Kay’s Blog: Action needed over pollution in Harlow

Politics / Sun 19th Feb 2023 at 08:18am

THIS is not good news. Not one English waterway, including rivers, lakes, estuaries and coastal waters is in good ecological and chemical health. Pollution from water treatment plants and agriculture are the main culprits. Yet, the Environment Agency has revealed that the target to achieve healthy waterway status is 2063.

Until Brexit, this country was bound by the EU water directive which imposed a target of 2027. The UK government has kicked that into the long reeds. Investment in sewage infrastructure hasn’t kept pace with what’s needed …. hence the release of raw sewage into our rivers. Another example of the Westminster government’s neglect of our environment.

How safe is the Stort? Well, we know that it suffers from occasional contamination. We also know that around 8,500 East Herts houses are proposed for construction just outside Harlow’s boundary, the decision to be taken at the end of February. Campaigners will protest but it looks like a fait accompli, one that will undoubtedly affect the Stort area. 

Recently I became a Harlow womble. I play my part in cleaning up the streets and green spaces. I go out, equipped with a litter-picker and big bags. I return, lugging a collection of bottles, cans, paper and plastic, every time. I’ve also encountered flytipping, of course. This I report immediately. Often the perpetrator can be traced and held accountable. Please report any flytipping you spot. It’s a scourge, it’s inexcusable and it’s illegal.

As you know, earlier this month we held a public meeting and a Day of Action, both generated by Harlow TUC. There is support for trades unions in Harlow, for the teachers, rail workers, postal workers, NHS workers who’ve had to take industrial action to protect their pay, terms and conditions. The struggle continues. The issues are much the same: inadequate staffing levels, unrealistic workload, insufficient support, poor reward. The solution: honest negotiation, respectful communication. Tell your friends to join a union.

At next full Council meeting, we’ll debate action on Hate: not Debate. Politicians at every level experience online abuse mainly via social media. Much of that comes from keyboard warriors and trolls whose aim is to humiliate, to silence. Most councillors have experienced such abuse and, while disagreement and healthy challenge are welcome, intimidation is not. The Local Government Association has devised a campaign to support local councils; my motion asks Harlow Council to publicly declare itself an example of good practice. Wish me luck.

More next month. In the meantime, watch out for those pesky potholes.

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16 Comments for Kay’s Blog: Action needed over pollution in Harlow:

David Forman
2023-02-19 10:20:19

Kay Morrison forgot to mention privatisation of the water companies as a major factor in the growing discharge of sewage into streams, rivers and the sea. She probably didn't want to mention privatisation because Keir Starmer has dropped pledges to rationalise the utility companies, a pledge he made in his leadership campaign. No wonder Owen Jones calls Starmer a "serial liar".

David Forman
2023-02-19 12:46:57

I should have said 'renationalise' not 'rationalise'. The joys of Auto Predict.

2023-02-19 16:14:52

The decision to build the 8,500 houses at Gilston was a Labour supported proposal as set out abundantly clearly in the Harlow Plan of December 2020. Labour’s plan. Don’t try to walk away from your work! As for “Hate: not Debate”, I think most politicians understand the nature of their chosen role and can expect criticism, even abuse as part of the job. They should have thicker skins. This headline sounds more like another invidious woke cloak to stifle free expression and criticism. We lose our liberties at our peril. As the late, great Benjamin Franklin said: 'Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.' His words resonate as much today as they did at the time of the American War of Independence. Censorship is the great evil.

Kim Oconnor
2023-02-19 19:44:54

The decision to build at Gilston was a labour proposal. But who approved it, conservatives council.

2023-02-19 19:52:52

Wrong Kate. Completely wrong. It was signed up by Labour an incorporated into the Town Plan Dec 2020. Harlow already compromised by the Labour Council. You really do need to check your facts.

2023-02-19 19:56:53

In fact, Kim (apologies I used Kate), Harlow Labour signed up to HGGT in 2017. The current Conservative administration only took office in May 2021, 4 years later. The whole project, including the controversial Stort Crossing is shown and highlighted in Labour’s Dec 2020 Town Plan. That they are trying to walk away from the compromises they made, says an awful lot about their standards.

Philip Banash
2023-02-19 23:37:19

James, 2017 minus 4 years is not 2021.

David Vincent
2023-02-20 01:06:52

James is spot on about Harlow Labour Party when in administration setting in stone the Stort Crossing. In fact the council's website states: "The plan was submitted to the Secretary of State for examination on 19 October 2018." See the details at https://www.harlow.gov.uk/planning-and-building-control/planning-policy/harlow-local-development-plan/local-plan-process

2023-02-20 01:10:25

Peter Banash, please read carefully: Labour signed up to HGGT in 2017- 4 years later = 2021. I think that you find that that is correct.

2023-02-20 01:12:09

Peter Banash, please read carefully: Labour signed up to HGGT in 2017. 4 years later = 2021. I think that you find that that is correct.

gary roberts
2023-02-20 07:34:35

Cllr. Morrison, no mention of the next local budget: why not? Surely that must take precedent because it will directly affect every one of your constituents. For example the proposed rise in rents and council tax will be an issue. Further what would be the Labour party alternative plan: if any? Would your party improve the provision of locally based council services? If not, why not? These matters will be part of every party's May 2023 election campaign wont it?

Kim Oconnor
2023-02-20 09:54:29

James, let me put it this way, conservatives never put a stop to this destruction of our river stort, this is on there hands and conservatives hands only.

2023-02-20 12:19:11

Kim O’Connor, it was Labour who sealed this in their December 2020 Town Plan. The new administration was bound. Labour signed up to HGGT lock stock and barrel in 2017.

Michael Hardware
2023-02-20 22:09:52

Kim, Harlow Council was bound by the obligations and deals made by the previous administration: the ramifcations would have been the potential loss of £172 million of funding for the very infrastructure everyone wants to see built before the homes are, the failure of the appllication for the Gilston Villages (due to no infrastrucutre being provided) and the Garden Town probably failing. Also, the Eastern Stort Crossing is not four-lanes it is two, and it is not anticipated it will be delivered until towards the end of the current plan period which is 2033.

Kim Oconnor
2023-02-25 10:28:33

Your so wrong Mr Hardware, not every one wants this destruction of our green belt. If councils listened to the public they would know that. Infact you conservatives councils approved this, you didn't have to approve this, you was out side with us, when we were demonstrating..... but Infact it seems it was all show. People do not want our green belt, or our river stort destroyed.

David Forman
2023-03-08 02:20:56

The Government's planning inspector would have enforced the Local Plan put in place by the last Labour administration. The Conservatives doing as Kim 'Stort Crossing' O'Connor demands would have led to legal action costing the town nearly £500,000 and losing the chance to influence development.

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