Thursday, February 4, 2016

Victoria's Green Matters - 4th February 2016

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:

We have heard lots in the news recently about sperm whales beaching themselves on the Norfolk coast, with fatal results. This is a sad enough situation in itself and while there have been many suggestions for the reason for these occurrences, no-one can say for sure what is happening. Killer whales and dolphins are also suffering decline.

The UK has a resident pod of killer whales which live in the sea off north-west Scotland. There are only eight members of this pod and they have not produced a calf in the nineteen years that they have been studied by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). Scientists involved in the study have discovered that pollution by toxic chemicals is the cause for this decline.

Western European waters are subject to pollution by PCBs which are persistent chemicals used in electrical equipment but which were banned in the 1980s. These chemicals are still leaking into our seas and oceans via unlined landfill sites and from sediment released by dredging shipping channels. PCBs impair breeding success and immune systems and research analysis has shown that the blubber from killer whales and dolphins contained levels at which severe toxic effects occur. Because whales and dolphins are at the head of the food chain, they receive large accumulated doses of toxins from their prey. These chemicals are very hard to destroy but action needs to be taken quickly or it will be too late to save these wonderful marine creatures.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Deal COP21 Climate Change Conference reportback - 11th Feb Landmark Centre

Joint Deal With It / Dover UNA report back meeting from the 
COP21 Paris conference on Climate Change 
from local attendees from Dover/Deal area - all welcome. 

Landmark Centre Deal Thursday 11th Feb 7pm

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Victoria's Green Matters - 28th January 2016

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:

Nobody would argue with the fact that the Port of Dover has a good plan for the revival of the Western Docks and with it, hopefully, the rejuvenation of Dover itself. It cannot be denied that the jobs created by this scheme would be welcomed with open arms in Dover. But – there has to be a ‘but’, doesn’t there? – the plan to dredge the Goodwin Sands to accomplish this development is a step too far.

Does it seem sensible to anyone that an area as sensitive as the Goodwins, which has been designated as a Marine Conservation Zone, would be an area which would be suitable for dredging aggregate to be used for the Dover expansion?

The Goodwin Sands are well known to the local populations of Deal and Dover as an extremely important area for wildlife, both above and below the water. There is a large seal population which depend on the sands where they can leave the water to have their pups and to moult. Peak season for pups is July and moulting time is August. The Goodwins were also recommended for protection for the diversity of its sediment habitats, where there are blue mussel beds and rossworm reefs.

We must not forget, of course, that the Goodwin Sands are a very dangerous stretch of coastal water, responsible for thousands of shipwrecks which still lie out there. In the great storm of 1703, ninety vessels were thought to have been lost.

We must remember that the Sands have been dredged before; the last time in 1998 and the area is still recovering. Seals numbers are now in the hundreds so any work on the Sands will disturb them, particularly since if dredging occurred it would start as early as August this year when the seals have pups and are moulting. Dredging in this phase would end in November 2017.

The Port of Dover is quick to explain that the Goodwins are a favoured source of aggregate because they are close by, limiting carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions and road transport congestion. As Dover is a port, would not transport by ship be a more environmentally friendly solution?

Consultations between the Port of Dover and Kent Wildlife Trust, the Marine Conservation Society and British Divers Marine Life Rescue are continuing and we can only hope that the right decisions are made.

So, Dover, please source your aggregate from elsewhere!

Victoria Nicholls. Transition Deal.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

DWI Organising Group 23/1 despatch

Thanks to everyone who came to our Organising Group meeting today at the Landmark Cafe.

Lots to do in 2016. We are postponing the AGM on 30/1 to probably the 20th Feb as we are trying to get a speaker on the Goodwins.

Next OG meeting which is open to all is on 13/2 10am.

Deal Station Garden Group meeting on 31/1 3pm at sonja's.

First Seedy Sat will be on the 12/3 and we have beach clean's on 21/2 Deal and 13/3 at Walmer. 
Lots of work supporting Deal's entry into SE in Bloom ... ideas on wildlife day at the Garden

Trying organise a joint meeting with UNA on COP21 outcomes. Plans for permaculture garden at chequers... expansion at the Landmark Garden
Working with Kent Wildlife Trust for research/feedback on MCZ poss on 6/2 ... Love to Sue Delling who is on the mend ....
Mailing and details out on website/FB over the next week or so 

Phew ...

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Victoria's Green Matters - 21st January 2016

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:

Scientists and meteorologists warned us twenty years ago that our winters would become warmer and wetter. This has come true except for a few cold spells now and then but did we take any action to cope with the ever increasing amounts of water that would land on our fair country? No, of course we didn’t. In fact, we allowed actions to continue that would positively make the flooding of towns far more likely.

As usual, we hear about building higher walls, putting in flood defences and dredging rivers but we don’t hear much about putting in measures to hold back the water at source on the moors above the towns.

Campaigners have been begging the government to stop the drainage and burning of grouse moors which reduces the grounds’ capacity to store water. But large, important landowners hold sway and continue to destroy the land in favour of breeding game birds for people to pay money to shoot. To add insult to injury, farm subsidies are paid to these landowners because their land qualifies as farm land as soon as any wildlife habitat is removed.

We need flood prevention in the form of woodland and functioning bogs; dead wood and gravel banks and other obstructions which beavers would gladly create for nothing. The effects of this would be to allow rivers to meander and braid, letting rivers flow again into their flood plains.

It seems that there are signs that the government has realised that these measures are a necessity.