Archive for September, 2013

Fine for illegal Car Boot Khat seller

An illegal street trader selling the herbal drug khat from the boot of his car in Southall has been fined following an investigation by Ealing Council.

Khat is a leaf which has stimulant effects when chewed. In July the Home Secretary announced plans to ban the drug but currently it is still legal.

Mohamed Arfan Butta, pleaded guilty at Ealing Magistrates Court on Thursday, 5 September, to two charges of having goods for sale without a street trading licence on Hortus Road.

In 2012 Mr Butta was issued with a fixed penalty notice for £150 for unlicensed street trading. Following complaints from the public, the police visited the same spot on 5 March and 10 March 2013 and found Mr Butta with bundles of khat for sale in his car.

Mr Butta was fined £100 for each offence, ordered to pay the council’s legal costs of £200 and a victim surcharge of £20, bringing the total to £620.

Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for environment and transport said: “We welcome reports of illegal street trading from the public and will continue to work with the police to clamp down on this anti-social behaviour.”

To report illegal street trading go to http://www.ealing.gov.uk/reportit or call 020 8825 6000.

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National Cycle To Work Day

Ealing Council is encouraging people to travel by bike on National Cycle to Work Day on Thursday, 12 September.

Cllrs Bassam Mahfouz and Julian Bell have both pledged as part of Cycle to Work Day

Cllrs Bassam Mahfouz and Julian Bell have both pledged as part of Cycle to Work Day

The council is keen to see as many local people as possible take part in the event which is championed by multi gold medal winning Paralympic cyclist, Dame Sarah Storey.

Council leader, Julian Bell and Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for transport and environment, who are both keen cyclists, have pledged to take part in the event.

People can pledge to support the day via www.cycletoworkday.org/  This will help the organisers know how many people took part and give participants the chance to win one of hundreds of prizes, including a Raleigh Revenio 2 worth £700.

The council, which wants to establish the borough as one of the country’s most cycle-friendly areas, found out last week that it is in line to win a share of the Mayor of London’s £100million ‘mini-Holland’ cycle fund.

The council runs a number of schemes aimed at encouraging people to cycle more including; on-road cycling training, commuter escorts who help novice riders overcome challenging road conditions and free ‘Dr Bike’ health checks. And, to make it easier for people to commute using their bikes the council in partnership with Transport for London, introduced a cycle hub opposite Ealing Broadway Station last year.  It provides secure parking for 233 cycles.

The cycle hub also has 20 folding Brompton bikes for hire, which are ideal for commuting because they can be carried on to public transport or stored under a desk.

Frequent users can hire a folding bike from as little as £1.60 per day for a month plus a yearly membership fee of £50. A ‘trial rider’ tariff, however, enables new users the opportunity to try it for £10 for a week. People can register online at http://www.bromptondock.co.uk/

Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for transport and environment said: “Research shows that around half of all commuter journeys are less than five miles.  This day is a good way of getting people to cycle to work.

“Using a cycle is not only good for the environment it also a great way to build exercise in to your daily routine. I hope that many Ealing residents take up this challenge and find out how easy it is to switch to two wheels.”

Cllr Mahfouz has pledged to cycle 33 miles on Cycle to Work Day which should save £11 on travelcard charges, burn 1,548 calories and offset 0.87kg of carbon.

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Ealing has been short-listed as one of six boroughs to receive funding from a £100 million budget set up by the Mayor of London to create “mini-Holland” areas with exceptional facilities for cycling.

Ealing Cycle Hub Cllr Bassam Mahfouz with Julian Bell and new Brompton bike for hire

Cllrs Bassam Mahfouz and Julian Bell at the opening of Ealing’s Cycle Hub, the first in London, which includes secure parking and Ealing’s very own Bike Hire scheme.

The announcement follows a bid by the borough that was presented by Council Leader, Julian Bell and Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, Cllr Bassam Mahfouz, who are both keen cyclists, and by members of the Ealing Cycle Campaign group.

Speaking in response to the announcement, Cllr Bell said; “It is excellent news that Ealing’s bid for this massive fund is considered one of the leading contenders. We will now put every effort into sprinting to the finishing line of this competition to secure the prize of dramatic improvements to cycling in the borough.”

Cllr Mahfouz added; “The Council has a track record of securing funding for initiatives such as the cycle hub at Haven Green which has proved extremely popular. Our new bid will focus on improvements to Ealing Broadway and making cycling safer in Ealing.”

Ealing is one of six boroughs to be shortlisted. The others are Bexley, Enfield, Kingston, Merton, and Newham. A further two boroughs, Richmond and Waltham Forest, have been told that they will also be shortlisted if they agree to address certain gaps in their proposals.

During September the Mayor’s cycling ‘czar’, Andrew Gilligan, and TfL officials will visit all the short-listed boroughs for discussions about their bids. The final stage of the selection process is expected to end early in 2014. The exact number of boroughs to win funding, and the amounts awarded, are not fixed.

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Which Ealing Park has the X-Factor?

Ealing Council is encouraging residents to vote for their favourite local park in the nation-wide search for Britain’s ‘park of the year’.

Sunset in Northala Fields, one of our Green Flag awarded parks

Sunset in Northala Fields, one of our Green Flag awarded parks

Nine of Ealing’s parks were awarded a prestigious Green Flag last month, and all are now in the running to be named the country’s most-loved park in Keep Britain Tidy’s annual People’s Choice Award.

A record breaking 1,448 parks and green spaces were awarded a Green Flag this year, with Ealing receiving the highest number of new Green Flags compared to all other boroughs in the UK.

Voting is now open. To lodge your vote:

• Visit www.greenflagaward.org.uk
• Select Ealing on the interactive map
• Find and select your favourite local park
• Click the ‘Vote for this site’ button

Voting will close at midday on Tuesday, 1 October and the winner of the 2013 People’s Choice Award will be announced on 9 October at a ceremony in London.

Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for environment and transport, said:  “The People’s Choice Award is a fantastic way for Ealing residents to take pride in our borough and its beautiful green spaces. The competition gives local people the power to recognise and celebrate their favourite park on a national level.

“I urge all local people to go online to cast their vote. My fingers are crossed for one of Ealing’s nine Green Flag winning parks to come out on top.”

Paul Todd, Keep Britain Tidy’s Green Flag Award scheme manager said: “Our judges have decided on this year’s winners of the coveted Green Flag Award but the public now have the opportunity to decide which park or green space deserves The People’s Choice Award.”

For more information on the Green Flags Awards and to vote for a park, please visit www.greenflagaward.org.uk

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