Newsletter April 2012             


We need bees!


Friends of the Earth has just launched its new campaign. Bees and other pollinating insects are vital to:

·         our food supply – they pollinate most of our fruit and vegetables

·         our economy - without bees, the costs for farmers would rise, leading to higher food prices

·         our quality of life – our gardens, parks and countryside

And bees need us. British bee numbers have fallen dramatically in recent years, and the way we farm our food and plan our towns and cities is making the problem worse.


FoE is asking David Cameron to help save bees by introducing a National Bees Action Plan. Visit to sign the petition.  If you’re quick you may get some free bee-friendly wildflower seeds!



What’s killing the bees?


A recently published study from the Harvard School of Public Health links imidacloprid, a widely used neonicotinoid pesticide, with worldwide decline in honeybee colonies. The pesticide is thought to contribute to colony collapse disorder, a phenomenon in which bees desert their hives en masse.


Bees can be exposed to the pesticide through nectar in plants or through high-fructose corn syrup which is used by beekeepers to feed their bees. Most corn produced in the United States has been treated with imidacloprid.


This research backs up European investigations that point to the involvement of neonicotinoid pesticides in the disappearance of a large number of bees. These pesticides affect the bees’ central nervous systems, impairing their communication, homing and foraging ability, flight activity, ability to discriminate by smell, learning and immune systems, all of which have an impact of bees’ ability to survive.


Neonicotinoids have been banned or suspended in France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia, but not as yet in the UK.


Bees are the prime pollinators of about a third of the crop species in the United States. Massive loss of honeybees could result in billions of dollars in agricultural losses. It’s an economic as well as an environmental issue, so you don’t have to be a greenie treehugger to realise that we have a problem.


Information from:

World Science newsletter

The Soil Association , where you can download a briefing The evidence that neonicotinoids are implicated in colony collapse disorder in honey bees and should be banned in the UK.

Are we losing touch with nature?


Are we becoming disassociated from nature? Does it matter? If so, why? And what can be done about it? Next month we’re holding a public meeting on this issue, with Matthew Frith of the London Wildlife Trust as speaker.  More details to follow.


Meanwhile, a report just published by the National Trust makes very interesting reading.  Natural Childhood outlines a clear need to tackle what has been termed “Nature deficit disorder” in children. Years of research and a large number of surveys indicate that many of today’s children have little contact with, or understanding of, the natural world around them.


The physical effects of a largely sedentary, indoor lifestyle are easily identified, obesity being perhaps the most widely publicised, but there are strong indications that mental, behavioural and social problems are also linked to a lack of engagement with nature.


Going to a nature reserve, taking part in adult-led, structured activities is a start, but children need more if they are to develop a personal connection with the natural world. It has become so rare now to see children playing on their own outdoors that it is sometimes assumed that they must be up to no good!


There is wide recognition of the benefits to children of contact with nature, but there are many barriers to overcome, the fear of risk being perhaps the hardest to break down. And yet it is vital that children learn to recognise and deal with risk.


How can children be given the opportunity to experience and learn from nature? In connection with the report, the Trust is launching a consultation, asking for suggestions from individuals and institutions. To find out more, go to:




Gunnersbury Triangle


London Wildlife Trust is objecting to a new development proposal affecting this reserve. There are plans to build a large 8-storey development close by. The Trust is concerned that this will have a significantly detrimental impact on the reserve, threatening wildlife and also ruining the peaceful atmosphere. It considers that the height, length and proximity of the development to the reserve boundary mean that the building will loom over the Triangle, creating a feeling of intrusion. Furthermore, it is feared that such a large development will create noise and light pollution. You can read LWT’s objection on their website:


Ealing FoE has submitted a brief objection along the above lines to the Planning Department.




Big Garden Birdwatch 2012


This year’s results have now been published. In Greater London the species seen most was the starling, followed by house sparrow, blue tit, wood pigeon, feral pigeon, blackbird, great tit, robin, magpie, goldfinch, collared dove, carrion crow, ring necked parakeet, chaffinch, dunnock, long tailed tit, greenfinch, coal tit, common gull, wren. How many of these visit your garden regularly?


The Greater London top twenty is almost identical (though in different order) to the overall UK result, with one exception – guess which?


For full results see


Nature Walks


Join local naturalist John Wells on one of his natural history events – free unless otherwise indicated


Sunday 13 May: A tour of the trees in Gunnersbury Park

Meet outside Gunnersbury Park Museum at 11am

Public Transport: Bus E3 or Underground (District & Piccadilly Lines) to Acton Town Station then 10 minutes walk.                               

Note: Bring a x10 lens (if available)


Saturday 19 May: A tour of the trees (and other wildlife) on Hounslow Heath

Meet at the car park opposite The Hussar pub, Staines Road at 11am.

Public Transport: Buses 116, 117, 235 & 237.                                         Note: Bring a x10 lens & binoculars if available.

                                  On behalf of Hounslow Council Countryside Rangers. Cost £4.00 adults, £2 children


Sunday 20 May:  A tour of the trees in Walpole & Lammas Parks

Meet outside Pitzhanger Mansion in Walpole Park at 11 am.

Public transport Bus 65 or various buses./trains to Ealing Broadway                        Note: Bring x10 lens (if available)



Rubbish rubbish collection?

“Teething problems” will probably be put forward as the reason for the annoyances experienced by Ealing residents since the new waste and recycling collection contractors, Enterprise, took over. They have certainly begun very badly. Complaints include:


  • Late or missed collections
  • Collections go on until late in the evening
  •  Sometimes street cleaners are having to finish the collections. 
  • Trucks are too big for some of the small residential streets.
  • Pods in the trucks are too small, resulting in all recycling materials being thrown in together, with a mixture of materials building up at the depot.


The Council has apologised for this situation, acknowledging that it is ”unacceptable”.  They say that they are working closely with Enterprise to ensure that the standard of service improves. They plan to send the unsorted recyclables to a recycling facility; meanwhile, residents are urged to continue putting out their recycling in the usual containers.


It does seem that some at least of the problems have been caused by the number of rounds having been cut, leaving the collection teams with more to do. It is no wonder that collections are late, hurried and incomplete!


Have a look at for more about the debacle!



Ealing Transition Events


Ealing Transition invites you to these upcoming events, to be held at St Mary’s Church, St Mary’s Road, Ealing W5


Sunday 22 April at 7.30 pm:  Film “The Crisis of Civilisation”. Free, but donations requested

This is a powerful critique of a failed global system in which ecological disaster, financial meltdown, dwindling oil reserves, terrorism and food shortages are converging symptoms of a single failed global system.

Weaving together archival film footage and animations, film-maker Dean Puckett, animator Luca Benney and international security analyst Dr Nafeez Mossadeq Ahmed – author of “A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilisation: And How to Save It” – offer a stunning wake-up call, proving that “another world” is not only possible but is on its way.


Wednesday 25 April at 7.00 – 8.30 pm: Energy – Food and wine evening

Are you confused by the latest government policy on solar energy? Is it still worth generating out own energy? What do the changes to the government’s feed-in tariffs mean? What is the Green Deal? Are solar panels getting cheaper?

Ealing Transition has invited Joju Solar http://www/ to host a relaxed evening of presentations and discussions, with plenty of time for questions. Joju are also very kindly providing food and wine for attendees.


Get in touch with nature locally -

just some of the places you can visit


Gunnersbury Triangle

Bollo Lane, Chiswick W4 5LW

Entrance opposite Chiswick Park Underground station.

Sheltered birch and willow woodland with pond, marsh and meadow

Reserve open all times. Visitor Centre open most days in summer (closed Mondays), 2 days a week in winter.

For further information on this and other London Wildlife Trust reserves visit 


Perivale Wood Local Nature Reserve

Sunley Gardens, Perivale, UB6 7PE

A 27-acre of ancient oak woodland, owned and managed by the Selborne Society. Entrance restricted to members of the Society (cost £4.00 p.a.) but non-members are welcome at the regular field meetings and conservation management sessions, and the Open Day on Sunday 29 April is a great opportunity to find out more.

See  or call 020 8840 3250 for further details


Minet Country Park

Springfield Road, Hayes, Middlesex UB4 0LL

This 70-acre park, managed by Hillingdon Council in partnership with A Rocha Living Waterways, is home to numerous species of wild plants, insects, birds and other creatures.


Forthcoming events include:

Moth Night with Butterfly Conservation and A Rocha UK

20 April, 8.30 – 11pm

Come and see the amazing variety of moths that can be found at Minet Country Park.

No need to book, just turn up at the Lodge Visitor Centre at the Springfield Road entrance at 8.30pm


For details of further events at Minet Country Park, see



At Osterley Park, Jersey Road, Isleworth TW7 4RB, the wardens offer various walks, for which there is usually a charge. There are Tree walks on 15 April and 14 October (booking advisable) and Bluebell walks on 29 April and 6 May (booking essential). Call 020 8232 5050

However, no booking is needed for the Bird walks 10.00am – 12.00 noon on 22 and 29 April; meet at the Lakeside Kiosk by the car park.

See for further information


Richmond Park is London’s largest Site of Special Scientific Interest and a National Nature Reserve

For information on the Park’s wildlife and an interactive map go to

You can join the Friends of Richmond Park on one of their free walks:

Saturday 14 April, 6.00am – 7.30 am: Dawn Bird Chorus. Meet at Sheen Gate

Saturday 5 May, 10.00am – 11.30 am: Meet at Broomfield Hill car park

Monday 7 May, 10.00am – 11.30am: Spring Bird Walk. Meet at Pembroke Lodge car park

For further information on these walks call Peter Burrows-Smith on 020 8392 9888


For short courses, consisting of a talk followed by a walk, there is a charge of £6.00, which includes membership of the Friends of Richmond Park.

Saturday 12 May, 10.00am – 12.00 noon: Ecology of Richmond Park

Booking essential. Call Sue Gibbons on 020 8549 8975


At the London Wetland Centre, Queen Elizabeth’s Walk, Barnes SW13 9WT you can see numerous wildfowl and other birds, as well as reptiles, insects, amphibians and maybe bats and water voles. There are regular guided walks, bird feeding sessions and weekend family activities. Entrance fees apply. See  for more information



Ealing FoE events


Wednesday 18 April:  Monthly meeting – see page 1


Saturday 21 April: Stall at St George’s Day celebrations in Brentford Market Place (with Hounslow and Brentford FoE)


Tuesday 24 April: Ealing Green Drinks from 8pm at the Kings Arms, 55 The Grove, Ealing W5 5DX


Sunday 29 April:  Stall at Perivale Wood Open Day, 10 am – 4.30 pm


Wednesday 16 May: Monthly meeting, subject tba


Monday 28 May: Public meeting on Disassociation from Nature: details to follow