Newsletter issue 12

19th February 2022

A busy start to the new year, here's the roundup from the last month and a half:

Keep Swindon Tidy

Set the bar high

We started the year as we did in 2021, with a town-wide litter pick. Keep Swindon Tidy Day 2022 was a well supported event. Thank you to all who contributed to a positive day of action.

6 litter pickers stand by a Central North Swindon Parish Council van and bags of collected litter.
Canal path mural

A new mural on the canal path commissioned by us contributes to ongoing efforts to clean up our town. Read the blog.

Muralist cleaning dirt and moss from the wall to be painted
Litter picks

We continue to litter pick regularly. One area of focus has been Rivermead in west Swindon. So far we've collected over 50 bags of rubbish and lots of large loose items from the site. Large amounts of asbestos were dumped in an area of woodland, which we contacted the borough council to clear. There's plenty of work still to do there. We are working to address problems and will publish a blog in due course. Many thanks to our awesome litter pickers!!

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot...

...lyrics from Joni Mitchell's song Big Yellow Taxi. The state of the Oasis site is appalling. To make matters worse, many trees and other greenery have been chopped down. Read our latest Oasis blog.

A smashed bathroom suite is strewn across the Oasis car park

Borough council

Disinformation and conflict of interest

Swindon Borough Council's Be The Change campaign omits the role of plastic in climate change, despite being informed of its significant and growing contribution both directly and indirectly. They also refused to link to our campaign, claiming that "there is a line you cross with some of your wording that the Borough could not associate itself with". No corroboration has been given despite our requests. We make no apologies for scrutinising an administration that does not seem to want to deal with the root source of plastic pollution.

Keith Williams works for major French bank BNP Paribas. In correspondence re the borough council's Carbon Reduction Strategy, Mr Williams stated to us that "my employer prides itself on its environmental credentials and is operational carbon neutral, does not invest employee pensions in the oil industry and is aligning its portfolios towards a carbon neutral economy". BNP Paribas are members of the World Economic Forum, which consists of the oil / plastics industry and its funders. According to the Banking on Climate Chaos Report 2021, BNP Paribas increased fossil fuel funding in 2020 to $40.8 billion. When we relayed that to Mr Williams, he claimed that he "did not appreciate my employer was a member of the World Economic Forum". The question needs to be asked, does Mr Williams employment with BNP Paribas present a conflict of interest with his role for the borough council? See our council and government sections for further information.

New waste incineration contract

Swindon Borough Council signed a £58 million contract with Viridor to incinerate Swindon's waste. We were asked to respond by the Swindon Advertiser, which we did. Again key points were omitted by them in their published article. Here's our full response to the Adver:

We've updated our waste incineration section accordingly.


A victory of sorts for those of us standing against the Police, Crime Sentencing and Courts Bill. Last minute amendments to the bill were rejected by the House of Lords. However, initial measures described as "draconian" by civil rights groups are still in place and additions can be reimplemented. It's important to see this bill in context as creeping towards fascism / totalitarianism.

This quote from a Canary article on the bill draws comparisons with the Nazis: "The police bill is the biggest threat to Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities in my lifetime. It has direct parallels in history. In 1936, the Nazis passed a similar decree, which said that all Romany should stop traveling so that they can be kept an eye on by the police. This is the beginning of that thin end of the wedge of persecution."


Global food system

It's been a long time coming; we have finally produced an article on the global food system. It is such an important subject which challenges the notion of reforming businesses core to a system of oppression. The article concludes with the simple, powerful choice of choosing to support local, independent, and organic instead.

Two chained hands made up of words such as povery, oppression, racism, and neglect
Image credit
Sharing is caring is education

Yes, we are a campaign based in and focused on Swindon, Wiltshire. However we were contacted by Lisa Garcia from a place called Lakeville in the USA. Her daughter, Avery, has been using our links section to work towards her Eco Explorer badge for Girl Scouts. She reached out to let us know and say thanks. Indeed she went further and provided an excellent resource on glass recycling for our website. Although it is written for the USA, there's much relevant information to the UK. We have added it to our links section. Thank you so much Avery and Lisa, and best wishes for your Eco Explorer badge.

New library category

Given the huge and growing problem of electronic waste, we have added an 'electronics' category to the library.

Cut the Cutlery consultation

Refill are doing some great work co-ordinating at national and international levels. The Cut the Cutlery campaign received over 100,000 signatures to ban the most polluting single-use plastic items in line with EU legislaion. Refill set up a survey with 38 Degrees (now closed) which successfully encouraged a swift consultation launch by DEFRA. A victory for people power. None of this would be necessary if we had effective legislation. See our government section for corroboration of that.

Updated accessibility

Our campaign aims to be as inclusive as possible. After reading a thorough guide on making websites accessible to visually impaired users, we have updated all the alt-text for images on our website.

News roundup

Of particular note:

The full news roundup can be found by visiting our library.

That's it for this month. Please take the time to share info!
Thanks for following and supporting our campaign.