Showing posts with label Friends of Barnes Common. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Friends of Barnes Common. Show all posts

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Emission Zone Consultation

I filled-in the form that says "do you want to pay more tax by being fined for small contraventions?"  At the top it says

Have your say on changes to the
Ultra Low Emission Zone &
Low Emission Zone

There is some evidence here

There is a form here

A lot of people fill-in these forms and write
"yes: I want to be part of a big bossy system without thinking of better options".
Shitbags. Which may sound rude but that's what the people who want more fines and rules and zones think of the typical person who gets fined, and of course they get fined themselves now and then as well because we all do by mistake.

So this is what I wrote on the final "further comments" section:

I am against everything!
I need to write a more careful response based on the headings of your evidence document, but I probably won't, or won't be well informed, so here is something off the cuff.


I think there must be a lot more to be done to trap particles in plant leaves, because I see no new hedges or schemes at all. No honeysuckle, no virginia creeper, nothing. I can't remember the name of the dutch plant developed for the purpose, with a name that's a pun on dope smoking, so I googled and saw that "plants to reduce particle pollution levels the most", "how do trees reduce air pollution", and  "pollution preventing plants" are common searches and guess that there are plenty of expert advisers who could suggest the best possible plants to use as hedges while something is planted anyway, perhaps in pots to remove when a better plant can be found to make a hedge on the central reservation of Edgeware Road or the crash barriers of Westway.


I hoped to see something about the need for safer parks with more wilderness and undergrowth - something that happens at near zero cost. What I see day to day is councils cutting-back undergrowth to prevent gay cruising and suit the tastes of politically active local groups, such as Friends of Barnes Common or Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery (set up under Mayer Rahman). I'm told that Hyde Park has police patrols at night to prevent or reduce cruising after dark, despite the cost to the police budget and the effect of gay cruisers in making parks safer places. I think I saw that the Royal Parks still discourage cycling for no reason at all in some cases as well. Hampstead Heath, run by the City Corporation, has teams of people on public money cutting back the undergrowth to discourage gay cruisers, all paid-for out of our taxes and reduced public services.

So I think there is a need to embarrass and arm-twist councils and the Royal Parks into spending less money on this, promoting wilderness that is good for the environment, and promoting gay cruisers as people who make the streets and parks safer at night.


What scares me is that a visitor or somebody without the internet who is not clued-up will face a big fine by mistake, just for driving an old banger because unable to afford something new.  I think a lot of us have been fined or had a near-miss for driving in the congestion zone by mistake.

I am scared that tired international lorry drivers of travelers or Uber drivers or Hermes delivery people will end-up facing fines, and that the people who can't make a living as mini cab drivers will make even less of a living because of higher costs and difficulty of complying with the system.

I don't have an immediate solution but some kind of first warning system, by which those who broke the rules were given free advice on how to comply with the law, with a possible extra tax on all drivers related to a particular company or customer if
it's believed that that system encourages new drivers to try to use ignorance and poverty as ways of competing more cheaply.

I don't have an immediate response to the types of vehicles allowed to congest, except to say that I don't understand, so that maybe the problem is one of presentation. If the rule where presented as "electric only - and a long list of detailed exceptions", then I might take to it more.

(PS That's one of the scares among other more obvious ones like the zone getting to where I live and me having to pay more.)


I suggest that a lot of the jobs done in central London are pointless. The person who comes to your table at a pub and says "how was your soup?". The person who changes your bed linen in a hotel. The tourist who stays in the hotel without realizing that Cardiff would be cheaper. The visiting head of state, entourage, and police. The culture or sport event like the Olympics (promoted by the Foreign Office to promote Soft Power abroad., as imagined by someone paid more than double the average wage by the Foreign Office, who lives in the home counties when in the UK and does not much use UK public services.)

There is a list of the top 20 degree-awarding colleges by numbers of international students they attract. It's easy to get a number of international students at these colleges in London, I think, and the number is about the same a the number of long distance commuters who commute between regions the UK in or out of the London region. It is a number with the same number of noughts after it. So, a system to encourage international students to go to Lampeter or Coleraine or West Highlands and not the usual boring courses that home students avoid in central London would be good all-round. Maybe the people who promote these courses should co-operate with those from Ireland who do the same thing.

All of these jobs could be discussed more in some way that I don't know off-the-cuff but maybe a series of lectures and discussions or TV programs.


I glanced at the evidence document and saw that the pattern of buying things from China or an intermediate warehouse, rather than from a walk-in chainstore that imports from China or even one that buys from the UK, is likely to lead to more van deliveries over time, with emissions and congestion attached, and so a need for more zones and taxes.

There are different ways of responding to this.


reducing the value of the pound to increase home production

I suggest that the government needs more ways of reducing inflation than simply waiting for the Bank of England to put the exchange rate up (high interest rates leading to high exchange rates) and killing-off UK manufacturing. The effect is for more people in the UK to seek service jobs that are traditionally based in the south, London, Edinburgh, and not the North East or Gwent. So I think it is in Londoner's interest for more ways to be found of reducing inflation when the Monetary Policy Committee thinks there is a danger of it. The job is to un-pick their reasoning, encourage debate, and put to the problem to the public as part of that debate. Oddly enough, some of the economics courses that attract international students to the centre of London are no good at that. That's why the LSE is the second least popular degree-awarding institution on the Guardian University Guide's list by student feedback, second only to University of the Arts.


promoting services like click and collect

I suggest that the regional government of any over-crowded city should try to advertise click-and-collect services at local newsagents and such, as a way to prevent people expecting a delivery at home when they might not be in, so that someone on low wages has to keep driving round and ringing door bells.

That's all I can think of off the cuff.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Sons of Divine Providence T/a Orion

Council funding over £500 is public nowadays, as spreadsheets.

"Sons of Divine Providence T/a Orion".looked a bit frightening. Like Jimmy Saville with knobs on. Scroll down to tbe bottom of this blog post and you will see what I mean, even though inspectior's reports are good.

The Royal Borough of Richmond upon Themes is the council that paid The Catholic Childrens Society to provide schools counselling services, just after that organisation ceased being an adoption agency to avoid prosecution. They would have been prosecuted for refusing to talk about gay fostering and adoption or allow it. Richmond council didn't give much information about that:

Suspicious about Sons of Divine Providence T/a Orion (but not keen to do a load of work digging I don't know if this spending is down to someone who needs social care, and their guardian. It could be that a faith-group enthusiast is responsible for someone with learning difficulties, and asked the council to fund this particular care home. So I don't know if the choice of care home has anything to do with the council.

Suspicion led to prosecution and judgements aganist the mayor of Tower Hamlets a few years ago. I was interested in Tower Hamlets Council because they helped fund a bunch called "Ethical Fashion Forum" along with "Ethical Fashion Bloggers" and a cheap office for another bunch called "Pants to Poverty" at a building called "Rich Mix", which was an arts centre and small workshop letting space apparently, built at headling-grabbing cost on the site of a nearly identical building which was knocked-down to make space. Each of these organisations was something other than it first seemed; none was much of a trading company or trade association or a group of bloggers. After all, why would a group of bloggers have an office address? Each group was influenced, I think, by an advertising agency called Futerra, which was keen on free trade at the expense of producers in democratic welfare states and their potential staff, often in Tower Hamlets according to unemployment stats from jobcentres..

Part of the time the council was controlled by Mr Rahman, trading as THF, a political party. These are paragraphs from the court judgement that removed him.

"In essence the allegation against Mr Rahman is that considerable money was paid to organisations (including media organisations) operating within the Bangladeshi community by way of grants, with the corrupt intention that those who belonged to or benefitedfrom those organisations would be induced to vote for him and for THF"

"It is said that undue religious influence was exercised so as to convince Muslim voters that it was their religious duty to vote for Mr Rahman and THF"

I have got about half way through the judgement and may not ever read to the end, but it suggests why a council should back causes associated with a faith group in order to boost the vote, and do it in un-stated ways. A council might write "thinning" to claim a woodland management grant to reduce "invasive speces ... knotweed", when everybody knows they want to stop gypsies and gay people using a piece of park, and there is a stonking-great 2m height restriction built to stop caravans getting in and a ginormous ground clearing operation, applied only to areas used for cruising, to make gay people more vulnerable to crime and to discourage them.

Barnes Common, Friends of Barnes Common, and the anti-cruising clearances

Richmond Council claimed a £40,000 grant for thinning woodland in order to protect native grassland and prevent invasive knotweed on the south side of Barnes Common. Action  not wanted needed or done. Spending is on the north side. The council's client organisation, "Friends of Barnes Common", said half of this after a training session from a group at Tower Hamlets Cemetry, where they went for a walk-around and introduction to techniques for reducing cruising.

They spent £60,000 on "regularising" a car park with floodlights on masts which happen to shine in to the cruising area to annoy and endanger the gay cruising taxapayers of Richmond upon Thames.

Funny what councils do isn't it? I thought they had a duty to provide social care, education, social housing, and maintenance of minor roads with the taxpayers' money they get. To be fair to them, I saw another payment to "Eagle House School", which is some wierd place I had to go when I was 8-13 years old. I wouldn't recommend it to future generations any more than - from the look of it - I would recommend this bunch. Both probably pass care quality commission tests and I checked that this one does. But it looks like Jimmy Saville with knobs on, saying something very strange about parents and funders that is nothing to do with what's best for someone with learning difficulties.
Sainthood is obviously stupid and promotes people like Jimmy Saville

Monday, 29 February 2016


guerrilla fruit tree planting: where guerrilla get apple trees

Some shops sell fruit trees under ten pounds on short special offers each spring - maybe February. Their web sites suggest ringing a branch to check if a special offer is still in stock. Stock is kept out of doors - maybe in a small bin by the front door to see if passing.
  • - has an offer page on their web site
  • - no web info 
  • - the ones with garden sections - see web site
  • - has an offer page on their web site
  • - has an offer page on the web
  • Branded Garden Products was cheap on ebay when checked April 2016 for people who buy enough to pay for the courier
  • Hotukdeals searched for "fruit trees" during the past month might find more
    Walk-in shops have trouble scanning bar codes for large objects and so have the same bar code for assorted trees, making stock control unlikely, so if you turn-up a week after stock has come-in, you are likely to get the trees nobody wants from a bunch of assorted - things with "cooking" on the label, pears or golden delicious. That leaves the problem of how to know the beginning date of the special offer.

    It's possible to subscribe to shop email offer lists via an email service like gmx that can divert all emails with certain words in them, or just to a spare email address and glance at it in spring, or to use a service like changedetection to try to monitor their web sites or facebook pages for certain words. Notes on hotukdeals suggest that February & March offers at aldi & poundstreacher are cheap. It may be possible to talk to humans in smaller shop branches like Poundstretcher and make arrangements, but that's not a tested idea.

    Bushes like thornless raspberry are cheaper and available at some of the pound shops.

    Very rare reductions of sale stock trees are worth pouncing-on but are like gold at the end of rainbows.
Explanatory Note:
So far, so good but there is a list of things I do not know headed "guerrilla do not know" further down: use control+F on most browsers to find it. After seeing trailers for Tarzan, I think I have an idea how guerrillas would speak if they could, and sometimes adopt the style in a tokenistic way or to provide positive images as some equal opportunities trainers suggest. Dogs horses and other animals are welcome to try to read this as well but I doubt they will be able to plant trees because they are smaller or have hooves.
B&Q sell the odd little fruit tree all year and very occasionally table of clearance-price fruit trees, which are cheaper if you look over 60 and get 10% off on Wednesdays with a special card. Stressful jobs and an unhealthy lifestyle help. Burgers. Addictive behaviour. Rough sleeping. Time inside. My partner - an ex teacher - got a clearance-price tree at £8 or £7.20 with a discount card; I don't know how rare that clearance price is, but the special card for white haired people is well known to anyone with white hair who goes to B&Q; a specially employed silverback pounces and says "do you have one of our Wednesday discount cards?". Those who have a spare email address for junk emails also get online accounts of transactions, which are useful for silverback guerillas who don't want to scan receipts.

Grafting is what people do if they want to make a living at this. If anyone is near SW14 8BP, I can lend special grafting pliers which I have never used but are meant to cut twigs in some V-shaped way so they are more likely to grow if bandaged together.

Norfolk's has offers on grafted bare root fruit trees usually only open to regular wholesale customers this spring 2016. No details online. Ian Sturrock and Son's youtube videos on grafting mention that a delivery of 1,000 bits of rootstock in bushels of 50 cost about 60p each at the time of the video, plus VAT and delivery, and rising to £2 each for smaller wholesale batches, and plus the time spent grafting because they're sold as stalks for grafting rather than as usable fruit trees. The supplier was Frank P Mathews.

Warwickshire's mail-order-only firm, offers £2 rootstock and a wide range of fruit trees or mixed special offers on top of £7.50 delivery, and another trading name on ebay. Offers are often for future delivery at a fixed time of year.

Homebase had £10 fruit trees and might be able to order the disease-resistant Egremont Russet or Spartan varieties or have them in stock. The trees are twice the price online but there used to be a regular three-for-two bare root fruit trees offer which brought the cost back down again if you value delivery at a tenner. Once in a blue moon - like when they want to clear space for Christmas trees or there's a blizzard - trees left on the shelves might be reduced under £10. That's mingey pair cherry and cooking apple trees that need adopting, or ones the new manager reduces by-mistake instead of watering. Moneysavingexpert has theories about how staff are instructed to allow haggling, if you get a medium-ranking one on a quiet day and ask if they'll do 10% off for buying two or three trees. It says that Homebase staff are allowed quite a bit of haggle.

Ebay sometimes has spring-optimist sellers who think they can pay for a tree, ebay fees, paypal fees, and a courier for £10 or under. Searching "Distance: nearest first" and "price plus postage and packing: lowest first" works on the classification for
Garden & Patio
>Plants, Seeds & Bulbs>Plants & Seedlings>Fruits

This is the same link with a search for price plus postage & packing, lowest first.
Searching this April 2016, there were offers after the first page or so. A search for Distance > Nearest First might get more locally-adapted and healthier trees of there are any. The ones available by mail order look small and likely to need a good spot to grow in for the first year or two.

The cheapest seller on Amazon has trees delivered for not much more than the Homebase offer, but more spindly - a bit like Lidl and Aldi by the look of the photo. Groupon often have bulk offers from garden4less who have appeared on Rogue Traders apparently. Talking of which, I suppose it's rude to nab the odd pencil-thin new twig from someone else's apple tree, but a note on trashnothing or streetbank offering to collect apple tree prunings might get a reply, specially if you offer to prune the tree. That just leaves the job of buying rootstock or grafting onto something that comes to hand.

People who want traditional orchard varieties - maybe restoring traditional orchards with a countryside stewardship grant - might find local varieties and sellers via > about-orchards > fruit-varieties including suggested sellers. There's a free offer and request map on
Just from googling, ten trees for a bit over ten pounds each plus the same again for delivery come from Devon's Talaton plants incorporating  They are geared to small wholesale orders and other similar nursaries - such as one you can get to for collection of pre-paid trees by appointment - might try to match prices. "As an example a tree can cost you as little as £8.00 for orders of more than 25 trees with further discounts on orders over £500", plus 20% VAT and delivery, says their web site. Ian Sturrock and Sons of Bangor have been known to reduce some common varieties to £11 + VAT + the same again for delivery at the end of March. There's a link to some of their videos at the bottom of this page.

People who have done all this before are more keen to promote variety and local varieties and reduce blight. Orangepippin fruit trees are expensive but their web site compares disease resistance snd suggests varieties like Egremont Russet, Spartan and Bardsley, or what ever is healthiest in a particular part of the UK such as in towns or soils or temperatures or clusters of disease. This can be done even more cheaply by an expert: simply graft twigs from a healthy tree onto anything that can take the graft, but it takes a bit of skill and courage I guess. The cost of too many people taking a twig from a public tree on is high. Failed grafting mistakes look bad.

guerrilla orchard space

Councils, the ministry of transport and others have forgotten flower beds and verges and ticky-tacky where something can be planted and nobody cares - you just get a funny look from passers-by while you are doing it. Even the car parks round garden centres are in need of a few fruit trees. Todmorden is a hotbed according to the Independant.

I've planted 4 trees in a graveyard, of which one was pulled-up or died and was left there, three in a wood of which the most public two might have gone and the other remains, one on busy tow-path near allotments, which was uprooted and taken, and several in a forgotten council flower bed at the end of my road. One of them turned-out to be in the shadow of another tree but the others are OK. I've left labels on the trees so that people don't pull them up by mistake, but the same labels encourage people to pull them up deliberately. Generally, I made a point investing not too much money or energy into each plant - I planted the cheapest possible trees in the quickest possible time and when I needed an excuse for a walk - so I didn't feel too grieved by the plants that didn't last.

guerrillas use tools to plant fruit trees

guerilla fruit tree planting: picture of the roots of a cheap tree
  • A trowel or kitchen implement might help scoop hard soil, if you can saw through any little roots that hold soil down with a serrated knife like a bread knife. You can see from the picture that a tree bought with roots wrapped in cling-film or a tiny pot is no big deal to plant, but has a bit of trouble staying upright on the strength of its little roots. Something bought cheaply or reduced for quick sale might have even fewer surviving roots. I have not tried drilling a deep hole for a bamboo stick cadged from a supermarket car park verge, but expect the technique would work. Then you have to fasten the sapling trunk to the stick for a year or two, but you probably have a bit of black clingfilm just unwound from the root ball, so that will do the job.
  • A lack of embarrassment helps, and an ability to do the job relatively fast and dirty so that if the tree gets removed or dies or gets cut-down by the council, you continue like a good soldier. You need to enjoy the idea of strangers picking the fruit as well, unless it's possible to anticipate the earliest possible date you can get to the place and pick the stuff yourself. I don't know if there is a way of putting a net under the tree so that falling fruit is less likely to be eaten by slugs and more likely to be eaten by passers-buy.
  • Tools with strength to stamp-on, to wield, and lever: these help if easy to borrow and bring to the site: crow-bars, or picks and shovels, or spades, which are meant to be a cross between picks and shovels. Talking of stamping, thick-sole boots that mould to the shape of your feet are available from 

nursing fruit trees for sale

There are several sites about this by enthusiasts. Someone willing to cut-off the bottoms of root stock and grow them up in the back yard, then make grafted-together trees to grow a bit more and show in the front yard might make a tenner from a hobby and another from selling via myhermes and ebay, classifieds sites with their own mobile number for work and a postcode or address, and a sale-or-return wholesale offer to someone with a market stall. It doesn't have the sound of a business that could make a living, because I imagine that there is machinery best used on a larger field that can cut-down the labour; there is also specialist skill like web design more easily hired from specialists by a larger organisation, and there is a long history of fiddling exchange rates and tariffs down by bad countries and up by richer countries. Then there is the cost of social insurance in richer countries which are skimped in the others. Lastly there is the price of housing in richer countries.

But web design is getting easier and hydroponics could solve the labour problem as well: grow in troughs of sludge. Housing costs vary between people; you might have retired and just find yourself living somewhere with a garden. Anyway this could work as a hobby. You would need a sane council and landlord on your side to sell very obviously in the front yard if planning zones and tenancies forbid this.

    spades: a digression on buying picks and spades

    Spades are not completely necessary nor desirable if you want to look sane when stopped and asked what you are doing, but knives might be worse, and spades or picks can add leverage to the process of making a hole, and force to the process of of cutting clods and roots. Picks and shovels are good ways of moving a lot of earth; spades combine the two in a more suburban way as you know.

    Ebay is a source of mid-market shovels and spades made in a democratic welfare state - the UK - under the Bulldog brand. Prices on ebay start from the mid 20s, delivered new to Argos or second-hand. come from another UK factory - mainly making pick-axe like adze tools that are slightly cheaper and have a section on ebay. There are also people on ebay selling a "ladies spade" and a "folding shovel", should the need arise; sometimes army surplus shops have folding shovels too apparently.

    Spades you can stand-on might be borrowable from (which needs its own email address because it keeps sending updates) or neighbours, or cadge-able on which includes Freecycle. That "might" sounds more positive when put the other way around. If you get a spade and change your mind, it will go quickly if put in the street with a sign saying "if you want it, take it", or advertised as a gift on trashnothing or for loan on streetbank. If you work out how to send it on myhermes, you could even sell it on ebay. There is no need to waste a spade.

    More complicated arrangements exist via which encourages tools from council tips to be sent to prison workshops for mending & giving. The danger is that handling time costs more than the cost of a spade dumped from an autocratic country with no welfare state and fiddled exchange rates, and a trip to a spade shop for you. Conservationfoundation tell donors that a spade costs them £8. This is before adding costs to council tips and prisons, minus any benefits to prisoners. Plus the cost of reading & writing  words like "centre" and "community" which go-along with the thing as much as committees and un-invested reserves; words like "centre", "community" & "community" rot the will to live but - hey! - people survive those just as people survive time in prison.

    If you want the spontaneity that comes with owning a cheap spade, the usual shops have rust-able bendy spades for a tenner and Wickes slightly cheaper but Wilko, if you are near one, breaks the pattern and has spades for a fiver delivered free to any of their branches if you pay online first. (Wilko is silent about selling fruit trees on its web site, except to say which branches have free a car park and so probably have somewhere to store them). BnM stores linked at the top of the page have a picture of a spade for the same price, and a note asking you to ring a branch in case they have one in stock. B&Q have them for £6.87. Asda doesn't advertise spades on the web site but sometimes has them on the shelves and much-reduced in clearance sales according to hotukdeals. Reviews of the Wickes one say that the bottom of the shaft can break when used with leverage for digging, so maybe it's not much better than a picture of a spade. Reviews of the Wilco spade range from "broke in half" to "makes digging easier".

    guerrilla poo

    Compost is not necessary but a load of old leaves or anything you happen to make anyway could be buried a little way away or left on-top to stop weeds competing; softening of soil with a fork might help. If I understand the more expert advice right, it is to put nutrients are best some way from the trunk of the tree so that roots have to go further and so keep the thing upright.

    For more expert advice there are a couple of upmarket nurseries with stuff on their web sites. This one has a quick method for small trees in soft soil.
    "For 1-year bare-root dwarf trees (i.e. with a dwarf root system) an alternative planting method is worth considering, known as "notch planting". Make two notches in the ground with a spade (in a 'L' or 'T' configuration), lever the soil out slightly, drop the tree into the gap (making sure the roots are spread out into the gap), and lever the soil back and firm down. This method may seem almost too quick and casual, but it has the great advantage of minimising damage to the soil structure, and provides much better anchorage for the tree than is possible with a conventional planting hole. However it only really works with maiden dwarf trees, and the ground needs to be light (or cultivated earlier in the year in readiness" has twigs from loads of fruit varieties for grafting and there are probably videos on youtube to show how to do it. Twigs are £4.50 for one including £2 postage. Other suppliers might come-up under searches like "apple scion uk grafting".

    I have planted all trees so far without stakes, but council trees appear with grand stakes over an inch thick - often two of them - and rubber bungees to show the tree what it's expected to do when it grows-up. If anyone knows more about this than me and thinks that stakes are worthwhile, there are often old pallets around to dissect or such.

    So there you have it. Every time nothing much has happened in a week or you pass the grey oblivion of a DIY superstore, check for a very cheap fruit tree and keep it to plant it furtively where nobody cares. If enough people have dull weeks, there will soon be more fruit trees about, more chances for people to live without having to do day-jobs, and people will be happier.

    guerrillas talking to other guerrillas is a site where you can post a picture of your work to show-off. There were some posts on message boards a few years ago in some major towns. Elephant & Castle was a hotbed.

    People with some kind of organised association in place with
    a bank account 
    a governing document for a non-profit organisation
    a folder of any papers to show the organisation exists and so get a bank account
    a cover-story about planting trees with permission from the landowner & patience...
    can even get a grant to do the same thing. Basically, schools and associations. > projects > fundraising) is a forum where people often post up-to-date details. Tesco & Olswang lawyers sometimes make grants.
    "To register volunteering opportunities, please use your project page or select the relevant option on an event form"
    Writing-in to say "I have no organisation or right to plant but can provide receipts" has not worked for me. I have some of the receipts, if anyone would like to fund me anyway.
    ...links to three short lists of funders UK-wide, occasionally updated.
    It's annoying that people who just want to plant a fruit tree can't get a free fruit tree in exchange for a photo of where planted, because other groups do get the money. Groups that are not set-up t balance demands from conflicting interest groups, any more than their funders should be spending this money on trees instead of people. Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetry Park is an example of a group that employs paid people and volunteers, when the salary and possibly the volunteer effort could be used on social care as taxpayers expect when paying high taxes in a welfare state. To spend otherwise is like an insurance company failing to settle your claim but saying "we planted a daffodil instead".

    The cost of an apple in lost government services like social care

    The £4,000,000 Big Tree Plant is closed to new applicants. As a minister, it would be hard to resist the thought: "I can't do much with this budget, but I can get loads of trees planted", and with luck the scheme started a momentum of planting. A £48,000 research report funded by the Big Lottery Fund which paid nearly half a million for this & that research reports states that community groups were asked to raise matched funding, and that it was hard for them to keep within the £4 per tree budget even with matched funding sometimes greater - so £8 or £10 a tree. That's before the central costs of government and large organisations organising the grant, small groups organising to claim it, and other groups like charities and councils processing requests for matched funding. Some of the trees were full size, but the figures suggest that DIY planting is cheaper, where a guerrilla is prepared to pay for the tree at a supermarket; special offer prices have been known to go down to £4 at poundstretcher at the end of March.

    A fault of this kind of research is that it is twee, fey, safe; it does not mention hidden uses of the woodland for things like gay cruising and rough sleeping, nor the cost of endless committees encouraged by grant schemes. For example there is now a local scheme to be funded about £40,000 by Richmond Council for purposes including "opening up lines of site" near gay cruising areas which are then patrolled at further cost by police with bright torches and headlights. The group called Friends of Barnes Common that got £40,000 off taxpayers has just paid a visit to Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, after an introduction organised by South West London Environmental Network (SWEN).

    - being receptive to hosting public artworks - the bench was installed for free in the park through Annin Arts and a broker agency.  - a tolerance to what people do in the park as long as it doesn't damage, disturb others or the wildlife - a constant vigilance and attention to the whole space, with a 'cracked window pane' approach to repairing and responding immediately to any anti-social behaviour  - their approach to trouble: make it known to the people doing it that you know what they're doing and why they shouldn't be doing it. For example, if people are sleeping rough, Ken collects all their stuff, keeps it back at the centre and puts up a sign saying that sleeping rough is not allowed in the park and they can come and get their stuff to take it away, and he leaves a phone number they can call for support if they are homeless. Or for cruising or alcohol abuse, to leave a laminated sign in the location saying that the park staff know what's happening, and asking people to clear up after themselves and not to come back. To make visible what others are trying to make invisible means you deter them, because you've drawn attention to it. They have also contacted local support groups and networks to communicate about behaviour they don't want in the park. - Ken is very affable, energetic, friendly and approachable as a park mananger and avoids the more traditional role of a park officer  Our thanks to Ken and Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park for an inspiring and insightful tour. We took lots of ideas and good practice away with us and really enjoyed the morning in this special place.
    The quotes are clear; the conflicts of what counts as anti-social behaviour are not, despite Friends of Tower Hamlets Park getting an Observer Ethical Award from the person at The Observer who knows about ethics (What is Ethical Fashion? - and who got the idea going? It's a scheme to promote unfair competition from badly run countries, and you partly paid to get it going through taxes).
    • Paying £174,700 out of local money when there is not enough for social care. I count that as anti-social behaviour. It's not complicated. The money spent for an employee with the initiative to work alone for a committee is the same as the money spent on a carer at a respite day centre for people with Alzheimer's and their carers, or for someone who works in an old peoples' home. It may be more. or any other search for the avarage wage in the UK suggests high figures under £30,000, but living in London and answering to a committee is a tricky job that's worth more.

      Compare this to the salary of somone in a day centre, full time or part time, who provides a chance for people with alzheimers to get away from their carers. Or any other similar service. If you want to measure the number of people helped, you get a large number for the day centre person who uses tax money as intended by taxpayers, rather than the park keeper person as used by the committee people quoted above.
    • Taking rough-sleepers' bedding and giving it back with a phone number is, I think, anti-social behaviour because the phone call will not result in a hostel bed for the night in most, sane cases and is even less likely in eccentric and less sane cases like the people who have been evicted in the past but don't have any specific alms-house-style rooms available for people with mental health problems that make them bad tenants. I write "alms-house-style" because the layout of some old almshouses, round a courtyard but ground-floor and self-contained, is good for eccentric residents and probably doesn't need three-shift cover from wardens. Thamesreach Bermondsey scheme is a good recent example of what you see in old almshouse buildings all over the place. When I say "mental health problems" I mean problems as seen by neighbours; the person themself may be used to coping in their own way and not be keen to join a discussion group or take prescribed medicine or anything like that. The problem to society is one of containment that is fair to the contained person and fair to taxpayers. Prison is very expensive to taxpayers. A place in an almshouse-like building is much cheaper and fairer on the person who copes in their own way but troubles neighbours.
    • "Cruising ... laminated notice ... park staff know what's happening and asking people to clear up after themselves and not come back." That's not behaviour that a council would fund towards a mosque, any more than they would find work to "open up lines of site" and then ask police to shine the brightest lights into prayer meetings. It's more like the old "no dogs no blacks no Irish" signs that could be seen in the odd pub decades ago, but, this time, our taxes pay for it.

    The best of both

    If the next minister wants grafters to get cheap cuttings, I don't know what to suggest. Something might come to mind later.

    If the next minister wants to allow cheap saplings to be planted on public ground, I suggest a scheme to encourage councils and anyone else who owns bits of communally-used land to write a cheap note on the web to say "we do not prosecute well-intentioned planters of trees for human food, and may publish detailed guidance on our web site at..." which initially refers to the ministry's own template or - more expensive to taxpayers - publishes a local scheme which is probably just the same and costs loads of taxpayers' money in officials' time that ought to be spent on social care and benefits.

    If the next minister wants planters to find cheap saplings, I suggest a talk with the ministers for tax and business to get more information published from tax offices about who makes what in the UK. For example, Poundstretcher sell young fruit trees at a fiver, plus or minus, as do Asda. The offer is to promote their brand rather than to make much profit, but it's unlikely they make a loss on each tree. Where do they get these trees at a fiver plus or minus? National statistics do not currently state these things. Some kind of list of who makes what in what minimum orders in the UK would be useful for anyone who wants to do anything, including that planting of orchards. The customs act, or some act like that, forbids HMRC from answering freedom of information requests about who makes what, so a change of law is needed.

    The cost of a tree in talk-time

    A blog quotes gives the view of a council employee: a guy who was working as a Tree officer for Lambeth council [in the 1990s], ... had grown tired of officialdom and legal constraints in where he could plant Trees and how many he was allowed to plant and how many groups, departments and local people he had to canvas and the reports he needed to write up and the meetings he had to attend to convince council officials that he had covered every potential legal angle and spoken to every potential protagonist and smoothed every potential obstacle, just to plant a Tree in a grassed area, let alone on a street. So what he was doing was growing his own Trees and then going out at night time and planting Trees in London Parks and replacing ‘official’ but dead Trees in London streets with his own 5ft grown Trees.

    A department for communities case study from Southwark states that one group of people wanted public money to deny use of a park to another group of people, who were not members of the "newly created park users group". They also denied park neighbours the time of the new council park manager who liked committees, and presumably took-up colleagues' time as well, by feeding-back the result of her user group meeting: "The orchard was created to prevent an underused area of the local park from being used as a dog run where owners of unsociable dogs closed the gates at either end of the area and let their dogs loose. This made it impossible for people to walk in this area of the park due to the resulting dog dirt. The park was also home to drug sellers, drug users and prostitutes". So, unless the dogs, dog owners, prostitutes, (and cruisers or doggers who are deleted from minutes for fear of involving the equalities committee) turn-up for the committee, they loose their service despite it sounding over-used rather than "under-used". I doubt that reps for all these groups want to spend their time on a newly created park users groups, and unsociable dogs do not have the ability to take part because they can't read or speak. I don't mean to say that the users group is all as bad as expected. The group in Southwark have a very cheap blogspot website and a note saying something like "a notice has appeared telling residents not to do a list of things including urinating ... could the council be requested to remove this notice unless there is clear demand for it?"

    A lot of free woodchip would have helped, more space, and perhaps some apple trees, but no. The group web site says they are short of volunteers for the pointless task of weeding and mowing, when mulch would do the job, but ask people not to leave coffee grounds round the trees as mulch. "there have been grants from the London Woodland Grant Scheme for native hedging as well as from Capital Growth and Groundwork East London."

    Another department for communities case study
    This is an example of a Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens project.
    "In May 1998 the first meeting took place to begin clearing some overgrown plots on the margins of an allotment association site.
    • Community and public engagement is achieved through events and open days, and by taking part in neighbourhood forums, local food and other networks.
    • The orchard is managed by a small committee, and by the harvest-share members who take part in working meetings on the site. Subgroups look after areas such as composting, markets and events.
    • Working meetings take place twice a month during the growing season, and once a month in winter. Members share responsibility for the care of trees and bushes, mowing the grass, battling weeds, and harvesting fruit. Those with little fruit-growing experience learn by doing, and working alongside more experienced members.
    • In spring 2011 the group was reconstituted as an independent community association. The group has an annual general meeting to review the year, and plan ahead. There are also regular planning and social meetings in members’ homes"
    The cost per apple in talk time is not easy to calculate, except to say that it's high.
    National government puts a more positive spin on grants for orchards in a document
    written before the last election, including links to pages about how to get permission to plant. Each chapter links to more background pages online - usually the list of examples or pages that have moved: from <<<, from <<< see "asset transfer legal toolkit"
     from <<< /support/toolkits/communityspace
    Silvanus Trust , who wrote the research report, closed at end of February 2016 after completing a web site about writing research reports that didn't mention how much grants to committees help committees reduce services for the kinds of people who don't sit on committees, like people who want a dog run in Southwark, or all kinds of marginalised groups who the grander rhetoric introductions hope to include with this kind of funding.

    Community Orchards

    How-to Guide - Department for Communities and Local Government, 2011 (archived version)
      3 Introduction,
      4 Community orchards,
      5 What are community orchards? (sort of begs a question about page 4)
      6 What can I use the orchard for?
      7 How do I start an orchard?
      8 Will I need planning permission?
      9 Where can I get funding to start my orchard?
    10 Sources of additional information and guidance

    People who prefer the legal route say that the need for more consultation can lead to less clashes of taste amongst flower-planters, more local species being planted, and a better sense of community of a committee-ish sort; some map seen somewhere suggests that it works in primary schools and should probably be tried around care homes too. Anyone with control over forgotten verges round playing fields or car parks or old peoples' home gardens is in a good position to organise something. (Anyone good at setting-up groups might try a group to set-up bird tables near old peoples' homes too.)
    Another down-side to government funding is that it demonstrates that no similar scheme is available for industry; they realise that there is something wrong when orchards close, but not when the spade factory closes.

    Talking of spades for schools and community groups, there is the link suggesting how to give or get them on zero budget.

    guerrillas labelling saplings for other guerrillas

    Labels and cooking apples are two problems that go together if you have, by mistake, bought some James Grieve apple trees among the bargains. They are bitter to anyone who picks early to eat raw, rather like Czar plumbs, and bruise if left to drop.

    After looking on ebay at loop-lock labels that sell for £5 for 50 or 100, I saw that some are made of a non woven material which is better at keeping the ink from a marker pen. The one they use is Tyvek, also used in less stiff form as a roof lining, but any long-lasting fabric such as a weed control fabric could do as a snippet to retain marker pen ink and stick out not too much while all the other trees in the hood act natural.

    guerrillas using words like "habitat" & "native species"

    Somewhere on the net are details of wonderful resilient apple tree varieties like Bardsley Spartan and Egremont Russet - all available as twigs to graft-on, and one or two free versions of online maps like and show trees in public places.  One group in Hammersmith that shares a good pulping and juicing machine at least once a year - I think it's Abundance - but those details are getting too complicated to think about, as are details of how to cut the toes off an existing tree, use them as root-stock, and then graft a finger-like twig on to the root for free. I can only say that, as someone who does more blogging on the net than real things in real life, I have planted several cheap trees so far. If even blogger can do several, maybe you'd enjoy doing one. Or at least a thornless raspberry from a pound shop.

    guerrilla do not know

    Guerrilla do not know things.

    Grafting. That's the difficult thing to bluff about. No guerrilla should type about grafting without proof of skill; this guerrilla say nothing. But if the system worked well and didn't annoy anyone with visible mistakes, then grafting a disease-resistant fruit onto a cherry tree or a crab apple or whatever takes the graft would make sense.

    After planting a cheap fruit tree, is it good to go back and have a pee near it? I suppose so, because it feels good. What distance so roots are encouraged to spread? Dunno.

    Is it good to dump a load of compost from a compost bin on or near the sapling? Probably. Blogs from hot climates say that it's good to bury a wet phone directory or load of junk mail next to the tree as a water reservoir. Councils bury most of a watering-pipe, available from outside hoover repair shops and electrical recycling banks.

    guerrilla embedding of someone else's youtube videos - introduction ends at 1 minute 40 seconds

    There is a one-sheet guide to grafting at
    There are videos on grafting at

    The author sells shoes at and has planted several guerrilla fruit trees without much knowledge about whether any of them will survive. There might be one or two waiting to be planted. Note to self: . Oh, here is a seed firm that doesn't sell trees but looks cheap and worth encouraging: