Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Boris's Bikes start in London in July....

Base on the popular Parisian velib system the 'London Cycle Hire' starts on the 30th July with 6,000 bikes in 400 locations in the city.

Users will pay an initial membership fee of £1 for 24-hour access, £5 for seven-day access, or £45 a year. They can make unlimited journeys and the first half-an-hour will be free. On top of that, the London Cycle Hire charge for members will be £1 for a journey of between 30 minutes and one hour, £4 for up to 90 minutes, and £6 for up to two hours. Cyclists will use a new smart-card – similar to an Oyster card – to unlock the bike (Photo: TFL -Shows artist impression of bike station) 

Monday, March 29, 2010

Rosie's Green Matters - 1st April

Deal With IT's Co-ordinator, Rosie Rechter this week writes our regular column in the East Kent Mercury :
Sustainable Community
One definition of the ideal sustainable community lists five dimensions
  • Increase local economic diversity
  • Self reliance
  • Reduction in the use of energy and careful management and recycling of waste products
  • Protection of biological diversity and stewardship of natural resources
  • Social justice
Just an idealist’s dream? Well no actually. The little island of Westray in the Orkney Islands off Scotland is well on its way to becoming the UK’s first self sufficient community. Faced by serious economic problems and increasing depopulation, in 1998, they formed a Development Trust.
Following the above five guide lines, they created a bio-fuel plant for the island’s cars using old cooking oil, built a methane plant using slurry and grass, have an electric car powered by a small wind turbine, one of the finest organic salmon farms, a wonderful diversity of wild life and a flourishing and growing community which will be enriched by their new wind turbine, an Enercon E44 (900KW) which is now up and running and already creating an income for the community. Initially, Westray Development Trust hope to earn £100,000 each year from the clean energy they generate, and this will rise to over £200,000 annually over the course of the turbine’s life. Could we learn something from this success story?

At our Green Forum on Renewable Energy last week, a member of the audience pointed out that while the solutions we were offering for people to generate their own renewable energy by making an investment in solar energy, and also covering the possibility of DIY solutions for those with the necessary skills (16 people signed up for the planned workshops to mentor people who wanted to do this) that still left a lot of people unable to join in the financial advantages on offer.

Community generated clean energy is of course the most efficient way of providing a secure energy source for the future. Could Deal in 10 years time enjoy some of the advantages that Westray is enjoying today?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Beachwatch at Kingsdown

Volunteers from Sea France & Kingsdown recently cleared 37 sacks of rubbish from Kingsdown Beach. Working as part of Marine Conservation Society's BeachWatch programme which  clears beaches around the UK and raises awareness of the damage that litter, especially plastics which never biodegrade, can do to our marine life. .... Watch this space as we will be organising an Deal With IT session soon.

Full story at 

Follow the work of the MCS here:

Deal - Is so bracing....

Dover District Council's webiste have nifty page on local Air Quality Monitoring - there is a Air quality survey run by the University of Brighton plus lots of useful documents at the KAQ site. The nearest monitoring sites are all in Dover and all get 'green' ratings, even the Docks (Ramsgate was amber last year)


Kent Air Quality site:

Dover District Council are talking rubbish.....

Well not exactly - Dover District Council and Shepway District Council, in partnership with Kent County Council, will soon be entering into a new, joint contract for recycling and waste collections. They say "A joint contract will offer economies of scale which will help to ensure that we get the best price for our residents for the collection and disposal service".
There is a online questionaire (and one in this week's local papers) ... this is a great opportunity for us to register our long requested desire to extend recycling locally. Please log your comments by Friday 18th June:

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Commonwork: Grow, Cook, Eat - what the projects are all about....

Spring is in the air and exciting new work is underway at Commonwork.

The inspiring Grow Cook Eat project will work with schools and community groups to encourage people of all ages to grow and cook healthy and sustainable food.
The Food Hub will explore ways of encouraging local communities to buy locally produced food from a number of community based food hubs, set and up and developed by Commonwork in partnership with local groups.
As part of these new projects, we will be renovating the Middle Yard to provide learning and cooking spaces. We will also be digging and developing new growing spaces next to the current organic vegetable plot.
Grow2Grow is a new social enterprise set up in partnership with Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) which will provide nurturing opportunities through farming and horticultural placements for vulnerable young adults with or recovering from mental health problems. This project will work alongside and with the Grow Cook Eat growing spaces.

And, in addition, the cows are getting new accommodation. Once the cows are back out in the fields for the spring and summer, work will begin to replace the old winter sheds with new accommodation that will provide more space for the herd.
We hope that all this building and renovating activity will not cause any major inconvenience to our friends and visitors… it will be worth it all in the end.
Commonwork Bore Place Chiddingstone, Kent TN8 7AR
Email: Web: Tel: 01732 463255

Commonwork: Grow, Cook, Eat and get paid as a gardener ...

Study centre and organic farm is recruiting for two new education and care farming projects involving organic vegetable growing and wellbeing
Grow - Cook – Eat  
Gardener/education project  - Full time, £18-21k pa

Gardener/mental health project  -Full time or job share, £18-21k pa

Thanks to Local Food and Ecominds for funding these projects.
Details and application from


Bore Place Chiddingstone, Kent TN8 7AR 01732 463255

Closing date for applications: 6 April 2010  - Interviews on 15 and 16 April 2010

News on Thanet Wind Farm.....

THE world’s largest wind farm, to be built off the coast of Thanet, will bring hundreds of new jobs to the isle, the Isle of local paper the Thanet Gazette reveals.

The team behind the London Array project has chosen Ramsgate port as the location for their new 1,800sq m operations and maintenance headquarters for the 100 turbines. The array is seven miles off the coast at Broadstairs and will produce 300mw of clean power for 240,000 homes.
Thanet Gazette article:

Contractor website:     and

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Early warning: Canterbury Climate Fair 15/16th May

Canterbury Greenpeace are organising a two day Climate Fair on the 15th & 16th May - Deal With It hope to have our stall there. More details to follow...

The Climate Fair will run from 9am to 5pm on the Saturday and from 10am to 4pm on the Sunday.
There will be campaign stalls, entertainers, Fairtrade and organic produce stalls, and displays stretching along The Parade and St George’s Street between the ancient clock tower and historic Rose Lane.

Canterbury Climate Fair website:
Canterbury Greenpeace:

Transition Towns Film ...

We had a showing of the new film on the Transition Towns movement 'In Transition 1.0' at our March Monthly meeting (at DealAbility 4th Tues each month). A great film, very informative, not preachie and really showed the diversity, depth and energy that has been unleashed since the movement started in 2006.

We need to start the debate locally whether this is a route we want Deal to go down. The film is great 'openner' for those discussions & action. We own a copy of the film and we want it to be used. We will be using it again in our meetings but we need you to use it too.

Do you fancy running a 'home meeting' for friends & neighbours; are you a member of another organisation or a teacher/student which would be interested in showing it at you school/college? If so please contact us asap at

For more info on the Transition Movement:

You can watch the film online as well but its 40mins long

Saturday, March 20, 2010

'Go forth and generate'

'Go forth and generate' was Rosemary Rechter's, DWI Co-ordinator, closing remarks after a very interesting Saturday afternoon at Deal's Green Energy Forum. Over 50 people in a packed hall in the Landmark centre listened to Steve Plater, OU energy researcher explain the history & options available for green energy solutions. Steve is happy to take follow on questions at

Jack Domane described his own experience in using and building a variety of heating solutions and how a small investment & some DIY could produce cost-effective and safe Green solutions - a number of the audience joined with Jack in setting up a local DIY Energy group to take things forward in Deal. If you are interested contact him direct on  01304 364 138 or email
We also had solar installation engineer Hannah Jones from Eternal Energy Systems who took us thru the practical issues on installation and could demonstrate the solar power & heating systems in her wonderful 'green godess' van. Tel: 01227 262699
. Mike Bundy from the Energy Savings Trust was also on hand to explain the new feed-in tariff.

A big thank you to all our speakers & the staff at the Landmark.

Earth Hour -27th March Show you support here.....

Thursday, March 18, 2010

New 'Embrace my planet' website ....

Have you come across the website dedicated to wind & renewable power? 'Embrace My Planet' is  the arms-length campaign of RenewableUK (formerly BWEA), the trade association for renewable energy suppliers in Britain. While it is sponsored by companies, the campaign claims that it itself is activist-led. Some very useful information and a cool map widget showing active and planned renewable sites

Fill that hole ....

The Cycling Touring Club  (CTC) has launched an anti-pothole website where you log dangerous potholes and see local danger spots at

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Every thought of sharing your garden..... ?

Local food production is a central theme in developing a sustainable community. Growing your own either in an raised beds or like me in tubs can be great fun & really rewarding. But if you want to go to the next level or you dont have a garden waiting for an allotment can be frustrating.

Garden sharing is one possible option - this grew out of Totnes Transition movement and now spread to many other towns. Simply it is about matching up people with underused gardens with people who want to grow veg and spliting the produce between you. If you are interested in starting a Deal group please leave a comment here or drop us a line at There is also the Channel4 Landshare website which works along simpler lines at

PS: The Landmark centre in Deal has also started an allotment club -The Cleary Club Allotment Group meets every Monday and Friday 10.00am - 1.00pm. Its free to take part and you get to take home any vegetables that you grow. For more details, please call into the Landmark Centre and have a chat with Paula Moorhouse, Cleary Club Manager or give her a call on 01304 389165.

Marine energy sites named...

The seven pilot sites for the UK's first major venture into marine energy have been announced today in Orkneys/NW Coast Scotland. The plan is produce 1.2Gw of power - enough power for 750k homes by 2020.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Take the Trains4Deal Survey....

From our colleagues in Trains4Deal - As you might have seen in this week's Mercury, Transport Minister Chris Mole is actively looking at stopping 4 High Speed trains at Deal each weekday morning, and also 4 in the evenings (the 1740 and 1840 from St Pancras plus the last two at night).

We need to give some up-to-date evidence of potential demand, so we're doing a survey on the morning of TUESDAY next, 16th March.
Can you help:

    - at Deal or Walmer stations, on the platform? (up to 9.15am)
    - if you'll be on a train that morning, giving out surveys to other passengers on the train?
    - and of course, fill it in yourself!

The survey questions are on the website - - along with details of what was discussed with the Minister.

Victoria's Green Matters - 14th March

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

What is your view of ‘England’s green and pleasant land’? Do you see a pattern of fields, divided by hedges and walls, where animals peacefully graze? Do you think all animals have a good and natural life when they produce meat and other products for us to eat and drink? It would be wonderful if this were so but, unfortunately, providing the human population with food and drink relies mostly on big business these days.

There is a lot of opposition to the latest plan to farm 8,000 dairy cows in what amounts to battery conditions in Lincolnshire. Animal rights groups call the proposal an environmental disaster which will condemn animals to dark sheds for most of their lives. Does this feel the right thing to do to other sentient beings whose natural habitat is a field with grass?

Of course, we protest at such treatment and are told that if we want cheap food, this is the way it has to be produced. But do we want or need cheap food? It is a fact that one third of all food bought in this country is thrown away as waste. Consider this. It is shameful to think that we in the rich West waste so much when people in the developing world are hardly surviving.

Don’t forget that we have condemned chickens, ducks and turkeys to lives in concrete sheds and ourselves to eating meat often contaminated with deadly organisms that thrive in such conditions. Can this really be the way forward? Of course not. We must not encourage the production of milk to go any further towards big business and sentence cows to the same lives as factory farmed poultry.

We must endeavour to buy locally produced and free range produce whenever we can. Look for the local label, try to find out where food comes from and if it’s very cheap, ask yourself why?


Friday, March 12, 2010

Transition Towns Film on Tues 23rd March

DealWithIT's next monthly meeting on Tuesday 23rd March, 7:30pm at Dealability, 43 Victoria Road, Deal CT14 7AY will have a showing of the film 'In Transition 1.0' followed by a discussion on what next for Deal.

'IN TRANSITION 1.0 From oil dependence to local resilience'
'In Transition 1.0' was compiled from footage sent in by Transition initiatives around the world. Over 100 tapes were received and this film is edited from them. Transition is a movement of communities around the world responding creatively and productively to peak oil and climate change, seeing them as an historic opportunity to build the world anew.
All Welcome

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Micro Generation from our rivers....

Environment Agency maps hydropower hotspots Report identifies thousands of potential small-scale hydropower sites in English and Welsh rivers that could power 850,000 homes

report at  :

interactive map:

Ian McEwan on climate change and his new book 'Solar'

Failure at Copenhagen climate talks prompted novel rewrite
Author's forthcoming novel, Solar, is about a scientist working on a technology to address global warming .... This is his FOE video interview

Visit a Old Home, SuperHome in Faversham....

Home Super Home scheme. We will be offering tours to show what
can be done to improve the energy efficiency of an old house on Sunday 28th
March between 11 and 3. Tours will take about 20 minutes. To book a place,
use the link below...

There are 4.3 million houses built before 1919, which equals 17% of the
building stock across the country. Old Home SuperHome is a campaign to
transform the energy efficiency of this existing housing stock. The project
aims to provide a network of exemplar dwellings which are locally
accessible. By showing how to replicate the techniques the project seeks to
inspire others to undertake similar renovations.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Monday, March 8, 2010

Recycle batteries at Deal Library

KCC are now recycling batteries at all Kent Libraries - You should find a special battery box inside the Library 

You can also recycle at the following:
  • Coop Mill Hill
  • Boots High St
  • Sainsburys
  • Somerfield
  • SouthWall depot
  • St Margaret's Parish Council have also organised collection points

Friday, March 5, 2010

Keeping the Lights on - 20th April - CPRE Kent Pines Calyx

The Kent area of the Campiagn to Protect Rural England have a conference event 'On Keepting the Lights On' on the Tuesday 20th April at the Pines Calyx centre in St Margarets10:30-1:45pm. £20 for CPRE members.
Speakers included:  Peter Harper (CAT), Alastair Gould (Carbon Free Group) and Sir Crispin Tickell.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Warm Homes, Greener Homes....

The Government announced its Household Energy Strategy - 'Warm Homes, Greener Homes' on Tuesday at EcoBuild

Its three key points are:
  • 'Pay as you Save' - Loan scheme from 2012. This tied to the property rather the current owner.
  • More powers to Local Authority's working with energy companies to deliver local energy plans
  • More regulation on energy standards, especially on private landlords
The overall aim is to reduce emissions from homes by 29 per cent by 2020.
For more info check the Dept of Energy & Climate Change website or comment at Guardian

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Victoria's Green Matters - 28th Feb

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

Is spring really just around the corner? It is difficult to believe that we are ever going to be able to do any gardening again with ground so sodden after all the rain. If you have any vegetables over wintering in your garden, they will be looking very sorry for themselves as they try to overcome all the water around them.

It is a delight to see the snowdrops, their pretty white and green flowers dancing in the wind and rain.  They may look delicate and fragile but were able to reappear from under a thick blanket of snow to cheer us up. Most years they seem to bring the spring with them but this time we are still waiting despite the crocuses and miniature iris bringing us some colour.

If you have been able to find a couple of hours to spend in the garden during the few fine days we have had, it is the time of year to be tidying up after the winter. If you have clematis that flower in late spring and early summer, now is the time to prune them lightly. Cut out thin and overcrowded stems as low down on the plant as possible and tie in the remaining stems to the plant’s support for a good display later on in the year. Buddleias and other summer flowering shrubs can also be pruned now so be brave and cut them down so that new shoots will bear flowers and the bush will be the shape you prefer.

If you are lucky enough to have a greenhouse, you will already be thinking about the vegetables that you can start off now. You can go a long way towards your ‘5 a day’ by sowing lots of seed to plant out later. It is heart warming to look forward to growing your own fruit and vegetables, however small your space, with the added bonus of cutting your carbon footprint.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Trains4DeaL - 'The Deal footplate men'

Train4Deal who are campaigning to get the High Speed Trains that trundle past Deal to stop have launched a protest song against SouthEast Trains. Rebadged local band 'Cary, Rathbone and Bell' as the Deal Footplate Men. Next meeting is on Thursday at the Alma - more details at

Time for Plan Bee....

The Cooperative are running a brilliant campaign on urban bee keeping in 2010. They have a petition against pesticides and are funding training & equipment to get you going as a bee keeper. As well as this they are putting another £160k in research projects on the demise of the honeybee. They even do discounted bee boxs for solitary bees!

Please sign the petition and get more info at