11 February 2016

Ham and Petersham Neighbourhood Forum: Sustainability workshop

The third Ham and Petersham Neighbourhood Forum Drop In Draft Policy Workshop was on Sustainability and asked residents for their views on issues relating to energy and water.

In some ways this was a difficult subject to cover because not many people are against sustainability and those that are have a problem making a convincing argument for that viewpoint. Consequently I spent most of the hour posting thumbs-up stickers on the questionnaires though I did find a couple of points to argue against.

The first table considered domestic energy. The obvious proposal was that the Neighbourhood Plan should have policies that demand local generation, e.g. solar panels, and strong measures to control energy loss, e.g. insulation. Obviously I agreed with all that.

There were more controversial policies to retrofit these standards on to existing buildings and I agreed with those too.

Drainage was the next issue and there were several suggestions for ways that rain water could be held or slowed down rather than being allowed to run straight into drains. These include things like water butts and permeable hard surfaces and I agreed with all those suggestions too.



Flooding was the final topic and this time I had something to disagree with. I supported all the ideas to let Ham Lands flood and to look at ways at introducing vibrant wetlands while doing so but I disagreed with the suggestions that dry routes should be built through the flooded areas. There already are dry routes, e.g. along Riverside Drive, and I saw no need to build more. If the tow path is flooded then either take another route or wear wellies. Flooding is one of the things that I like about Ham, it is an attraction to promote not a problem to solve.

My final comment is on what was missing from the debate. We had micro and macro discussions on water but energy was only considered at the micro level, e.g. what individual houses could do. We are (hopefully) getting a small hydro-electric generator at Teddington Weir and I would like the Forum to consider other local generation schemes, such as managing Ham Common Woods for biomass or using local waste to feed anaerobic digestion.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Matthew,
    Thanks for the comments. We are happy to consider all local generation schemes - one of the questions at the session was asking whether people support community-owned renewables in general and I haven't seen the results yet but it would be hard to disagree with.

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