panacea. If everyone converted to veggie oil, the Third World instead of growing food to feed our stomachs, would instead be growing to fuel our cars. In either case, land is being taken from the mouths of the poor to feed the habits of the rich.

Engineer serves up fish'n'chip fuel, BBC news on-line, 9 July, 2002

Police target 'cooking oil cars', BBC news on-line, 8 October, 2002

Police impound cars run on cooking oil, BBC news on-line, 9 October, 2002

Drive promotes cooking oil fuel, BBC news on-line, 29 July 2003

Keith Parkins, Veggie power, Indymedia UK, 28 August 2003

Pipeline politics

US foreign policy is determined by access to and control of resources, mainly oil, but not exclusively so, and access to markets.

Since the 1950s, the US has had to import a growing percentage of its oil demand, reaching a crisis in the 1970s, with petrol prices at the pumps doubling overnight and long queues at the filling stations.

The obvious solution is to reduce demand, but instead the US chooses to use its military might to take what it finds anywhere in the world and call its own. Dependent as it is on the unstable Middle East, the US is looking to diversity of supply.

One of the few remaining untapped regions of supply is the Caspian. [BVEJ newsletter #0020 January 2002]

Clinton spent much of his presidency wooing Azerbaijan. He convinced them they needed multiple pipeline routes for their own security. A route through Russia already existed, a route through Iran was out of the question, which only left a route through Georgia, under the Caspian sea and through Turkey. Apart from the hostile regions through which the pipeline would pass, there was the question of cost.

BP were asked to head a consortium, but were not interested. As late as 1999, BP were passionately opposed, by 2000 they were passionately in favor, and now head a consortium to build the pipeline.

A consortium of oil companies led by BP plans to build a 1,777km long oil pipeline from Baku in Azerbaijan, to Ceyhan, Turkey via Georgia, so that Caspian Sea oil can be exported to the US. [BVEJ newsletter August 2002 & BVEJ newsletter October 2002]

What changed their mind? During this period BP took control of two US oil companies, Amoco and Arco. BP is now an Anglo-American multinational. Like BAE Systems, which is greedily looking to US defence contracts, what is in the interest of US, is also in the interest of US companies.

There are also sweeteners. Turkey has offered to build at fixed cost the Turkish pipeline (back door credits to Turkey?). World Bank funding and European funding is being sought (BP given the nod and the wink?). We are currently in the 120 days consultation period for this funding. [BVEJ urgent action #0014, BVEJ newsletter #0039 August 2003]

Azerbaijan offers a strategic location for Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and southern Russia. US military planners no longer want large US military bases, too vulnerable to terrorist attacks. Instead they require base facilities into which they can move rapid reaction forces with less than 24 hours notice. Azerbaijan is willing to maintain such facilities for US use. Azerbaijan recognises real politik, orders now come from Washington, not Moscow.

US is providing military assistance to Georgia and will have rights to patrol the pipeline. In Turkey human rights will not apply along the pipeline, though it would be a mistake to assume they apply elsewhere in Turkey. Under Clinton, the US poured massive military aid into the region to subjugate the Kurds.

US has appointed a Special Envoy for the Caspian region, though his only role appears to be to oversee the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline.

Work on the pipeline has already started in Azerbaijan.

Keith Parkins, Oil and Turkey, Indymedia UK, 31 August 2002

Keith Parkins, Pipeline politics, Indymedia UK, 11 August 2003

Where have all the trees gone?

Watch out for Railtrack’s struggling successors, National Rail. Not only are they steaming even further into trouble than their predecessor, with the Rail Regulator blaming their “unsustainable and escalating expenses” on “lack of shareholder pressure” (for which read “you can’t trust the people who run this - they need to be watched”).

They’ve also just been responsible for a devastating assault on the countryside which has left shocked and tearful residents nationwide gazing at vast stretches of seemingly Agent Oranged earth.

Fond of railway embankments? Ever thought about them? Well, now’s the time to start. Railway embankments allow trees, vegetation and wildlife to flourish, without the dangers of being poisoned or burnt alive by “traditional” farmers. On top of that, they provide natural cover against the pollution and noise caused by trains. Or, at least, they did, until Network Rail came up with an ingenious new solution to the age-old problem of “leaves on the line”. They decided to eliminate the trees.

Official policy, in fact, was to “eradicate all trees within 20 feet of a railway line, and all trees with big leaves from the entire area”. In practice, as photos on a new protest web-site show, this meant all the trees, full stop, and everything around them. Badger-sets, bat roosts, wildlife runs, birds’ nests and the surrounding vegetation all went too.

All in all, an area the size of the Forest of Dean was scheduled for devastation – but people started fighting back. In Bristol recently, horrified residents managed to stop workmen cutting down the trees by encroaching on the track. In Hampton Hill, Greater London, people also mobilised when they saw the chainsaws coming out. According to Dr Vincent Cable, the local MP; “an enormous area was being cleared of vegetation, far removed from anything that could conceivably have affected the operation of the railway. Fortunately, the press were brought to the scene, and lawyers were wheeled ou t ... The operation has now been suspended, although what will happen eventually, I do not know”.

Nor does anyone else. Network Rail say they’ve now suspended operations nationwide, thanks to people pressure, but the main campaigning website, Networkwail, has been getting reports suggesting otherwise. Packed with sad stories, the website ends on the following note:

“If you live near a railway line and it has not yet been affected, then don’t be smug. The trees WILL be going. If you want to save your trees, then the time to act is now. The trees near me may have gone, but yours might be saved”

Nine Ladies

Nine Ladies is a place of outstanding natural beauty, where the ancient sacred site of Nine Ladies Stone Circle is situated. It is also a place which is under threat by the quarrying companies Stancliffe Stone and Marshall's PLC. The Nine Ladies protest camp has successfully managed to stop the companies quarrying for the last 4 years, but the end of August is going to be a crucial time and help and support is much needed.

Nine Ladies, situated within the Peak District and near the village of Stanton-in-the-Peak, a place of outstanding natural beauty, were lush woodlands lead to the top of Stanton Moor hillside and the Nine Ladies Stone Circle, an ancient sacred site. The whole area is a haven to fallow deer, badgers, rare bats and plants and there are natural springs that supply water to the local village.

Nine Ladies is also the place where Stancliffe Stone Ltd and Marshall’s PLC want to re-open two dormant quarries, Endcliffe and Lees Cross. These have lain dormant since the 1950s, when the destructive quarrying stopped, giving way to today’s re-generated woodland. What the companies want to do now is work the hillside for the next 40 years extracting 2.4 million tonnes of gritstone by quarrying 35 acres of woodland, and to within 250 metres of the stone circle, further leaving behind them 1.2 million tonnes of spoil.

A direct outcome of this would be the degradation of the hillside and the setting of the Nine Ladies Stone Circle and the destruction of the local ecosystem, as well as a rise of noise and pollution levels in the wider area due to increased lorry traffic. There are further fears that quarrying will cause landslides, as the site lies along a geological fault line, and that local spring water supplies will be affected. All this for the noble cause of supplying building materials for such as McDonald's in Blackpool (if we judge by what has happened in the case of other quarries in the nearby area)

The companies’ plans to wreak mindless destruction however have not gone unchallenged. People have actively protested against the re-opening of the quarries and have establishing a protest camp at Nine Ladies, which has been going successfully since the autumn of 1999 and in spite of continuous eviction threats. The last eviction threat was at the start of June and was based on ludicrous accusations by the Peak District Authority such as destruction of the environment- the same environment that they are considering of granting permission to be quarried!

The end of August is foreseen as being a particularly crucial time by protesters, as the consideration time for granting permission will be coming to an end, with a great possibility of the outcome being positive for the companies. So help and support is especially welcome and needed.

Feel free to take whatever action you feel necessary but here are also some pointers:

Check out the Nine Ladies video clip on the BeyondTV CD given away free with the SchNEWS Annual 2003 (reviewed last month).

Farnborough town centre

Key Properties have now requested the stopping up of the northern half of Queensmead. This is the part of the highway that runs towards Victoria Road. If they get their way, this part of Queensmead will no longer exist.

An official Notice has been posted around the town centre. The notice is dated 8 August 2003, and you have 28 days in which to lodge an objection.

The Notice is deliberately misleading. It refers to an area of Queensmead. The actual reality is the northern end of Queensmead (from The Mead to Victoria Road), the service roads that run at the back of the shops, Westmead and Eastmead, and Firgrove Court. There is no mention of these other roads on the official Notice.

No one directly affected has been formally notified, other than by the placing of a misleading Notice in the street.

Object on loss of well frequented highway, loss of open space (in addition to that already lost at The Mead and alongside the old Post Office site). It is contrary to government guidelines to lose town centre open space.

This forms part of the KPI town centre plans. Outline planning consent was granted early July. There has been no consultation. Those affected have not even been notified of the planning decision.

Please lodge objections with Phil Crockford at GOSE.

	Government Office for the South East
	Bridge House
	1 Walnut Tree Close
	Surrey  GU1 4GA

tel 01483 882 405 fax 01483 882 339

The situation is far worse than we could have envisaged. It is not only the northern end of Queensmead (the notice simply says part of Queensmead), it is also the side roads and the service roads and Firgrove Court. No mention of any of the latter on the Notice. None of the shops have been informed they will lose their service roads.

KPI are getting desperate. They are now running a smear campaign against local activist Keith Parkins and attempting to get him banned from the town centre.

Please pass the word around. We want to ensure the Secretary of State receives a large number of objections.

Simon Rutter, KPI mouthpiece, has once again been talking out of arse, by claiming the development in the town to be a huge success. Success if you call trashing a town a success, but not a success otherwise.

Once gain crap reporting by the hacks at the News group. Why is everything told to them by KPI reported as if the truth and not questioned or challenged, no alternative view sought, even though they must know they are publishing crap. But we can guarantee, if a retailer or a local resident had gone to them with a story about trashing of the town, they would have sought comments from the council and KPI.

Samantha Chapman, Mead is open for business, Farnborough Mail, 26 August 2003

[BVEJ newsletters passim]

Manor Park

Sharp eyed readers may have noticed a recent planning application in the back of the Star for Manor Park. What's up you may have thought, was not planning application granted some time ago.

You'd be correct, but our corrupt and incompetent planners cocked up big time They failed to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment. But worse was to come, the planners then lied and claimed they had.

Is it not time our brain dead councillors woke up to the fact something is rotten in the planning department. We need wholesale clean out. At the very least Keith Holland and Daryl Phillips should be fired.


Described by at least one tenants group as 'a bunch of thugs', Pavilion seem to be doing their best to live up to their well-earned reputation.

Peter Sandy is doing his best to act for Pavilion tenants, and has of late formed an action group. He clearly is having an effect, as Pavilion are once again threatening him with eviction, and have even told him he cannot act as an advocate for tenants. They have also tried similar bully-boy tactics with some of his more active members.

What seems to have really got the thugs at Pavilion excited, was that at a recent session with external auditors, Peter and his friends turned up outside with placards. What a pity the local press were not there to bear witness.

Those who attended the session, randomly handpicked by Pavilion, were vocal in their criticism of Pavilion, and thanked Peter on their way in and on their way out.

The session was supposed to be independent of Pavilion, so why were Pavilion present at the door?

Wondering why the picket (and it is everyones right to mount a peaceful demonstration), the lady conducting the session went out of her way to talk to the demonstrators. Pavilion tried to stop her. She was shocked by what she learnt, even though it reinforced what the Pavilion hand-picked tenants had to say, summed up by 'Pavilion are shit', as one of the tenants was heard to say as he left.

There were to be three sessions, each comprising ten tenants, but even with all expenses covered and a £20 bribe, Pavilion were still not able to get 30 hand-picked tenants to turn up on the day.

There are thugs terrorising the estates, Pavilion does nothing to evict them or their families. A group of tenants try to get repairs carried out and Pavilion intimidate them with threats of eviction.

Pavilion are claiming Peter cannot represent other tenants, and a Pavilion director has gone so far as to instruct all Pavilion staff to not cooperate with Peter. Not that either he or any other tenants had received any cooperation before.

Since then matters have escalated. Peter has lodged a formal complaint with Pavilion. To which he has not had a satisfactory reply.

The TCG (tenants consultative group) has been called in to do Pavilions dirty work. They summoned Peter to a meeting. As they have no jurisdiction over him, he quite correctly refused to attend what was little more than a kangaroo court.

In his absence they have found against him and favor of Pavilion. All accusations are hearsay, with no supporting evidence produced. In attendance at the meeting was Rushmoor councillor Charlie Fraser-Fleming, a pavilion board member, representing Pavilion.

The TCG are supposedly independent of Pavilion. So why are they doing Pavilion's dirty work for them, why was Fraser-Fleming present? Fraser-Fleming was in any case hardly impartial as for some time he has been engaged in his own personal vendetta against Peter Sandy, ever since he was told a few uncomfortable home truths at a recent election count.

The nub of the TCG meeting was that Peter Sandy has brought the TCG into disrepute and he cannot act for any tenant.

Now it might be news to TCG and Pavilion, but they cannot dictate who acts for tenants. It also raises questions against the TCG, why are they acting for Pavilion and not for the tenants who they claim to represent?

Can it get any worse. Yes, is the simple answer.

The response of Mervyn Jones, Pavilion chief executive, to a letter from Peter Sandy complaining about the threatening and intimidating letter from Pavilion director Dawn Mathew-Smith, was to back her to the hilt and to threaten Peter with the serving of an anti-social behaviour order.

When the Aldershot Mail hit the streets, the shit hit the fan at Pavilion. Mervyn Jones called Peter Sandy desperate to arrange a meeting for fear of what else might to come out in the press. Peter has only been trying for at least 6 months to arrange such a meeting, which Jones has always refused, and never had the courtesy to speak direct to Peter or respond to his letters. When Peter suggested a couple of councillors come along as observers, Jones said it was turning it into a 'three ring circus'. A comment that has not gone down too well with the council, especially in light of a previous comment that Peter was harassing Pavilion via elected councillors.

It may be a novelty to Pavilion, but seeking repairs be carried out is not harassment, whereas threatening and intimidating a tenant is. Not only is it harassment, it is also a criminal offence.

Can it get worse. Yes.

Tenants who have gone to the Ombudsman who deals with social housing, have also received threats from Pavilion.

When is the board of Pavilion going to seek the resignation of Jones and Mathew-Smith for bringing Pavilion into disrepute. When are Pavilion going to start carrying out repairs? When are Pavilion going to stop trying to kick the Firgrove Court tenants out of their homes.

Once gain crap reporting by the hacks at the News group. Why is everything told to them by Pavilion reported as if the truth and not questioned or challenged, no alternative view sought, even though they must know they are publishing crap. Not so long ago a puff piece on Mervyn Jones and Pavilion (BVEJ newsletter #0038 July 2003). A pack of lies, but no one was allowed to challenge it. But when the tenants turn up at the News with a story, the hacks go out of their way to seek alternatives views from Pavilion and the Council. And even then they don't get it right. The News recently reported the views of a tenant that he was being harassed by Peter Sandy. Did they ask questions? Of course not, they just printed the crap.

We have checked and we know who their anonymous source was. Once Peter could not mount the herb in his wheelchair and asked that the offending car be removed. The owner refused, the police were called, ordered the owner to remove his car, and threatened stronger action next time should it happen again.

Praise, where praise is concerned, for Don Cappleman (lab, Aldershot) and David Welch (cons, Aldershot), who have best tried to do their best to help a local resident. Exemplary behavior and how we expect all local councillors to behave. Brickbats for the LibDems, who have done the only thing the LibDems are good at, late in the day jump on a passing band wagon and try and make political capital out of the situation.

But let this be a warning to any council housing contemplating moving to the private sector. No matter how bad your council may be, it cannot get as bad as Pavilion.

Simon Coughlin, Housing boss builds hope for the future, Farnborough News, 27 June 2003

Cliff Mogg, Pavilion tenants given a £20 Argos 'sweetener', Surrey-Hants Star, 31 July 2003

Rebecca Chard, Housing row boils over, Farnborough News, 8 August 2003

Keith Parkins, Estates are in a mess, letters, Farnborough News, 15 August 2003

Rebecca Chard, Tenant told to be behave or else, Aldershot Mail, 26 August 2003

[BVEJ newsletters passim]

Southwood Woodland

A consultation exercise has been launched by Rushmoor on Southwood Woodland.

Southwood Woodland is an area of mixed heathland woodland and bog. The 32 hectare (80 acre) woodland lies between the Southwood housing area and Southwood golf course. The land was owned by the Ministry of Defence for many years and more recently by a private company. Rushmoor Borough Council has recently acquired it for recreational use.

So far so good, but not what Rushmoor proposes for the future. Plans including constructing paths, clearing rubbish, forming a group for the woodland, and relocating a sizeable part of Southwood golf course to the wood.

Clearing out the rubbish, great, no problem.

Construction of footpaths. Absolutely no way. By all means clear routes through the wood, cut back the undergrowth to make routes passible, but nothing more.

Relocation of the golf course. Absolutely no way. This is the hidden agenda. Buying a woodland and talking of nature conversation and recreation was no more than camouflage. Southwood golf course floods most winters, turning the course into a massive lake. The problem is the discharge of water by Farnborough Airport into Cove Brook. This is the problem that should be addressed, not grabbing valuable woodland for a golf course. [BVEJ newsletters passim]

The wood needs to be managed. Any woodland group should be community led, not formed and controlled by Rushmoor. If Rushmoor wish to help get the group started by leafleting, publicity, seed funding and providing a meeting venue, that is fine, but otherwise it should be strictly hands off by Rushmoor and the group entirely independent of Rushmoor.

Comments should be addressed to Phil Stoneman at Rushmoor:

	Phil Stoneman
	Leisure Services
	Rushmoor Borough Council
	Hampshire GUI4 7BR 

The deadline for comments, 18 August 2003, has already passed, so we suggest you contact Phil Stoneman immediately stating that you wish to comment, with your detailed comments to follow.

Clive Andrews, Woodland before golf, letters, Farnborough News, 22 August 2003


Hilary Wainwright, Reclaim the State, Verso, 2003

The general thesis is how do we maintain the active participation of the masses that we see in a revolution. To answer this question, Hilary Wainwright travels to Porto Alegre in Brazil and visits parts of the UK where local communities are fighting back.

The answer is very simple, participatory democracy, where the people decide, not representative democracy, where some shit, accountable to no one bar Big Business, pretends to represent you.

A useful companion to George Monbiot's Captive State. Whereas George looked at the corrosive influence Big Business is having on democracy, Wainwright looks at how communities are successfully fighting back.

Hilary Wainwright is editor of Red Pepper (reviewed BVEJ newsletter January 2003).



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