A green explosion

I went on an inventory walk of Parkview Estate to count the shrubs and trees, which need professional pruning and I came to the following numbers.

Note that these numbers do not even include the plants and trees in private gardens or the roads nor the plants near the Canal, which also have extra trees and shrubs but perhaps make up about half of the plants on the estate. These numbers also do not include the many rose bushes, fruit shrubs and soft flower plants, which do not need professional pruning.

I found

  • 92 trees
  • 597 shrubs
  • 48 tree saplings sprouting
  • 11 fruit trees

I made a FOI request to Tower Hamlets Council and been informed that the budget spent on plant maintenance on Parkview in the last round was £15,902.63. Compare that with Bancroft estate, which has hardly any plants within it, the council spent £18,094.00.

A stark discrepancy and totally unreasonable, since Bancroft is much bigger with less plants and we have probably the most plants in the borough but almost the smallest amount of money spent on it.

tree-sproutingAdditionally we have several Trees of Heaven on the Estate. See recent Guardian article, which lists the trees as invasive and being on the list of top 25 trees, which are dangerous.

The Environment Agency does not yet register Ailanthus as an invasive species, but it is included in the top 25 alien invasive plants listed by the European Plant Protection Organisation as posing ‘an important threat to plant health, environment and biodiversity’.

Most saplings on the estate are from that tree. Ailanthus Ultissima can grow to 80 feet in a very short time and we see the saplings all over the place.

All my enquries to the MP, Rushanara Ali and the local Councillor Sirajul Islam fell on deaf ears, the official complaints procedure also did not have any results, so next stop is the Housing Ombudsman.

If anybody has to add to this please contact me using the contact form on the contact page.

I strongly support clean air but we do not solve the pollution problems by planting and growing all plants on our estate alone.

Bug hotels

bug-hotelBug hotels provide an important environmental service. They can become home for butterflies, ladybirds, bugs and wild bees. They often house small insects, which consume pests from plants.

The bugs will stay within the perimeters of the hotel and don’t tend to move into our flats. They like the dark and secure environment the hotel provides for them. They will however enjoy our balcony plants.

Bug hotels are currently on offer at the Lidl store in Well Street for the bargain price of £7.99 but they can also be bought from other retailers like Amazon for home delivery.

Free bike-marking event

Date: 18. July 2020, from 9am – 12 noon, outside our Victoria Park entrance of Sewardstone Road, Stepney Green Safer Neighbourhood Team are hosting a free mike marking and registration event. But, by appointment only.

Any of our residents who wish to have their bike marked and then registered with Bikeregister.com, will need to email StepneyGreen.SNT@met.police.uk for a registration form for that event on the day.

forest bike bulls

Photo by Philipp M on Pexels.com


Covid-19 related scam advice

Criminals are exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to try and get their hands on your money and personal information. To date, Action Fraud has received reports from 2,378 victims of Coronavirus-related scams, with the total losses reaching over £7 million.
How you can protect yourself from Coronavirus-related scams:
There are some simple steps you can take that will protect you from the most common Coronavirus-related scams. Here’s what need to do:

1 – Watch out for scam messages
Your bank, or other official organisations, won’t ask you to share personal information over email or text. If you receive an email you’re not quite sure about, forward it to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS): report@phishing.gov.uk

2 – Shopping online
If you’re making a purchase from a company or person you don’t know and trust, carry out some research first, for example, by checking to see if others have used the site and what their experience was. If you decide to go ahead with the purchase, use a credit card if you have one, other payment providers may not provide the same protection.

3 – Unsolicited calls and browser pop-ups offering tech support
Never install any software, or grant remote access to your computer, as a result of a cold call. Remember, legitimate organisations would never contact you out of the blue to ask for financial details such as your PIN or full banking password.

NHS Test and Trace scams:

The NHS Test and Trace service plays an important role in the fight against coronavirus and it’s vital the public have confidence and trust in the service. However, we understand the concerns people have about the opportunity for criminals to commit scams.

What you need to know:

Contact tracers will only call you from the number 0300 013 5000. Anyone who does not wish to talk over the phone can request the NHS Test and Trace service to send an email or text instead, inviting them to log into the web-based service.

All text or emails sent by NHS Test and Trace will ask people to sign into the contact tracing website and will provide you with a unique reference number. We would advise people to type the web address https://contact-tracing.phe.gov.uk directly into their browser, followed by the unique reference number given to you, rather than clicking on any link provided in the message.

The NHS Test and Trace service will never:

  • ask you to dial a premium rate number to speak to them (for example, those starting 09 or 087)
  • ask you to make any form of payment or purchase a product or any kind
  • ask for any details about your bank account
  • ask for your social media identities or login details, or those of your contacts
  • ask you for any passwords or PINs, or ask you to set up any passwords or PINs over the phone
  • ask you to download any software to your PC or ask you to hand over control of your PC, smartphone or tablet to anyone else
  • ask you to access any website that does not belong to the government or NHS

If you think you have been a victim of fraud, please report it to Action Fraud at https://www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040. If you live in Scotland, please report directly to Police Scotland by calling 101.​​​​​​​

Be tech savvy

I strongly encourage our residents to make the most of our new technology to stay and in touch and connect. Use email, apps and the Internet to stay informed.

But Cyber crime is on the rise. I want to give some advice:

  • Never click on links you receive from unknown contacts or sources via SMS, email, or messenger applications such as Skype or WhatsApp. Even if you think you know the sender, take a closer look at the sender’s address and the link itself. If anything looks odd, steer clear. Malicious links are one of the most common ways to distribute malware.
  • Don’t click on adverts that seem too good to be true. An ad offering you something abnormally great, is likely to be a scam
  • Use strong passwords for all your online accounts, something only you could know. Use a mixture of symbols, numbers, upper and lower cases and aim for 10 to 15 characters in length. If this seems daunting, try using a reputable password manager or random password generator to help.

There is a good online course we all can do free of charge to help us determine the issue.

Please visit the Cyberhood Watch page for more advice on how to keep yourself, your loved ones and your communities safe: https://www.avast.com/uk-cyberhood#pc