Archive for April, 2013

Ealing Council has a bright idea

Ealing Council’s cabinet has agreed to investigate upgrading the borough’s streetlights to more energy-efficient LED bulbs. If the switch goes ahead, it could achieve energy savings of up to 50%.

street lamps

The council has 21,890 standard and 2,545 ornate sodium streetlights. All are maintained under a 25-year PFI contract with Scottish and Southern Electric plc (SSE plc), with 18 years remaining. The savings will be achieved over the remaining lifetime of the contract.

The plan is to replace all of the standard sodium lights with LED. The ornate sodium lights in conservation areas will remain for now, as the LED technology for this type of lamp is still relatively undeveloped. Ealing is the first London borough to invest in LED technology on such a large scale.

The council is under pressure to cut its costs and the unit cost of energy is at an all-time high, with prices expected to rise even further in the future. In addition, the council will become liable for a new carbon tax from next year (this has been estimated at more than £80,000 per year at current energy consumption rates).

The switch to LED will use less electricity resulting in lower energy and carbon-tax bills for the council. In addition, the lights last longer, meaning that maintenance costs will also be reduced as they will have to be replaced less frequently.

LED lights are also brighter, making it easier for motorists and pedestrians to see at night time and reducing the potential for road accidents and crime. The new lanterns will be ‘future-proofed’ which means they will be able to take advantage of new technology as it becomes available.

SSE plc will carry out the procurement process on behalf of the council, with council officers playing a central role in both developing the tender documents and in evaluating submissions.

Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for transport and environment, said: “This is a very exciting and innovative proposal. If we go ahead with this investment, we will be the first London council to switch to cheaper LED lights on this scale and the first to reap the environmental, economic and safety benefits.

“Improving safety is a priority for Ealing Council. Better street lighting helps to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour and if this proposal goes ahead, it will be one of a number of recent investments in this area.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how energy market responds to our tender. We will be working hard to get the best value deal we can for our residents.”

The decision was made by the council’s Cabinet on Tuesday, 23 April.  All cabinet decisions are subject to call-in for a period of five working days from the date of publication of the minutes of the meeting.

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Cllr Bassam Mahfouz speaking to BBC London about the victory to have the route tunnelled

Cllr Bassam Mahfouz speaking to BBC London about the victory to have the route tunnelled

Watch BBC London’s Tom Edwards coverage of the fantastic news that HS2 are proposing to tunnel the route under Ealing rather than cause chaos on the roads and disaster to people’s homes.

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Local people and Ealing Council are celebrating news that the HS2 route will now be tunnelled underneath the borough.

HS2 Limited announced the decision today (23 April) following months of campaigning and lobbying against the original plans that could have had an impact on hundreds of local homes and businesses to make way for the new high speed rail line between London and Birmingham.

The council lodged an objection to the original scheme because of the disruption it would cause locally and lack of detail about the plans. HS2 Limited agreed in August 2012 to carry out a study into a tunnel option, following pressure from Ealing Council and local residents.

Keeping up the pressure, council leader Julian Bell and Councillor Bassam Mahfouz met with the Minister of State for Transport, Simon Burns in December 2012 to appeal on behalf of residents in Greenford, Northolt, Perivale and Acton for alternatives to the original plan to be considered.

HS2 Ltd is now recommending to the Secretary of State for Transport that a nine kilometre tunnel is built between North Acton and Northolt, linking with the tunnel in West Ruislip which had been proposed as part of the original plans. This will make it the longest tunnel on the route on at 14km.

HS2 Ltd’s study found a tunnel was a best option because a surface route would have caused more disruption to traffic, cost as much or more than a tunnel, and would have taken longer to build. The study also found that a tunnel will be 15 months quicker to build than a surface route.

The original route of HS2 through the borough would have seen it built beside the existing Central line track to Northolt. As well as the loss of homes and businesses, it would have caused massive traffic disruption particularly at Hanger Lane gyratory, one of London’s busiest junctions.

Commenting on the decision, Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for environment and transport, said: “Residents and businesses can now breathe a huge sigh of relief with the excellent news that the government has listened to the compelling arguments we set out to tunnel HS2 throughout the whole borough. There will no doubt be celebrations in homes and businesses and this is a victory for the course of action we took with the support of our amazing residents.”

HS2 Ltd community and stakeholder manager for London, Peter Fry, said: “The recommendation to build a tunnel through Ealing and Northolt shows what can be done by working with local people and that we value their input and suggestions.”

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Ealing Council has launched new car club bays in Northolt allowing residents to hire a car on an hourly basis.

Cllr Bassam Mahfouz in the new Hertz On Demand Ford Focus available from Northolt Leisure Centre

The council has teamed up with Hertz On Demand to set up the scheme which will have two cars available in dedicated parking bays at Northolt Leisure Centre and Whitton Avenue.

Membership is free and the pay as you go car hire rate from £5.50 per hour includes some fuel, insurance, roadside assistance and cleaning.

The new car sharing bays bring the total in the borough to 88, providing residents who need to use a car with a flexible and more environmentally friendly option which avoids the cost of running and maintaining their own vehicle.

Members are given a card or key fob to open the car after making a booking online or by using an iPhone app. The scheme uses fuel-efficient cars, a Ford Fiesta 1.4 TDCi and a Ford Focus Econetic.

Cabinet member for environment and transport, Councillor Bassam Mahfouz said: “Car clubs are proving extremely popular across the borough with more than 3,000 members.  They are a great alternative to buying a car and when the fuel, insurance, road side assistance, cleaning and maintenance are thrown in you can see why they are so attractive, especially for those who do less miles.

“It’s fantastic to have the first car club bay now in Northolt and these fuel-efficient cars will offer residents the opportunity to save money.”

For more information on car clubs in the borough of Ealing visit

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Heavy Fines for Illegal Skips

A skip company has been fined £1,000 for illegally placing a huge skip on a busy Acton road.
20-cubic-yard skip left on Gunnersbury Lane by Ron Smith Recycling Limited without a licence
A 20-cubic-yard skip was placed on Gunnersbury Lane on 1 November, 2012 without a licence from Ealing Council. After the company removed the skip it also replaced a smaller skip there on 5 November. Skip companies must have permission from Ealing Council before placing containers on any of the borough’s streets. Permission is restricted on Gunnersbury Lane because it is such a busy road.

Ron Smith Recycling  Limited or Maidenhead, Berkshire, pleaded guilty by post and was fined £500 for each offence of depositing a skip on the highway without the council’s permission. Ealing Magistrates Court also ordered the company to pay full costs of £575.43 and a surcharge of £100, making a total of £1,175.43.

A second company, Rubbish Express Limited, pleaded guilty at Ealing Magistrates Court on Thursday, 4 April 2013, to four offences. The Norbury based company, which repeatedly put its skips on roads in Acton and Chiswick without permission was fined £800 for each offence and ordered to pay the council’s costs of £1,073.15 and a victim’s surcharge of £15. The total payable is £4,288.15.
Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for environment and transport said: “This is unprofessional and irresponsible behaviour. Regulations are in place to ensure skips are used safely and with minimum disruption to residents and other road users.

“This isn’t the first time we’ve brought Rubbish Express Limited to court for the same offences and the severity of its fine reflects this. Hopefully this time the company will learn its lesson.”

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Go bats for local wildlife

Monthly wildlife monitoring events are kicking off in Walpole Park at the end of this month (26 and 27 April) and people of all ages and abilities are invited to take part.

wildlife walks

Held on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings, the sessions will see local people join together to track bats, moths and birds, contributing to wider monitoring and conservation schemes.

During the evening sessions, groups will monitor bats by using specialist hand-held devices to tune into frequencies that pick up their calling noises. A local expert will be on hand to answer questions and offer information about the species found.  Participants will also work with a moth expert to set-up light boxes to attract moths overnight, as well as learn fun facts about the little creatures.

The following morning, groups will count and categorise the moths held in the light box before embarking on a guided bird walk. Led by an ornithologist, the walk will give amateur bird watchers and nature-lovers the opportunity to get up-close to local species and learn more about birds.

Bird watching events have been held monthly since January, with species including goldfinches, collard doves and long-tailed tits spotted so far.

Information gathered will help to monitor the changing ecology in Walpole Park while improvements are carried out thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The work will include the addition of new flower beds, shrubbery and meadows, creating more habitats and hopefully attracting greater numbers of wildlife.

Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for environment and transport, said, “Residents interested in local wildlife and ecology will be drawn to these sessions in Walpole Park like moths to the flame. The sessions are fun, interesting and educational, and the information collected is really important to help us measure the effect on wildlife before, during and after improvements take place in the park.”

People are welcome to take part in one, some or all sessions, but bookings are essential. Please email Emma Allen on for more information or to book your place.

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Ealing Council is reminding drivers that it is an offence to park in a disabled parking bay without a valid blue badge, including council-installed bays on residential streets.

disabled parking sign

There are 1100 disabled parking bays in the borough and more than 890 penalty charge notices (PCNs) were issued to drivers parking illegally in them in the last financial year. PCNs are charged at £110, reduced to £55 if paid within 14 days.

Residents that meet a set of strict criteria can apply to have a disabled bay installed close to their home. Applicants must be able to demonstrate an exceptional need for the bay or have severe difficulty in walking. Anyone with a blue badge can park in these spaces.

Ealing staff regularly patrol the borough’s streets checking that cars are parked legally, but residents who find their disabled bay blocked by cars without a valid blue badge can call Ealing’s parking service and ask them to send a civil enforcement officer. The officer will come as quickly as possible, check the badge and issue a ticket, if necessary.

Patrick Greene is a Hanwell resident. His mother has a council-installed bay outside his home, but is often not able to make use of it, because drivers without blue badges have parked their cars in it.

He said: “It is so annoying, and makes my mum’s life so difficult. If these people realised how much inconvenience they were causing someone with a disability, I wonder if they’d stop doing it.”

Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for Environment and Customer Services, said: “Disabled parking bays are installed when residents have exceptional need for a dedicated space near their home. Anyone with a blue badge can park in these spaces, but other drivers must park elsewhere, even if that means they have to park further away from their home.

“People who have been allocated these spaces find it very difficult to go about their daily business at the best of times. When drivers selfishly block these bays they make it even harder for them. Our staff are on the look-out for drivers who park illegally and will also respond quickly to tip-offs from the public.”

To report a car parked illegally in a disabled bay, call 020 8825 6677 between 9am and 5pm and 020 8825 5000 outside of these hours.

For more information on disabled parking, go to

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