24 Jan 2022

Newsletter from the Brent Environmental Network.

 Forwarding the Newsletter from the Brent Environmental Network. Lots happening in Brent and beyond. (You may need to click on "allow images" at the top in order to see the pictures).

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2022 – Can you make it your greenest year yet?

Hello and welcome to the first Brent Environmental Network newsletter of 2022!

As we collectively get back into the swing of things, we have one question to ask you – can you make this year your greenest year yet?

You may have begun the year with the best of intentions or resolutions when it comes to tackling climate change. Or you may be wondering about what you can do to have an impact. Research suggests it takes UK adults an average of 13 days in a new year to start to give up on sustainable habits, so we are here to encourage you to keep going and keep up the fight against climate change! Or to remind and/or encourage you of some ways that you can help!

The best place to start, and to be able measure your progress, is to consider your carbon footprint. Even if you’ve done this before – it’s likely that there is always more that you can be doing! One of the simplest, most user-friendly ways of doing this is via the WWF Footprint Calculator Tool, which splits your carbon footprint into different sections based on your lifestyle and habits. Why not note down your results and put a reminder in your calendar to use the tool again in late December to see your progress?

If your footprint is high on food – consider cutting down on your meat or food waste through some exciting local recipes, ordering a free food caddy or through trying going vegan - there are so many tools and resources available to read and inspire! If your footprint is high on travel, think about cycling or walking more trips this year? Check out these 11 tips for winter cycling and or explore green spaces in Brent on foot through an app like Go Jauntly to get you thinking. If your footprint is high on 'home', or you are worried about your fuel bills this winter, why not remind yourself of what you can do to ‘green’ your home and resources available to help through our previous newsletter on this topic. If your footprint is high on ‘stuff’, set aside some time to watch our free webinar to learn more about the importance of recycling, and not wasting materials or precious natural resources which go into making so many products.  

Tackling climate change and protecting our environment cannot be tackled by individuals alone. Brent’s local community directory can help you to join with like-minded individuals locally on initiatives to tackle climate change, or make the local area greener and with greater biodiversity. Or you might have a brilliant idea for the community, but don’t yet have the resources to make it happen – so why not apply for up to £1000 in Brent’s Together Towards Zero Grants Scheme?

Recent data shows that the past seven years have been the hottest on record. Our future depends on all of us making every single year our greenest year yet. We hope some of the links and thoughts here have inspired you to take action, there's no time to waste!

Upcoming Climate Events...

Brent Connects - Let's Talk Climate Conversation

The climate emergency means the way Brent does things as a council and as a community has to change. The Council has launched Let’s Talk Climate: waste and green space to find out what you can do differently and what you expect from us as we work together towards a cleaner, greener Brent.

We are looking for fresh, bold ideas. Your feedback could change how waste and recycling is managed, how we keep streets clean and how green spaces are maintained. It will also feed into the delivery of our Climate Strategy and help shape the future of Brent.

Brent Connects meetings are your chance to speak with Councillors and senior officers about decisions that affect your area.

The next meeting, on Tuesday 25 January 2022, 6-8pm, will focus on the council's draft budget for 2022/23 and the Let's Talk Climate conversation.

Book your place today

CO2GO - Participatory Budgeting Decision Day

On Saturday 29 January 2022 Brent will be undertaking its first Participatory Budgeting Decision Day for local residents, and it's climate themed! For this Decision Day, we are looking for residents who wish to participate within the local decision making process by deciding how Brent's £500k Carbon Offset Fund is spent locally.

From 10am-1pm we will hear from residents who applied for Pot 1 of the fund and put forward exciting applications to reduce carbon through retrofitting domestic properties or community buildings.

From 2pm-4.30pm, we will hear from residents and organisations who have applied for Pot 2 of the fund - to deliver an inspiring educational initiative or project to reduce the carbon footprint or communities in Brent.

Please register to attend this event to participate in the decision making process:

Beat FM - Climate Emergency Radio Special

The climate crisis is the biggest challenge our planet has ever faced. Young people have the most at stake, so naturally, they might have questions, concerns or ideas on how to tackle it.

During this Let’s Talk Climate special, we will hear from a group of young people from across Brent about how climate change affects them and their ideas for things we can all do to reduce our impact on the environment.

Have a question for the panel?

The special will take place on Weds 2 February 2022, from 6pm. Tune in via the Beat FM's radio channel (103.6FM or via )

Other Local Environmental News...

Brent School Streets and Healthy Neighbourhoods

Brent Council's Cabinet received a report at its meeting on 17 January 2022 to consider the outcome of engagement on the borough's Healthy Neighbourhood and School Streets Schemes. The recommendations for each aspect can be found under agenda item 9 of the Cabinet agenda pack.

5067 Brent Christmas Trees Recycled - Thank you!

Our quick and easy Christmas tree recycling service was available again this year for residents who purchased a real Christmas tree and want a hassle-free and ‘green’ way to dispose of it. Pleasingly, 5067 trees were recycled by Brent residents. Trees will be chipped and recycled into mulch which is useful for protecting plants, nourishing soil, and keeping weeds at bay. Thank you!

Count Us In Pledge Campaign

Count Us In, is a digital platform where organisations and individuals sign up and take an online pledge, with over 16 achievable high impact steps for you to choose from. Brent's platform is supported by the Mayor of Brent, Councillor Lia Colacicco, as part of her Mayoral year. You will receive notifications and progress reports once you have chosen to take a step. Once you have taken a step, you will need to choose the team name: Together Towards Zero, as this will contribute towards Brent’s overall tally. If you would like to take a step on the Count Us In page, please sign up via the link: (

Other Opportunities...

RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch

In 2021, more than one million people took part in Big Garden Birdwatch, all coming together to look out for birds. Why not join in and be one in a million for 2022?

Shockingly, we’ve lost 38 million birds from UK skies in the last 50 years, so it really is vital we do all we can to look after our birdlife.

Be wowed by your local wildlife. Big Garden Birdwatch is for everyone, whether you're a complete beginner or a birding expert. Simply count the birds you see in your garden, from your balcony or in your local park for one hour between 28 and 30 January 2022. Sign up to take part!

UK Government Single-Use Plastics Consultation

In Brent, we know from our engagement with residents that consumption, resources and waste are the environmental issues that matter the most to local people.

We are therefore highlighting that the Government has launched two consultations on new policy proposals to tackle commonly littered single-use plastic items in England. The first concerns proposals to ban single-use plastic plates, cutlery, balloon sticks and polystyrene food and drink containers. The second focusses on wet wipes, tobacco filters, sachets, and single-use cups. Both consultations close on 12 February 2022 and can be accessed here and here.

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21 Jan 2022

Kilburn-Ireland connection


RTÉ News
For decades Irish people have travelled to London for work and Kilburn was the destination for many. Now two Irish knitwear designers, have woven together the history of the Kilburn-Ireland connection, and their tapestry is on display at Dublin's NCAD |

13 Jan 2022

Victimised bus driver David O’Sullivan’s preliminary hearing opens in London


Victimised bus driver David O’Sullivan’s preliminary hearing opens in London

David O’Sullivan’s unfair dismissal claim against Metroline bus company is scheduled for a preliminary hearing at Watford Employment Tribunal today. O’Sullivan was dismissed one year ago after he alerted colleagues to the spread of COVID-19 at Cricklewood bus garage in London.

David O’Sullivan (WSWS Media)

O’Sullivan asserted his rights to a safe workplace under Section 44 of the Employment Rights Act. A public transport worker for three decades, he was accused of spreading “inaccurate and damaging information”, “inciting unlawful industrial action” and of “bringing the company into disrepute”. A disciplinary investigation dismissed O’Sullivan’s safety concerns and found him guilty of “gross misconduct”.

Today’s preliminary hearing is listed for case management. It will confirm the legal grounds for O’Sullivan’s unfair dismissal claim and establish a timeline for the case. There are huge delays at the Employment Tribunal and he has been advised that a full hearing may not take place until summer next year, at the earliest.

O’Sullivan told the World Socialist Web Site yesterday that he’s prepared for the fight ahead, “This case is not just about me, it’s about 73 preventable deaths of London bus workers. It’s about the rights of key workers to a safe workplace. We cannot accept drivers being sacked because they insist on health and safety protections to prevent our colleagues from getting ill and dying.”

A £20,000 crowdfund to support O’Sullivan’s legal case was completed last night. O’Sullivan said, “I am very grateful. I’d like to thank every single person who donated. It’s a significant achievement.

“The pandemic has killed more than 176,000 people in the UK, and millions more globally. These were preventable deaths, and this situation cannot be allowed to continue. I would like to thank the World Socialist Web Site and my colleagues on the London buses for getting behind me. I am doing this for all of us.”

Ahead of today’s hearing, some of O’Sullivan’s colleagues on the London buses sent messages of support. Names have been changed to protect against victimisation.

Daniel from Cricklewood garage said: “For Dave to risk his job to defend the drivers was a really brave thing to do, because he also has a family. He’s from an older generation and is a revolutionary person. Everyone knows what’s happening. No-one is happy with the situation, it’s just that we have bills to pay, but we support him.

“When Dave was dismissed, everyone was not happy, because we knew what management was hiding. They were covering up who was sick with COVID. Dave found out what was happening, and he published it. He wanted to tell everyone. He knows about our rights, and they did not like that. I hope he wins.”

Priya from Cricklewood garage said: “Be strong David, and we wish you all the best. Respect. Nothing has been done to protect us. There is so much they should be doing to fix safety. They’ve got the money, but they don’t want to spend it on us.

“When I got sick last year from COVID I was off work for nearly four weeks, but it was very hard because I got less than £100 a week statutory sick pay.

“People with COVID are being pressured to return to work before they are well—as soon as their isolation period finishes. At first, they were being forced to come back after 10 days. Now they are putting on Blink [the company app] to come back after six days, because the government is changing the rules. So, after five days, you are back at work on the sixth day. It took more than three weeks for me to fully recover [from COVID].

“We had two drivers at the garage who died with COVID. The company tried to hide this as much as possible. When the second driver died last year, all the drivers were crowding around. He was a very nice man. Nothing had been done, by the management or the union to protect us.

“I want David to get his job back. It’s not fair. He is an older driver too, and he was only trying to help us.”

Lamal from Cricklewood garage said O’Sullivan’s case is “the battle between an abusive management power and a working class employee. Whatever the outcome, it will represent a victory because David has the power to fight the unjust forces against him and he has the following of his colleagues.”

Thomas from Cricklewood garage said, “the treatment of the drivers during COVID was the worst thing you can think of. By both the management and by the union. At the same time, they were getting us to work longer hours.

“Recently they’ve brought back to the garage drivers they previously sacked, putting them on worse conditions. We’ve got one driver who was sacked and after a few days he was asked if he wanted to come back on a W0 contract. It basically means he would go from earning about £15 an hour to starting on £12. Of course, he said no.

“The situation is even worse now. So many people left the buses because of how they were treated in the pandemic. So they have extended our hours again. Last week I was supposed to have short duties, but I worked 11 hours a day, seven days straight, that’s 77 hours in one week. And just a 45-minute break.

“I had COVID, and I know at least five other drivers who had COVID too. The company doesn’t do any contact tracing. Recently, one of our drivers got a positive COVID test. A driver asked why the company didn’t notify us. They said that because of new government laws, you don’t have to be contacted because you don’t need to isolate, because you’re double jabbed. The truth is that they don’t want you to isolate because they are short of drivers.

“Dave is being used as an example to not go against the company. I hope that he will win to prove that we workers have basic human rights too.”

Vincent from Stamford Brook (RATP) said: “David has my full support, and the truth has to come out. Fight until the end! They [Metroline] tried to deny responsibility for the duty of care they have for drivers’ health and safety. David was just trying to do his duty of care as a worker and as a responsible human being.

“The outcome of this case has to be the truth, and for the company to be held responsible. The results have to be public. The court has to not only give an example to other companies, but a warning to other companies as well. It’s not only about money, it’s about lives.”

Vincent also condemned the union for its role in helping to frame-up O’Sullivan, “Unite on the buses are working closely with TfL [Transport for London] and the operators. They are out of order and it’s an absolute disgrace.”

The WSWS urges bus and transport workers to join the fight for O’Sullivan’s reinstatement. For more information, please visit the campaign page.