Water Charges Threat to Allotments

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Oliver

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Re: Water Charges - Utd Utilities
« Reply #45 on: February 05, 2009, 11:25 »
Just found THIS.

University of Liverpool offering pro-bono (free) legal advice for the public good. Thought they may like to get involved as UU are within their area.

Good luck.

Rob 8)
Hello all, just been reading about this water business.  Came across this post - have you considered approaching the NSALG? (http://www.nsalg.org.uk/). If you are a member they also offer legal advice. See what they have to say about this.
Oliver
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richyrich7

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Re: Water Charges - Utd Utilities
« Reply #46 on: February 05, 2009, 11:30 »
Just found THIS.

University of Liverpool offering pro-bono (free) legal advice for the public good. Thought they may like to get involved as UU are within their area.

Good luck.

Rob 8)
Hello all, just been reading about this water business.  Came across this post - have you considered approaching the NSALG? (http://www.nsalg.org.uk/). If you are a member they also offer legal advice. See what they have to say about this.
Oliver

I think a lot of people are probably members but don't know as it's sometimes incorporated into your allotments society fee's, I think we are can't remember :blush:
He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.

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Oscar Too

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Re: Water Charges - Utd Utilities
« Reply #47 on: February 05, 2009, 11:37 »
Just found THIS.

University of Liverpool offering pro-bono (free) legal advice for the public good. Thought they may like to get involved as UU are within their area.

Good luck.

Rob 8)
Hello all, just been reading about this water business.  Came across this post - have you considered approaching the NSALG? (http://www.nsalg.org.uk/). If you are a member they also offer legal advice. See what they have to say about this.
Oliver

Thanks Oliver.  I'll be drafting a letter to their legal adviser at the weekend and submitting it through our association.

Oscar

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donald.cape

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Re: Water Charges Threat to Allotments
« Reply #48 on: February 05, 2009, 12:54 »
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Mikem

Sorry you think my reply was political. I only mentioned the parties involved to show people how our particular Council is made up.

I only posted my comments as a help to other fellow allotment holders and not as a political statement. I won't be letting you know what my MP and the Government are doing as you asked. I try to keep my politics and leisure activities apart, I will not be drawn into a political debate on this forum.

I suggest you contact your own MP for the answers to your questions.
I am a local Councillor representing my Ward members NO MATTER WHICH WAY THEY VOTE.
As far as I'm concerned this matter is now finished, I will be making no more comments on this subject

Donald Cape

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mikem

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Re: Water Charges Threat to Allotments
« Reply #49 on: February 05, 2009, 13:15 »
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Mikem

Sorry you think my reply was political. I only mentioned the parties involved to show people how our particular Council is made up.

I only posted my comments as a help to other fellow allotment holders and not as a political statement. I won't be letting you know what my MP and the Government are doing as you asked. I try to keep my politics and leisure activities apart, I will not be drawn into a political debate on this forum.

I suggest you contact your own MP for the answers to your questions.
I am a local Councillor representing my Ward members NO MATTER WHICH WAY THEY VOTE.
As far as I'm concerned this matter is now finished, I will be making no more comments on this subject

Donald Cape

I was not looking for a political debate; my response was not political, in fact the opposite, mearly suggesting that you should be close to the MP for your area (I don't know what party they may belong to) and as you said that "I'll let you know if I get any further" I presumed that you would be making further comment.  I honestly regret that this is not now to be the case as we are trying to resolve this issue with the water companies.  You will see from the above messages (3rd February) that I have already written to my MP.

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John

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Re: Water Charges Threat to Allotments
« Reply #50 on: February 05, 2009, 14:53 »
I do hope you can reconsider Donald - your contribution on this is valuable and much appreciated.

Check out our books - ideal presents

John and Val Harrison's Books
 

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Tinbasher

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Re: Water Charges Threat to Allotments
« Reply #51 on: February 06, 2009, 11:35 »
Yep, thanks for all the efforts.  I signed it t'other day.  No word from UU this week and they did say they would write.

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donald.cape

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Re: Water Charges Threat to Allotments
« Reply #52 on: February 07, 2009, 08:41 »
Hiya,
Sorry Mikem my comment was probably too harsh. I'll let the forum know if I get any further. I'm a "get my hands dirty" Councillor who is more interested in my Ward and it's local problems than national problems. That's what I fought my election campaign on, ie getting bins emptied and street lights repaired.

I talked to the Council' Green Spaces Officer yesterday about the drainage and the fact that we only have water from March to October yet the water rates state that the charge is for a year. She is going to chase it and come back to me if she gets anywhere.

Donald



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mikem

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Re: Water Charges Threat to Allotments
« Reply #53 on: February 07, 2009, 08:44 »
Hiya,
Sorry Mikem my comment was probably too harsh. I'll let the forum know if I get any further. I'm a "get my hands dirty" Councillor who is more interested in my Ward and it's local problems than national problems. That's what I fought my election campaign on, ie getting bins emptied and street lights repaired.

I talked to the Council' Green Spaces Officer yesterday about the drainage and the fact that we only have water from March to October yet the water rates state that the charge is for a year. She is going to chase it and come back to me if she gets anywhere.

Donald




Thanks, welcome back.  I am sure that we all appreciate your involvement.  :)

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donald.cape

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Re: Water Charges Threat to Allotments
« Reply #54 on: February 07, 2009, 12:21 »
Hiya,
I talked to my MP today while delivering leaflets (he's an old schoolmate of mine and he's OK) and asked him about our threefold rise in water rates. I wanted to find out the best way to get the Council to explain what United Utilities are charging for. If they are charging for water disposal when we aren't connected to the sewers or the rainwater disposal system then they (the council) and us as the people who are paying are being conned. He gave me some good advice on how to go about it.

I suspect the Council don't have a clue how the charges are made up and have just passed the United Utilities rise on to us without questioning it. I will be trying to find out this during the coming week but I might have to resort to using the Freedon Of Information Act.

There is also the possibility of my party group going to the media with this. If this happens it will be me that is leading. I'll keep you informed

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Yorkie

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Re: Water Charges Threat to Allotments
« Reply #55 on: February 12, 2009, 18:36 »
There's a website set up to oppose these charges, though I haven't explored it in any detail.

It's:

http://www.dontdrainus.org/

I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days all attack me at once...

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sedgie

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Re: Water Charges Threat to Allotments
« Reply #56 on: February 15, 2009, 20:58 »
Just signed the petition, and forwarded links to this forum and to the petition to the rest of our committee - I don't think any of us were/are aware of this.. we have a committee meeting next week and I will be pushing for individual letters to our MP - such as she is.
The climate is a unpredictable beast and we are poking it with sticks...

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Oscar Too

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Re: Water Charges - Utd Utilities
« Reply #57 on: February 15, 2009, 21:30 »
(I might regret this)

I've done a bit of campaigning, and have access to other campaigners.  If people are happy for me to do it, I'm happy to coordinate and monitor the campaign on this site, and try and link to other campaigns on the issue (sports clubs etc.)

In practise this would mean you letting me know what letters or emails you have sent, whether you've received a response, being happy to sign up for a longer campaign as I don't think one letter will do it, identifying other people affected in your areas, getting your local association involved and letting us know, all so that we can put together a coherent campaign and keep track on who has said what to which MP/Councillor/water company, and what results we are acheiving.

Before I go into greater detail, can people let me know whether they are happy for me to assume the role?



I've put together a pack with suggested letters, approaches, and information.  I'm sorry it's taken longer than I thought - I had the week from hell last week and couldn't get any time for personal internet use - meetings all day, work emails all evening.  It has settled back down again now.

I'll put the last bits of info in tomorrow, and post it up here.  I have addresses, suggestions for letters, and so on.  It's not anything anyone else could not have put together, but it is all in one place and may be useful.  I estimate that if someone were to start at the beginning of what I suggest, and work through to the end, it will take about an hour at the most.  Plus a few stamps and envelopes. 

I think it's important that we link to other local organisations that are (potentially) affected too - cathedrals, sports clubs, churches, scouts troops.  A united front will really turn the heat up on our MPs.  UNfortunately I can't research everyone's local scout troops etc, but I would urge people to make the connections if they can.

Til tomorrow....

Oscar

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Larkshall

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Re: Water Charges Threat to Allotments
« Reply #58 on: February 16, 2009, 08:19 »
I live in a rural area (it is at present) and we have had a serious drainage problem for over twenty five years. The sewer was put in in 1975 and the problem arose a few years later. When we have serious flood water (we are not in a flood plain) the sewer floods and we get paper and dodo over the footpath and into the ditch (which eventually goes into the Old West River). We have been unable to use our toilet for 5 days in the last week. We are the lowest point in the sewer and are the only house to have this problem. We have notified Anglian Water, The Environment Agency, our local MP and BBC Look East, to no effect.

I wonder if we can claim for failure to carry out what we are paying Anglian Water for. I have had to spend £55 to replace a old Thetford "Porta Potti", I am sending the invoice to Anglian water.  :mad: :mad: :mad:

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Oscar Too

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Re: Water Charges Threat to Allotments
« Reply #59 on: February 16, 2009, 12:35 »
Water Strategy.  Long but should help keep the pressure on.  Please read and please try to write the letters as suggested.  If we can build momentum, we can get this stopped.  Remember, an election is looming, lots of Labour and Conservative MPs will be nervous.



1)   Sign up to Richy’s petition at

http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/allotmentwater/

2)   Sign up to church charges petition at:

http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/ChurchWaterBills/

3)   Sign up to Daily Telegraph sports ground charges petition at:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/columnists/brianmoore/4077481/Join-Brian-Moores-petition.html

4)   Write to your MP, making the following points:
-   Community organisations such as churches, sports grounds, Scouts troops, schools, and especially allotments across the country are being charged at the same rate as commercial organisations for rainwater disposal
-   This change was approved by OFWAT
-   In many cases, the new charging structure represents an increase of up to 1000% on the old charges
-   For charges that are met by councils, such as schools, this means added pressure on the council tax and on council services.
-   Many other organisations will be forced to close or to severely limit their activities due to the new charges.
-   The charges are attracting high levels of protest.  40,000 people have signed a number 10 petition against levying charges on churches, 3,000 people have joined a Daily Telegraph campaign against charges on sports clubs.
-   Allotments are particularly affected.  Most sites have a large surface area but very low income.
-   The new charges could mean many allotment sites closing.
-   There are potentially ?,000 allotment holders in your constituency  who would be affected (please try and find out, if you can)
-   Please write to your colleagues the Minister for Environment, asking whether there are any plans to reduce rainwater disposal charges for community organisations such as allotment sites.
-   Please write to OFWAT, asking them whether there are any plans to reduce rainwater disposal charges for community organisations such as allotment sites.
-   Please write to [your local water company] asking whether there are any plans to reduce rainwater charges for community organisations
-   Please forward any responses received to [you]

Remarks to the letter:
The purpose of this letter is to 1) alert your MP to the charges structure; 2) show the breadth of opposition to the new charges from a wide range of community organisations and in all areas of the country, but especially your constituency, which will help to focus their mind on the next election; 3) make clear, concrete requests for action of them, to which you can return in a few weeks; 4) through those requests for action, alert Min of Environment, OFWAT and the local utility company to the depth of opposition to the charges.

The letter can be either paper-based, emailed through your MP’s website, or sent through a site such as www.writetothem.com which will identify your MP, councillors etc by entering your post code.


5)   Write to your council allotment officer, or parish allotment officer, asking whether they are aware of the new charges and what plans they have to meet them.

6)   Write to the chief exec of OFWAT yourself at
Ofwat
Centre City Tower
7 Hill Street
Birmingham B5 4UA
United Kingdom

asking whether there are any plans to reduce charges for community organisations.  Copy letter to your MP.

7)   Mobilise other allotmenteers, friends, neighbours, churches you have links to, scouts organisations, sports grounds, about the charges.  Encourage them to carry out steps 1-7 above.

8)   Get a paper-based petition going on your allotment site about the charges.  Suggested phrasing:
We the undersigned are concerned about the impact of new rainwater disposal charges upon our leisure activity [if you have any concrete figures, insert them here].  We call upon the Secretary of State for the Environment to instruct OFWAT to reduce these charges to their previous level, recognising the importance of allotments to health and wellbeing of communities.

9)   Let the chair of your local allotment association know of the charges and encourage them to carry out steps 1-7 above

Comments:

From my point of view, this charge is a disgrace.  The privatisation of utilities and natural monopolies is economically indefensible.  Making a profit from the provision of the basic necessities of life such as water is morally indefensible.  And the fact that the profit is to be increased by charges on community organisations shows how cynical the search for profit has become.  The fact that our MPs and government are allowing this to happen shows how blind to anything but big business they have become.



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Councils Selling Off Allotments

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