ONE MORNING ON WINN'S COMMON

from Nick Day
FEBRUARY 23rd 2016
This morning, with our CWP volunteers, I decided to tackle the eastern portion of Winn's Common north of Winn's Common Road. On the way we walked the route we had taken and litter-picked yesterday. It was depressing that we filled a carrier bag just twenty four hours later. And just three hours after that, walking back again just as far as Workhouse Wood I picked up four drinks cans, a plastic bottle and two crisp packets. I have suggested (again!) to the council that they organise a scrutiny committee to look into the whole question of environmental abuse. Litter is epidemic. In the nearly twenty-five years since the PCEG was founded the amount of litter has not diminished at all. In fact I would say it has increased. WE can at least be glad that the council, together with some committed volunteers, does seem to be better at dealing with it.

Well, you might not be quite so ready to agree with that if you had seen the absolutely gob-smackingly shocking amount of litter, refuse and fly-tipping we encountered on the portion of common leading from Grosmount Road down to the Rockmount Estate. The area has clearly not been touched for years. The sell-by dates on many of the half-buried snack packets was faded and illegible, but it was obvious from those we could read that this portion of open ground has not been litter picked for at least six years.
It was particularly annoying to see the amount of Mcdonalds take-away refuse. I started to collect it in a separate bag.
It's hard to see in a photo how bad this area is. This beautiful woodland has become a terrible eyesore.

The council Housing Department could perhaps persuade residents and the residents' associations to take some responsibility for the grounds so visible from their apartments?

We are prepared to spend some days at the site, but want some other agency to take responsibility for ensuring it never gets near to being in this terrible mess ever again.
Consistent drug abuse in the nature reserve and the paddling pool

This unsavoury weapon was found in the Plumstead Common Nature Reserve. We also found some syringe needles. We regularly find refuse from cannabis smoking by the Winn's Common paddling pool. This is unacceptable in areas that are used by children. We try to keep on top of it. The SNT have been alerted consistent problems in the nature reserve and have promised to patrol it, but the sad fact is that our police are hopelessly under-resourced.
Can you imagine how frustrating it is, after all the work we have done in Workhouse Wood, to walk round each morning and find this - and even dog-poo! - left for us to deal with before we start work.
The Travellers don't look like they will be moving on any time soon. The council must follow defined procedures before applying to court, amongst which are an assessment of welfare needs of the people in the encampment. The whole process can take weeks. Meanwhile the police can issue a Section 61 order if certain criteria are met:
1 Trespassers appear to be intending to reside there for a period.
- they do
2 They have been reasonably asked to leave by the council.
- they have
3 They have six or more vehicles with them on the land.
- they have
So why - you may ask - are people dragging their feet. The answer I have been given is that the police don't have the resources. Well, they don't even have the resources to respond to my emails on the subject. But then neither do two of the three ward councillors I have contacted about it!
When people care so much about - and commit so much to - the care and protection of our common this lack of response is very concerning.
Notice for PCEG members
Please can you look at the Notice Board page on the PCEG web site and let me know of any days you can cover for me? The response so far hasn't exactly been overwhelming and I have had to do some serious begging.
Sincere thanks to Chrissie, Chris, Alison, Cristina, Laurence and John who have provided invaluable cover for me so far since last October.
I promise you it needn't be hard and the CWP workers are fantastcily committed.
And this is what we collected in just one morning!
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