Last night the Planning Committee of Harlow District Council voted to allow two new “micro wind turbines” at Tesco in Church Langley

Now I have been pretty interested in these, as a Councillor for the area, and so have a number of my constituents.

But I have kept quiet about it at home as Mrs J (the other Councillor Johnson) sits on the Planning Committee and I would not want to prejudice her in anyway, or bait her into forming an opinion before the meeting (yes the laws on planning are that stupid!)

In the meantime I have told a number of people how they can find out more, explained the details as I knew them to others and told people who wanted to object how to do so. I also got a phone call from a gent who wanted to support the application on environmental grounds but didn’t want his name used in case his “neighbours found out”

There has been some confusion about these micro wind turbines, with a number of people I spoke to thinking that Tesco were trying to install huge 3 bladed propellers, which is not the case. I have attached an article here on them, (and have added a photo so you can see what they look like) and whilst it needs to be noted that the article is by the people who are working with Tesco and so are probably biased, they are certainly not what I thought of when someone said wind turbine either!

They are about 10 metres tall, which is the size of most lampposts and apparently produce little or no noise. Another Council, whose local Tesco has installed them claims you can stand next to them and not hear anything.

I think its admirable that a major retailer wants to do something about its carbon footprint, and I hope this is not just for show but really is about changing the way they operate. I would love it if more people and businesses in Harlow wanted to do more for the environment. But I think if they do they need to spend more time telling people about it before they do it.

Tesco’s as far as I can tell undertook no publicity of this with their shoppers and neighbours during the planning process. The council did its statutory bit (advertising in papers, putting signs on lampposts and writing to those in very close proximity) but still got blamed for not consulting widely enough – even though we were not the applicants. I wonder if there isn’t some way to pass the cost of increased consultation to the applicants in cases like this?

My attention was drawn to this

Now I like a joke as much as the next man.

And I may have told the odd Essex Girl joke in my time… I am allowed as I was born in Essex

And I don’t even have a problem with MP’s having a sense of humour – and I know they do – have you seen some of Bill Rammell’s suits?

What I do object to is the use of time in parliament to make such snide remarks about what I frankly think is a cracking county!

In the middle of a debate about what legacy the Olympics will leave behind it, following a question from Chelmsford’s MP about serious issues, this Muppet thinks its OK to joke about white high heels and medallions.

Does he really care so little for Parliament and the honour he has in representing his constituency?

If that’s the way he sees parliament then he should leave… then again he has already announced his intention to do so (on 12th May 2008), so it looks like he is “just having a laugh” until the election then.

Last week the Department for Local Government and Communities (DeCLog) announced grants totalling £100M “to boost to council coffers as they help communities through the credit crunch.”

Harlow got (drum roll please!) £6,016 awarded, which frankly is an insult to Harlow and discriminates against the town.

The average amount going to all district councils in Essex is over £75,000, with Chelmsford receiving £190,000 and Epping Forest £165,000. Harlow is suffering just as much as other towns in the recession, so why are we losing out?

Everyone knows we have had to make to some very difficult decisions in setting our budget this year, and if this grant was the boost the government says it is things could have been very different.

Calculation of this grant looks very complex with plenty of room for manipulation. I think there has probably been some skulduggery within the Government. As to why, I can only speculate but previous LABGI awards to a Labour controlled council were very much higher. I wonder if that has anything do with it?

Ok – so an afternoon out from politics sees me at my parents house, on the couch with my Dad and Brother, glued to the TV.

My brother and I are both Spurs fans and with Dad being a Chelski fan, we were united (pardon the pun) in cheering against Man U.

It was great to spend some “boys time” with my Brother and Dad, and not to think about Council budgets, or writing political leaflets.

Football is of course the greatest of levellers, and sometimes its nice just to “be normal”

Today was a day spent out meeting people in the streets and on the doorstep. Something we keep doing in Harlow Conservatives. One of our Action Days!

Far too often in towns up and down the country, politicians only knock on peoples doors “when they want something” ie its election time and they want votes.

In Harlow, the Conservatives spend time all year round knocking on doors and delivering leaflets to people to keep them informed of whats going on. We also hold street stalls and this has been a great way for so many people of the town to meet our Parliamentary Candidate Robert Halfon; He has met and helped hundreds of people in this way.

There were about 20 people out on the streets, either delivering leafltets, knocking on doors or at the stall, as there are every time we have one of these days.

It was really good fun, you get a great sense of camaraderie, and get to meet lots of members of the public. In general they were all really worried about the national economic situation and many people told us what a bad job Gordon Brown was doing running the country.