Notes from Sustainiara group meeting on 11th January 2023


Held at the home of Rafe on Inkerman Road

Present: Jeremy, David, Dilip, Harold, Rafe.
Apologies from Phil, Thomas, Jon N, Jon C, Don, Dee, Judith,

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Introductions
No introductions as everyone knew each other.

Rafe chaired the meeting, David took notes, and we used the previous notes as the agenda.

Knowledge sharing projects
Format for Questionnaire/survey
David suggested that we should each provide information about our own homes – the starting point of their structure, and then any work that we have done in terms of installation or installations. He agreed to create a format for assembling this information so we can learn from it.

Some info gained that could be incorporated into this knowledge sharing structure:
● Jon told some of us that his solar panel installation of eight panels was so effective that he reckoned it was a 2 1/2 year payback. He is linked to Octopus. This was vital information that David could include in the information sheet.
● We talked more about eco-friendly builders – this could be included, like the list of plumbers etc.
● Water butts and water saving measures.

Outstanding (with apologies) David, to draw up a format for a questionnaire/survey of peoples homes who have already taken some eco-steps.

Retrofit Knowledge share

There was a discussion about whether we could get a survey professional survey done of one or more buildings and extrapolate their results since the street properties are fairly homogenous. A professional survey would cost about £500 and there is a local organisation that does that – ecofurb (https://www.ecofurb.com)

However, we have local talent and experience so that someone like Rafe, Harold or Thomas Lefevre could probably give very well-informed advice. In particular drawing up the priorities for action, which are well-known: leaks round doors and up chimneys. Insulate the roof. Walls. Floor. Double glazing.

Jeremy told us that he had the loft space over half of the house insulated with Kingspan boards and plasterboard – for around £2.5K. He recorded the temperature in the room below with and without heating and it has never gone below 16.5 degrees C even in the recent freeze.

Open house – retrofit projects

We discussed the possibility of having an Open House Day on a local basis and focusing on eco-issues so that people would be prepared to talk to any visitors about steps they have taken, costs and payback times.

Muswell Hill have a Sustainability Open House day and the next national Open House Day(s), which is 6-17 September 2023, has a neighbourhood section.

Dilip has knowledge of an open house and volunteers to take that further.

Baseline for further work.
Discussion moved onto the purpose being to establish a baseline for what is happening in the area, and that broadened into questions as to whether we could somehow measure total energy use/carbon footprint for the area and monitor it for changes over time.

Rafe mentioned EPC: energy performance certificates which are required on the buildings.

Jeremy mentioned a radio four series “rethinking climate change” by Amol Rajan.

We returned to the subject of doing a survey of houses and the use of Google forms was mentioned either as something to send out to be completed online or printed out and take around to houses.

This led to the concept of “IARA style audit“ for houses.

Discussion moved on to broader issues of transport, car, ownership, car sharing and then onto long haul flights. We agreed that was a danger that any question or audit could become intrusive and alienating and we should stick currently to simple building issues.

Rafe to develop the idea of data collection for this baseline model.

Resilience to climate change
[Not discussed this time]
There was talk about the need for resilience to respond to extremes – both cold, rain and also high temperatures – 40° last year may just be the beginning.

Communication
[Not discussed this time]
Dee suggested that we have a stall at the Alma St Fair – if it happens. It was noted that there is still a need to communicate the overall issue of the need for climate mitigation and adaption.

Implementation Projects

Solar Panels
Both individual and the possibility of group sharing. Many of the roofs in the area are not particularly appropriate (and obviously flats or a particular problem) so there was discussion about whether we could install solar panels on other buildings.

Harold mentioned Power Up North London and Joju Solar and suggested that an area survey would be useful and could be done from the satellite images. There is also the possibility of bulk purchasing and procurement and Judith mentioned Solar Together.

In terms of installing solar panels, Harold mentioned that there is quite a lot of money for community energy projects and that Camden will give £25,000 contribution to a group solar installation. That might bring the cost down to below £3000 each but plus batteries. People could be introduced to a trusted supplier and could benefit from bulk buying.

David mentioned Kentish Town sports centre where Powerup North London are responsible for a project which is looking for £80,000 fundraising – as investments with a guaranteed return and Harold will supply more information about that.

Action: Continue discussion, helped by the knowledge share and survey project

[Later supplied information from Harold see end]

Heat pumps
[Not discussed this time]
We discussed heat pumps – ground or air – and we were told that ground source heat pumps requires 120 m and is not generally practical in the private garden spaces in our area as they are so small, but could be investigated in public areas such as roads.

Parklets and greening the area.
The issue was raised about the greening the police station with possible CIL money. David said that he understood that the police station was liable to be the subject of quite a lot of other work, so we agreed that we might simply look at “meanwhile use“ which might be much simpler and cheaper and could be done with community involvement rather than professional involvement. David will discuss this further with Dee and Judith. Action: David / Judith please update group on progress [post meeting note: Subsequent correspondence with Judith reminded David that IARA did actually apply for CIL money]

[This paragraph is a previous note] We referred again to the CIL money with local allocation and Judith and Dilip said we should be writing to our councillor Meric Apak. There was a suggestion that this should come from IARA and Judith said she would do some research. Harold suggested that the words “Climate Resilience“ might be quite effective.

Dilip and Jeremy have done a survey walking round the area and referred to the Parklet in Leighton Road, which is apparently connected with Joanna, who is also a part of PowerUp, North London.

They identified a number of possible locations in our area, including the top of Inkerman – backing up to the school.

David raised the point that there have been quite a lot of problems with school kids and their parents queueing up there – with litter, people sitting on cars and on garden walls. We worked round to the possibility of getting a climbing plant growing up the end wall/netting.

That was connected with the fact that other areas of London have initiated climbing plants up walls sometimes with local authority support. There was mention of this being a feature in Bruges.

There are gaps in Grafton Road, for potential tree, planting and some other streets.

In Raglan St there is a piece of land that could be planted up.

One obvious area that we all agreed on, was the end of Inkerman, where it goes on to Grafton. There is a dangerous corner in any event and could easily be closed off to the considerable benefit of MAP, who could turn it into a pleasant sitting out area.

Dilip and Jeremy suggested a potential arch over the end of Figtree Alley with growing plants. There is also the top of Anglers Lane, which currently has two tree pits currently adorned with tarmac, and we could produce more imaginative solutions.

In terms of Parklets, there was a discussion about the extent to which they should be simply the focus of greenery, and how much sitting space should be made available. Some people expressed concerns about litter and antisocial behaviour with noise late into the evening.

Jeremy and Dilip also referred to potential for community graffiti on the bridge over Grafton Road. One side already has HOPE. The other side could have something about Inkerman village or Crimean village.

We referred to the fact that the Fleet River runs through our area and there were suggestions, some of them very imaginative about putting a water turbine into it, putting a microphone into it presumably with a loudspeaker in the street.

Harold mentioned the Fleet Valley pocket park off Grays Inn Road and this is a part of something called SUDS – sustainable drainage.

The issue with community car share was raised with us all agreeing that the streets are currently in fact car parks for cars which are 99% unused.

Dilip and Jeremy are going to follow this up.

Community Car Share

Phil in Ryland Road is extremely well placed, being involved with Hyacar but we referred to his recent posting about the difficulty arising from obstruction by Camden, who not only do not support this, but are actually talking about removing the only potential car share bay in the area on the basis that it is too near a corner. Harold said that he would make some enquiries.

The area in Inkerman opposite “ the pink house“ is where the current car share bay is. If that were removed, then the bay next to the charging point could be adopted and it could become something of a Green Mobility Hub. It was suggested that that might be a good use for CIL money.

David and Phil are going to follow this up

Cargo Bikes
[Not discussed this time]
Judith and Jon have both investigated cargo bikes where there is a potential for borrowing one with three hours free use that currently no availability. Judith and Jon are going to follow this up.

The idea of a “Local Locker” could be a part of this

Jon referred to transport issues, including the problem of bike theft that he had recently been a victim of.

We looked at the aims as on the WhatsApp group title page with emphasis on action for change and limiting ourselves to local, Inkerman area issues.

This is:
An IARA sub-group to help organise and share knowledge of Climate, Sustainable and Regenerative action in the Inkerman Area.

For example:

  • Climate / carbon / energy /PV
  • Travel / Car pool / shared bikes, cars and other vehicles / EV charging
  • Public realm / Parklets / seating
  • Recycling / Reuse / exchange
  • Buildings / insulation / retrofit / grants
  • Shopping locally
  • Biodiversity / tree planting / gardening

Strategy and Coordination with other groups

Strategy
[Not discussed this time]
There was a focus on the bigger strategic issues, and Harold said that the main aim should be climate resilience, and we agreed that it should be climate mitigation, aiming for zero carbon plus resilience.

Cargo bikes, community car share and “local lockers” were discussed – but info included in the projects section below.

Post meeting note – Rafe has updated the WhatsApp group descriptions accordingly

Biodiversity
[Not discussed this time]

David said that one of the aims related to street trees and gardens, and there might be some overlap with the established WhatsApp group dedicated to trees, which had in fact, been carrying out quite effective action for some time.

Dee emphasised the link to biodiversity.

At Dilip’s suggestion, we agreed to delete Trees and Gardens from the list but keep Biodiversity, and he emphasised that we need to relate to the wider area, and have coordination with the ‘trees group’.

Formality / Informality
[Not discussed this time]
Rafe moved back onto the next item about Formality and whether we should have minutes or notes and all agreed that we should, but not anything more formal than that.

Dee talked about the need for transparency to encourage local interesting part dissipation and we should use the IARA AGM and the website to encourage this. She also mentioned that the current KTNF aims are very ungreen and she’s working on that. Dee was happy to be the link to KTNF and to report / liaise if needed

We talked further about other WhatsApp subgroups and some of us learnt that there is now a WhatsApp group for EV which currently has a membership of six. There is also a three person bird group and there was discussion about having a bicycle sharing group. The tree group consists of 23 participants (and we didn’t even discuss the dog group.) There is also a Walks and Local history group.

Any Other Business

The meeting ended at 9.30

Meeting every 2nd Wed of every other month.
Next one: 8pm 8th March

Later information from Harold re Talacre Power Up N London  

  • The share offer will be launched by Power Up North London (PUNL) at the end of January. 
  • They are seeking £80k to fund solar on Talacre 
  • GLL (the leisure operator) will be sold power at 15% discount to market rates. PUNL will sell power not used on site to the grid 
  • Anyone can invest with min investment at £250 and will be paid 4% pa. Investment is at risk. 
  • Buying shares in PUNL means you will automatically become a member of the Community Benefit Society. Members are entitled to receive the Society’s annual accounts, vote at the Society’s Annual General Meetings, and stand for election to the Board of Directors. Members will democratically decide of future projects and the allocation of funds from PUNL’s Community Energy Fund 

Community Solar @ Talacre Community Sports Centre – a Community crowdfunding project in London by powerupnorthlondon (crowdfunder.co.uk)