Friday, July 30, 2010

Cash needed to protect Kent's biodiversity

From Your-Deal - KENT NEWS: Extra investment is needed to halt the decline of biodiversity in Kent.

That’s the claim of Cllr David Brazier, Kent County Council’s deputy cabinet member for the environment.

Speaking at the annual conference of the National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (NAAONB), Cllr Brazier said more was needed to prevent the 13,000 rare or threatened species in Kent being lost forever.

He told guests that over-development, intensive agriculture and inappropriate land management also posed serious risks to the biodiversity of the county. read on here

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The 'Open Chicken Runs'

Deal With It have organised at present two ' Open Chicken Runs' to coincide with the Great Big Deal Chicken Count.

The idea to give you the chance to see some happy Deal Chickens and chat with their keepers.

So far we have two offers:

Saturday 7th August between 2-3pm - Walmer - With Jill who has been keeping hens for about 18 months

Saturday 14th August between 2-4pm - Deal - With Sandra who keeps rescued battery hens for the past year

If you are interested in going please email Steve at or phone 01304 372673

The Great Big Deal Chicken Count...

Deal With It has organised the First 'Great Big Deal Chicken Count'. 
A number of our supporters keep chickens or are mulling it over ... got us wondering how many people are keeping chickens at their home in the district.

The Objectives of the count is:

  • Find out how many urban chickens there are in Deal & District
  • Find out how many people are considering keeping chickens and want to find out more
  • Get a mutual support group off the ground in the district to share experience, information and good practice
  • Promote the good management & good welfare of birds
  • Support Deal With IT's aim to foster 'local food' consumption & production.
We are interested in hearing from you if you either are keeping chickens or other poultry at the moment or thinking about it for the future.

We will publish the results back to everyone who participates, on the Deal With IT website and to the local Press.

We are running the count for four weeks from 1st August to the
31st August.  The Survey is online and been found here

We have a dedicated page on chickens here 

If you want to do the survey but dont have access to the internet please email or phone 01304 372673

Love Food, Hate Waste ?

Tips and recipes to reduce food waste - Love Food Hate Waste 
Would you like to save yourself about £680 pa ?
Well that's what the average household in the UK wastes by throwing away unused food.

When you factor in the cost of packaging, food-miles and land fill the cost to the planet is much more.... it is estimated that the UK throws away some 8.3m tonnes of wasted food each year.

What can you  do about it ?
Well there is excellent organisation waiting to help you - Love Food, Hate Waste at

Deal With It Bees Meeting 25th July

The monthly Deal With It meeting was a crowded and warm hive with an excellent turnout of nearly 50 to hear Maggie Harrowell from Dover Beekeepers (Unfortunately we did not have 50 chairs - apologies to those of you who had to stand).

Maggie gave us very clear overview of how beekeeping works, why bees are so important to our food supply & ecology and how they are threatened by pesticides, mono-agriculture, mites and viruses. We were treated to her Ivy, Summer flower and Rapeseed Oil honeys which was all produced by her Ashley bees but at different times of the year - all delicious.

If the number of questions and the swarm of people around the the stands at the end are of any indication the meeting was a great sucess. Half way through the meeting there was a strange noise - then I worked it out it was the live Bees.

Many thanks to Maggie & Steve Harrowell for putting on a great talk. Thanks also to the Coop (as part of their Plan-Bee campaign) for the free seeds & DVDs.

If you want to find out more about about bee keeping - the best place to start is Dover & District BeeKeepers who can be contacted via Maggie at 01304 821208 or email

Dover BeeKeepers have a  open meeting is on 31st July at 2:30 pm at the Coldred out apiary, which is on the road to Shepherdswell CT15 5AR. Bring wellies and gloves, they have a few spare veils

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

FreeCycle ....

Got a unwanted fridge, bunk bed or lawnmower you want to get rid of but want to send it to a good home - then use FreeCycle - the online free recycling service ...

Dover's recycling workshops in sept

Almost 1000 people responded in Dover district Council's recent Recycling and Waste Survey
Dover District Council is organising a number of workshops in September to give you the opportunity learn more about the new waste, recycling and street cleansing contract that we will be entering into with our neighbours, Shepway District Council later this year.
If you are interested in attending please email

Monday, July 26, 2010

Victoria's Green Matters - 29th July

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

‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ so the old saying goes and we must not dismiss this as an old wives tale as apples contain lots of Vitamin C, vital for our good health.

Here in Kent there is a history of fruit production but modern living has cost our apple production dear. Supermarkets have imported apples from near and far, from France and New Zealand, and have neglected our home produced fruit. Local producers found that they could not sell their apples and orchards have been abandoned, but help is at hand with the Mid Kent Downs Orchards Project. This project has built a sustainable future for some traditional orchards, close to the village centres of Sheldwich, Milstead, Lenham and Stockbury.

The aim of this project is to involve whole communities in restoring their orchards to their former glory. Advice has been given to landowners, parishioners and volunteers through guidance notes and workshop training and has been received with enthusiasm, transferring new skills and expertise.

Farmers in other parts of the country are finding that they must diversify if they are to survive in the modern market and have planted orchards to grow apples to produce apple juice, made on their own farm and sold in the farm shop. The emphasis is on locally produced goods, sold locally.

It is important that we support our home producers as much as possible and we must demand that the supermarkets stock home produced goods and not settle for cheap imports. Fruit that has been imported from far away places such as the USA, Australia or New Zealand carries with it a heavy price in carbon emissions from the long distances that it has travelled. In the years to come, when oil is scarce and costly, we will need all the local food that we can grow. It is important that we start now to support our local food producers.

For more information go to

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

We got some 10:10 tags....

We have got some very trendy 10:10 tags for sale for £5 for DWI funds.

Made of recycled 747 airplanes and worn by vicars... if you dont know what a 'tag' is you probably do not need one...

Be at the DWI meeting on Tuesday 27th July, at the stalls during August or email Steve to get one!

The private life of chickens...

Did you miss the BBC's Private Life of Chickens on the 15th July ... Its now on IPlayer

Everything you wanted to know about chickens but never dared to ask!

The Programme highlights the work of Hen Welfare Trust who rescues battery chickens ... watch this blog for details of Deal's 'Open Chicken Runs' happening in August

10:10:10 ... do something local on the global day

On October 10, 2010, thousands of individuals, families, schools, businesses and other organisations will take simple steps to save energy and reduce emissions. These ordinary actions, combined with a series of bold, iconic stunts, will make an extraordinary difference. Not only will they cut carbon directly; they will also send a powerful message to world leaders that people and organisations everywhere are ready to tackle climate change. ... what can you do ? click here for some tips from 10:10

Monday, July 19, 2010

How the law might save declining bee population

From Kent News: University of Greenwich at Medway law lecturer Dr Opi Outhwaite, who has an interest in agricultural health, environment and bio-security legislation and regulation, is conducting research into the decline.

Her findings will be presented to the National Bee Unit, part of Government's Food and Environment Research Agency, in September.

"Bee colonies across the world have been declining as a result of a combination of problems including pests and diseases such as varroa, a parasitic mite which is now endemic in the UK, foul brood and small hive beetle," she said.

"Bees are regularly imported, exported and moved around the world.

"Part of my research will include reviewing the laws and procedures governing the import of bees into the UK, through the European Union and beyond, as well as the movement across England and Wales.  Click here for full story

Thursday, July 15, 2010

MP Sandys questions flood plan in Parliament

FROM YOUR SANDWICH: The state of flood defences for Sandwich has been brought before the House of Commons as new MP Laura Sandys asked for reassurance that plans were on track.

The Thanet South MP asked ministers about progress by the Environment Agency with its plans to ensure the area is adequately protected from rising waters.... more here

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

'Open the Gate' at Deal Railway Station

Our colleagues in Trains4Deal are campaigning with the new mayor to get the london rd gate platform open - at the moment if you are disabled, got a pram or cycle you have a problem getting back over the footbridge..

They are asking everybody to email a complaint to SouthEastern Railways & National Rail ... full details at their website -

The One Pot Pledge...

The One Pot Pledge® is an exciting new grow your own campaign from leading gardening charity Garden Organic. Our aim is to get 30,000 people who have never grown anything before to give growing a go.
Growing your own food can be fun, it tastes great and you don’t even need a garden – one pot on a window ledge is all you need to get started.
Garden Organic is the UK's leading organic growing charity and we can help you by providing useful information to get you growing, with handy tips along the way.
So why not ‘give it a grow’ and make your One Pot Pledge® today to grow something tasty you can eat. Make your pledge here:

Monday, July 12, 2010

'Deal With It' is buzzing...

Hives at Ashley
Deal With It is fortunate to have Maggie Harrowell - Secretary of Dover & District Beekeepers Association - to talk to us on 'Bees & the Environment' at our next meeting on Tuesday 27th July at Dealablity in Victoria Rd. starting at 7:30pm.

Maggie will be bringing some of her bees to illustrate her talk, there will be honey to taste to show the link between different crops and honey and a number of wax based products to try & buy.

 Maggie's Bee hives are based in a community orchard in Ashley of rare apple trees established by the local parish council. A wonderful local example of the interdependence of nature, community and individuals producing sustainable food.

On a very hot Sunday morning Maggie showed 'Deal With It' some of the beekeepers work in regularly checking her hives. This involves dismantling the hive down to the 'brood box' where the Queen lives and where the frames for honey, pollen and eggs are. Checking that the Queen is still there (she usually has painted mark to identify her) and that the other bees are virus and mite free.

Dover & District Beekeepers can contacted via Maggie on 01304 821208 or email . if you are interested in finding out more on beekeeping.

Maggie has a site for her beeswax products & honey at

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Rob's Reflections on the "Big Society"

Rob Hopkin's founder of the Transition Network interesting recent blog on the Govenment's 'Big Society', localism and transition ... read on here

Empowering communities to lead local improvement works is the best way to tackle climate change and improve quality of life.

The Government's independent watchdog on sustainable development has published 'The Future is Local'
Managing upgrade works on a neighbourhood basis can encourage greater participation and cut costs by 20-30%
Enabling communities to lead local renewal projects with a neighbourhood-wide approach is the most cost-effective way to ensure our villages, towns and cities are fit for the future and create the conditions for people to thrive, a new report from the Sustainable Development Commission finds.
The Future is Local: Empowering communities to improve their neighbourhoods finds that failing to upgrade our local infrastructure will have a negative effect on all areas of life in the UK, hampering our ability to deal with climate change, future housing and transport needs, ill health and unemployment. The report argues that we need to focus on more than energy efficiency if we are to gain the full economic, environmental and social benefits of efforts to improve neighbourhoods.
The UK’s 21 million homes produce over a quarter of our carbon emissions. The cost of retrofitting them to meet the 80 per cent carbon reductions required by law by 2050 is estimated at a minimum of £210 billion. Substandard housing is already estimated to cost the NHS £2.5 billion a year. Evidence shows that lack of access to green spaces and safe walking and cycling routes contribute to high levels of obesity and mental ill health, which, combined, currently cost the NHS £13 billion a year. Congestion in England, if left unchecked, is likely to cost £22 billion by 2025.
The report concludes that empowering communities to prioritise, finance and deliver necessary local works in an integrated way – from improving home energy efficiency to upgrading green spaces and installing flood defences and renewable energy sources – will:
  • Save money by taking advantage of economies of scale
  • Attract higher levels of participation compared with programmes to tackle individual issues
  • Help communities access better finance solutions and generate income to be re-invested into other community projects
  • Reduce disruption by tackling works together
  • Strengthen communities by involving them in decisions about their area.
Stewart Davies, Business Commissioner at the Sustainable Development Commission, said:
“People want to live in places that feel safe, homes that are affordable to heat and neighbourhoods that are resilient to extreme weather. And we know that access to green space, good transport links and safe pedestrian and cycle routes can improve our health and well-being and even our employment prospects.
“An integrated, neighbourhood-wide approach to upgrading our towns and cities allows communities to work together to agree local priorities, helping them save money, access smarter finance and even reap profits from community-owned infrastructure which can be ploughed back into the neighbourhood for everyone’s benefit.
“Communities all over the UK are already finding out that working together is the best way to make things happen, and enjoying the social, financial and practical benefits along the way. In our current economic climate, supporting a neighbourhood partnership approach is the best way for Government to ensure that our villages, towns and cities are in good shape to meet the challenges of the 21st century.”
Examples of successful neighbourhood partnerships already improving their communities cited in the report include:
  • The village of Lyddington in Leicestershire, where residents grouped together and partnered with a local telecoms company to have high-speed broadband installed at a cost well below market rates
  • The Sanford Housing Cooperative in South East London, where residents took advantage of a planned refurbishment to introduce food growing and improve sustainable transport as well as cutting the estate’s carbon emissions by 60%
  • Blacon in Cheshire, where an integrated programme focusing on the area’s energy, green space, transport and social enterprise is expected to deliver carbon reductions as well as bringing new life and investment into an area of significant deprivation – led by a community trust
  • The Heads of the Valleys Low Carbon Programme in South Wales, a regeneration strategy now being replicated across Wales which creates jobs and cuts carbon emissions through upgrading existing housing
  • Bristol’s 14 Neighbourhood Partnerships, which bring together local residents and voluntary and community groups with councillors and statutory bodies to develop long-term solutions to local problems and improving local services.
In order to empower communities to take the task of upgrading their neighbourhoods forward, the SDC is calling for Government support for multi-disciplinary neighbourhood partnerships to bring together communities, local authorities, infrastructure owners and financial and technical partners.
The report’s recommendations to Government include:
  • Putting policies in place to make it possible for local communities to derive long term benefits from low carbon energy infrastructure, such as new housing or wind turbines in their area
  • Supporting neighbourhood partnerships with financial and legal advice and technical support co-ordinated through CLG
  • Unlocking access to funding for neighbourhood-scale projects – including energy efficiency – through its proposed Green Investment Bank
  • Devolving decisions on local spending to neighbourhood partnerships
  • Enabling local authorities to borrow against Feed-in-Tariff and Renewable Heat Incentive income streams.
» Download the Executive Summary of The Future is Local

Friday, July 2, 2010

Turning our Victorian terrace into an ecohome: part three - floors

Turning our Victorian terrace into an ecohome:  floors

The Ecologist has published the third part of it series on turning a victorian terrace into a ecohome by Sue Weat ... read more here

Thursday, July 1, 2010