Councillor Lister writes to Putney

Mobile phone masts, adult education cuts and more ............


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Cllr Lister's previous diary

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It's time the Government faced up to growing public disquiet about the proliferation of mobile phone masts. People just don't believe what they are told about the health risks associated with this equipment.

Last week a Government planning inspector told the council it was wrong to refuse permission for a mast on the Upper Richmond Road near Fairdale Gardens.

He didn't't agree with us that the mast was an eyesore and, tellingly, he could not take into account the scores of objections from residents on health grounds.

Last year ministers spent more than £300m on PR and advertising - how much would it cost to mount a straightforward public information exercise setting out all the facts about phone masts?

More and more councils are being tempted into cutting costs by scrapping their weekly refuse collection. Switching to a fortnightly schedule is being sold as an environmentally-friendly measure - but most residents see it as a simple reduction in service.

Wandsworth residents are already recycling more of their waste than ever before. But the food waste which makes up most of what gets put in the bin these days has to be collected weekly. Local people can be assured that we won't be cutting back on our regular refuse services - and we won't be bugging their bins to check how much is in them.

The latest Government spending plans for adult education make grim reading for the over 60s.

Age Concern report that the numbers in this age group taking part in further education in 2005 had dropped by a staggering 24 per cent in just three years. Ministers are quite blunt about preferring to put money into basic skills training for young people as opposed to 'Spanish classes for people wanting to buy a second home.'

But it really isn't as simple as that. Older people work too - never mind the benefit to the economy through people staying active and healthy into old age.Of course basic work skills are vital - but why should this be at the expense of arts, languages and fitness classes for older people?

Thanks to the council's leisure services team for another terrific Putney fireworks display. The crowds at Wandsworth Park for this year's free event were some of the biggest I have seen. It was a great night out for the whole family.

Edward Lister

November 2, 2006

Edward Lister is the Leader of Wandsworth Council and a member for Putney's Thamesfield ward.