Tuesday, September 28, 2010

World Food Day Conference in Margate - 16th October

World Food Day 2010
On Saturday, October 16, the Isle of Thanet celebrates its fourth annual World Food Day.
The event, which is observed throughout the world, aims to raise awareness of the food challenges faced by millions of people. The theme for this year’s event is “United Against Hunger”.

As in previous years, Margate’s Winter Gardens will host the event, which Thanet Fairtrade Initiative hopes will provide an interesting, entertaining and inspiring occasion to celebrate food from a local and a global perspective, with a special focus on Fairtrade products, local produce and healthy eating.

Attractions on the day will include cookery demonstrations, food tasting, local produce, food displays, craft and trade stalls, information stands and local artists, plus much, much more.

Youth groups will be invited to attend global workshops in various rooms at the venue, while this year’s event also features an international climate change conference, with speakers from the World Wildlife Fund, the World Development Movement, the Fairtrade Foundation, the Associated Country Women of the World, among others.

Conference and workshop attendees will join stallholders and other members of the public in the Main Hall for an overview of the day at 3pm, followed by South African singers and dancers who will bring the whole event to a close at 4pm.
World Food Day is sponsored by The Co-operative and Thanet Earth and is supported by Thanet District Council.

Full deatils at http://www.thanetfairtradeinitiative.org.uk/

Monday, September 27, 2010

Deal Beach Clean - Sunday 26th Sept

About 40 people braved this cold, wet Sunday morning to enjoy a lovely breakfast of egg or bacon rolls, tea or coffee courtesy of the Co-operative Group and Jasin's Restaurant at the end of the pier. Thus fortified, they set off to remove 110kg of litter from Deal Beach in just one and a half hours.

Several organisations were represented, including 'Deal With It', Rotary Club of Deal and the Marine Conservation Society.

At noon, the group gathered at the Landmark Centre in the High St. to watch a short film and talk about the 'You Seas, Your Voice' campaign supported jointly by the Co-op and the Marine Conservation Society, which was followed by a light lunch

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Victoria's Green Matters - 23rd Sept

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury: 
We have enjoyed some wonderful late summer days during this last week, which have given us great views across the Channel. Not only have we been able to see the French coast clearly but the wind turbines of the Thanet Array have been highly visible, too. When the sea is blue they stand out, clean and white on the horizon, emphasising the low carbon energy that they will generate.

The Thanet Array is the world’s largest wind farm with 100 turbines set to produce 300MW of electricity, enough to supply heat and light for about 200,000 homes. The array, operated by Swedish company Vattenfall, is going through final testing now and will join together with other producers to supply power to the National Grid which had 10% of its supply generated by wind last week. In time, it will be dwarfed by the London Array which will eventually consist of 340 turbines.

At last we seem to moving forward in the production of clean energy but we must not be complacent. There are huge distances to go before we can hope to produce all the energy an industrialised society needs to survive. This means a widely varying mix of means of production, using the natural phenomena this country has in abundance. The tidal race in Deal is amongst the highest in the UK which makes it ideal for the production of tidal power. We are lucky in the south east to have more hours of sunshine than other parts of the country and so producing energy from the sun, be it heat or electricity, is a viable option.

The present economic climate must not distract politicians from enabling companies to invest in renewable technologies. Investment in these industries can generate much needed employment at a time when many jobs are disappearing.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

KCC starts consultation on Minerals & Waste

The Minerals and Waste Core Strategy Issues consultation summarises the current evidence base regarding minerals and waste issues in Kent. It is the first stage in the Minerals and Waste Development Framework plan making process.
The document sets out issues and possible options for consideration; this is an opportunity to have your say on minerals and waste issues and help to shape the next stage of the consultation process. Each chapter contains specific questions we would like your views on, and we also welcome any general comment on our document.
The public consultation will be live for eight weeks from 24 September to 19 November 2010.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Kent Green Party slams rails cost rise

Kent Green Party rejects suggestions of a commitment to deal with Climate Change on the part of the Coalition Government as it seriously considers rail fare rises of up to 10%(1). Steve Dawe comments:

"The Coalition Government is clearly divided on Rail fares. Our rail fares, already the highest in the world(2), have been regulated so that they rise at the inflation rate plus 1%. The Coalition is, as usual, squabbling – in this case about making the 1% on the regulated fares – such as season tickets – 2% and up to 10% on other fares. The previous Government already added a third to the cost of buying a Network Rail card, making the minimum fare £13 rather than the previous £10. We have already seen how excessive fares on Eurostar led to reduced services at Ashford, and how new fast services in Kent have already been cut due to high ticket prices leading to low levels of passengers.

“Since Kent has the new distinction of being the part of the country with the worst levels of greenhouse gas emissions (2), we need real environmental leadership from Government.

“Kent Green Party rejects the idea that this Coalition Government is serious about tackling Climate Change, air pollution or noise from traffic. In order to do this, rail fares must become cheaper.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Thanet Offshore Wind farm - offically opens on 23rd Sept

The Thanet Offshore Wind Farm, off the Kent Coast near Broadstairs, currently the largest offshore wind farm in the world is offically openned on Thursday 23rd September.
With its 100 turbines, the Thanet Offshore Wind Farm has a combined energy capacity corresponding to the annual electricity needs of over 200,000 households. It will be officially unveiled by Chris Huhne, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change and Øystein Løseth, president of Vattenfall, the company behind the project. It took more than two years and cost a staggering £780 million to build.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Zero Carbon Concert at the Astor 28th Nov

The Astor will be hosting a 'Zero Carbon Concert' part of a worldwide day of music for the planet on Sunday 28th Nov.

The idea came from Transition Norwich member Chris Keene - The idea is that lots of groups at the grassroots from all over the world organise leisure events which don't cause the emission of carbon dioxide, or at least get as close to zero carbon as possible, during the weekend before the next UN climate summit (27/28 November 2010)

The intention is have Bicycle powered PA for the music, workshops, Green films like the 'Age of Stupid' and environmental groups will be invited to have stalls ... more details soon!


Friday, September 17, 2010

Protect Kent's New Publication - Keeping the lights on

Deal With It has a few copies of Protect Kent's new publication 'Keeping the lights on'. The new booklet follows on from the successful  CPRE conference at the Pines earlier in the year.

The booklet, written by Sean Furey, details the energy options open available to individuals, communities and largescale generation

Cost £10 - available at DWI meetings and we are hoping to get some into the Deal Bookshop.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

50,000 new jobs could be created by recycling more - new research by FOE

More than 50,000 new recycling jobs would be created across the country if the UK set more ambitious recycling targets according to a new report launched by Friends of the Earth today [Tuesday 14 September 2010].

The green campaigning charity's report, 'More jobs, less waste', shows that at least 51,400 new jobs would be created across the UK if we recycled 70 per cent of the waste collected by local councils.

At least a further 18,800 jobs could be created if we recycled commercial and industrial waste at the same rate.

But if the UK only recycles 50% of council-collected waste - the minimum required by 2020 under EU law - then we would lose out on nearly twenty-five thousand jobs.

Wales and Scotland have both recently announced that they plan to recycle 70 per cent of council-collected waste by 2025, yet Northern Ireland and England - where the vast majority of waste is generated - are still aiming to recycle only 50 per cent.

The UK Coalition Government has recently started a review of waste policy in England and as part of this Friends of the Earth is calling on the Government to set ambitious recycling targets.

Friends of the Earth's waste campaigner Julian Kirby said:

"Recycling is a win-win for the environment and the economy - saving precious resources and creating many more jobs than expensive and outdated incinerators.

"The Government must be ambitious in setting recycling rates - better product design, as well as action to stop supermarkets and producers selling products that can't be recycled, means that we could easily achieve upwards of 75 per cent recycling rates by 2025.

"If the Coalition is serious about creating a green, jobs-rich economy then it must unlock the wealth in our waste and help consumers to recycle as much as possible."

More Jobs, Less Waste publication can be found here

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Happy Planet Index

Well worth spending 17mins of your time to watch - A great positive spin on environmentalism & life : Lecture from Nic Marks of the New Economics foundation:

If you cannot see the embedded video follow this link http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/944

Monday, September 13, 2010

Deal With It meet with MP

A delegation from Deal With It meet with local MP for Dover & Deal, Charlie Elphicke last friday.

A positive meeting covered a wide range of environmental issues effecting the district from sustainable building, the flood threat, the state of local bus & rail services, the 'lighter later' campaign and the options for local green energy generation.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Deal With It meet ing 28th Sept - Local Food!

A chance to explore how we can increase the amount of local food produced and consumed locally.

Stephanie Hayman of Whole School Meals, which is a local social enterprise providing school meals to 21 local schools, will explain how the company tries to maximise its use of local produce, and some of the barriers they encounter.

Sally Kirk from Kent Produce with info about her veg boxes

Sue Sullivan will talk about ‘Growing your Own’

Please come along with your ideas on how we can encourage Local Food.

Tuesday September 28th 7.30pm at ‘Dealability’,  43,Victoria Road, Deal. CT14 7AY.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Trains4Deal: Local Councils asking for your opinion

From our colleagues in Trains4Deal - "Please help by telling the East Kent councils that we need direct High-Speed trains to Deal (and Sandwich) - NOW!

They are conducting a survey on what people think of the new High Speed train services.
See questions 21 and 31, which give you a chance to add your own suggestions. 

Next month, Trains4deal will be at the 2nd Kent Rail Summit in Maidstone., speaking up for local rail users to Kent MPs, county councillors, key railway managers and the Department of Transport, as well as other rail user groups.

Make sure that the Survey results confirm  local people's anger at the current poor service -

Complete it NOW (and let us know what you say)

best wishes,

Tom Rowland / Ian Killbery admin@trains4deal.com
Join the rail-users' group for the Deal area
Campaigning for High Speed trains to Deal - NOW!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Farmers Markets work - Whitstable Transition Town

From our colleagues in Transition Town Whitstable:
Whitstable Farmers’ Market
"Results of a Market Research Survey carried out by the Plunkett Foundation “Making Local Food Work” together with National Farmers' Retail & Markets Association (FARMA) has shown some interesting facts and figures for Whitstable Farmers’ Market. Shoppers were asked a series of questions such as how often they attend, how they heard about the market, how much they spend and what else they were doing in Whitstable on Market days.
In total, the market averages an annual value of between £94,000 and £135,000. All of this money stays in the local economy, within 30 miles of Whitstable. This increases the wealth of our whole district, because that money is then much more likely to be spent in the local are. In contrast to this, profit made by Supermarkets goes to the shareholders, who may be anywhere in the world.
As well as this, the market brings people into Whitstable to shop at the local shops. Of the 777 of people who came to the market on the day of the survey 74% of shoppers were doing other shopping in the town, and 64% of the 777 came to the town centre because of the market. This shows that the Farmers’ Market is truly supporting our High Street as well as the outlying rural economy.
Very unusually, 31% of shoppers first heard about the market through word of mouth. This shows what a fantastic community we still have!

We would like to thank the loyal customers to the market in Whitstable - 43% of shoppers come every time. 28% of the shoppers said they would like more choice of local produce.
One of our key aims is to promote and support local food businesses. We are always looking for new stalls and would like to ask if anyone has any new ideas for a local food business; we can provide a first step outlet. For example, we don’t have anyone selling home made chocolate at the moment, and our lovely organic soap maker is about to move away from the area! "


Victoria's Green Matters - 9th Sept

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

We have heard some quite alarming stories this week about the excessive transport of food from manufacturer to retailer. We have come to associate the term ‘food miles’ with the import of food from far distant lands but these stories concern transport within the UK.

A tub of clotted cream, made in Cornwall, is transported 340 miles to a Tesco distribution centre and then to the Tesco store in Redruth, 2 miles from the creamery where it was produced. A similar situation is happening with Ginster’s pasties, made in Callington, in Cornwall, and taken on a roundtrip of some 250 miles to a Tesco store next door to the bakery where they were produced. We can be sure that these are only two of many thousands of examples of this procedure.

The clocking up of food miles in these examples is surely madness. There is no point in advertising ‘local’ food if that food has travelled hundreds of miles, particularly if it really was local in the first place. While we may try very hard to buy only foods grown or made in the UK, it is infuriating to find that local foods may have travelled further than imported ones. When oil becomes scarce, and therefore very expensive, the practice of transporting food vast distances will no longer be a viable option.

It is important that we buy foods as close to where they were produced as possible and that means using local shops that stock locally made goods that have not travelled from a central distribution warehouse. A vegetable box scheme, delivered to your door and sourced from local farmers, is a very good way of reducing your food miles and eating vegetables that are in season.

So, think twice before only using the supermarket: can a local supplier serve your needs better? Reduce your food miles, your carbon footprint and help to keep our high street shops open.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Biodiversity - OPAL Hedge Survey needs your support

Biodiversity survey - join in now

What’s living in your hedge?

Hedges support many animals by providing them with food and shelter. Berries and seeds are food for birds, while holes beneath the hedge are often home to small mammals. You’ll also discover caterpillars, shieldbugs and many other invertebrates living among the leaves.

By telling us what you find, we can instantly rate the condition of your hedge and offer suggestions on how to improve it. more details here

The Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) network is an exciting new initiative that is open to anyone with an interest in nature. We aim to create and inspire a new generation of nature-lovers by getting people to explore, study, enjoy and protect their local environment. In 2007 OPAL received a grant of £11.75million from the Big Lottery Fund.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Deal Floods - Deal's KCC Councillors issue Press Release

Deal's Kent County Councillors Julie Rook and Kit Smith have issued the following Press Release on the recent flooding in Deal:
"Your County Councillors Julie Rook and Kit Smith were very disturbed by the recent localised flooding events in Deal and have been in contact with Kent Highways in an effort to resolve these drainage issues and hopefully reduce the risk of such a disastrous event happening again.

After a very successful meeting on 2nd September, it has been agreed that Kent Highways will be attending Deal from 20th September where they will investigate and map the surface water and southern water systems in the problem areas. Once the issues have been identified and a system and strategy has been agreed, Kent Highways will apply for road closures to carry out the works which they envisage will be at least 4 months for all the sites.

Both Kit and I wish to assure the residents of Deal of our utmost attention at all times in this matter and understand that this is a very frustrating time , particularly with the uncertainty around whether this may happen again.We,like you, want to have peace of mind and so will work with Kent Highways to resolve these issues as quickly as possible.

Should you wish to contact us personally,please find our details at the foot of this letter. We would also welcome information about the location of problem areas, just in case there are some that we are not currently aware of.

Any emergency flood situations should be reported on KCC 24 hour helpline: 08458 247 247

Email: Julie.rook@Kent.gov.uk  Email: kit.smith@kent.gov.uk " Ends

Permaculture - Courses at Rippledown

Permaculture Course Rippledown Environmental Education Centre, just outside Deal on the A258 at Ringwould, is running two Permaculture weekend courses this Autumn on the 23–24th of October and the 20–21st of November.

Attend these 2 days and leave with the skills and aptitudes for sustainable living in the 21st century.
During the course you’ll learn how to use permaculture principles and practice a) in your own life, b) to contribute to the processes in the Transition Towns / Village movement, c) for community projects and d) to improve sustainability in your workplace.

The course also covers eco-building, sustainable energy, sewage, composting, eco-community, appropriate economics and much more.

For more information please contact Rippledown on 01304 364 854.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Transition Deal workshop

Great day at our Transition Deal workshop at the Rippledown Environmental Education Centre at Ringwould.

What we did not have in numbers we had in the quality of Rosie's presentation on 'Climate Change, Peak Oil and What is a Transition Town' in the morning, a extremely good shared lunch, a fascinating tour around Rippledown and two very intensive sessions on Local Food and Energy which were packed with ideas and energy!

We will publishing the outputs from two workshops later in the week - there was a lot of it!

Centre Manager David Jones took through the low carbon buildings the Centre was building out of reclaimed wood and straw

A big thanks to Dave for his support today and the wonderful facilities at Rippledown.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Victoria's Green Matters - 2nd Sept

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:
Shoppers in Britain have done well over the last few years to reduce the amount of plastic bags they use. In fact, 43% fewer bags were used in 2009/10 than in 2006, when records were first kept. Figures collected from the top eight supermarkets show that total bag usage fell by 10% during the past year.

The Waste & Resources Action Programme (Wrap) informs us that figures for May this year tend to show that this reduction in use has slowed down. There was a voluntary agreement between the government, the British Retail Consortium and the supermarkets to decrease the number of plastic bags handed out to shoppers by 50% by spring 2009. Wrap reported that by May last year retailers had achieved a 48% reduction. A rate of reduction of 45% has been achieved this year, showing a drop since the voluntary agreement ended.

Can we really congratulate ourselves? Of course, to reduce the use of plastic to any degree is to be applauded but we must continue this reduction until plastic bags are not given out in shops at all, as in mainland Europe. Campaigners want continued reduction in plastic bag use and if this does not happen voluntarily, then they want to see a bag tax. This was spectacularly effective in Eire where a price per bag of 10 pence was introduced and a 95% reduction in use was achieved. This serves to emphasise that a resource is usually squandered if it is free and easily available but if it has a price, it is valued more greatly.

It is easy to see, when we visit some supermarkets, that although bags have been removed from the holders at the end of the conveyor belts with the intention that shoppers must ask if they need a bag, assistants are now placing opened bags out for customer use.  Please remember to take your own bags with you and let’s try to end the use of plastic bags completely.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Housing Associations to invest in PV Solar power

Housing Association's trade body the National Housing Federation has called for expressions of interest from housing associations to set up a retrofit loan fund that could be worth hundreds of millions of pounds.
It is working with the European Investment Bank to set up a vehicle that could finance retrofit across the UK social housing sector.

The EIB could commit a minimum of £75 million to the fund. However, it is understood to prefer larger scale loans in the order of £200 million, with which it would lend 50 per cent of the costs, meaning that the fund could be worth much more than this. The fund is intended to act as a green loan facility for associations to borrow through the Housing Finance Corporation at very low rates over a period of at least 25 years.

Around 25 housing associations would need to participate in order to make the fund work successfully.
Improvement work would focus on installing photovoltaic panels and renewables to take advantage of the government’s feed-in tariff scheme. (from Inside Housing read more here)

If you are Housing Association tenant or leaseholder why not ask your landlord what are they doing ?

Town Halls to become Green Power generators ?

FROM KENT ON SUNDAY: Town halls have been granted new powers to start a renewable electricity revolution that could reduce rises in council tax.

The green powers were implemented by Lib Dem energy minister Chris Huhne who has now written to all local authorities inviting them to sell renewable energy to the national grid.

Previously, councils with small-scale green projects, such as wind turbines and solar panels, were banned from doing so.

But the decision to overturn the 34-year-old law means authorities have a financial incentive to invest in such schemes, with money generated used for local needs and frontline services.

Residents could also see council tax increases limited if enough cash is made through renewable electricity.

Mr Huhne said: “This is a vital step to making community renewable projects commercially viable, to bring in long-term income to benefit local areas, and to secure local acceptance for low carbon energy projects.”

Dover District Council already has its own mini wind turbine which recently produced 5,027kWh of electricity and saved 2,699kg of carbon dioxide in 124 days.

A council spokesman said the authority has applied for Feed in Tariff (FIT) accreditation and is awaiting more information.

“The Government has indicated that this could be a payment of 24.1p for every kWh generated,” he said.

This amount would be in addition to the price paid to the council per kWh for electricity produced or savings made by the council for using electricity it generates itself.

In 2009, Kent County Council’s energy team provided a total of £500,000 in grants for 10 schools’ renewable energy projects.

In 2008, Sandwich Technology School installed a 5kW wind turbine, which generates an estimated 8,700kWh and saves five tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

But projects on a larger scale could be introduced after Mr Huhne said up to £200 million of income nationally could be brought in through energy schemes.

Steve Dawe, from the Kent Green Party, said every town hall could become a mini-power station as councils opt for environmental projects to feed power into the national grid for a cash return.

“The legal ban on local authorities supplying electricity imposed in 1976 was absurd,” he said.

“Removing this barrier would mean each council in Kent and Medway would no longer have to work through other organisations to generate power, but could now press on directly with developing money-saving schemes.

“Several councils have already developed renewable energy schemes that can generate over 600,000kwh of wind, tidal or solar energy locally, but the Local Government Act prevented them from selling electricity not produced alongside heat.”

But while Kent Green Party welcomed the change, its members fear it could be watered down if energy companies afraid of the competition chose to lobby Government.

Mr Dawe added: “There is also a general problem of scarce funds for such investment given excessive cuts already imposed upon and planned for local government.”

But Gary Porter, chairman of the Local Government Association’s environment board, said the move is a victory for councils who want to transform the provision of green power.

“Town halls are desperate to install solar panels and other renewable energy measures on millions of buildings,” he said.

“This has the potential to revolutionise the way we produce electricity and save huge amounts of money.”

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Silent wind turbine - Built in Kent

Silent wind turbine – designed & built by Kent firm

The wind turbines built by Luethi Enterprises Limited who are based in Rochester is an innovative vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) for renewable energy production with many benefits over existing wind turbine designs.

The unique patented mechanical speed regulator allows the wind turbine to function in extreme weather conditions and produce a constant flow of power. Benefits of the silent vertical axis wind turbine according to the company are:
  • Low start up speed: generates power at low wind speeds, from 3.6 m/s (8.1 mph; 13 kph; 7 knots).
  • Unique patented mechanical speed regulator: for power production in all conditions, from light winds to gales and gusts.
  • Constant power output: even at high wind speeds as it always faces into the wind.
  • Independent: as there is no electronic steering system, no power supply is needed, making it suitable for installation in remote areas. (Other turbine systems need up to 80% of their power to operate their electronics.)
  • Durable: no gearbox means easy maintenance and no expensive parts.
  • Easy to maintain: even by semi-skilled engineers.
  • No danger to wildlife: as there is no flight window for birds.
  • Virtually silent: as the blades work with the wind, rather than cut through it

Twinning Visit to Saint Omer

Sarah with Henri Godart
One of our supporters Sarah Gleave was on the Deal town twinning delegation to Saint Omer last weekend. The visit marked Saint Omer's 40th anniversity of its twinning with Detmold in Germany and had a theme of 'Community and Sustainable Development'.

Deal With It manage to make links with like minded organisations on both towns - Agence-d'Urbanisme et de Developement Saint Omer and Klimaschutz-Beriat Detmold.

Sarah gave a presentation in french on voluntary work for a greener lifestyle and green tourism in Deal which was well recieved - there may well be an opportunity to share experiences in greater depth with low carbon voluntary groups in the partner towns next year.

The local produce on offer on our stand in the European Market in Saint Omer on Sat also generated interest from the European Centre for 'Slow Food'... so watch this space