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Stop the South London Incinerator vs Breathe!

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Written by Raj

April 27, 2015 at 12:07 am

Try tried and Trident again!?!

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election 2015

So here’s the run down on Trident (four submarines armed with missiles and warheads) and the outline to what the news and concerns are about Trident:

Conservatives pledge to upgrade Trident as do some other parties, good, bad, or unsure?

Whilst Shadow Labour Welsh Secretary Mr Smith hinted that Labour would ‘get rid’ of the funding for Trident.

The Trident issue will be resolved after the election, when it will be settled whether Trident will be replaced, upgraded or scrapped and the SNP and Green’s are aiming to do the latter.

The Liberal Democrats are not keen on Trident and want to make cuts to Trident with an aim to limit the current fleet of four submarines to three, this would see three subs renewed and one scrapped, and savings made.

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Ukip has said that it would cancel the Trident replacement in favour of a cheaper “advanced stealth cruise-type missile” that can be delivered by land, sea or air.

With all this talk of the General Election 2015 coming up, Trident has become a focus and decisions on Trident’s future has become speculative.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has said about Ed Miliband as using Trident the Nuclear Deterrent as a chip to be bargaining with the SNP over, who are wanting an open vote in Parliament on the pending issue of Trident, which Labour are said to be in favour for, although prior to this Ed Miliband had said he was committed to Trident.

Trident’s missiles, warheads, and submarines are no doubt costly according to a series of statements made in Parliament by ministers of the Minstry of Defence  in 2008 and 2012 the annual operating costs of the Trident programme amount to around 5 to 6 per cent of the defence budget. That’s the equivalent of between £2 to £2.4 billion.

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(CND) The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament state on their website that “the current government is in favour of replacing Trident at a cost of around £100 billion. This money would be enough to fully fund A&E services for 40 years, employ 150,000 new nurses, build 1.5 million affordable homes, build 30,000 new primary schools, or cover tuition fees for 4 million students. That includes the cost of running and servicing the submarines over a projected 40-year lifespan.”

Is now the right time to do away with Trident?

Tried and tested Trident does it work as a deterrent?

Dangerous deterrent?

Trident deterrent or threat?

Tired of Trident?

Is it too costly?

Many of the campaigners and protesters against Trident have brought these questions to the Election 2015 spotlight, political parties and candidates have had to put an emphasis on this issue to optimize their opportunities to gain voters.

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Unilateral Disarmament alongside the World is also what Protesters and Campaigners against Trident have been pointing out and are encouraging the stance that the UK could go further with a lateral disarmament?

Would this do the UK and the World a world of good? or not? An interesting fact is that the UK is also a signatory of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which is applied to Trident; as by international law Britain is committed to eliminating its nuclear arsenal under Article VI of the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

190 states have signed the treaty, which states that: “Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament.” The treaty is reviewed every five years. At the latest NPT Review Conference in New York in 2010, Britain reaffirmed its “unequivocal” commitment to disarm.

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The upcoming General election has found many other questions to be asked of Trident, such as whether or not Trident has become outdated since the Cold War era, and whether it acts as a deterrent or is ineffective in today’s society as there is at present no intent to use Nuclear weaponry.

An Insurance policy, a deterrent only, as has been proclaimed from the beginning of the debates surrounding Trident.

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Most recently in April 2015 David Cameron said “Trident is the ultimate insurance policy for our country.” He also stated at the Conservatives’ Manifesto Launch that he wanted to build four new Submarines not three as the Liberal Democrats want.

The latest debate on Trident has become a key highlight of the Election 2015 and is an issue which seems to have many politicians trying to appeal to a range of their potential voters.

David Cameron made clear his views on Trident making a pledge to renew, whilst Ed tries to work his Miliband magic into the office at No 10, whether Mr Miliband will waver on Trident is awaited by many.

Nicola Sturgeon leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) who has been linked to a potential coalition with Labour, should there be a hung parliament, she said of Trident, that they would make Trident a “red line” issue whereby there is no compromise on whether Trident should be given the go-ahead, “it is a red line issue and will be voted to be scrapped.”

The Green Party who have been outspoken about Trident for a long time said of the pressing issue “The government intentionally pushed the review on our nuclear weapons capability back to 2016 to prevent it becoming a general election issue,” said Lesley Grahame, peace and disarmament spokeswoman for the Green party. “Every pound spent before the decision, before parliament gets to vote on the matter, or a public debate is held, should be considered a very serious blow for democracy.”

Miss Grahame is referring to the blows most recently of an ongoing situation where money is being spent on Trident before the review has taken place which is due in 2016.

Lastly controversy surrounds Trident as it is not an ‘independent nuclear deterrent’ as many like David Cameron and Ed Miliband claim; Trident works with the US which Trident is dependent on and involved with the US; the Trident missiles are manufactured in the US and the alliance has compatible missiles which can be used in the UK submarines as well as the US ones. Yet Trident is still referred to as ‘independent’.

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I spoke to Shasha Khan Green Party Candidate for Croydon North and he gave me his take on an independent  Trident saying:

“It is important to dispel the myth that Trident is an independent nuclear deterrent. These missiles are dependent on US satellites.”

I asked him also what he thought about the renewal of Trident, Shasha told me:

“It is abhorrent to start spending £100 billion pounds on renewing Trident when according to Mumsnet one in five mothers regularly skips a meal so that their children can eat.

There are many dangers and concerns with Trident using the Trident arsenal would cause nuclear proliferation on a destructive scale more powerful than that of Hiroshima. Then there is the threat of Nuclear accidents with submarines, referring to the most recent accident with the Submarine in Russia which caught fire and when in 2011 a sub was carrying atomic weapons and also caught fire.

Many would argue that in today’s world with threats from rogue states and also the threat of international terrorism that Trident is a must, others are saying the costs of Trident is too expensive to the UK and will these weapons of immense destruction ever be used?

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Shasha Khan and the Green Party believe strongly against Trident and he outlined his concern:

“Renewing Trident sends the wrong message to the rest of the world, it says if you want security you need nuclear missiles.”

To conclude: Trident, scrapped or saved?

Until the General Election 2015 is over Trident will be raged about in debates and the debate will rage on till 2016 which will be ‘decision time’ and Trident will have to be scrapped or saved.

Lords’ Pro-Fracking Report published yet Poll shows Fracking not in Favour!

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Lord MacGregor was saying recently that Fracking in Britain holds many benefits. Recently a report published by The Lords Economic Affairs Committee, whom one or more of the members on the committee is said to have  links to Pro-Fracking corporations, have given their views on drilling for Shale Gas, they have outlined in the report that they back the Government’s decision to go “all out for shale”, however they make a request to do far more to engage the public on the benefits of Fracking in the UK and say it will provide more jobs, and bring about energy security.

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The report published went on to say that “Developing a successful shale gas and oil industry in the UK must be an urgent national priority.”

Although the report may have taken a liking to Fracking in terms of short-term money and making a quick buck, there are many dangers to Fracking and instead of taking a cautious approach, the committee have asked to speed up the implementation for the plans to Frack. If so many people are opposed surely they should be heard and their concerns addressed. Realistically many would now say that Fracking should not happen, as there are too many dangers involved with the focus on the wrong type of energy (fossil) instead of on green and clean renewable energy.

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The Green Party Leader of Croydon Shasha Khan said upon being questioned by Raj News that “The Government should seize the opportunity to embrace energy reduction with renewables not Fracking.

Fracking is an extreme energy source” Shasha went on to speak of Cuadrilla an oil and gas exploration company in the UK who are pursuing Shale Gas in the UK by hydraulic fracturing in the ground, he said “Cuadrilla have already said that energy prices will not come down due to Fracking, so why risk polluting our water.”

The report mentioned the EU’s reliance on Russia for Gas and how Fracking would stop this reliance. They do not however mention the EU’s fine to the UK for not meeting its Air Quality/Pollution requirements, there is a pending case against the UK by the EU, which could see the UK picking up bills worth millions for not doing enough to reduce the pollution and cleaning up the air.

The UK could see these fines dropped if the Government acts now and can show there is an improvement, in air quality. With car traffic jams in areas and things like incinerators, unnecessarily burning waste when it could be recycled, where is the encouragement to the public on these issues.

The Green party have been doing their bit in Croydon, opposing an Incinerator in Beddington Lane by putting in a judicial review, against Mayor Boris Johnson’s plan to have an incinerator in Beddington Lane which would serve Croydon, Sutton, Merton and Kingston, although there is danger of toxic fumes carrying downwind, unfairly building up, to pollute areas, which do not want to be harmed, by these dangerous fumes.

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With all these prominent dangers at the forefront, the Government still want to dangerously fracture the earth in an effort to unlock Shale gas, the dangers of this are creating toxic drinking water as Shasha Khan mentions and instead of trying to promote renewable energy, the Government wants to continue focusing on fossil fuels at the cost of damaging the UK – Fracking has been linked to Earthquakes.

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When it comes to regulation of Fracking the Lord’s have said that regulation should be streamlined, such as in cases where a company may want to drill under people’s houses they can do so without needing a license.

The Lords’ report seems to promote fracking and Lord MacGregor said on a radio interview with the BBC that Fracking will provide the public with lower fuel bills, he also mentions the US taking up Fracking. The radio host points out that “in the USA there are vasts amounts of unpopulated land, whereas in the UK you’re looking to do Fracking in relatively populated areas.” Lord MacGregor says that they’ve looked at this problem and any effects to the environment, yet this is a cherry picked report  which gives us a selected amount of information that is Pro-Fracking.

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Chief scientist Dr Doug Parr of Green Peace UK says of the report: “On one page the Lords are saying public concerns should be taken seriously, on the other they urge the government to strip people of their right to say no to Fracking firms planning to drill under their homes – a move opposed by three-quarters of British people.” They also backed moves by the Government to change trespass laws so that shale companies could drill under people’s property without their permission to ensure development could go ahead “without undue delay or cost”.

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Caroline Lucas of the Green Party also featured in the interview, she made it clear that Fracking is not a solution to anything and pointed out surely the UK are not going to go ahead with this. She mentioned that there are far more jobs in renewable energy compared to that of Fossil fuels. She spoke of having a cap on fossil fuel emissions, and how drilling for shale gas can cause levels in methane to increase which is dangerous, especially as the numbers on methane gas is highly underestimated.

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I would stress that this is a swipe by the Government to make some quick money, rather than educate the public on this issue and listen to the people who are, now, in a poll, overall against Fracking, in the UK.

Dr Parr criticised the report, warning Fracking was a “non-solution” that would not deliver for many years, if at all. Caroline Lucas points out that Fracking would lock us into the fossil fuel industry rather than working towards a positive renewable clean energy industry.

Dr Parr’s analysis of the report was a realistic one and he said, “The Lords spent seven months cherry-picking the wafer thin evidence that fits a foregone conclusion about the benefits of shale gas. This is just more taxpayer-funded cheerleading from unelected politicians who seem all too happy to ignore the country’s legitimate concerns about Fracking.”

The Dr and Caroline Lucas and Shasha Khan echoed each other when they spoke of the real urgent national priority, which is to push ahead with the renewable technology and efficiency measures.

Although the BBC did not mention in an article about Fracking that the Green Party (whom of late have not even had much media coverage by the BBC in the elections) whose Leader Natalie Bennet is a keen campaigner against Fracking alongside Caroline Lucas who was arrested for protesting against Fracking, after having real concerns about the UK issue of Fracking and alongside Green Peace, WWF, and Friends of the Earth’s concerns – who also did not get much coverage either.

The BBC did highlight the dangers of chemicals in Fracking they said:

“Hydraulic fracturing of shale to extract gas involves pumping water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure to allow the gas to flow out to the head of the well.

There is a worry that chemicals used in Fracking may escape and contaminate groundwater around the Fracking site.

Another environmental concern is that Fracking uses huge amounts of water that must be transported to the Fracking site, at significant environmental cost.”

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The campaigning group, Friends of the Earth, commented: “The report recognises that the regulations aren’t working – but calling for the Government to ‘simplify’ regulations and speed up the process will not reassure local communities and a public unconvinced by this risky technology.”

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The WWF- UK said:

Nick Molho, Head of Climate and Energy Policy at WWF-UK said: “The Lords seemed to have overlooked the many serious analysts who have said that shale gas in the UK is unlikely to have much impact on either gas prices or the UK’s rising exposure to gas imports.

“If we are genuinely going to reduce the UK’s vulnerability to future fossil fuel price shocks, the main priority must be to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels in the first place.

“Moving rapidly towards an energy system that’s more efficient, low-carbon and better integrated with those of our European partners should therefore remain the UK’s highest national priority when it comes to energy policy.”

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In conclusion:

There is a danger in going after shale gas, which is still unknown about in terms of quantity, quality and is most likely under the ground in different layers, making it difficult to access; whereas in the USA there is land which is flat and plenty in unpopulated areas, making the gas easier to extract, the same cannot be said for the UK with its populated areas and complex land structure and layers of the earth.

Fracking has added to the climate change debate, and Fracking will only damage the climate, which Fracking can have serious implications on, nevertheless it has become a part of the debate on climate change as it can cause a huge set back to the climate through air quality, natural disasters, water contamination and earthquakes; there should be a focus on renewable energy rather than using less dirtier fossil fuel (Shale gas compared to Coal), which looks set to harm the UK, residents, and environment just as much, if money was spent on Green renewable energy, this would pay off in the longterm.

There are so many alternatives yet Fracking is what the Government want to pursue. There are many out there protesting against Fracking to put a stop on it before it starts, make sure your concerns are heard write to the politicians and tell them to stop their plans as not many of the members of the public agree with Fracking and it is dangerous and also we cannot afford to miss the opportunity to work now on the future with renewable energy, which is clean, green, job making, and recyclable, renewable, and the future.

Green Party VIDEO – Vote GREEN GREEN GREEN!

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Written by Raj

May 21, 2014 at 8:52 am

Green Party – Raj Mehta standing for Norbury Councillor

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On 14th May, Wednesday evening, I attended a Hustings organised by the local Residents of Norbury Association alongside other members from political parties, other than the Green Party. The Panel on which I was seated with these other party members were asked questions by local residents after our introductory opening speeches.

My opening introduction is as follows:

Hello! My Name is Raj Mehta, I am a new member of the Green Party, I am 28 years old and have lived in Croydon all my life and in Norbury for the last 20 years.

I am a graduate with a degree in Communications and feel with my skills working as a Journalist and using my interpersonal skill, that I will be able to utilise my experience to help bring about a process that works locally, Norbury, Croydon, and on towards Central governance.

I have a strong belief that you should take care of your environment, social care and education and I think this should begin from your own area and as a ripple effect it can be extended to the rest of the country and even the world.

I also feel that in taking care of the environment and ensuring equal opportunities to all we will be able to bridge the gap between the less advantage, this assists in lowering crimes like the London looting, lift morals and would help the public to get the feel good factor and would prompt them to get a feel for a better lifestyle, which would lead them to attain employment and afford housing with revenue, as more people who are in employment means more spending power within our area.

I am here because I want to assist to improve our lives and environment and bring about a voice to issues like Fracking in Croydon, also the incinerator being built in Beddington lane, as this will affect us all, with its impacts from the toxic fumes, causing air pollution. The Green Party is actively seeking a judicial review in regards to the incinerator, this has already been submitted. We believe there is a better alternative, and that is to recycle as much as possible. For instance places like San Francisco recycles 80% of its waste we can also avoid more pollution and unnecessary wastage by working towards a recycle rate that is close to 80% like in San Francisco.

These important topics that are at the top of the Green Party Agenda, they are important to the future of our local area and will ensure that the future generations will benefit from them.

Croydon Green Party has 70 candidates standing across the borough – a full slate, including three candidates in Norbury. My fellow candidates in our ward are Doug Arrowsmith and Marie Norfield. Marie would normally be doing the Norbury hustings but for her own reasons she has not able to this time.

Marie has lived in Norbury for 27 years.  For much of that time she was a career civil servant in the departments of employment and education. Now retired, in 2013 Marie planned and organised the planting of a Bee and Butterfly border in Norbury Hall Park. She along with the local residents are looking to start a friends group of the park, whose aim is for 2014 to provide a more sustainable planting throughout the park to help turn Norbury into a greener local area. She has contributed to local clean-up campaigns against fly-tipping, and against the closure of Norbury Library, where she informally leads  a monthly reading group. A key campaigner for the Green Party and the local residents of Norbury,

I would work to do the same, make Norbury Greener, oppose cuts, support the environment, with a push for safer cycling and recycling. Leader of the Green Party Natalie Bennet said in a speech We are not concerned with individual behaviour, we are in the Green Party to work on POLITICS, SOCIETY, AND ECONOMY, and bring about a change on these key matters, again I am working to do the same for Norbury.

I do hope you will join the Green Party and its causes and help us to build a better Croydon and also have a say in the way our area and our country is governed.

This is your chance to make a difference to your local community and for the future generation by supporting The Green Parties pledge, and you can do this by supporting me and my colleagues.

Please vote for me to be your local councillor and I assure you I and the Green Party will do all we can to represent you to the fullest.

Thank you

Raj Mehta

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Much thanks, to Irene and Barry of the Green Party for showing their support and Shasha Khan too.

There were many issues addressed by myself in answering questions to the local residents of Norbury.

The issues raised by the residents of Norbury were all very important topics and I addressed many of them in the short amount of time we had, here are a list of some of the topics raised and the Green’s policy:

  • The state of Norbury Park (cleaner and greener use of CCTV, park ranger)
  • Vision for Norbury and Norbury High Street (Cleaner, greener, promotion of local business that put back into the community)
  • Betting Shops (Review licenses and stop issuing licenses)
  • Homeless and Sleeping rough in local parks (park rangers with an aim to address the causes of homelessness)
  • Regeneration of Norbury (look at helping to fund local business grants)
  • Flytipping (Greens have a 6 point plan on this)
  • Transport (Encourage public transport use and cycling, extend the tram to Cystal Palace)
  • Local work in the community (Use the Sustainable Communities Act and bring about more community centres)
  • Approach to working with other parties (co-operate and work together for the local community with everyone’s views listened to)
  • Improving in areas of Employment and Schools (London Living wage for all and smaller classrooms with more schools built)
  • Environment (Greens oppose the Incinerator and Fracking and will work to improve the environment)
  • Youth and Community Development (open and improve youth centres and develop other community hotspots and schemes)
  • Crime (More officers on the streets to prevent crime, improve street lighting)
  • The Riots (Educate the youth and address social inequality to stop this from happening in the future)
  • Multiculturalism and Diversity – Immigration (encourage multiculturalism and diversity and work to stay in a reformed EU and accept migration to and from the EU, and improve infrastructure to deal with increase in population)
  • Car Parking (look at parking restrictions and improvements to parking areas)
  • Neighbourhood Community Police (more officers on the street)
  • Norbury Library (we will aim to get this back into public hands and keep it open for longer hours)
  • Housing Affordability (We aim to reach at least a 50% housing affordability rate)
  • Westfields and Big corporations plans to develop (Greens oppose even more identikit shopping centres. Our vision is for local, independent shops, whilst aiming to provide affordable rents to all.)
  • Society and Inequality (Greens are for social justice in and against inequality)Council tax (Greens will keep this in line with inflation)

    I would also like to thank Tracey Hague who is a GREEN PARTY CANDIDATE for CROYDON and she also spoke at a hustings debate against other members of parties about the following GREEN MANIFESTO and Pledge at FAIRFIELD HALLS, CROYDON, and did a spectacular job on raising awareness on the issues of FRACKING and the INCINERATOR.Here are some videos from the Norbury Husting which I participated in:

    greenparty logoThis manifesto reflects our ten priorities for the people of Croydon. We’ve listened to you and believe that these policies address the real concerns of Norbury and Croydon.

  • The only way to make sure we can help implement them is to ensure we have a strong voice on the council.Vote Green Green Green on 22nd May for the common good.2014 GREEN PARTY MANIFESTO

    1) Referendum on the incinerator

    We oppose the toxic incinerator and will hold a referendum to let residents decide whether to go ahead with the incinerator. Our alternative is to increase recycling
    by offering incentives to residents, and making it easier and cheaper for businesses, charities, schools and places of worship to recycle.

    2) Save green spaces – No to fracking

    Croydon’s parks and woods are for relaxation. Only the Green Party will oppose all exploration for gas and oil in our green spaces and under our homes. Hydraulic fracturing will contaminate ground water, increase the risk of earth tremors and industrialise our green spaces.

    3) Dealing with knife crime

    Croydon Council, police, residents, and community groups such as charities and places of worship need to work together to combat knife crime. Young people need alternatives to gang culture: youth clubs, martial arts, music, sport offer positive activities for self-development and enhancing job prospects.

    4) Building homes

    Croydon needs more affordable social housing whilst protecting green spaces. Developments should prioritise local residents, not speculative investment, and
    include a suitable mix of reasonably priced accommodation. Tenants in privately rented housing should be protected from excessive rent levels.

    5) Safer streets

    We will consult with local residents on a 20mph limit for all residential roads in Croydon. This lower speed limit reduces the casualties from road accidents by
    40%.We will also retain lollipop persons at strategic crossings in order to encourage walking to school.

    6) Bike lanes

    Croydon has a poor record of investment in cycling, and a low level of cycling. The Croydon Green Party would encourage cycling by creating a network of
    safe cycle lanes, cycle friendly streets and routes through parks to help to reduce pollution, improve health and provide a faster way to travel.

    7) Fly tipping

    This must be tackled robustly by better co-ordination of council staff and police, publicising a free phone hotline to report fly-tipping, swift removal of rubbish,
    scrapping the collection charge for heavy items including mattresses, and the prosecution of offenders.

    8) Fair pay Croydon

    We support the London Living Wage campaign and call on local employers including Croydon Council and their contractors to implement the London Living Wage for all employees. In addition, Croydon Council should establish a 10:1 maximum pay ratio for council employees.

    9) Preventing flooding

    Better planning is needed to avoid flooding and deal with it if necessary. The Council must ensure developers prioritise flood resilience and prevention in new buildings, and include Climate Change adaptations in existing buildings. Local planning rules need strengthening to raise energy efficiency.

    10) Public services

    We support high-quality public services run for people not profit. We will maintain the Council Tax in line with inflation to protect services such as libraries and social care, and encourage arts events. We will also involve residents in decision making e.g. through public meetings and social media.

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