Newsletter issue 6

20th March 2021

Keep Swindon Tidy

Making the most of lockdown

We have spent the last couple of months working hard to clean a couple of areas: Mannington to Blagrove and the Oasis. Both had obscene amounts of rubbish. We have written a couple of blogs including images. They are intended to help keep these areas clean and, along with other aspects of the campaign, help end the culture of littering. Hence sharing the blogs would be much appreciated. Thanks to all who have cared to transform these spaces.

Our other blog is from local charity Uplands Enterprise Trust. Their Skills for Work team have recently started regular litter picks in Gorse Hill. Thanks to Sue Jordan for providing the blog. The charity helps young people with special educational needs and disability (SEND). For anyone interested in setting up litter picks, we provide a DIY litter pick guide to facilitate the process.

Signs of change
  • Many thanks to Moya Pinson in Westlea for her help, enthusiasm and kindness. Here’s the noticeboard in Westlea displaying Keep Swindon Tidy posters and info. We would love for you to emulate Moya's approach and raise awareness of the campaign. If you do, please send us info and pictures.
  • Noticeboard with Plastic Free Swindon and Keep Swindon Tidy posters displayed
  • We are working with Central South Swindon Parish Council to implement signs. Initial areas will be the three parks they manage: Farringdon Road Park, Old Town Gardens and Queens Park.
  • Many litter and waste services have recently passed from the borough council to the parish councils. Central North, Central South, and West Swindon parish councils are putting in more bins (not a definitive list). This is a welcome step to help keep areas free of litter, complimenting the efforts of Wombles all over Swindon. We have applied for bins along the path by the Oasis. We are also working to get one in the skate park behind the Oasis.
  • Great to receive the first Keep Swindon Tidy posters from Wroughton, courtesy of Wroughton Infant School. Thanks to those inspiring 6 and 7 year olds for drawing the change that they want to see in the world.
  • Fly tipping

    The Adver has recently published articles on fly tipping (1 | 2 | 3 | 4). It's good to see focus on sorting out such problems. However, there has been no mention that the Household Waste and Recycling Centre (HWRC) is "closed to trade customers and will not be accepting vans over 3.5 tonnes or vehicles with tail lifts until further notice." Additionally, the HWRC allows car trailers but not lorry trailers. Are these contributory factors in fly-tipping? We have sent the Adver this info but it has not yet been published.


    Section update

    The 'government' section of our website has been overhauled. It is categorised and includes info, correspondence, and simple actions.

    Make the case for zero waste

    A new report on zero waste shows that it is not just great for the environment and health, it is also great for local economies. ‘Zero waste and economic recovery: the job creation potential of zero waste solutions’ contains some stunning facts:

    • Repair creates over 200 times as many jobs as landfill and incinerators.
    • Recycling creates over 50 times as many jobs as landfills and incinerators.
    • Remanufacturing creates almost 30 times as many jobs as landfills and incinerators.

    We have sent the report to both local MPs. Let's get these representatives representing! Please sign and share GAIA's global petition to governments and financial institutions calling for zero waste systems.

    Waste incineration / waste-to-energy
    SKIP logo.  An incinerator covered by the banned symbol
    Image credit

    Many thanks to Robert Ayres, chair of Stop Keypoint Incinerator Project (SKIP), including for copying us into his recent correspondence with Justin Tomlinson, making vital points about the need to move away from waste incineration. SKIP was the campaign against the construction of a waste incinerator at South Marston. Sadly the incinerator proposal was accepted after an appeal. However, it is unclear whether the incinerator will be built, with rising oppostion to waste incineration, and the departure of Honda.

    Dispatches: Dirty Truth About Your Rubbish aired on Monday 8th March 2021. It also made the case for moving away from waste incineration, questioning the supposedly eco-friendly claims of the waste incineration industry and revealing that some of our recycling is burnt. Well worth a watch.

    A tax on incineration could remove the current incentive for it. Thanks to Virginia Bucknor for creating this petition to do just that.

    We have been supporting UKWIN (the UK Without Incineration Network) in campaigning against waste incinerators. The campaign now moves to push for a moratorium on new incinerators. Please take and share their action to call for that. Potentially, such actions could help deter Rolton Kilbride from beginning construction of a waste incinerator at South Marston.

    Trade deal or the subversion of democracy?

    According to Global Justice Now, the vote against the Trade Bill amendment "leaves the UK with LESS democratic scrutiny of trade deals than all of the European Union, the United States and Japan". It’s worth checking out the comparison table. With local MPs unwilling to provide assurances that trade deals wouldn’t negatively impact our ability to deal with plastic pollution, I agreed to a conversation with Robert Buckland to seek clarification on the trade deal and other important issues. We still have no assurances. Read full correspondence.

    Local environmental groups Extinction Rebellion Swindon, Swindon Climate Action Network, and Plastic Free Swindon, as well as Farringdon Peace Group, sent the Swindon Advertiser a press release about our trade deal concerns. The article misrepresented us, omitting important information and portraying that negotiations have been held in secret as feeling rather than fact.

    On the 15th March 2021, 245 organisations co-signed a letter co-ordinated by Friends of the Earth and Liberty to the Home Secretary and Justice Secretary expressing "profound concern" about the "draconian legislation" of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. If enacted, it would further restrict the right to protest, in addition to the Coronavirus Bill. This could affect the ability of groups like Plastic Free Swindon to effectively and peacefully campaign without being criminalised.

    Petition to ban plastic carrier bags

    Another petition by a 9 year old, and what a difference it could make. In 2019, the top 10 supermarkets alone issued 0.5 billion plastic carrier bags and 1.5 billion ‘bags for life’. Please sign and share to support this campaign.

    Not so super markets

    The Checking Out Plastic report was released in January 2021. Again, there is a rise in the use of plastic in the top 10 UK supermarkets. Why? Can supermarkets remain competitive without plastic? Do the supermarkets and the plastics / oil industry have shared interests?

    Sharing is caring

    That's it for this month. Sharing info can be so beneficial to campaigns like this. If you find our work of value, please take the time to share.

    Thanks for reading and supporting our campaign!