Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Carbon Free St Margarets Meeting report

Despite a cold and rainy evening, about 18 people attended an excellent and beautifully illustrated presentation by Alistair Gould, chairman of the Bay Trust, about St. Margaret's attempts to become Britain's first low carbon community.

This centered around their plans to set up community based energy production and Alistair explained the various options they had looked at to produce sufficient energy for the community and excess to sell to give a capital return.

An enthusiastic audience asked him lots of questions which he was more than happy to answer.

Tea, coffee and cakes followed to end a most enjoyable and informative evening'

Thanks to Vicki for the report and Jeremy for the Photos

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Local Transport in Deal Matters! 23rd Nov

On the 23rd November Deal With It are holding a special  meeting on local transport:  we will be looking at Car sharing schemes, local train services especially to Canterbury and Dover, safer cycling in the district and other green transport options. We hope to have representative from Stagecoach on how we could improve our local  bus service.

All Welcome.

For further details please contact Sarah Gleave -

Boris looks at Cliffe again for an London Airport?

Mayor of London Boris Johnson is considering a proposal to build an airport on the Hoo peninsula in north Kent.

The plan would see the facility built at Cliffe, in an attempt to increase flight capacity around London without extending Heathrow. Other sites under consideration include the Thames Estuary.
Cliffe, which is renowned for its birdlife, was last considered as a site for a new airport in 2002, by the then Labour government. However plans for the site were shelved in December 2003. (from

Monday, October 25, 2010

Victoria's Green Matters - 25th Oct 2010

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:  
There is no doubt – we are using up the world’s resources at an alarming rate and could soon need a second Earth to produce what we have come to expect as our due.

We think that we are really quite ‘green’ here in the UK, after all our rivers are cleaner, our air less polluted, we are planting more trees, using far less pesticides and our recycling rates are much improved. What could be wrong?

Unfortunately, we have exported much of the environmental damage that is caused by the production of consumer goods demanded by our society. Many people say that we can do nothing about climate change while nations such as China and India are developing and polluting the atmosphere at an ever-increasing rate. Per head of population, they pollute very little and their increased production is to satisfy our, and other western countries’, demand for chemicals, steel, ships and other essentials.

It is difficult to believe that there are 200,000 more of us each day. How can we possibly sustain a population increase of this level with people continuing to be richer and demanding more products? Some people believe that we will simply use up all the world’s natural resources and destroy the environment until there is a massive breakdown.

There is another way. We have the ability to co-operate and to be creative to overcome the challenges that face us. We can change our culture and we can change our level of consumption. But, we must not stand by and do nothing.

Let us move forward by seeing the current economic climate as a chance to change our way of life; to reduce unnecessary acquisitions and to join with others in our communities to build happier, healthier and less stressful lives and do the Earth a favour in the process.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Elham Low Carbon Village speak at Protect Kent AGM


Gemma Watts, PR & Events Manager, Protect Kent

20 October 2010

The village of Elham is in the centre of a beautiful chalk-land valley near Canterbury. In 2007, Elham was chosen by Kent County Council with assistance from the Kent Energy Centre, as one of four villages in Kent, to pioneer local efforts to cut carbon emissions.

The Elham Low Carbon Initiative (ELCI) was launched to reduce the collective carbon emissions of the village by 20% over the first year.

Reverend Canon David Ratcliff, Chairman of the Elham Environmental Group (EEG) - set up to steer the programme, will be addressing Protect Kent Canterbury’s AGM on Monday 8th November from 7.30pm.

The meeting is open to all and is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the work of the Protect Kent Canterbury Committee within the City. There will be chance to have your say on local planning or environmental issues.

The AGM will take place at Thanington Neighbourhood Resource Centre, Ashford Road, Canterbury, Kent, CT1 3XR. Wine will be served from 7pm, the AGM will commence at 7.30pm.

Thanks to Protect Kent for the posting....

Friday, October 22, 2010

Trains4Deal News:

At Thursday's Kent Rail Summit in Maidstone, senior KCC transport strategists revealed to an audience including Trains4deal that the extension of the high speed service HS 1 to Deal is now a top priority in the council's submissions to the Department for Transport (DfT) for the specification of Kent's rail services under the new franchise, due to run from 2014.
“The promotion of Deal to the top of the list of changes the county council is lobbying for is good news and very encouraging,” Julie Rook , county councillor for Deal told the Summit, “We have just got to keep this campaign going - it makes no sense to exclude Deal from the high speed train network. I will be pressing for an early meeting with the transport minister.”

Read the full story at

Apple Fayre @ the White Cliffs on Saturaday 23rd Oct

Apple Fayre Weekend

Fairs & Festivals, Food & Drink

White Cliffs of Dover, Dover
Buy local produce, learn about and taste different apple varieties and have a go on fun games and competitions.
A marquee will accommodate a large selection of apples and juices, where visitors can taste old and new varieties before they buy. An apple expert will be on hand for consultations and other local produce stalls will be selling their wares.

Try your hand at guessing the weight of the pumpkin or finding the maggot! Prizes to be won.
Saturday 23rd October 2010+ show more dates
Sunday 24th October 2010
10am - 4pm
Free event. Usual car parking fees apply.
White Cliffs of Dover
Langdon Cliffs
Upper Road
CT16 1HJ

01304 202756

Kingsnorth power station plans shelved by E.ON

    Kent Kingsnorth power station site has been the scene of many protests including Camp For Climate Action last year. ( From Guardian Oct7) Environmental campaigners were celebrating tonight after controversial plans for a new coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth in Kent were shelved, as the company behind the scheme postponed the project and blamed the recession. Energy group E.ON said recent falls in demand for electricity had forced it to rethink, but that the plant could still be built if economic conditions permitted. However, green campaigners were claiming a major victory over what they viewed as in effect a cancellation of the Kingsnorth station, which has become a focus for protest and concern over carbon dioxide emissions and climate change. In a statement to green groups including Greenpeace, the company said: "We can confirm that we expect to defer an investment decision on the Kingsnorth proposals for up to two to three years. This is based on the global recession, which has pushed back the need for new plant in the UK to around 2016 ... we remain committed to the development of cleaner coal and carbon capture and storage". John Sauven, head of Greenpeace, said: "This development is extremely good news for the climate and in a stroke significantly reduces the chances of an unabated Kingsnorth plant ever being built. The case for new coal is crumbling, with even E.ON now accepting it's not currently economic to build new plants."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Is forging fruit legal ?

From the BBC "Today, Thursday 21st October is National Apple Day. Some may mark it with an apple picked from a nearby tree's laden branches. But is this - and foraging for other fruit, fungi and foliage - legal?

In recent years, people have begun to cotton on to the culinary riches that surround us in parks, forests and hedgerows. There is a vogue for foraged food, driven by high-profile chefs such as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall as well as concerns about food miles and spending cuts.
And it has been a particularly bountiful autumn, with bumper crops of apples, pears and plums, blackberries, sloes and hawthorn berries, and mushrooms of all types.
But if you don't own the land on which it grows, can you legally pick it? The Theft Act 1968, for England and Wales, states that:
"A person who picks mushrooms growing wild on any land, or who picks flowers, fruit or foliage from a plant growing wild on any land, does not (although not in possession of the land) steal what he picks, unless he does it for reward or for sale or other commercial purpose."

And the Scottish Outdoor Access Code allows foraging, but again, not for commercial use.
So the intended use is key. The legality or otherwise of foraging is "incredibly complicated", says Ray Woods, of the wild plant conservation body Plantlife

Points to remember:
  • Common law allows foraging for personal use
  • Some councils or other bodies have bye laws against foraging - look out for notices
  • Letting some fruit rot can benefit wildlife

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Permaculture Course in Faversham

Live the Green Dream in a Day!!!
A Permaculture / Transition event
Saturday November 13th, Nr Faversham

•    See inside an eco adapted house and lifestyle
•    Consider your own next steps towards self reliance
•    Learn tools for solving human problems, big & small
•    Enjoy good food and like minded company

Cost only £25 including light lunch & refreshments
Contact Jo 01227 832569 / or John 01795 521638

For anyone interested in sustainable living

Report back on Thanet Fairtrade Island....

World Food day and Climate Change Conference 
Fairtrade Island Thanet “United Against Hunger”
From the Hall full of varied stalls of both local and National/International associations and groupings to the platform of varied speakers, this was a great day out.

Organised with great flair by Tammy Stewart-Jones of Fairtrade it was both informative and enjoyable, and deserved to have had a much larger attendance.

Lucy Siegle chaired the conference with a light touch; the eight speakers included Laura Vicery, International Development adviser to the Co-operative, Toby Quantrill of the Fairtrade Foundation, Duncan Williamson of WWF, May Kidd of Associated Countrywomen of the world, Dr Julian Oram of the World Development Movement, Robert James of Thanet Earth, and Laura Sandys MP for Thanet (nice to hear an MP who really gets Climate Change).

A wide range of views and not a dud amongst them!
If you have any interest at all in food (and the refreshments were excellent too) you must put October 16th in your diary for next year now!

Thank you Rosemary for your report

Shape the nature of England .....

Do you know about the white paper that the government will be bringing out in 2011 on the natural world ?

They are inviting the public to give their views on the natural world and obviously we need as many people as possible to let them know the depth of feeling there is about the dangers of climate change and the destruction of the natural world.

If people would like to take part in the online survey the web site is :
Many thanks to Adrian for letting know about this......

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Feed In Tariffs under threat ?

From FoE: 
The Government could face a legal challenge if tariffs paid to homes, businesses and communities for generating small-scale renewable electricity are cut in tomorrow's Comprehensive Spending Review, Friends of the Earth warned today.

In a letter sent to Energy Minster Greg Barker, the environmental campaigning charity points out that feed-in tariff levels have been set out by the Government, with a clear statement that they will not be reviewed - let alone reduced - until 2013.

Friends of the Earth warns that any change to tariff levels before this review could lead to a legal challenge from councils, community groups or small-scale energy producers who have planned and invested in renewable electricity infrastructure expecting that published tariff levels will not change. According to a report today feed in tariffs could be cut by 10 per cent.

Friends of the Earth's Policy and Campaigns Director Craig Bennett said:

"If Ministers try to cut agreed payments for green electricity generation they may find themselves in court.

"The Government has clearly set out tariff levels for the first three years of the scheme, and councils, community groups and businesses have planned and invested accordingly. Reviewing tariff rates could undermine these plans.

"Cutting feed-in tariff levels would risk destabilising the UK's small-scale renewable electricity market at the precise moment that it is finally starting to gain momentum, as well as undermining David Cameron's promise to lead the greenest government ever."

Victoria's Green Matters - 18th Oct 2010

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:  
 Two contrasting stories have come to the fore this week; both relate to rivers but there the similarity ends. One story tells how the river Thames has changed from a polluted and dead environment to one where wildlife thrives and the other tells how a torrent of toxic sludge has devastated some rivers in Hungary, threatening to pollute the mighty river Danube.

Back in the 1950s, the river Thames was declared ‘biologically dead’. It was a heavily polluted waterway with effluent from many industries and the sewage from several million people living along its banks. Now, the Thames and its tributaries are home to otters and support 125 species of fish including salmon, trout, bass and sole. The past five years has seen about 400 habitat enhancement projects and more than 40 miles of river have been transformed from urban channels into natural streams.

The disaster in Hungary was caused by the waste from turning bauxite into aluminium, an industrial process that leaves tonnes of red sludge, contaminated by heavy metals. This has been stored in reservoirs, one of which has fractured and released the sludge into the surrounding area. It would appear that neglect has had a large part to play in what happened here.

The river Danube is vital to central and south eastern Europe and has suffered other disasters during the last ten years; not least oil spills and cyanide poisoning and there are many heavy industrial plants sitting on the river’s banks. There could be disasters waiting to happen if great care is not taken.

So far, numerous tests on the waters of the Danube have shown that the water that so many countries rely on is quite clean. If we need to support heavy industry, we must make sure that all precautions are taken, no matter what the monetary cost, to guard against disasters such as the one in Hungary.

Monday, October 18, 2010

No New Nuclear Plant for Dungeness

The Government has announced the eight sites where it build the next generation of nuclear power stations - but the site at Dungeness is not one of them.
According the Government press release :"Government has found that Dungeness in Kent is not suitable for deployment by 2025, due to concerns over the impact of a potential station on important habitat sites".

The Government also chose today to announce that it will not be proceeding to the Severn Barrage because of the costs

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Zero Carbon Church...

A listed Norman church in Gloucestershire has undergone a green makeover to turn it into the UK's first "zero-carbon" church, it has been announced.

In a week of intense activity, the Grade I listed church of St Michael and All Angels in Withington had solar panels installed on the roof and a biomass boiler fitted to provide the building's electricity and heat.

Before the renewable technology was put in, efforts were made to make the church, which dates back to 1140, more energy efficient, including cutting electricity demand by 40% by adjusting the lighting.

Parishioner Matt Fulford, who managed the project on a pro bono basis with the backing of his employer, built asset consultancy EC Harris, said: "We have sought to demonstrate what is possible within existing buildings and how they can positively contribute to the zero-carbon agenda.

"The test was whether this could be done within the tight constraints of a Grade I listed historic building and with the limited financial means of the church.

"By doing this, and being able to provide the church with an environmentally and economically sustainable position for the future, we have clearly shown the opportunities that exist for all by truly embracing the sustainable future."

Some 90% of the £43,000 cost of the project was financed through grants secured by Mr Fulford, with the church meeting the remaining cost in order to ensure it could benefit from green subsidies paid to organisations generating electricity from small scale renewables such as solar panels.

The completion of the project will be celebrated with a service at the church on November 21 by the Suffragan Bishop of Tewkesbury" from

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chickens to power Gloucestershire town

Strange but true ....

"Cirencester in Gloucestershire is to become one of the first towns in the UK to benefit from power generated using chicken litter.

The power plant which is due to open in November is being built on a farm to the south of the market town.

It will take animal waste as well as corn, wheat and grass from local farms and produce methane-rich biogas via a process of anaerobic digestion.

The gas will be used to power a combined heat and power unit generating around 1MW of electricity, enough to supply 350 homes." from

DWI : Local Food meeting report

'Local Food' - Deal With It's September meeting was a great success with about 20 people coming together to hear three short talks about local food.

First of all Stephanie Hayman from 'Whole School Meals' told us all about her struggle with bureaucracy on her way to creating locally sourced meals for 21 schools.

Sally Kirk from 'Kent Produce' explained how her locally sourced vegetable boxes were put together and delivered and Sue Sullivan, with help from husband Adrian and some beautiful pictures via a powerpoint presentation, told us all about growing your own vegetables.

Sally was kind enough to donate the veg box she had brought along to illustrate her talk and we were able to raffle this and raise £30! Thanks to everyone who contributed to a super meeting.

Thank you Vicki for report & Sarah for the snap

Monday, October 11, 2010

Green Sandwich - The Phoenix Centre

Sandwich's Phoenix Community Centre is show just what can be done with some innovative Green thinking.

The Centre in Jubilee Road has been transformed into a Green model development during the last four years.

  • Bio-diverse Green Roof
  • Water Saving design in WCs - Saving 240lt of water per day
  • Reuse of materials in construction - saving landfill
  • Use of recycled plastic for fitting out - reception made out of old yogurt tubs
  • Rainwater collector
  • Dual Heat & Power, with under floor heating which sells excess power back to the grid
Phil Scott, director of the project, said: “Four years ago it looked hideous. What we’ve managed to do is change this into one of the most beautiful environmentally-friendly community centres in Kent...... We know other community centres and village halls are going to struggle in the future, both financially and with their development.

“We have created a centre we can use as a shop window, so other community centres can see the technologies and materials we’ve used and adapt them for their own use.”

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Victoria's Green Matters - 10th Oct 2010

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury: 
It is distressing to read that oil companies are prospecting for oil off the Scottish coast, despite the ‘Deepwater Horizon’ disaster in the Gulf of Mexico earlier this year. This was not just an environmental disaster, eleven people died because BP was determined to carry out deep water drilling in their search for oil.

It is widely known throughout the industry that deep water drilling is extremely dangerous but oil companies are being encouraged to continue their explorations via tax beaks from government.

But if oil is found, how can we burn it without causing more climate warming? The answer is, of course, that we can’t. A further temperature rise of 2C will spell disaster for many low-lying areas of the world, including parts of our own country. The concepts of Peak Oil are hard to accept. We will never run out of oil! But we have run out of cheap oil and if we continue to use oil at the same rate as we are doing now, oil prices will rise, the cost of everything will rise and we will cause more global climate change.

Our new government should be encouraging the oil companies to forge ahead with research into renewable technologies to enable us to have a future with clean, green energy production. We have enough wind, wave and tidal power around our coasts to keep all the lights burning but we need investment into these technologies to bring them up to speed.

There are many different ways that we can generate energy from renewable resources, either individually as households or as communities working together.  We must urge the government, through our MPs, to forge ahead with green technologies and to discourage oil companies from continuing their dangerous practices on our behalf.

Friday, October 8, 2010

When we produced the food to feed us.....

There is great exhibition at the Imperial War Museum which you may have missed. It shows the last time this country produced most of the food it needed to feed itself - 70yrs ago during the war.

The IWM has a great blog on 1940s allotment and details what was grown the proactive messages from the Ministry of Food....

The Ministry of Food examines how the British public adapted to food shortages during the Second World War, learning how to be both frugal and inventive on the ‘Kitchen Front’.
Marking the seventieth anniversary of the introduction of food rationing in Britain, the exhibition shows that growing your own food, eating seasonal fruit and vegetables, reducing imports, recycling, and healthy nutrition were just as important in 1940 as they are today.
The exhibition runs from 12 February 2010 – 3 January 2011.
Sponsored by Company of Cooks
Imperial War Museum London is open daily from 10.00am – 6.00pm (closed on 24, 25, 26 December). Last admission is 5.45pm.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Big Climate Connection

The Stop Climate Chaos Coalition is calling for people across the UK to connect with others in their communities and lobby their MPs on climate change on 5th-6th November. We'll have a chance to influence some big issues:

The new Energy Bill will be before Parliament in November, giving us a chance to influence the bill whilst it is being debated.

The lobby will be three weeks before the UN Climate Talks in Cancun, so we can make sure our MPs push for significant progress towards a fair, ambitious and binding global climate deal.

Local info contact:  Lesley Hutchings - Email

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

B&Q Campaign on VAT on Green Goods & Cheaper Energy Monitors

We do not usually do commercial advertising but we were happy to hear the B&Q has launched a campaign for reduction of VAT on Green Goods. Also for a while they are taking the VAT off their range of Energy Monitors
B&Q launches campaign to cut VAT on 'green goods'

B&Q sales down 9% "B&Q, the UK’s largest home improvement and garden centre retailer, is today launching a petition for customers, colleagues and MPs to sign up to its campaign to get the VAT reduced on green goods.      
Customers will be encouraged to sign up to the campaign by posting their support in a giant green piggy bank in store.  

B&Q believes energy saving should be affordable for all and when surveyed, 95 per cent of its customers agreed that reducing VAT would encourage them to buy energy efficient products.  And in an energy saving move B&Q will from this week pay the VAT on energy monitors meaning customers will be able to benefit from an extra 12.5 per cent off."

 See full news from 24.Dash Site

Monday, October 4, 2010

Victoria's Green Matters - 3rd Oct 2010

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:  
How is your 10:10 campaign going? Are you still trying to reduce your energy use by 10% during 2010? There always seems to be opportunities to try and use less energy throughout daily life. By now most of us will have low energy light bulbs around the home and will have realised that the early ones with their slow acting, dim glow have given way to much more user friendly and brighter globes. Even halogen lamps have environmentally friendly versions and soon, LED bulbs will be available with even lower energy use.

But you have to buy bulbs (don’t be tricked into buying the very cheap ones from the supermarket, they are useless) and there are lots of other ways to reduce your energy use without buying anything at all. It is very easy to get into the habit of switching off lights and appliances when you have finished using them. It is pointless, both from an energy and a cost perspective, to leave things switched on when no one is using them. It is very easy to walk away and leave ‘phone chargers still connected – and still using energy – when your ‘phone is fully charged. Why leave the television switched on when no one is looking at it? Are there lights on in rooms in your house when the rooms are empty? Even low energy bulbs use some energy!

A good way to check your energy use is to fit an energy monitor in your home. This is quite simple to do and energy companies are giving the monitors away.  It is quite a shock to see just how much electricity your halogen lamps in the kitchen are using and quite an incentive to switch them off.

There are lots more ways to save energy and money so why not join the campaign today? For more information go to

Sunday, October 3, 2010

National demand for Allotments rise by 20% in a year

In the last year the demand for allotments has increased.  The average waiting list is now 59 people per 100 plots. That’s gone up by 20% in just one year - That is nearly 100,000 nationally.

It’s pretty obvious that local councils are failing in their legal duty to provide sufficient allotments.The tighter economic climate, the steep rise in food prices and the shift in awareness of the importance of producing food 'yourself' makes the case for more allotments and community gardens even more urgent.

The national survey done by Transition Town West Kirby was based on 'Freedom of Information' requests to every main district council. In  East Kent both Canterbury and Thanet managed to answer. Dover DC and Shepway just replied that was the responsibility of the Town and Parish Councils - which is true but demonstrates the lack of imagination in the stewardship of public space in the district.

Deal With It will be approaching all the Parish and Town Councils in the Dover District Council area to fill this information gap.

Canterbury City reported  14 sites with 730 plots and closed waiting list of 720 !

Thanet reported 12 sites with 929 plots and a waiting list of 430.

Bob Russell, MP for Colchester, has put down an early day motion (EDM 687) stating:-
"That this House welcomes the big increase in home-grown vegetables, with seed sales up 14 per cent last year; is pleased that the number of people wanting an allotment has increased by 20 per cent in the past 12 months; is concerned that according to the National Society for Allotment and Leisure Gardeners there are 100,000 people on waiting lists for an allotment; and calls on the Government, local authorities, other public bodies and private landlords to make land available for new allotments."

Friday, October 1, 2010

Dabate: Can we afford offshore wind power ?

We got the largest wind farm currently in the world on our doorstep here in Deal - Rising steel prices and a weak pound have pushed up construction costs. The Ecologist has started the debate - what do you think?

"High costs of offshore wind farms could be reduced through investment in a UK manufacturing base says report, but warns nuclear is no cheap alternative

Most would agree that clean, renewable energy is a good thing. A much tougher question is, how much are we prepared to pay for it?

The cost of building offshore wind farms has doubled in the last five years, according to a new report by the UK Energy Research Centre published this week. Offshore wind farms now cost around £3m per megawatt hour to build, while the electricity itself costs around £150 per megawatt hour to generate once the building work is finished.

This makes it vastly more expensive than any other existing energy source. Electricity generated using onshore wind costs just £94 per megawatt hour, while nuclear would cost £99 per megawatt hour, according to figures published in June by the Department of Energy and Climate Change. read me ...