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Local traders greener than rest

PUBLISHED: 11:53 08 May 2009 | UPDATED: 16:10 07 September 2010

Robyn Rosen AN ENVIRONMENTAL group has launched a campaign to support of independent shops in Muswell Hill and Crouch End. Muswell Hill and Hornsey Friends of the Earth says its Shop Local First campaign will raise awareness of the smaller stores and help

Robyn Rosen

AN ENVIRONMENTAL group has launched a campaign to support of independent shops in Muswell Hill and Crouch End.

Muswell Hill and Hornsey Friends of the Earth says its Shop Local First campaign will raise awareness of the smaller stores and help the environment at the same time.

Residents are being invited to a FoE meeting next month

which will include talks from local traders about their green

initiatives.

Speakers will include Andrew Thornton, owner of the independent branch of Budgens in the Broadway, Jo Foster, from the Farmers Market in Muswell Hill, and Liz Bygrave, of the North London Network. FoE member Carmen Irizarry said: "We have asked people from local shops to tell the audience about their own initiatives to make local shops more attractive, from rapping to recycling.

"The idea is to save shops from closing. We want to give them as much help as possible.

"Local shops are usually run by someone local and treat their customers better. It's very sad to see high streets become phantom places and one shop after the other closing.

"Friends of the Earth supports the local person running a shop for the local people. It's the personal touch and local sourcing that are important. They keep the community alive."

Liz Bygrave, founder of the Muswell Hill-based North London Network, said: "I love the individuality and community spirit of Muswell Hill Broadway, the fact that I can go into my local shops, and I will often be recognised and can actually have a conversation with the assistant or owner.

"I try to avoid as much as possible going into the high street chains with their blandness and lack of connection to the local community.

"Muswell Hill mustn't become an identikit high street like so many other high streets, made up of a few large chains and nothing else.

"If we support the small shops, we help them to keep going, particularly at this time of economic downturn.

"I firmly believe that small businesses will be one of the keys to our economic recovery over the next few years.

"If we support them, we as customers benefit from more choice and a diverse and vibrant community."

FoE has successfully persuaded the Office of Fair Trading to propose an investigation into the negative effects of big supermarket expansion and Ms Irizarry believes that it is the big chains which really affect the environment.

"Supermarkets have so much waste and packaging - it's a scandal," she said.

"Policy change takes time and, meanwhile, local shops continue to close down or be taken over.

"So we've launched the Shop Local First campaign to help protect them."

o The meeting will take place on May 12 at 7.30pm at the Friends Meeting House in Church Crescent, Muswell Hill.


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