About – Malcolm Grimston

On my happiest day ...

On my happiest day …

twitter @malcolmgrimston; email mgrimston@wandsworth.gov.uk

Day job – energy and nuclear policy researcher and analyst.  After leaving Scarborough College in 1976 I read Natural Sciences at Magdalene Cambridge, graduating after doing Tripos Part II Psychology.   After teaching chemistry for 7 years I joined the UK Atomic Energy Authority in the information department.  In 1995 I became a Senior Research Fellow at what is now the Imperial College Centre for Energy Policy and Technology, and have been an honorary Senior Research Fellow there since 1999.  I had three years as a Senior Research Fellow at the think tank Chatham House until 2002 and since then have been a jobbing academic.  I’ve a couple of books and a shedload of published articles over the years, most recently on such titillating topics as the Siting of Nuclear Installations, the Full Costs of Electricity and Japan’s Electricity After the Earthquake.  I pop up on the media from time to time when there’s a nuclear or energy story about.

I’ve also represented West Hill Ward on Wandsworth Borough Council since 1994, including stints in charge of Housing, Education and Environment & Leisure.  I was a Conservative Councillor until September 2014 but now sit as an Independent.

Swimming, music (the Wandsworth Symphony Orchestra performed my Wandsworth Symphony in 2006 and I have a bit of an obsession for early/mid 20th century English music – Bax, York Bowen, Rubbra, Walton, Rawsthorne and of course Britten), US crime dramas and hanging out with my lovely partner Carlos fill most of the rest of my time.

 

13 Comments

  1. Dear Malcolm,

    I enjoyed the articles on your web site and was pleased for you that you got quite a number of votes
    One thing I also noted from the campaign ‘notices’ was that Wandsworth Council would be getting a bus stop in Wimbledon Park Road (going to Southfields) Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought it was your ‘baby’ it would seem you did most of the hard work!
    Best wishes
    Kind regards

    Reply

    1. Good news is that the stop has been approved and should be with us soon. I did feel sorry for the Conservative candidates in the campaign – their two sitting Councillors had been so lazy that they were constantly having to try to take credit for other people’s work and it did not go down very well unfortunately.

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  2. Youre an interesting man Mr Malcolm Grimston (even though, I would argue, you had several boring jobs), it is a pity that all local councillors nationwide are not as conscientious, I think our country would be better for it, well done and thanks. Where do we get your book?

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  3. Dear Malcolm Grimstone. Quite by chance I came across your History of various roads/estates in Southfields which I found fascinating . My family was one of the first intake to the brand new Winterfold Close on Albert Drive built in 1954 when the rest of the area was still grand houses. Do you know if there still exists an archive of the history of the local build-up to this construction? I’msure you are aware that this was the beginning of an exodus of families from slum clearance (we came from the East End) and the start of a whole new life for many. My father used to talk about a monastery on the corner of Albert Drive and Princes Way which took in members of the French Resistance during WW2 and I remember many of the extraordinary families living in the area when we arrived, I think there were two foreign embassies on Albert Drive and certainly a family with a Norland nanny in uniform . By 1962 a couple of semidetached and insignificant houses were built opposite the estate and one of them was occupied by Fred (later Lord) Peart who was the Labour Minister for Ag. And Fish. Our estate boasted only one car, one red telephone box (with buttons A and B) a communal laundry where residents were given a time to do their washing. Coal was brought by the hundredweight up the stairs and tipped down a Shute outside the front door which connected with a bunker in the living room. The flats were brilliantly designed and it was the first time most residents had an indoor lavatory and bathroom. I apologise if I’m rattling on too much but the other memorable thing was that there were no buses running around the estate areas and it was usual to have to walk a long way to the 93 bus on Parkside or down to Southfields station. Before the AELTC became the Behemoth of today , after school our mother would walk us along to the grounds , consisting of a much smaller version of centre court and a handful of others, where we would stroll through the gates and inevitably be given tickets by people leaving. Our favourite player was Christine Truman. Another sign of the times is that I remember there being only one coloured person on the whole estate.

    Reply

    1. Fascinating stuff and thank you for contacting me. Winterfold Close was built on grounds once occupied by a villa called Fernwood which is commemorated in the name of one of the blocks on the Wimbledon Park Estate. The ‘monastery’ was a French Jesuit training college in another villa called Oaklands – you can still see the name on a stone at the entrance to what is now Lydney Close.

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  4. Flytipping.
    This morning, and regrettably this is become the norm, there was a huge deposit or someones rubbish on Wildcroft road. In the last year or so, I have reported roughly 60 cases of fly tipping on this road. Flytipping may I ad is only one of the criminal and illegal activities going on on this road. This new deposit is on a whole new scale. I’ve seen news articles picturing smaller piles or garbage. Hopefully this is enough to kick start some sort of preventative action rather than just cleaning up after these hooligans. I have personally taken this up with a)the council, b)Justine Greening office and c) the police to very little effect. If you feel something should be done about this and and you haven’t already I urge you to get in touch with the anyone you can think of to increase the pressure. If you are twitter users we posted a video this morning @wandsworth council and police so feel free to investigate if thats something you could do.

    This has been going on for years now but consistently increasing in frequency and severity. It would be nice if the “Putney Heath Conservation Area” wouldn’t become a dump!

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  5. Re the bunker mentioned in your book about West Hill on page 91 and page 96.

    I contacted subbrit.org.com a group who research such matters. The reply is as follows:
    Indeed a control centre was built in 1954 and remained in use until 1968 , it was a semi buried one to same design as Camden borough control on subbrit website, I have visited site and no trace remains , in the early 80s revival of civil defence the basement of town hall was used , a few signs remain but nothing else , a very rudimentary conversion .

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  6. Mr Grimston
    I can’t see any way of contacting apart from this method.
    As you have been the only councillor ever to consistently call at our door to see how things are on the Wimbledon Park estate I would appreciate your assistance on an urgent matter to myself and several residents after a fire broke out in a flat in Ambleside in the early hours of Monday morning.
    As we are in lockdown the effects of trying to live in a small flat while having to deal with fire damage are not pleasant and it would seem the council have past all the onus onto our estate manager to get repairs instigated.
    This seems rather odd to me so any help would be gratefully received.
    Mr E O Driscoll

    Reply

    1. I understand the fire brigade attended and put out the fire and that no one was hurt or injured, but the fire did destroy the back of the flat. As you know, the walkways are open and Ridge (consultants) assessed the fire safety policy in 2016 as fit for purpose for that block. However the fire melted the UPVC balcony door and surrounds and it is possible that the UPVC was not in place when Ridge did their assessment, as the original windows were crittall with metal frames and could withstand the heat. The damage to the flat above on 2nd floor could have been a lot worse, I am told, and had there been more clutter outside to burn the fire could have jumped up a floor so it was a serious matter. The Co-Op plans to do fire safety works in the next couple of months (the restrictions are making it difficult but I gather the works will be brought forward). I understand that the Co-Op has visited several flats and actions are being taken to secure the flat and write to the residents etc.. The Fire Brigade visited yesterday afternoon to speak to residents generally about fire safety and to provide reassurance.

      If you want to contact me my email is cllr.m.grimston@wandsworth.gov.uk. Since the Wimbledon Park Estate is run by the Co-Op they will be responsible for managing the repair programme.

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  7. * I am leaving a comment here as well, in case my email didn’t get thorough your inbox

    Dear Malcolm Grimston

    I am writing to you to thank you for your service as a local councillor for West Hill ward.

    After my wife and I moved into Burghley Hall Close back in 2019, I still remember the day that I met you in front of my home door and figured out that you are a councillor and visiting households to check out any issues in the local area.

    Honestly speaking, since I came to the UK 5 years ago as an expat, I moved to different places from time to time, I never met a single politician as devoted and sincere to his/her constituency as you.

    I understand that you have put every effort to make the local area better, meet locals in face to face, inquire problems and actively tackle issues; I know all these work are not easy things to do as it looks, because I’ve been in the similar situation like you by being an elected local representative as a member of South Korean political party for 3 years. It was the toughest job I ever did in my life, even surpassing my years in the military.

    Regretfully, as I am leaving Wandsworth, moving to a new place (in Kingston), it is very unfortunate for me to leave Southfields.

    Hopefully, I wish I could return to Southfields someday, and see you as my local Councillor.

    Until then, thank you for your excellent work, it’s been a real pleasure being your constituency and,

    Good bye!

    Best regards,
    Seungbeom Roh

    Reply

  8. LBC radio 27th March 2022
    Your assurances about the environmental virtues of nuclear omit the thorny problem disposal of waste rather demurely. Why is the Magnox decommissioning program so late? Because of the monumental cost or the dearth of science? Can the waste be buried safely in the Scottish highlands? Is dumping Fukushima waste in the Pacific environmentally friendly? What are the long term effects of dumped russian submarines in the arctic sea? Isn’t nuclear so toxic that the contrived arguments in its favour are tantamount to disinformation?

    Reply

    1. Thanks for the post. In a brief interview you’re taken in the direction of the interviewer but I don’t really see waste as much of an issue – as far as I am aware nobody has been hurt by radioactive waste, from nuclear, medical, industrial or any other source, in the 80 odd years we’ve been using reactors in the West. It needs to be treated with respect, certainly, but the amounts are very small when compared e.g. to the vast quantities of toxic solar panel waste which we are beginning to see emerge, the waste that emerges from a large-scale battery programme or the tailings from mining the rare earths needed for wind generators (leaving aside the devastating consequences of the waste products of fossil fuel use). Consensus seems to be to bury highly active waste deep underground but I’m not sure the material really merits it – however the Finns are leading the way, having constructed their deep disposal facility and expecting to be operating it by the middle of the decade. We’ll doubtless learn a lot from their experience. Magnox decommissioning is actually being brought forward from the original timescale – again I think this a mistake as from an environmental and economic viewpoint it seems to me better to leave the contaminated kit that remains after defuelling gently to decay away within the robust environment of the core – but the politics seems to have taken over. The cost of the managing the legacy wastes is indeed huge but more modern reactors tend to be prefabricated offsite to a much greater degree, making them much easier to dismantle – one suspects the Magnox designers didn’t really believe decommissioning would be much of an issue, as new plants would be built alongside old. Releasing the very low levels of radioactivity from the Fukushima waste water makes perfect sense to me – as you’ll know the oceans may well be a viable source of uranium in due course and certainly the marine activity from Fukushima is undetectable against the natural radioactivity of the oceans, even very close to the site itself. Over 20 years since the German Renewable Energy Source Act of 2000, Germany still has some of the highest carbon emissions from electricity production in Europe (a third higher than the EU average and around 10 times those of the French with their large nuclear fleet) and the highest power prices in Europe. This is largely because renewables tie us into large fossil fuel use – for most of the last week we’ve had practically no wind in the UK and so have been getting half of our electricity from gas alongside the 15-20% or so from nuclear. We could choose to move back to 70-80% gas on those nights when the wind is missing but it would inevitably lead us to greater reliance on imports and higher greenhouse gas emissions. For me those are much bigger issues than radioactive waste – and, unlike concerns sometimes expressed about radioactive waste, they are not ‘this might happen given extremely unlikely circumstances’ but ‘these will almost certainly happen in any foreseeable future’.

      Reply

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