Karen Buck MP

Working tirelessly for Westminster North

Karen Buck MP

Recent Activity

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Thank you for contacting me with regard to illegal and unsustainable timber and the related WWF UK campaign.

I appreciate your concern about this important issue and I know that organisations including WWF UK have called for stronger action to ensure the timber market is more sustainable.

The previous Labour Government had a strong record on the environment and climate change and was one of the first countries to place an obligation on Government bodies to purchase legal and sustainable timber. The previous Labour Government was also a strong supporter of additional legislation within the EU for a ban on illegally logged timber and was actively involved in developing Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) between the EU and timber producing countries. VPAs aim to help stop illegal logging by driving improvements in the regulation and governance of the forest sector.

As I am sure you are aware, the EU Timber Regulation came into force in 2013 and prohibits the placing of illegally harvested timber and timber products on the EU market for the first time. During the last Parliament, the Coalition Agreement believed the EU regulation, combined with the VPA process, was sufficient to help eradicate illegal timber from the UK market and support global efforts to tackle illegal logging and deforestation. However, as you know, the regulation only applies to timber when it is placed on the market and if illegal timber is already on the EU market, it is legal to buy or sell it.

It is important therefore that the EU look at this issue and any further action that is needed. Indeed, the European Commission recently held a consultation on the effectiveness of the EU Timber Regulation, which closed on 3 July and a report will be submitted to the European Parliament in December. The current Government state it has recommended the scope of the EU Timber Regulation should be increased to cover a wider range of timber and timber products. I believe we must await the outcome of the European Commission's review and the Government's response but I hope the UK Government will press for improved implementation of the EU Timber Regulation across the EU.

I have already signed Early Day Motion 65 as I believe a global agreement is needed to halt biodiversity loss and protect the world's remaining forests and I can assure you I will press the Government to push for strong international action to tackle the trade in illegal and unsustainable timber and end deforestation.

Thank you once again for writing to me and for sharing your views.

Yours sincerely,

Karen Buck MP

My response to illegal logging

Thank you for contacting me with regard to illegal and unsustainable timber and the related WWF UK campaign. I appreciate your concern about this important issue and I know that...

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Thank you for contacting me with regard to ending violence against women and girls.

I share your deep concern about this extremely important issue and I agree it is vital that the international community redouble efforts to tackle and eradicate violence against women and girls. Indeed, Action Aid emphasise that one in three women will experience violence at some point in their lives and that this remains one of the most widespread human rights abuses.

I believe that the UK Government should continue to play a central role in international efforts to address this and push for the inclusion of a clear target in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to eradicate all forms of violence against women and girls around the world.

As I am sure you are aware the UN Open Working Group has included a target (no. 5.2) in their draft SDGs to achieve this. I know has been welcomed by aid organisations including Action Aid and I hope that this target – and the wider goal to ‘achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’ – will remain in the final SDGs when they are agreed in September. The UK Government have also recently stated that they will push for this goal to be retained in the final SDGs.

I know that Action Aid have also called for adequate financing to be put in place to ensure this goal can be achieved. I agree this is important and believe that, more broadly, the final SDGs should be bold, ambitious and inspiring so that they rise to key challenges such as universal health coverage, human rights and climate change.

As well as tackling violence against women and girls in developing countries, I believe we need to do more to more to address this issue at home. Indeed, two women a week in the UK are killed by a current or former male partner and at least 750,000 children a year witness domestic violence.

I believe the Government need to do more on this, and that is why I fought the last General Election on a manifesto that included plans for a Violence against Women and Girls Bill, to appoint a commissioner to set minimum standards in tackling domestic and sexual violence and to provide more stable central funding for women’s refuges and Rape Crisis Centres.

I can assure you that I will continue to follow this issue closely and support steps to tackle and eradicate violence against women and girls in the UK and worldwide.

Thank you once again for writing to me and for sharing your views.

Yours sincerely,

Karen Buck MP

My response to violence against women and girls

Thank you for contacting me with regard to ending violence against women and girls. I share your deep concern about this extremely important issue and I agree it is vital...

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Dear Karen,

In response to your recent email regarding resident concerns in and around the Maida Hill/piazza area, please find below an update on the work currently being undertaken across this department to address these issues.

We have a number of local teams working jointly to respond to concerns raised, including local City Inspectors, response teams working outside of core hours, Market City Inspectors, and the local Neighbourhood Problem solving Coordinator, Debbie Heath. These teams are in regular contact with the local Police teams and waste services.

Street drinkers:

Activities are controlled during market hours through :

  • Controlled drinking signage and communication with street drinkers to encourage them to move away from the area voluntarily
  • Market traders warned about using street drinkers for cheap labour
  • Police intervention through verbal warnings, de-canning and Community Protection Notices

Whilst this has assisted with reducing daytime numbers, after the market closes it becomes an open space with seating which makes the location desirable for groups to congregate and drink.  In terms of a forward strategy the removal of benches would assist, but it is recognised that this would disadvantage other residents. 

Future actions:

I have now asked for a problem solving plan to be prepared and implemented, which will include a series of proactive measures to supplement what is already underway.

  • The local police team will look to increase resources to facilitate more regular patrols to deal specifically with street drinking and associated behaviours.
  • The City Inspectors will carry out ad-hoc inspections to disrupt activity, enforce litter offences if observed and monitor any anti-social behaviour reported – during day, evening and night time shifts.
  • A letter will be distributed to local off-licences regarding the sale of high strength alcohol to those who are already intoxicated or known street drinkers.  This will also include education and follow up work in respect of their licences where there has been a failure to comply.
  • Contact will be established with outreach services to ensure that those who are vulnerable or have mental health issues are receiving the correct levels of support. 
  • All City Inspectors are being trained to issue Community Protection Notices (under the new ASB legislation) , and are being encouraged to issue formal warnings and  notices for ASB linked to street drinking.

Waste and cleansing:

Waste and cleansing for the market traders has been reviewed already, and enforcement monitoring has been carried out frequently through the various teams.  Enforcement action will continue where evidence can be found that links waste to a particular business or individual.

Action taken so far:

  • The City Inspector for the market regularly monitors waste throughout the trading day.  Enforcement action has been taken against a couple of local businesses found to be in breach of their duty of care.  This has resulted in subsequent compliance and sign up to authorised waste carriers for legitimate waste disposal.
  • The market waste bin has been changed to a lockable bin that can only be used by the market traders.  Traders have also been reminded of their duty of care.
  • A specific collection point is used for market traders waste in line with the Harrow Road collection time band.  During monitoring, a City Inspector from the 24 hour team observed a local business dumping raw meat and cardboard with the market waste, the business has been reported for the offence and prosecution action is being pursued.
  • City Inspectors (Residential) have been carrying out early morning sweeps over the past month in the Harrow Road area to tackle waste related breaches.
  • City Inspectors (Residential) have been visiting local businesses to request evidence of waste transfer notes.  Failure to provide the documentation will result in notices issued which can be followed up through penalties and/or prosecution action.

Future actions:

  • City Inspectors (City Co-ordination) will carry out ad hoc enforcement operations to tackle any waste issues in the evening and during the night time (including Goldney Road)
  • City Inspector (Markets) to continue daily monitoring/review of traders waste and others during market hours.  Market recycling requirements will also be reviewed.
  • Extension of the market – cleansing requirements will be reviewed in line with any increase in trader numbers. 

Food safety

The Environmental Health team carry out a number of checks before food traders are permitted to operate.  The checks include the following:

  • Trader operates in accordance with a written food safety policy (as required under The Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013)
  • Trained to at least CIEH Level 2: Food Safety in Catering or equivalent
  • Unit structurally suitable, e.g. preparation surfaces, facilities for hand washing, canopy made of fire retardant material etc.
  • Suitable storage facilities and refrigeration if required (cool boxes often sufficient)
  • Gas and electrical inspection certificates if using electricity and/or gas equipment

Operators are also advised that the amount and type of cooking carried out on site must be such that it does not cause odour, smoke or fume nuisance to local residents, other traders or commercial premises in the area.

Once a trading licence is granted the traders are subject to regular inspections based on the Code of Practice under the Food Safety Act 1990.  Inspections are also carried out following specific enquiries regarding a pitch or complaints. 

Public conveniences

Whilst owned by the City Council, the public conveniences are managed through a contractor.  An inspection of the facilities has already been carried out and a report submitted to the contractor for immediate improvement. 

I hope this goes some way to reassure you that regular operations are underway, and we are continuing to look at other approaches to manage the community’s concerns in relation to the market area.

Public Protection and Licensing

Westminster City Council

WCC response about the Maida Hill Piazza area

Dear Karen, In response to your recent email regarding resident concerns in and around the Maida Hill/piazza area, please find below an update on the work currently being undertaken across...


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