sustainable1

Sustainable Winscombe and Sandford

Welcome to the webpage of Sustainable Winscombe and Sandford.

Sustainable Winscombe and Sandford is a local group set up to promote sustainable ideas and schemes, and to allow local people to share climate action information, ideas and actions.

If you would like to take part in any of the events or projects, or would like to find out more, or if have an idea promoting sustainability which you would like to publicise, please get in touch. If you have any positive comments to make, please send them in to sustainable@winscombeandsandford.org.uk. This forum is here for you.

If you prefer to use Facebook, please post your news and views on the Sustainable Winscombe and Sandford Facebook page.

There is some information already posted on the Climate Emergency and Environment webpage.

April 2021

SWANDS April Newsletter is out
Click here to read

March 2021

BRERC presentation
Click on the image for the full presentation
BRERC Mar 21

February 2021

SWANDS February Newsletter is out
Click here to read

January 2021

SWANDS January Newsletter is out
Click here to read

November 2020

Public spending on COVID-19 goods, services and works
National Audit Office report: Investigation into government procurement during the COVID-19 pandemic
https://www.nao.org.uk/report/government-procurement-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/

October 2020

SWANDS Meeting
The October SWANDS meeting took place by Zoom, with valuable insights by director Dan Heurtas, into how leading financial figures are spearheading the campaign to ensure the carbon cost of companies operations are taken into account in deciding where money is to be invested. Each of us can take an effective part, by requiring our investment agents, banks, and pension providers put our money into sustainable investments. Our next meeting is on thursday 26th November at 7.30 by Zoom, when Karin Haverson will speak about how we can make sustainable cartbon reduction choices at home.

Planning for the Future
Our response to the government consultation'Planning for the Future' has been sent in. Thanks to all those who put their names to it.

Feeding Britain - The report of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Hunger in the United Kingdom
https://foodpovertyinquiry.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/food-poverty-feeding-britain-final.pdf

Investing for Climate Risk - Climate Action
http://www.climateaction.org/white-papers/investing-for-climate-risk?utm_source=ActiveCampaign&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Campaign+urges+Governments+at+next+year+s+COP+to+back+compulsory+climate+education+and+literacy+-+Climate+Action+News&utm_campaign=CA+%7C+2020+%7C+27+October+%7C+Newsletter&vgo_ee=63XK9AaWfp4SAMco6ACnexrhXb0w%2B%2FEe2oM4kgQprbg%3D

Global heating threatens UK wildlife's ability to adapt and survive
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/oct/29/global-heating-threatens-uk-wildlife-ability-adapt-survive-rewilding-britain

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AUTUMNWATCH, the popular BBC 2 nature programme, begins on 27th October. It's particularly pleasing to know that this programme is being produced by SWANDS member Laura Howard, from Winscombe.
We are promised a lovely film about mental health in these darker difficult months, and all sorts of wonderful wildlife films.
The aim is to make people feel better during an autumnal pandemic, something we can all agree with!

'An alarmingly familiar picture': UK on course to miss most biodiversity targets
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/oct/15/uk-miss-most-biodiversity-targets-conservation

Prince William and Sir David Attenborough join forces on 'Earthshot' prize
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-54435638?xtor=ES-211

Fifth of countries at risk of ecosystem collapse, analysis finds
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/oct/12/fifth-of-nations-at-risk-of-ecosystem-collapse-analysis-finds

Top asset managers commit to big carbon emissions cuts
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/oct/13/top-asset-managers-commit-to-big-carbon-emissions-cuts

CCC responds to IPCC land use and climate change report - Committee on Climate Change
https://www.theccc.org.uk/2019/08/08/ccc-responds-to-ipcc-land-use-and-climate-change-report/

Reaching Net Zero in the UK - Committee on Climate Change
https://www.theccc.org.uk/uk-action-on-climate-change/reaching-net-zero-in-the-uk/

The Week's Top Articles + Videos on Climate Change, Sustainability and the Environment
https://mailchi.mp/5305a244ba2c/enviro30-environmental-insights-weekly-digest-12582950?e=08c12b04b8

Rewild to mitigate the climate crisis, urge leading scientists
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/oct/14/re-wild-to-mitigate-the-climate-crisis-urge-leading-scientists

World Bank and IMF must spearhead a green and inclusive recovery
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/oct/14/world-bank-and-imf-must-spearhead-a-green-and-inclusive-recovery

September 2020

RSPB Analysis on UK Government Biodiversity performance The UK has failed to reach 17 out of 20 UN biodiversity targets agreed on 10 years ago, according to an analysis from conservation charity RSPB that says the gap between rhetoric and reality has resulted in a "lost decade for nature".

The UK government's self-assessment said it failed on two-thirds of targets (14 out of 20) agreed at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Nagoya, Japan, in 2010, but the RSPB analysis suggests the reality is worse. On six of the 20 targets the UK has actually gone backwards. The government's assessment published last year said it was not regressing on any target.

Significant failures include insufficient funding for nature conservation, too little land being managed for nature, and declining wildlife populations.

Funding has dropped by 30% over the last decade, and habitats including national parks and SSSIs are not being created, protected or monitored sufficiently, the report says.

World Wildlife Fund's Living Planet Report 2020
Animal populations have plunged an average of 68% since 1970, as humanity pushes the planet's life support systems to the edge. on average, global populations of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles plunged by 68% between 1970 and 2016, according to the WWF and Zoological Society of London (ZSL)'s biennial Living Planet Report 2020. Two years ago, the figure stood at 60%.
https://www.wwf.org.uk/sites/default/files/2020-09/LPR20_Full_report.pdf

Convention on Biodiversity Report
The new Global Biodiversity Outlook report has been published. It describes humanity and conserving biodiversity as being at a crossroads. This report and others can be found in the Climate Emergency resources page (see home page), and here: https://www.cbd.int/gbo5

Increased food bank use predicted
The Trussell Trust predicts a 61% rise in food bank use following the end of Coronavirus job and income support.

Cheddar Valley Foodbank offers food to clients and receives donations on Mondays and Saturdays 10.30 to 12.30 at container 2, Wessex Business Centre Cheddar BS27 3EJ. They also do food deliveries for clients unable to get to the Foodbank. Phone 07922 309369.07922 308154 Email: info@cheddarvalley.foodbank.org.uk.

Weston super Mare Foodbank, North Street, Weston-super-Mare is open on Mondays and Fridays , 11.00 to 14.30.

FareShare is the UK's national network of charitable food redistributors, getting surplus food to almost 11,000 charities and community groups. Text MEAL 10 TO 70480 to give £10.00, or donate or volunteer online at fareshare.org.uk

UK climate assembly: tax frequent flyers and ban SUVs as part of Covid recovery
Assembly made up of members of public says economic recovery should drive move to net zero carbon emissions

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/sep/10/uk-climate-assembly-economic-recovery-from-covid-must-tackle-global-heating

August 2020

Time to reset the way we live, and our national priorities?
The pandemic and lockdown have made many of us review our life choices. Social impacts, home-schooling, working from home, furlough, redundancy are challenges many of us are facing. However, it's not all bleak. The sense of community spirit has grown from week to week, with people helping each other in many different ways. Looking forward, what will life look after Covid. Will we go back to the way things were? do we want to ? and if we don't, then what changes do we want to make ? The 'Reset' national, cross-party scheme is a way to make your voice heard. Please take a look at the scheme, and take part in the surveys. The more of us who do, the more positive ideas will evolve.

https://reset-uk.org/

Climate Change concerns confirmed
Latest report on 'State of the UK Climate' out now: warmer, wetter, with trees coming into leaf earlier- all with impacts on nature and our food chain, this report highlights the urgent need for action to take steps to reduce climate change.

https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/about-us/press-office/news/weather-and-climate/2020/state-of-the-uk-climate-report-2019

July 2020

Bavaria campaigners abuzz as bees petition forces farming changes - Let's all make a difference in our own gardens

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/14/bavaria-campaigners-abuzz-as-bees-petition-forces-farming-changes

April 2020

Megawatt Community Energy Fund grant: let's get some ideas together! £5,000 funding opportunity, closes 10th June.

Projects must have clear carbon reductino aims, but don't have to be energy projects: it could be transport, local food growing, tree plants, lift sharing, harnessing social media, healthy eating and exercise. The Megawatt Community Energy Fund uses profit from the business activity of Bristol Energy Cooperative and Low Carbon Gordano to encourage and support community action on reducing carbon in our atmosphere, and/or making energy more affordable, working with Quartet Community Foundation to administer funds. See https://quartetcf.org.uk/grant-programmes/megawatt-community-energy-grants/

Wessex Water funding for projects conserving and enhancing biodiversity and the aquatic environment: more grant funding: see Wessex Water Foundation Biodiversity Action Plan Partners Programme 2020-2025

Our Partners Programme provides funding to projects carried out by environmental organisations which will conserve and enhance biodiversity and the aquatic environment across our region. We will be opening our formal application process for our Major Grants in April 2020 and more details will be released on our website at https://www.wessexwater.co.uk/environment/biodiversity-action-plan/bap-partners/current-projects.
The Small Grants fund will open later in 2020.
If you would like to know more in the meantime:
. Contact us at BAP@wessexwater.co.uk
. Please check our website at https://www.wessexwater.co.uk/environment/biodiversity-action-plan/bap-partners/current-projects - this will be updated soon with more details

Lifting lockdown spirits with #Blossom Watch: the National Trust is inviting everyone to share their images of blossom in their gardens or nearby via @nationaltrust on Instagram and Twitter using #Blossomwatch, with the name of where we live. For those of us not using social media, the glorious photos being sent in can be seen via the National Trust website, and will doubtless feature in their print bulletins. This year we have wonderful blossom in Winscombe and Sandford, so why not send in your photos , with a note of where you saw the blossom, to be featured on the website ?

Some recent relevant headlines:

Carbon emissions from fossil fuels could fall by 2.5bn tonnes in 2020
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/apr/12/global-carbon-emisions-could-fall-by-record-25bn-tonnes-in-2020

Scientists create mutant enzyme that recycles plastic bottles in hours
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/apr/08/scientists-create-mutant-enzyme-that-recycles-plastic-bottles-in-hours

News about members Laura and Chris Howard's new mini-pond, something we can all have, even in the smallest garden.

With a stunning display of Winscombe newts in their larger pond, Laura and Chris' new mini pond has featured on Chris Packham's YouTube show! Are you watching? Chris Packham is doing a live show every morning at 9am with a range of wildlife and conservation guests, The Self-isolating Bird Club!

Pond fame: https://youtu.be/HE6rHIqNJ50

Chris channel for daily live stream: https://www.youtube.com/user/ChrisGPackham

A message from Rewilding Britain which may be of interest:

Hello rewilding supporters,
Submit your views on UK Government's Environmental Land Management scheme - make rewilding a key option for the future

If you believe rewilding is an important part of future land management, now's the time to make your voice heard.

The UK Government's Environmental Land Management scheme (ELM) will be the cornerstone of a new agricultural policy for England, and could potentially influence the approach taken in the rest of the UK. At Rewilding Britain, we believe it's one of the most important environmental reforms in decades. It could restore nature, and ensure continued healthy ecosystems, by rewarding land managers with 'public money for public goods' - that is, by giving subsidies to those whose activities benefit the public.

It sounds good, but of course the devil is in the detail. Now is your opportunity to help shape that detail.

If you agree that rewilding and rewilding principles should be enshrined in the scheme, then it's time to take action. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to shape the future of land use in England, and potentially in the rest of the UK. You just need to complete the consultation survey on Defra's website. To help you, we've published our response on our website to help you understand the issues.

We know there's a lot going on right now, but the future of our land use is important. Please take the time to respond if you can, especially if you're a landowner thinking about rewilding or are currently rewilding.

Find out more on our website, and take action
Thanks for letting us into your inbox.
Stay safe
The Rewilding Britain team

March 2020

Gardening to Save the Planet: SWandS members held a stall at Winscombe Thursday market on the 5th March to publicise a new project for gardeners, ~Gardening to Save the Planet' , which is open to anyone to take part in, no matter how small or large their garden is, including windowsill gardeners. Signing up to a pledge to make carbon-saving and wildlife friendly improvements in your garden is easy to do, and very worth-while. Please sign up to the online pledge at www.winscombeandsandford.org.uk/gsp,

or send in a copy pledge. After 21st September, the end of summer, there will be certificates for everyone taking part, and a range of prizes for the most nature and climate friendly changes in the garden.

March meetings: The next open meeting is on Thursday 19th March from 7pm in the hall at the Winscombe Community Association, featuring a visually beautiful , award winning film 'Voice above Nature', exploring the impact noise pollution has on our oceans, with a focus on humpback whales, by Bristol based film director Annie Moir. We are delighted that Annie Moir has agreed to attend the meeting to introduce the film, and answer any questions we may have. This will take up the first hour of the meeting, followed by an update on projects and discussion of progress.

There will be an additional meeting at the Quaker Friends' Meeting House, Sidcot on Sunday 15th April from 6.15 pm. This is a session starting with food to share, before a facilitated people's assembly session from 7pm to decide on such matters as the name of the group, and the group projects for the year to come.

February 2020

February Meeting update
Our meeting on Thursday attracted 51 people!
Slides and minutes can be seen below along with a video of Rebekah's presentation

Slides and notes from the meeting
Video of Rebekah's Re-wilding talk

Our next meeting will be in the Amesbury Room at Winscombe Community Association on Thursday 20th February from 7pm.

Our guest speaker will be Rebekah West, a former Mendip Ranger and horticulturalist, who will be talking to us about 'Rewilding'. This is a fascinating topic, and very much a climate action objective locally as well as nationally. Please invite friends, family, and anyone you think would be interested.

As a reminder, the projects we discussed at the last meeting are on the SWANDS webpage at http://www.winscombeandsandford.org.uk/sustainable.html

So far, Miranda has drafted a proposed framework for anyone who would like to take part in the pledges project, aiming for a separate get-together probably in the week beginning Feb 10th. Please contact Miranda by email to find out more.

On ourdoor stuff and treeplanting, Cathy suggests that for those interested in having a home area planted up with trees, or taking part in tree planting or bird box making, that you log onto Facebook, find Tufty Club 2 and send her a message asking to be invited on. If you don't use Fb, we can forward your message. See the photos below for the birdbox making sessions today!

With the other projects, it's suggested we think about firstly sharing ideas, then drafting lists of actions, moving on to discussion, consultation and publication.

Please send in your ideas, in whatever form! Or they can be posted on Fb.

2.2.2020 Tufty Club 2 members making birdboxes this morning

CLIMATE ACTION ORGANISATIONS AND GROUPS range from the International to small village groups. It's a bit of a maze, and in response to a query from a group member I have sketched out a plan of the climate action groups in existence at the moment. Click here to read.

Personally I find it enormously encouraging to find so many people responding energetically to the need for urgent action on the climate crisis. All that energy, rising up from the smallest community groups , umbrella groups, amplified by local authorities, businesses, charities, organisations generally through their climate action plans, may yet result in an effective climate action plan by central government.

All the information I've found is online. There will doubtless be errors and omissions, so please forgive these, click on the links, and take a look for yourself.

Cresten 10.2.2020

We now have ground rules for the group - click here
and a constitution - click here

January 2020

January Meeting Minutes
Click here for the minutes of the meeting on 23rd January 2020

Click here for the slides used in the meeting

January Meeting
The group starts with the first meeting for 2020 on Thursday 23rd at 7pm at the Winscombe Community Association.

For more details click on the poster. All welcome, bring your friends and family!

Zero Carbon North Somerset is the new name for the North Somerset Climate Emergency Network, who are now deciding on the year's campaigns. Highlighting the climate emergency in Australia, the devastating fires and appalling toll on wildlife, it is expected an early campaign will focus on helping wildlife and biodiversity in North Somerset. More to come!

North Somerset Climate Emergency NetworK is a network of local groups, currently being set up to run joint campaigns and provide mutual help, support and information about the climate emergency for the communities they come from, including Winscombe and Sandford, Clevedon, Nailsea, Portishead, Backwell. More information will be posted online as the network develops.

December 2019

08-Dec-2019 Call for 'Green Homes'
Are you the proud occupant of a home with 'green' credentials, a home which is exceptionally well insulated, or has a living roof, a ground or air source heat pump or anything else you consider contributes to its energy efficiency? Do you generate your own electricity with solar panels or a wind turbine? Maybe you even live in a 'Passive House'? Are you keen to spread the word about the benefits of such technology and prepared to open your doors to your fellow citizens?

We are planning to hold a 'Green Open Homes' event on the weekend of the 13th and 14th of June 2020 and are looking for active participants to open their homes. And of course we will need lots of visitors! The event will be for the whole of North Somerset, but if we have enough interest, we may subdivide it into more local sections.


If interested, please contact

Karin.Haverson@n-somerset.gov.uk

Dr Karin Haverson
Cllr Banwell & Winscombe
NS Green Party

January 2018

What have Winscombe, Sandford and Banwell to do with climate change? - by Karin Haverson
Together with a group of friends, I recently conducted a brief survey in our area, asking some of you what local issues are most important to you. The issues I felt would be important included care for the elderly, affordable housing, traffic and roads such as the Banwell bypass, local jobs and our local environment.

The two issues which came out on top, and which were most important to almost all of you, were care for the elderly, and our local environment. I thought that was both interesting and encouraging, showing that we care for people and the environment in equal measure!

However, I think that many of us do not make a link between our local environment and what is happening worldwide, such as plastic pollution and climate change. What happens worldwide impacts on all of us!

CC6.jpg - 17 KB CC5.jpg - 26.4 KB As a retired scientist from Bristol University, I know how rare it is to have a consensus of more than 95% on any topic. That is currently the case with climate change, as more than 95% of world's leading climate scientists agree that climate change is happening, that it is man made, and that we have to take action NOW to avoid really serious consequences for ourselves, our children, grandchildren and future generations.

In fact, we are already seeing much more frequent flooding, hurricanes and heat waves, with horrible consequences such as the fire which devastated the town of Paradise in the US.

The heat wave last summer led to many moor fires in the North of the UK , German drivers ran out of diesel because the Rhine was too low for the tankers to float, and the cost of hay for our farmers has rocketed! And this will get much, much worse if we continue with 'business as usual'. In fact, 20% of climate scientists see a real danger that much of life on this planet, including us humans, will become extinct unless we change our ways.
CC4.jpg - 4.9 KB
Even being very optimistic, and looking more locally, climate change and rising sea levels will have a serious local impact on our Somerset levels, with many more frequent flooding events, and coastal land which will have to be given up to the sea.

I agree that climate change is a frightening subject. It is very easy to forget about climate change, and get on with more familiar and easier(?) tasks such as our family and friends, jobs, homes, holidays and all the other issues we have to think about from day to day.

There are two local issues which are currently to be decided on by our local councillors, which worry me a great deal. . These two issues are yet another expansion of Bristol Airport, and the threat of fracking. Both of these issues take us in the wrong direction, as they will add to climate change.

Currently, air traffic is not included in the international Paris agreement on tackling climate change, so CO2 due to flying is not counted, because it does not strictly belong to just one country. Bristol Airport make a big deal about being 'carbon neutral', but that only refers to the structures on the ground, not all the new aircraft which will take to the air!

CC3.jpg - 16 KB CC1.jpg - 4.5 KB Yes, most of us like flying, and many have to fly for business reasons. However, Bristol Airport is predominantly used for holiday traffic, I know several retired people who fly 5, 6 or more times a year on holiday, because it is relatively cheap and fun. There will be much more holiday traffic if expansion is allowed. Yes, there will be some job creation and extra income for North Somerset, but there will also be more road traffic, more parking on greenfield sites, and more noise. And the main financial beneficiaries are not even British firms, they are Canadian and Australian, if I am informed correctly.

The other worrying subject is the threat of fracking near us. Are you aware that there are large areas with planning permission for exploratory drilling in North Somerset, along the coast from Minehead to Clevedon, and inland all the way to Banwell? Again, this takes us into more CO2 generation, not less. We all know we should be aiming for less CO2 generation. Fracking means a whole new industry, based on fossil fuels, when we should be going in the direction of renewables.

Can you imagine fracking over large areas of Somerset and North Somerset, with huge tanker fleets bringing and removing the necessary water, drilling rigs in our lovely countryside, and the danger of earth tremors and water pollution?

Our generation has the information that should enable us to make responsible decisions. Previous generations did not know about climate change. We have the technology to help solve this climate change problem, renewable energy, electric cars, and above all good insulation for our homes and work places! These are all win-win solutions, renewable electricity is getting cheaper by the day, electric cars are great to drive and now go further than ever, and insulating our homes makes us comfortable and saves money!

I have written to our local councillors to make these points. Maybe you would like to join me?

Karin Haverson

June 2016

Saving the countryside we love, and providing more homes for families to live in
Is the answer more intense development everywhere, including here, or jshould this be just around cities and towns? An up-to-date article on the issues by Dr Lincoln Garland, an environmental consultant living in Winscombe. Click on the link below to read.

Eco case for compact cities - In Practice.pdf

The end of glyphosate weedkiller?
The European Union just refused to grant Monsanto a new license for its flagship product - the pesticide glyphosate. Glyphosate, present in common weedkillers such as Roundup, is systemic, and is present in every part of the plant sprayed with it. As a result, many commercially grown crops contain glyphosate, which humans and animals then eat. As weeds become resistant to glyphosate and other weedkillers, farmers increase their use, and the potential for harm increases as well/ As public awareness has grown, so has public pressure to get this product banned. Articles on this question proliferate, which are not copied here. It's certainly time for us to question whether or not the food we eat, the sprays we or our neighbours use, or the sprays our Local Authority uses near our homes and playingfields, contains glyphosate, and whether or not this can be justified, for immediate and future reasons of health.

EDF postpones Hinkley C decision until next year
A report in the Independent says that the EDF Board of Directors has agreed to undertake discussions with the company consultative council before taking a decision, a process which is likely to take a long time ie until next year.

Read More: http://realfeed-intariffs.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/edf-postpones-hinkley-c-decision-until.html

Independent piece; See http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/18bn-hinkley-point-nuclear-power-station-plan-could-be-coming-to-a-grinding-halt-a6997131.html

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The Plymouth Herald, April 25
Molly Scott-Cato, the Green Party MEP for the South West, said: "Waiting for Hinkley is a bit like waiting for a delayed train. Just as you think it might arrive, the time of arrival is put back again.

"Well this particular train has hit the buffers. In fact the project is completely derailed as EDF cannot build Hinkley without state aid. But getting the project back on track with government subsidy would breach EU state aid rules," said Dr Scott Cato, who has repeatedly attacked the project. "I expect this will be the last delay announcement and that the project will be shelved in September."

Read more: http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/Hinkley-nuclear-power-station-hit-new-delay/story-29172447-detail/story.html#ixzz4A8rI6U3v

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Hinkley Point costs could rise to £21bn, EDF admits
The Telegraph, 12 May
The cost of the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant could reach almost £21bn, nearly £3bn more than planned, EDF has admitted, as it published a construction timetable suggesting first power could be delayed until 2026.

Read More: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/05/12/hinkley-point-costs-could-rise-to-21bn-edf-admits/

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England couldn't cope with a nuclear accident at Hinkley Point
The Spectator, 11 May
An EDF board meeting today could spell the end of the wretched Hinkley Point C nuclear power station and its hugely over-priced electricity. EDF's finance director Thomas Piquemal resigned in March claiming that the project could put the entire future of the company at risk.

The UN's Economic and Social Council has put its own boot into the project, saying that the UK has failed to consult with neighbouring countries over the risk of a nuclear accident. Read More: http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2016/05/could-england-cope-after-a-nuclear-accident-at-hinkley-point/

By contrast, in the rest of the EU an energy transition is well under way. EU laws and targets are helping push the transformation. In particular the Renewable Energy Directive has set a binding target of 20% of final energy consumption to come from renewable sources by 2020.

Examples this month include Portugal, where the country ran for four days on renewable energy alone and Germany which achieved a 95% share of renewable energy on one day, breaking their previous record of 70-80% last year. Meanwhile Sweden is rapidly moving towards phasing out fossil fuels completely and with over half its energy needs being met by renewables, leads the pack in terms of proportion of energy obtained from renewables. The UK by contrast is fourth from bottom of EU countries, achieving just over 5% renewable power in 2013-14.

Closer to home, how many new developments in the parish include renewable energy measures, even at the outline planning stage? How many throughout North Somerset?

December 2015

Fracking near WandS
The latest round of fracking licences granted for exploratory work includes land at Banwell. As our streams, rivers, drinking water, and underground formations are so close, one might say shared, with this area, we in Winscombe and Sandford have even more reason to keep informed about the fracking debate. This website, DRILL OR DROP collects journalist items onfrakcing, onshore oil and gas, and the reactions to these, so shuold contain a spread of comments. If you log on, you can register for regular bulletins.


This comment in from Winscombe resident Lincoln Garland:
Leaving aside some of the other environmental arguments against fracking, it could potentially result in significant truck movements causing pollution and disruption to an already very congested area.

The Paris Climate Change Agreement- a cause for celebration?
The era of coal, gas, oil and diesel, all the fossil fuels, is ending... or is it? The Paris Climate Change Agreement means that every world leader, and most of the people in the world, have woken up to the pollution, flooding, rising coastlines, extreme weather events and knock-on effect of climate change, and have agreed to stop using the dirty fossil fuel energy that's causing the problem.

That's got to be good, hasn't it? So why don't I have a good feeling about what's happening on the energy front in our own country, and locally?
The sad truth is, that despite what David Cameron and other government spokespersons are saying about backing clean energy and cutting carbon emissions, our government just isn't walking the walk. So how can we expect North Somerset Council, and every other local authority, to achieve its own carbon emission reduction target of 50% by 2025, which is legally binding on them under the Climate Change Act,(and lower than the reduction target the new Paris agreement has set), if the government isn't doing what it takes to get this done, on a national level?

What about the news last Friday, at the same time as the Paris Climate talks were being headlined, that UK diesel companies being given £175.5m for power standby contracts by National Grid, with more payments for the energy supplied, plus 30% tax breaks? . When this starts being paid out it's estimated to put about a billion pounds on the country's annual household energy bills, and it's very definitely dirty energy.

This is bad news for bill payers, as well as for public health and the environment. It's very bad news for our national target to beat climate change. Of course it's really good news for wealthy investors, including offshore investors, and the companies concerned, Balance Power and Attune Energy, linked to Rockpool Investments, Plutus Energy and Prime Energy, PeakGen Power. The shareholders will get a big payout on their investment, and through tax breaks. But it shouldn't be like that, should it? Slowing climate change has got to be our priority, for our children and grandchildren's sake. We can only slow climate change by not burning fossil fuels. We now have the international Climate Change Agreement, and our obligations under that. By any reasonable standard, it's wrong to back fossil fuel schemes, and it's wrong not to back clean, renewable energy.

So what can we do about this disgraceful situation? We can't all go off-grid, generate our own clean electricity from solar, wind and hydro, and solve the problem that way. The only way open to us right now, it seems to me, is for all of us to tell our MPs, our Prime Minister, our Cabinet Ministers, our local authority officers and representatives, each and every one of the directors or trustees of our banks, pension funds, insurance companies, utility companies, all those people who are using our money to make investments, that we want them to back the Climate Change Agreement promises our country has made.

We can tell all these people in power that we don't want them to invest in or use dirty energy, and that we do want to invest in and use clean energy. We can tell the government that we want the energy we use in our homes and businesses and public buildings to be clean energy, from solar wind and tide, and to stop granting fracking licences. . We can tell the government to get behind our renewables industries and help them grow. It's shameful that these diesel companies providing dirty standby power will be paid more than our onshore wind industry, which provides over 5% of our energy needs in clean energy already, and could provide so much more, if it had the backing.

We can also tell David Cameron that giving such generous profits and tax breaks to wealthy investors and diesel companies is inordinate and wrong, when ordinary people are struggling to pay the bills and council services are being withdrawn. Our local renewable energy firms have been badly hit by the government deciding to withdraw clean energy installation subsidies from next month, and it's the same picture nationally.

The bottom line is that if our government does not switch support from fossil fuels to renewables now, and honour the Climate Change Agreement we have signed up to, there will be no going back from irreversible climate change. We already see on the News how the worst affected countries are facing very extreme weather events, flooding, droughts, failed harvests, but are still hoping to avoid mass starvation, and mass migration.

I don't believe people in this country generally aren't willing to make an effort to slow climate change. There's enormous goodwill locally to make a difference, with over 3,000 people turning out for the local Climate March in Bristol. Yes, there are things we can all do as individuals, to cut back on using energy from the grid, which will also save us money. We can put in better insulation, we can recycle more, we can do more cycling and walking, and fewer car journeys. We can take holidays in this country, and cut down on plane flights, and we can buy local food and local goods. On it's own, it's not enough. We need to get every person, company, business, and organisation to switch to 100% clean energy, and for that we need the government to take the lead. . We need David Cameron and his government to get squarely behind the Climate Change agreement, prioritise investing in clean energy, and walk the walk, instead of just talking the talk.

Cresten Boase
15.12.15

Waste Minimisation
Good news, as North Somerset Council Waste Minimisation Team have secured public funding for a Parish Incentive Scheme to minimise waste. WandS has a good reputation for waste minimisation and recycling as we know. The funding may be aimed at supporting a local worker to encourage better and more ways to do this. The Parish Council is currently considering the Scheme, so if you'd like to support it, the Parish Clerk is the first stop to register your interest- Lynne Rampton, at winscombepc@lineone.net, or phone 844257.

Here is the latest Newsletter from Stop Hinkley. Although groundwork has begun at Hinkley, the future of this installation is still unclear. The debate about the sustainability of nuclear power, particularly so far as disposing of nuclear waste is concerned, continues. If anyone wants to write in about this, your message will be featured.

Residents from WandS joined about 3,000 other participants at a very wet and windy Climate March in Bristol, with some travelling to London to take part in the larger event there, against the background of the Climate Talks in Paris.

Stop Hinkley Newsletter December 2015
Click here to read the newsletter

It's official- eating (too much) meat is bad for you, healthwise, and also for the planet
You don't have to an out and out vegetarian or vegan, you just have to read the report. The global warming impact of meat production is massive. The upside of this is that by switching to less meat,preferably less meat and less often, there can be an equally massive good effect in cutting carbon emissions worldwide. It's something we can all do at home, can ask for our children at school, and for ourselves in the workplace. With so many appetising and cheap vegetarian alternatives, it's a painless no-brainer to switch to a low-meat or no-meat lifestyle.

Click here for the full report

November 2015

A 24% shortfall on UK's renewable energy targets for 2020 is predicted.
No, it's not good news, sorry. Whatever the final figures, it seems a substantial renewable energy shortfall is inevitable, which the government plans to meet by measures other than wind or solar. >From a personal perspective, for ordinary people who want to do the right thing, doing what we can to reduce energy use and reduce our carbon cost, hoping we can lessen the effects of climate change for our grandchildren in a sustainable way, it's bad news. The good news is that many of us are determined to keep on track and get organised in our homes and community.

No more Community Energy Projects
Hopes for a community energy scheme for Winscombe and Sandford, and communities countrywide are wiped out by the new Finance Act provisions coming into force at the end of this month. If you want to invest in a local community energy scheme before the gate closes, please look at the options here:

Jon Gething of Low Carbon Gordano writes:

Dear Low Carbon Gordano members and supporters

I am taking the unusual step of promoting a share offer from a neighbouring energy cooperative. With a raft of damaging changes to the support for renewables especially solar either already implemented or coming shortly we see little likelihood of us being able to launch a new share offer in the foreseable future hence our support for Bristol Energy Cooperative.

You may be aware that the government has recently introduced a new provision in the Finance Bill, currently in its third reading and due to become law on 30 November. The new provision makes community energy companies (and investors in them) ineligible for Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) tax reliefs, as well as the forthcoming Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR).

Most of you will soon be benefitting from the EIS tax relief having become members of Low Carbon Gordano. Whilst we don't know exactly how important the tax relief is to you, we are sure that this is a serious blow to the whole of the community energy sector. The government's last minute change, and the speed of its implementation (it takes effect on 30 November) is particularly damaging.

With this in mind, and given that we do not have a current share offer, we wanted to bring to your attention a fundraise for a suite of community energy projects being run by our colleagues in Bristol Energy Cooperative (BEC, see www.bristolenergy.coop), a fellow member of Mongoose Energy (Mongoose is helping them with their fundraise).

BEC has been established for many years, and already has a couple of successful share offers for rooftop projects in Bristol under their belts. This latest share offer represents a substantial increase in ambition and is aimed at some 500kWp of PV rooftops round Bristol, plus a 4.2MWp solar farm at Lawrence Weston, close to our own Moorhouse Lane site, plus a 4.6MWp solar farm at Puriton, further down the M5.

In brief, BEC is seeking £2.8m in shares (shareholders will become members of BEC), and will soon be launching a linked £2.66m 3-year bond offer, with details of the bond offer being made public soon. The current share offer is open from 29 October to 23 November, and BEC expects to be able to pay 5% to investors. As always, if you are thinking of investing it is essential that you read the share offer in detail and satisfy yourself of the risks in the projects. On that note, please be aware that this e-mail is not a recommendation from LCG for you to invest.

If you wish to consider investing and taking advantage of the EIS tax relief while you still can, then there are very few projects around the country that give you that opportunity. BEC's projects are the only ones close to LCG's area of operation. If you're interested in knowing more, please do go to the Ethex website and download the full offer document. See: https://www.ethex.org.uk/Bristol

Clearly you need to act quickly if you want to take advantage of what may be the last opportunity for some time to invest in a community renewable project.

CSE Communities Energy Update
Here's our October round-up of the latest news, events, funding and information that may be useful if you have an interest in energy, community, or energy in your community.
Click here to read the October Community Energy Update.
This month we've got news of a new fund coming soon from Triodos Renewables, an offer to run a free switching workshop in your community through the Big Energy Saving Network and much more!
And remember, funding is still available for community buildings in the WPD network area!
All our monthly updates are downloadable from the CSE website at: http://bit.ly/1Ek098Y

October 2015

Local, renewable energy tipped as the winner for the future by National Grid's CEO
Hot on the heels of the news that 3 large renewables companies have gone bust, due to the government planning to axe the feed in tariff from the year end and investors taking fright at this, serious doubt is cast on the big premise that the government is relying on to justify Hinkley C: security of supply. The CEO of National Grid' says The world is clearly moving towards much more distributed electricity production and towards microgrids. The pace of that development is uncertain. That depends on political decisions, regulatory incentives, consumer preferences, technological developments. But the direction is clear.
Read the full article here

Pop-up Protest
There will be a 'pop-up protest' against Hinkley Point nuclear installation on Friday 9th October at Hinkley Point at 12:00 noon. An invitation has gone out to all from Stop HInkley:

Join us, and take to the streets to call on David Cameron to stop this nuclear 'white elephant' and not to sign the £24.5 billion agreement with the Chinese Government during their forthcoming visit to UK in October.

Molly Scott Cato, MEP SW, and Dennis Baupin, Vice President of the French National Assembly, will be joining the protest. They will be discussing the triple risk to Britain's energy supply.

Tell everyone you know to come out and be counted! We will be meeting at Hinkley Point, if you simply follow the road to HP main gate, you can't miss us.

September 2015

Fracking- the new locations under consideration, incoluding Banwell
DECC has recently disclosed the new areas on offer for licensing for fracking. One proposed new area includes Banwell, but before it can be offered, there has to be a Habitats Regulations Assessment, whch ends on September 29th, link here which anyone can complete and send in. If the block is assessed as suitable, it will be offered for licensing.

At the moment, actual fracking operations still have to have planning permission from the local authority concerned, after being given a licence ( a PEDL. ), although that will change if the government decides permission should be given at a higher level.

Given the importance of this issue, and the lasting effect on the environment of our parish if fracking were to go ahead in Banwell, you may want to look at the consultation paper and give your views.

When fracking was last considered by Winscombe and Sandford Parish Council it was decided there was insufficient information for a decision. It has been suggeted that given of the importance of this issue and the new areas proposed, th Parish Council hosts a discussion, with speakers, on this topic, open to all residents.

NSC have published an Energy Minerals Topic Paper which gives their overview of current fracking information copied here.

Our Annual Gathering, Climate Change Talk and Fifth Birthday Party - all in one: please come!
Open invitation to Transition Clevedon AGM and social evening-5th birthday party!- Transition Clevedon members supported the Green Open Homes event held this summer in Winscombe and Sandford, and regularly hold events and screen films. The organiser writes:

Just to confirm and remind you that we're having our annual gathering on 30th September at the Town Council Offices, 44 Old Street, BS21 6BU, starting promptly at 7.30.

As a core group we have lots of ideas of things that we would like to do, and would really welcome more people to join us in the planning and delivery of activities - please let us know if you would like to stand on the core group, or get in touch if you have any questions.

After a quick AGM to report on Transition Clevedon's activities last year and confirm the new core group, we will have birthday cake, tea, coffee and cider whilst setting up facilities for our evening's speaker.

Don Davies, North Somerset Councillor for Pill (Independent), will give an illustrated talk on the current position and thoughts on climate change in the run up to the meetings in Paris in December.

Everyone is welcome - do bring friends and family. We look forward to an enjoyable and interesting evening, (finishing approx 9pm).

Use Of Biomass For Energy
Some interesting reflections on biomass by Dr David Newman, an expert in this field, who has contributed to "Land Use Effects of Biomass Energy" a book published by the Stockholm Environment Institute. He also took part in the programme that developed the Kenya Ceramic Jiko, an energy-efficient charcoal cooking stove reduced deforestation in Kenya, and improved the household economies of the urban poor (who spent 1/3rd of their income on charcoal for cooking).

In the UK, there are substantial biomass resources, but they are not distributed evenly. In Scotland, a 30 km x 30 km of southern Scottish woodland produced enough each year to provide all of Edinburgh's electricty needs. Off the west coast of Scotland and Ireland, 1 million tons dry weight of seaweed grows each year, some of which could be harvested and put into biogas digesters.

Perhaps the two most promising resources across the UK are cellulosic agricultural waste and willow coppicing.

There are large quantities of agricultural waste produced by our monocultural farming system in much of England. Straw from cereal production is only one example. Where the waste has many uses, they can often be chained, first used for a high value use, then the waste from that finally used for energy. E.g. straw that has been used for animal bedding can later be used to produce energy or composted.

Coppicing is the most productive form of forestry for energy use. Plants that rely on coppices, or other forms of managed short rotation forestry have a pretty secure supply.

As for pollution, biogas plants reduce it, producing a concentrated fertilizer. Incinerating biomass produces less pollution than incinerating household rubbish, as it contains fewer plastics. As always, it is poorly designed or poorly maintained incinerators that pollute the atmosphere.

May 2015

Climate Policies!
If you can bear to look, the Centre for Alternative Technology has looked at how the political parties, all vying for our vote at the General Election, measure up, in their policies on climate change. Here is the chart they have published.

March 2015

Calling all green homes!
Is yours a green home? Do you have any energy saving installations in your home, for example solar panels, solar thermal water heating, an air heat pump, a rainwater collection tank, 'big' insulation works, a wind turbine, solar charging point for your bike or car? Have you taken measures to make your home as energy-efficient as possible, by fully insulating, glazing, installing energy efficient lighting systems, high-spec heating, sustainable building materials? Have you changed the way you garden, making a sustainable edible gardening area? - If so, are you willing to take part in a Green Homes event locally? We would very much like to hear from you, so please get in touch with a message titled 'Green Open Homes' to contact@winscombeandsandford.org.uk

6 household have already signed up to take part in our Winscombe and Sandford neighbourhood event being held over the weekend of June 6th and 7th, which includes one household in Loxton. We are looking for more local households with full insulation and heat pumps, so if your home has those installations, or any other 'green home' installations, please do get in touch. Green open homes events have been held in Clevedon, Backwell and Bristol, and have proved a popular way for people to share ideas and find out more about how we can make our homes and energy use more efficient and sustainable.

More details about green open homes events can be found at www.greenopenhomes.net
More details about the Green Homes weekend will be posted on the website from the end of April

February 2015

Fracking update 9.2.15
Fracking in North Somerset: If the price is right.........

Background: After France, Ireland, the Netherlands, New York State and many other countries have implemented moratoria or bans on fracking, or unconventional gas extraction, Edinburgh City Council has now cast its vote this week:
Fracking and Unconventional Gas
"This Council:
1) Notes concerns over the health and environmental impacts of unconventional gas, fracking and coal gasification;
2) Notes that, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, New York State and many other countries and states have implemented moratoria or bans on fracking;
3) Believes that allowing unconventional gas, fracking and coal gasification in Edinburgh would be inconsistent with the council's climate change targets and would pose unacceptable risks to people's health and the local environment;
4) Calls for a report within three cycles to review the minerals policies in the Local Development Plan in light of new health concerns over unconventional gas, fracking and coal gasification, and to ensure the LDP is consistent with the Council's sustainability policies and climate change targets;
5) Agrees that this report should also set out options for the council to implement an immediate ban on unconventional gas, fracking and coal gasification."

In the UK, Westminster voted against a moratorium- last week.

Similarly, North Somerset Council have not imposed a moratorium or ban. Last week, however, the Council did affirm its existing policy, which puts severe environmental constraints on approving mineral extraction including fracking. Good enough then, one might think. However, the second part of the motion put, which called on the Council not to change that policy, irrespective of any financial inducements, was voted down.

Hedgerows
No apologies for includng these notes on Hedgerows- our parish is bounded by the AONB and farmland, as well as motorway and industrial development, yet how often do we see hedges flailed to within a few feet of their core, never-flowering, never-fruiting and devoid of bird and insect life as a consequence? It's not just alongside roads. When did this mania for tidiness and sterility take over, and why is it continuiing, now we know how much insects birds and other wildlife rely on hedgerows for food and shelter? Let's enjoy the article, and do what we can with our own gardens andn plots. Hedgerows & hedgerow trees.pdf

Parliament's Environmetnal Audit Committee calls for halt to fracking
Environmental Audit Committee calls for halt to fracking.pdf

January 2015

Funding opportunity for Community Energy Scheme- no deadline set
At a time when so many planning applications are currrent for solar arrays funded by commercial concerns in our area, it's good to hear of funding for shemes which will provide direct benefit to the communities where energy generation schemes will operate. Recent advances mean the price of solar panels continues to fall, arrays can be put up in 'dead areas' such as over car parks,and even battery storage of energy generated is becoming feasible. Perhaps it's time for a scheme to provide cheap, if not free, energy for Winscombe and Sandford residents? The Forum is open for discussion..

The Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) supports rural communities in England to develop renewable energy projects which provide economic and social benefits to the community. The fund will provide up to approximately £150,000 of funding for feasibility and pre-planning development work to help projects become investment ready. RCEF provides support in two stages:
. Stage 1 provides a grant of up to approximately £20,000 to pay for an initial investigation into the feasibility of a renewable energy project.
. Stage 2 provides an unsecured loan of up to approximately £130,000 to support planning applications and develop a robust business case to attract further investment.
The fund is being delivered on behalf of the government by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP). Applications will be reviewed on a monthly basis and there is no set deadline for bids http://www.wrap.org.uk/content/rural-community-energy-fund

UrbanCommunity Energy Fund
The Urban Community Energy Fund (UCEF) is the urban counterpart to the RCEF and was launched on 13 November 2014. UCEF is a £10m fund to kick-start renewable energy generation projects in urban communities across England. Community groups will be able to access grants and loans to support renewable energy developments.
Grants of up to £20,000 are available for the more speculative, early stages of a project's development, such as public consultation and preliminary viability studies.
UCEF will also provide loans of up to £130,000 to develop planning applications and a robust business case to attract further investment. This is intended to help projects become 'investment ready', that is, at the right stage to secure a bank loan or another form of investment.
The first application deadline was 22 December 2014 with further deadlines at the end of January, February and March 2015. From April 2015 application deadlines are likely to be every second month.
https://www.gov.uk/urban-community-energy-fund

Thermal destratification- a new idea to reduce heating ( or cooling) costs by up to 50% for commercial premises, or anywhere with ceiling height 2.5 to 38 metres- as used by M & S and John Lewis! Read more here

North Somerset council are consulting on standards for Sustainable Buildings and Places, up until 13th February (see the NSC website). Alliance Homes in Portishead show an example of what can be done.

December 2014 - New Report on the comparative costs of renewable energy and nuclear power- Cities for a Nuclear Free Europe

The cost to the UK taxpayer of subsidising Hinkley C, and the anticipated date when it goes online- 2023- are very much live topics, and this substantial report, with a useful summary, reviews and discusses the information currently available. The summary and full report appear below:
Summary
Full report

December 2014 - Expert Opinions on Nuclear

In the ongoing debate on nuclear, it can be hard for a non- expert to form a view. The credentials of the individual members of the Nuclear Consulting Group may help with that, and here is some information about the Group, and a link to their new website: http://www.nuclearconsult.com/

Nuclear Consulting Group (ncg) comprises leading academics and experts in the fields of environmental risk, radiation waste, energy policy, environmental sustainability, renewable energy technology, energy economics, political science, nuclear weapons proliferation, science and technology studies, environmental justice, environmental philosophy, particle physics, energy efficiency, environmental planning, and participatory involvement. The group members are listed, with their qualifications.

The website aims to provide clear and independent information and analysis of the range of nuclear new build issues, and ask questions that need to be answered, including: how will significant 'what if' issues - such as nuclear fuel supply and manufacture, vulnerability to attack, accident and incident, rad-waste, radiation risk, decommissioning, reactor siting, nuclear costs and liabilities - be taken into account?

November 2014 - IPCC Working Group II

New Climate Change report 2014
http://ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/

October 2014 - Fish Aggregation Devices

Jargon for indescriminate slaughter of fish, turtles and other marine life. Princes and John West marketed tinned tuna are caught using these devices, and so far they refuse to ban their use. Once we know what is going on, the responsibility lies with us to decide whether we want to support it or not. This film, taken at the cost of personal danger, shows what is going on: https://secure.greenpeace.org.uk/page/m/583045d2/6401b943/61ba5312/20417974/4170400802/VEsH/

October 2014 - WIND POWER!!

It was good to hear headlines on Radio 4 that wind energy produced more electricity (13% i think) than nuclear over the last couple of days (helped by various nuclear power stations being 100% out of action and some strong winds). Also, that is before the offshore wind arrays are properly in place. Here are a couple of links on the subject:
http://www.technologyreview.com/news/523251/new-battery-material-could-help-wind-and-solar-power-go-big/
http://www.technologyreview.com/news/514331/wind-turbines-battery-included-can-keep-power-supplies-stable/

October 2014 - Council launches Warm up Bristol, an initiative to improve home energy efficiency

Warm Up Bristol is one of the most ambitious energy efficiency schemes in the country, with a target to provide 30,000 home improvement measures over the next four years.

Bristol has some of the oldest and most inefficient houses in the UK and a huge range of measures are available under the scheme. These include solid and cavity wall and loft insulation, double glazing and draught proofing, plus new boilers and renewable energy systems.

Mayor of Bristol, George Ferguson, said: "Warm Up Bristol gives a huge opportunity for us to address householders' energy needs and costs. We are working with local communities with the ambition to engage residents right across the city. Real change comes from the community and I'd like to personally encourage all to grasp the nettle.
"This is a cause that is central to our Green Capital status and will lay a vital part of the foundations for Bristol to be the most sustainable city in years to come."

Amber Rudd, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, added: "With Bristol Green Deal communities and more money announced for the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund, people in Bristol have lots of options to make their homes more energy efficient.
"It makes sense to help more families install energy saving improvements now, so that they see the benefits of lower bills and a warmer home for years to come."

Warm Up Bristol has something for everyone. The council is working with community partners such as Bristol Energy Network and Easton Energy Group to engage local residents and help them to make their homes warmer and cheaper to heat.
A cluster of houses on Johnsons Road, Stepney Road and Stepney Walk in Easton have already benefitted from external wall insulation and people are encouraged to visit the demonstrator streets to see the finished result.
Bristol City Council launched the website www.warmupbristol.com where people can find out how they could benefit from the scheme.

September 2014 - Building with waste saves energy-Brighton's Waste House

wase_house_bbm.jpg - 13.6 KB is a house with a difference - the Waste House at Brighton University, a "collaborative eco-build project" is turning local waste into a resource.

Local authorities countrywide are under pressure to provide new housing, and at the same time to recycle waste and save energy- but can these priorities be dealt with together?

In Brighton they've built one answer-

called "the house that 20,000 toothbrushes built", the Waste House is Europe's first permanent public building made almost entirely from material thrown away or not wanted.


Construction materials include carpet tiles as external cladding, two tonnes of old denim jeans, VHS cassette tapes, inner tubes and broken polystyrene packaging.

Some of the toothbrushes mentioned above were thrown away after single use by business and first class passengers flying from Gatwick, others came from local residents. They're all now in the house's wall cavities, helping with insulation.

As a result, there's ongoing low energy use now that the house is completed, alongside the low energy use while it was constructed.

Effective insulation plays an important role in energy efficiency, which helps to reduce fuel poverty. Campaigners using the example of the Brighton Waste House are calling on the government to introduce tougher minimum energy efficiency standards.

Crucially, the Waste House demonstrates that higher standards right across the construction sector are achievable.

It highlights that these make economic as well as environmental sense: at present, for every five houses built in a conventional way, so much waste is produced that if re-used it would be sufficient to create a whole new extra house.

The project's trail-blazing status was recognised at this year's 2degrees Champions Awards where it won in two categories - Waste & Resource Management and Building or Property Project.

The Waste House has already offered education, inspiration and training opportuntities. Over 750 pupils from local primary, secondary and tertiary colleges have visited the site, while students and apprentices from Brighton City College and Mears Group have also had the opportunity to work on the house as a live construction project.

For more on the Waste House see http://bit.ly/1lkhN2A or @WasteHouse

21-September 2014 - Climate March

The atmosphere was almost electric as approximately 2,400 marchers poured into College Green and assembled in front of City Hall where Molly Scott Cato, who took part in march from Castle Green, received a petition calling for 100% clean energy, and real action on Climate Change. Mayor George Ferguson spoke to the assembled marchers by phone from New York where he is one of the world ' Green Mayors' attending the New York Climate event.

I personally met people from Ashburton, Plymouth, Bridgwater, Cheddar, Pill, Weston, all signing up to the Avaaz petition for action on climate change, and I am from Sandford, all marching with their families, sometimes three generations together, to show how important they know effective action on climate change is for our future..

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Cresten Boase

22-September 2014 - Energising News!: Parish Council Vote For Local Energy Schemes

Last night Winscombe and Sandford Parish Council voted almost unanimously, ( only one vote against) to support a proposal undert he Sustainable Communities Act from Patchway Town Council asking the Government to give all Town and Parish Councils the right to sell electricity that they generate from any local scheme. the full text can be found on the website, on the Agenda for last night's meeting.

If the proposal succeeds, this will pave the way for all Town and Parish Councils to get involved in local renewable energy schemes, for example putting solar arrays on community owned roofs, over community-owned car parks, providing power for local people and money for local projects, for example community centres and recreation areas, and other benefits.

At a time when many businesses, including non-UK businesses, are putting up solar arrays in our area, the profits of which will go straight to their shareholders without benefiting the local communities these are in, this is an exciting and positive opportunity for local communities to become more sustainable in these challenging times.

Free course offer for community-led self-build projects

If you are interested in learning more about community-led self build project, there's a free course run by Ecomotive http://www.ecomotive.org/ in St. Werburghs, Bristol. The first course is next month, 19-20th September 2014. The website details a charge for this course, but I've been told that this is now free to participants.

There's another opportunity to attend the course in November, detailed on the website.

Waste Electrical And Electronic Equipment Recycling Champions!

Winscombe and Sandford are officially leading recyclers when it comes to recycling waste electrical and electronic equipment, following our response last year to the North Somerset WEE Amnesty Event held last year at the Winscombe Community Association. Over 2 tonnes of waste electrical equipment was donated by us, out of a total of 8 tonnes from all the North Somerset WEE events held, so well done us.

In answer to the question " How much did we save?" Andrew Prestt, Recycling & Waste Support Officer at North Somerset Council writes ". It is in the Recycling and Waste Collection contract that the contractors Kier keep all the revenue from recycling, but it was part of the agreement as they keep the recycling income we can buy into cheaper contracts. With it costing £100 per tonne to send waste to landfill or other treatment there still would have been a £800 saving from not having to dispose of all the electrical waste collected. As there was approx 2 tonnes of electrical waste collected from Winscombe Parish, this would have provided the council with approx £200 savings. "

So, apart from the income generated for the contractors, the saving to the council in being able to negotiate cheaper waste disposal costs, and the saving in landfill costs, there is also the satisfaction of knowing we have diverted 2 tonnes of waste from landfill.

April 2014 Update

Meeting in Long Ashton on Climate Change, with Bob Langton of Sustainable Pill and Andrew Garrad our resident wind expert, on Wednesday April 30th in the Jubilee at Long Ashton Community Centre, 7.30pm.

WEEE event: Some feedback from NSC on the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Amnesty event last year- 2 tonnes collected from WandS alone. A similar event is planned for June 19th at the WCA market this year, so please spread the word that any such items can be left between 8.30am and 11.30 am that day in the front car park at the Winscombe Community Association.

SEED SWAP: Several people have mentioned seed swaps this year, so in response a Seed Swap box will be set up, available at the Thursday market 8.30 am to 11.30 am, Winscombe Community Association, enquiries in person to Chris at the veg stall, or Cresten in the book room. Postings of seeds offered or wanted can be made via the Home and Garden page on the village website www.winscombeandsandford.org.uk.

Hinkley C- - Can we afford it?

Do we, here in WandS, want it in our back yard? Click here for a detailed look at recent developments.

Renewables

Local company Solarsense gave a powerpoint presentation on renewables in Portishead recently on current events in the renewable energy world, including the interesting information that no new houses will be connected to mains gas from 2016- so it's electric homes all the way from now on, so far as our building industry government regulators are concerned. Click here to see the presentation (Microsoft Powerpoint)

The price of solar panels has come down, and energy bills are soaring. Perhaps it really is time for those of us who already haven't done so to do something about our looming energy deficit, and put some solar panels on the roof. For those concerned with aesthetics, the range of 'roof tile' solar panels is impressive- and don't forget, it's only a few decades ago people were up in arms against telegraph poles, hideous as they are, proving you can get used to anything.

Image1_thumb.jpg - 88.6 KB Local response to government 'dash for gas': February events: there are a number of screenings of the film 'The Truth about the Dash for Gas' locally, should you wish to find out about the other side to the government argument that fracking for gas is safe and acceptable. The first is at Congresbury, on Tuesday 11th February, and there are also showings at the Roxy, Axbridge on the 25th, and at Banwell Village Hall on 28th February. There is a public talk on "How could Fracking cffect Farming" in Wells on the 26th. Other venues are shown below:

Tuesday 11th: Film showing & meeting at Congresbury | 7 - 9pm | Congresbury War Memorial Hall & Social Club, High Street BS49 5JA.

Wednesday 12th: Film showing & meeting at West Harptree Memorial Hall | 7 - 9pm | Compton Road, West Harptree, BS40 6EG

Monday 17th: Film screening at the Little Theatre Cinema, Bath | 8.15 - 10.15pm | St Michaels Place, Bath BA1 1SG

Friday 21st: Film showing & meeting at Langport Sports & Social Club | 7 - 9pm | Eastover, Langport TA10 9RZ

Sunday 23rd: Film showing & meeting at Chilcompton | 7 - 9pm | Wells road, Chilcompton, Radstock, BA3 4EX

Monday 24th: Film showing & meeting at Paulton Village Hall | 7 - 9pm | Farrington Road, Paulton, Bristol, BS39 7LW

Tuesday 25th: Film showing & meeting at Bruton Castle | 8pm | 45 High St, Bruton BA10 0AW

Tuesday 25th: Film showing at Roxy Community Cinema, Axbridge | 7 - 9pm | 36 High Street, Axbridge BS26 2AF (Please park at Meadow St Car Park)

Wednesday 26th: How could Fracking affect Farming? Public meeting for local food producers & landowners | 7 - 9pm | Wells Town Hall, Market Place, Town Hall, Wells, Somerset BA5 2RB | Click here for more information & to book.

Friday 28th: Film showing & meeting at Banwell Village Hall |7 - 9pm | Westfield Crescent, Banwell, Avon BS29 6BS
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BENEFIT GIGS & CREATIVE EVENTS
Enjoy live music & entertainment while fundraising for Frack Free Somerset!

Friday 31st: Benefit Gig at Hamilton House | 80 Stokes Croft, Bristol, Avon BS1 3QY | An immersive Imbolc experience to raise awareness and consciousness of the threat of fracking to the land and communities of the South West and beyond. We will be creating an enchanted world of music, poetry and story, set in a beautiful mid-winter mirage, to celebrate the coming together of artists, activists and those who stand in solidarity against fracking, big business and the dessimation of the sacred earth. There will be Live Art performance of St. Brigit blessing our garbs, rousing poetry and magical story, bathed in beautiful sounds from: The Butterfly Wheel, Tallulah Rendall & Calico Jack

Thursday 6th - Saturday 8th: Frack and the Beanstalk Pantomime in Theale | 7pm for 7.30pm start | Theale Village Hall, Panborough, Wells | Tickets can be obtained by contacting Andy at anunnakai2@googlemail.com or 07747838292

Sunday 9th: Benefit Gig & Info Night at the Arc Bar | 4 - 11pm | Arc Bar, 27 Broad St, Bristol, Avon BS1 2HG | More details coming soon

Friday 14th: Frack Free Somerset Raffle at the Lonely Hearts Club, All Hallows Hall | All Hallows Hall, Easton, All Hallows Road, BH5 0HH

Saturday 1st March: Frack Free Somerset Grand Jumble Sale | 10.30 - 2.30pm | Trinity Hall, Trinity Street, Frome, BA11 3DE

Friday 7th March: Frack Free Somerset Funk Soul Night Benefit Gig, Frome | Cheese & Grain, Justice Ln, Somerset BA11 1BE | Click here for more details.

FRACKING - DOES FRACKING MATTER IN WINSCOMBE AND SANDFORD? December 2013

FRACKING CONCERNS VOICED AT THE NOVEMBER PARISH COUNCIL MEETING
PC Fracking Poster.jpg - 170.6 KB Fracking was an item on our Parish Council Meeting Agenda at the end of November. This was publicised independently of the Parish Council, ( see poster below) and Parish Councillors and local residents who came to the meeting heard from Gareth Thomas, the invited speaker, ( report outline below). Mr Thomas, a senior consultant geologist, was given 20 minutes to speak on this complex subject, so the report is also brief. In the end, the proposal expressing concerns about the impact of fracking in our villages was not adopted by the Parish Council, only three councillors supporting it.

IS FRACKING LIKELY HERE?
So does fracking matter to us here in WandS? The latest round of licenses to explore for underground gas includes Blagdon. Blagdon is not a million miles away. The next round of licensing will take place from early 2014. 2014 arrives next month. If we want to 'watch this space' without having to make specific enquiry of government departments, then one way is to look on the Frack Free Somerset website.

CAN WE SAFELY LEAVE IT FOR THE PLANNERS TO DECIDE?
"Surely it's up to planning, "(meaning North Somerset Council), was one remark voiced after the meeting, Perhaps. There is a suggestion that if the 'Dash for gas' has strong enough backing at a high enough level, then this may not be the case. Certainly in the Government Autumn Statement out last week there is a large financial inducement promised to communities who agree to fracking.

If any one of us here in WandS thinks that fracking is an issue which can safely be ignored for the next ten years or so ( by which time some of us may hope to be in a better place than this) the indications are that we would be very very wrong.

FRACKING AT WHAT PRICE?
So, is it a case that we here in WandS are for sale, so far as fracking is concerned, if the price is right? Or is there yet time for those of us who are interested to find out enough to make up our minds, and see where that takes us?

There is a lot of material on the internet we can sift. Those who are for fracking don't deny that any gas extracted will come at a high commercial price. That high commercial price will mean large amounts of money could potentially be offered to landowners to allow fracking on their land, particularly if the sums mentioned in the Autumn Statement are any guide. The trouble is, anything done on someone else's land nearby doesn't stop there. Mr Thomas' report outlines the risks to the whole community, every one of us.

So, how important a resource is the gas which might come from fracking? Is fracking sustainable? If it isn't sustainable, then will the price local landowners get for allowing fracking on their land- and the Parish Award Lands are in the potential exploration area pointed out by Mr Thomas- and the advantage of having some undefined amount of underground natural gas available as fuel- outweigh the other factors?

WandS enjoys beautiful surroundings and permits a peaceful and enjoyable way of life for many. What price do we put on that?

WHY ARE WE EVEN CONSIDERING FRACKING IN THIS COUNTRY?
Energy is hot news these days. We all expect the lights to go on if we flick the switch, and we all expect to be able to power those electronic gadgets and toys we've bought for Christmas, even if we do cringe at the power bill. Are we right? Can we go on using electricity at the same rate as we are currently doing, if we can afford it?

ARE WE BEING GREEDY ABOUT ENERGY?
Earlier this month Chris Train, a senior National Grid director, was widely reported as having warned that we would have to pay billions to improve the power network if ( energy) companies provided the " luxury of electricity that we desire". ( Note his use of the word "desire", not 'require'), This seems to have caused quite a stir. We might wonder if this is a case of someone opening their mouth and uttering an inconvenient truth- or perhaps this senior director is wide of the mark. Is Mr. Train right? Is what we are asking for in the way of electricity a luxury? To put it another way, are we being greedy? Are we expecting a level of electricity provision that is, in the world we now live in, not reasonable, and simply not sustainable?

Mr Train says the power network will need ' improving' if we carry on as we are ( more/ bigger/ different pylons? more/bigger/different substations? ) Already in this area we have seen the planned impact of National Grid 'improvement', to tie in with the planned new reactor Hinkley C close by.

The news about French and Chinese backers for HinkleyC , its estimated cost of £16 billion plus, and its anticipated electricity price of twice what we are currently paying, has been met with varying reactions.

Some locals say this investment should have come years ago, then there wouldn't be any question of an energy shortage when our older power stations go off-line from 2015, before Hinkley and other nuclear stations are commissioned , perhaps by 2029 or 2030. Others are saying that nuclear is simply too expensive, quite apart from the safety warning of the Fukushima disaster, and the as- yet unsolved problem of radioactive waste. Others are saying that backing renewables, solar, wind, and tidal, is the only safe, relatively inexpensive way to power the country without adding further to climate change. Meanwhile, there are no promises from the Big 6 energy company chiefs that our bills won't go up next year as well, if wholesale and network costs rise, as they are likely to do, given that we are in a state of increasing demand and dwindling supply.

It's easy to see how gas from fracking, here in the UK, may seem an attractive alternative to those expensive imports.

The fairly strong suggestion for us here in WandS is that ' to frack or not to frack' is not some distant theoretical question we don't have to bother with. If we ignore it, we will still have to live with the consequences, much sooner than many of us think.

Cresten Boase.

Links:
Fracking poster for Parish Council meeting
Integrale report
Frack-Free Somerset Website

Chris Richards, the co-ordinator for Greeniversity, a new skill exchange project, introduces Greeniversity in this area:

Hi everyone,
I want to let you all know about my latest project setting up green skill sharing groups across North Somerset through the Greeniversity website www.greeniversity.org.uk
Greeniversity allows people to learn or share new green skills from cooking to bike maintenance, growing your own food to customising charity shop clothes.
It would be great to have groups set up across North Somerset, and we're here to support the development of this happening. Please get in touch if you are interested in joining in, and please do spread the word about Greeniversity in your community.

Sustainable Winscombe and Sandford supports North Somerset Council's Carbon Management Plan to reduce carbon emissions by 30% by 2014, from the 2008/9 baseline.

Energy meters help you to reduce carbon emissions, and reduce your energy costs at the same time. One great way to encourage the whole household to save energy is by getting an energy meter. All you have to do after that is a bit of sleuthing, going round the house to find out what electrical appliance you've left on by mistake is making the figures go up in that alarming way. There are many kinds, and we hope shortly to offer a reliable domestic energy meters to anyone in Winscombe and Sandford who wants one, at a discounted price. Please send in your name if you would be interested in reserving one.

News for 2013:

Winscombe Primary School has agreed to take part in the 'Low Carbon Schools Programme', which aims to reduce school utility costs and reduce carbon emissions, as well as educating our children about sustainability.

Not the first time, the children have taken an important message home from school- we look forward to learning more!

Centre for Sustainable Energy UPDATE FEB 2013-02-27

Housing Assessment Tool (HAT)

The Housing Assessment Tool or 'HAT' has been designed to enable community groups to analyse data about their local housing stock and generate reports for local householders. The users simply enter a few details about a home into an Excel spreadsheet to generate results about what measures are suitable for the home and what kind of savings can be expected. A community group can use the HAT to provide individual householders with a report, which could be useful prior to a full Green Deal Assessment, or to analyse data about a cluster of houses to determine what measures might be most beneficial to target in the area. The tool and full guidelines on how to use it can be found here: www.cse.org.uk/resources/toolkits.

If you are interested in being part of a community group investigating energy saving measures in this way, please get in touch.

Open homes weekend:

Depending on the level of interest, it is hoped to put on an open homes weekend, with pre-booked viewing times, after Easter

If you are interested in viewing energy saving and renewable energy measures installed in homes in Winscombe and Sandford, please contact us heading your message ' Open homes weekend' Recycling information There is helpful information on what can be recycled where, to be found on the Environment noticeboard in the WCA, or you can click here for a list.

Not all waste can be recycled, but it all has to be dealt with before it's a risk to health and wildlife. If you would like to join Parish Councillor Sue Kent's litter-picking team, please contact the Parish Office on 844 257, or email the Parish Clerk at winscombepc@lineone.net.

Water conservation:

We are heading for water shortages as a result of climate change and population growth, despite the excess water in the form of flooding which has been all too evident over the past months. At the moment we each use a staggering 145 litres per week. If we reduce that to 130 litres or less, this could halve the deficit, according to recent studies at the University of Exeter. Bristol Water offer us a free water saver kit: all you have to do is go online at the Bristol Water site, choose your free items, order them, and they will be sent out to you completely free of charge.

Rainwater harvesting, to tide us over longer periods of drought, is becoming even more important. There is a drive for new businesses and homes to be built with large underground tanks for rainwater from roofs. For those of us in older houses where there may not be room to instal a large tank, smaller above-ground alternatives are on the market, some as systems with pumps. If you have a rainwater harvesting system or tanks, and are willing to host a 'show and tell' session, please get in touch.

A potential threat to our water supply: Rises in energy prices have led to extreme forms of energy exploration and extraction by drilling in to inland and offshore sites, known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. A recent British Geological Survey on potential problems in Bath and North East Somerset and the surrounding area in relation to fracking exploration and production highlights potential threats to our local water supply. Frack Free Somerset's website gives details of the arguments against our planning authority permitting test drilling or extraction by fracking. The argument about accessing very short-term energy reserves, versus potential permanent pollution of our water supply, continues. If you have information to contribute, please get in touch