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Japanese knotweed in neighbour's garden

I'm wondering if anyone has any knowledge or experience that they can impart on this issue that I'm facing?To set the scene: I bought a flat in Chiswick in early 2021. It is a house converted into 2 flats. I share the freehold of the building with "Mr X", but (by leasehold) I own the first floor flat and Mr X owns the ground floor flat. Both flats have their own separate back gardens, which border each other.Mr X does not live in his flat, and it is instead rented out, so we do not know him particularly well or see him particularly often.Mr X has Japanese knotweed in his garden. We first spotted this in spring/summer 2021, and informally asked him to remove it. He did, but it appears that he only had it cut back and it quickly returned.We informally asked him again twice to remove it in 2022. The first occasion led to further cutting, and it then grew back. On the second occasion, his response was somewhere between being aggressive and blasé. Despite my attempts to explain the risks to the building and to neighbouring gardens, and that cutting it was in fact potentially counterproductive, he basically said it is his business and that he is not worried about it.We are now in spring 2023 and the Japanese knotweed has returned with a vengeance. It is sprouting through cracks at the base of the shared building (within Mr X's garden) and is getting extremely close to my garden.So what is my best option on how to proceed with this? I am considering writing a formal letter to Mr X, explaining my major concerns in detail and setting out the situation with Japanese knotweed under the law. Could I subsequently seek a Community Protection Notice against him if he continues to allow it to spread untreated?What I am a bit confused about is the freehold/leasehold situation. Am I in any way responsible for this situation? Should this have been flagged up on the TA6 form when I purchased the flat? The TA6 form was filled in by the seller to say that there is no Japanese knotweed - which is true for my flat and its garden, but not the entire freehold.Perhaps the answer is "it depends on the lease", but if anyone can provide any insight, it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Alex Cavell ● 38d17 Comments ● 10d

Some Alternative Views of LTNs, Cycle Lanes and Ulez

Some views that put rather a different view of LTNs, cycle lanes and Ulez than the gumph regularly spewed by the likes of Campbell, Pike et al are below.  Oh, and Mr Vine gets an honorary mention.  Good Twitter sites for more of the same include our very own OneChiswick and The UK LTN Resistance - @ioisours - and also Defund the London Cycling Campaign.  Links below.  Enjoy - and no, Nora, not spam, just info.  If you don't want to read it, don't.  Where is Nora, by the way? After being over every thread like a rash for a weeks, s/he seems to have disappeared - very odd.

Claire Moran ● 15d14 Comments ● 13d

Barnes Bugle Poll on Hammersmith Bridge

There has been some discussion of late about whether opinion is shifting on the issue of reopening of Hammersmith Bridge.The Barnes Bugle which is a community newsletter for the area conducted a poll recently asking people for their views. Barnes is the one area where you might expect a higher proportion of people to be okay with continued closure as many roads there which were heavily trafficked are now relatively quiet.The outcome was that 74% supported a full reopening with two thirds backing the Foster/Cowi double decker plan and 7% a complete rebuild of the bridge.People who aren't happy with this outcome will say that it is 'self-selecting' and only 361 people responded which means that some organised manipulation wouldn't have been difficult to achieve. However the Barnes Bugle seems to bend over backwards to be neutral on this issue and they probably can be trusted to have done all that was possible to ensure their poll was a fair reflection of local views.This confirms the idea that there has been no shift on public opinion on this issue because elected politicians from all parties in affected constituencies remain committed to full reopening.Of course that doesn't mean the bridge will actually reopen. The planning application by H&F doesn't seem to have been submitted yet despite them claiming they were about to do so and there simply may not be the money in a financially challenged economy like ours.

Jeremy Parkinson ● 20d49 Comments ● 14d

Cries of a “war on cars” have failed to move voters

For Chiswickian car supremacists still licking their wounds and plotting their revenge against the cyclists, you are not alone and your kind are suffering losses all over the UK. Your surrender is long overdue. Those who repent shall be shown kindness and will certainly find the next ten years of redistribution of road space easier to take. of a “war on cars” have failed to move votersThe local election results suggest cities can safely stick to their plans to lower traffic and emissions.By India BourkeLow traffic neighbourhoods represent a “war on cars”, claims an article on ConservativeHome. Curbing traffic in service of net zero is the result of a “colossal mass hypnotism”, says the Sun. The concept of 15-minute cities, which favours pedestrians over cars, is an “international socialist concept”, according to the Tory MP Nick Fletcher.Such are the cries of the largely right-wing UK voices, from motoring lobbyists to TV hosts, who claim to champion wider concern over the reallocation of road-space to the disadvantage of cars.One key campaigner is the anti-fuel tax campaigner Howard Cox, author of that column in the Sun, who announced on Tuesday that he will stand as the Reform Party’s candidate in the next London mayoral elections. A core pillar of his campaign is opposition to the plan by Sadiq Khan, the present mayor, to expand the city’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone, which places an extra charge on polluting vehicles.Yet England’s latest set of local elections show that opponents to such initiatives, however vociferous, are not an electoral threat.In Oxfordshire last week, after campaigning in opposition to restrictions on cars such as low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs), traffic filters and 20mph limits, the Conservative Party lost control of their last remaining district council in the county, a former party stronghold. In Bath local Tory candidates similarly pitched the election as a referendum on traffic reduction measures, and suffered a resounding defeat to their Liberal Democrat rivals.Defeated Conservative councillors are blaming “national issues”, but this pattern of strident Tory opposition to car-use reform followed by electoral loss is not new. Take the London local elections in 2022 or the city’s mayoral election in 2021, in which there were similar outcomes.Emily Kerr, a Green Party councillor in Oxford City, told Spotlight: “Good childcare and a strong NHS are far more important than a made-up culture ‘war on drivers’.” She cited two local cases where new LTNs, school streets and segregated cycle lanes help “over 85 per cent” of children to walk, scoot or cycle to primary school.“These elections have proven you can’t win votes by promising to stop inconvenience to drivers,” added Leo Murray, co-founder of the climate charity Possible. Instead of bowing to pressure from a small minority, “local councillors need to keep calm and carry on” with policies that increase safety, reduce emissions and improve air quality, he said.None of this is to dismiss the concerns of those who fear they will lose out from the shift to increasingly car-free cities: from residents worried about increased air and noise pollution on the larger roads onto which side-road traffic is diverted, to business owners who may have to contend with reduced car access. There are also of course cases where the locations of specific traffic-calming measures needs review.But the idea that changing our car-orientated infrastructure is an affront to individual freedom is a dangerous myth. As the journalist Daniel Knowles argues in his deep-diving new book Carmaggedon: “[Cars] are among the world’s leading causes of what economists call ‘externalities’ – costs imposed on others by your decisions.”There are costs to the NHS for respiratory disease treatment; car-parking space that could otherwise be used to build houses; and road transport emissions contribute 15 per cent of CO2 emissions globally. Our current reliance on cars is unsustainable. Even the electric vehicle revolution entails costs to the planet in the form of mining.A key question, therefore, is whether politicians will be more ambitious about embracing reform now that voters don’t appear to punish car-restricting policies. The Labour-led government in Wales is pressing ahead. “I can understand why politicians are nervous about taking on an issue that causes pushback to flare-up, especially on social media,” Lee Waters, the Welsh government’s deputy minister for climate change, said. “But my view, which may sound pious, is that given the scale and nature of the climate threat, we’ve got to take risks, because otherwise we’re screwed. In politics you have to be prepared to lose in order to fight for something that is right.”In September the Welsh government will be introducing a default 20mph speed limit on restricted roads. Most road building projects across Wales have been halted or amended, in an attempt to take seriously the advice of the independent Climate Change Committee on road transport. Although there was resistance to the latter policy, Waters said, it “has not been as bad as we feared”. The experience of the city of Ghent in Belgium also suggests such ambition can even be an electoral benefit. In April 2017 the city government introduced a traffic “Circulation Plan” that makes it very difficult to drive though the city from one side to the other – and the result was an improvement to the local economy even as the number of car trips taken fell.“There was a lot of commotion in the run-up to the implementation of the plan,” admitted Filip Watteeuw, Ghent’s deputy mayor, including demonstrations and death threats. But the following October he was re-elected with an increased majority. “I increased my vote count by a factor of four. I think politicians who improve the quality of life, who are clear about how they want to achieve this, that don’t back down because of a little resistance but who also dare to adjust – and that’s different from backing down – if necessary, should not be afraid.”Westminster, take note.

Paul Campbell ● 20d79 Comments ● 14d