Friday, December 30, 2011

Victoria's Green Matters 29th December 2011

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:
There has been some good news from the law this week in two cases. Firstly, the courts upheld a challenge from Friends of the Earth to the government’s decision to reduce the feed-in-tariffs for electricity generated by solar photovoltaic (PV) cells. Reduced feed-in-tariffs were due to come into force on 12 December 2011 rather than the original April date, before the consultation process had come to an end and forcing many intended installations of PV cells to be abandoned.

This was not only bad news for individual householders and community groups who wanted to reduce their carbon footprint and invest in the future but for those new businesses that had trained personnel ready to install PVs. To lose these jobs at this time was clearly devastating.

The European Union (EU) has ruled that airlines based outside the EU should pay for their carbon emissions when they fly to or from an EU country. This is a crucial test for climate change regulation. It is being resisted in particular by the US and Chinese governments but numerous other international airlines are also fighting this ruling. Airlines have little incentive to cut their carbon emissions and pay no tax on aviation fuel.

Airlines have protested that this new regulation will cost them billions of euros over the coming years. Research puts the cost to all airlines at about €1.1billion next year.

A Very Merry and Green Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

FOE win legal case over PV FiT

Friends of the Earth has won its legal challenge against the Government in High Court.
Along with two solar companies we took the Government to court over their plans to slash support for solar energy.
After two days in court the Judge ruled in our favour calling the Government's plans "legally flawed".
These botched and illegal plans have cast a huge shadow over the solar industry, jeopardising thousands of jobs.
We hope this ruling will prevent ministers rushing through damaging changes to clean energy subsidies - giving solar firms a much-needed confidence boost.
Andy Atkins, Friends of the Earth's Executive Director

Illegal and unfair

Government proposed cutting the amount of cash-back - known as feed-in tariffs - for solar projects installed after 12 December.
But this date was 11 days before the official consultation on the plans closed.
The Judge agreed with Friends of the Earth that this approach was illegal.

Real-world impact

The Government's proposals have already caused thousands of planned or unfinished solar projects to be shelved.

Government must act

Following today's ruling the Government must act now to get solar back on track by:
  • Providing more money for feed-in tariffs.
  • Supporting solar projects in schools and social housing.

Take our Christmas action

Please send your MP a Christmas message asking them to help put solar back on track.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Victoria's Green Matters - 22nd December 2011

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:
The Durban climate conference ended with a legally binding agreement from all nations to limit carbon emissions. Even China, India, USA and Canada were included. The only drawback is that it will be 2015 before action needs to be taken.

A shock decision by Canada to pull out of the Kyoto climate treaty has been condemned by all the other nations as reckless and irresponsible. The Kyoto protocol was a commitment by nations to reduce their carbon emissions by 6% by 2012 compared with 1990 levels. No surprise really that Canada pulled out because their greenhouse gas emissions have risen by 30% over the last two decades!

Canada has a highly lucrative tar sands operation which it is at pains to protect but which, of course, is highly polluting. This process not only damages surrounding areas but also takes as much energy to extract oil from the sands as burning the oil would produce. The Canadian government is fighting hard against international restrictions on this fuel that produces more carbon emissions than conventional oil. It is deadly for the environment whichever way you look at it.

It is regrettable that the Canadian government finds it more important to protect industries that pollute the world than it does to protect island nations at risk from rising sea levels.

The world cannot afford to continue burning fossil fuels at the rate at which it burns them now. We cannot afford the carbon dioxide it produces that warms the climate.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Solar Panels fitted on East Kent Housing homes in Dover

A CAMPAIGN to install solar panels to more than 100 homes in Dover successfully concluded this week just hours before government support for the scheme came to an end.

Dover District Council and East Kent Housing agreed a deal with Carillion Energy Services to offer tenants living in a pilot area of St Radigund's the chance to have solar panels fitted to their homes.

full story at Dover Express here

Friday, December 16, 2011

DDC vote for 460 homes in Sholden

From  This is Kent:
RESIDENTS in Sholden have reacted furiously to a Dover District Council decision to allow 460 new homes to be built in their village.

After ten years of battles with developers Hillreed Homes, Ward Homes and the council, Sholden parish council chairman Phillip Marsh described the decision last night as "absolutely gutting."
The authority's planning committee voted through the proposal by the narrowest of margins, with committee chairman Councillor Bernard Butcher using his chairman's vote to decide the outcome.

Hillreed will be building 230 homes north-west of Church Lane, and Ward will be creating a sprawl on land next to the A258 and Sholden New Road.

read in full here

Thursday, December 15, 2011

DDC new recycling scheme success

Households Recycle More As New Service Is Rolled Out  

Dover District Council is welcoming the success of the major new recycling service that continues to roll out across the area - and is thanking householders for their support as recycling rates have already hit a fantastic 45%.

Results show that October saw recycling rates at 45% - that’s a 9% increase on the total for the same month last year (36%), and an 11% increase on the total for October 2009 (34%).

Some interesting points from the roll out include:

  • Around 30,000 properties are now able to recycle under the new scheme
  • The cost of the new containers and wheeled bins is being funded by Kent County Council out of the savings made from households recycling more
  • New things residents can recycle include – beverage cartons (Tetra Pak), batteries, empty aerosols, and all types of plastic packaging (pots, tubs and trays), (but not plastic bags)
  • 175 tonnes of food waste was collected in October from approximately 15,000 properties.  If it was not recycled into compost it would have been thrown away
  • Storing and putting waste out in bins stops it being attacked by seagulls and foxes, leaving less rubbish on the street after collections
  • The joint service arrangements between Dover DC, Shepway DC and KCC are projected to save the partnership around £4m a year.

Cllr Nicholas Kenton, DDC Cabinet Member for Environment and Waste said: “These are fantastic results, and we thank all the householders who are helping us to protect the environment and recycle more.  A recycling rate of 45%, while we are still rolling out the new service, is great news and shows we are on target for 50% or more.  We look forward to continuing to work with residents to recycle even more for the future.”

The new service includes the introduction of a weekly collection of food waste and an improved recycling collection.  DDC is providing residents with new containers for food waste, and wheeled bins for the collection of a greater range of recyclables and for the fortnightly collection of the waste that householders have not been able to recycle.

If you have not received your new bins, don’t worry as the new scheme will be rolling out to properties up to January 2012.  For more information, please call 01304 872428 or see the waste and recycling pages.

Date: 28/11/2011
Contact:  Andy Steele
Telephone:  01304 872020
Fax:  01304 872300
Press Office Direct Line:  01304 872020

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Victoria's Green Matters - 15th Dec 2011

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:
If you have been watching the magnificent ‘Frozen Planet’ you cannot fail to have been disturbed by the wonderful filming of melting glaciers and the terrifying power of the melt water.

As David Attenborough so eloquently explained, this melted ice has serious repercussions for the rest of the earth, not just the polar ice caps. Sceptics will tell you that this is just a natural phenomenon, that it’s all happened before but they do not consider the speed at which the change is taking place. This can only be the result of our carbon intensive society since the industrial revolution.

Our so-called ‘green government’ is doing its level best to scupper any attempts to go forward with policies that will try to limit our carbon emissions or to prepare us for the changed world our children will inhabit. George Osborne has failed to take responsibility for making our industries less polluting, citing loss of jobs and businesses instead of encouraging energy and money saving processes and job creation in new, clean, renewable industries. Chris Huhne, our climate and energy secretary, continues bravely with his plans for emission reduction and energy saving but to no avail.

It is extremely depressing to realise that it is the financial services that are the true rulers of the world. Even though the world’s banks are running out of cash they still managed to invest twice as much in coal-fired electricity last year than they did in 2005.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Report from Kent Low Carbon Community Partnership

Just a quick update for this edition to let you know about some exciting new funding initiatives that have been launched this month, as well as a roundup of some interesting developments happening across the UK.
Obviously we were all disappointed to hear about the sudden cuts to the Feed In Tariff and hope that it hasn’t scuppered too many local community projects. However, if you are still considering solar or wind projects, or want to know more about the implications of the proposed cuts, then please visit the Energy Saving Trust's webpages, which have a very good summary of the changes and their potential impact.

Around Kent

Call for Kent case studies
Many thanks to those of you who have already submitted your case studies, we have had a good response, with examples from churches, transition towns, parish councils, community groups and campaign groups. It is great to hear about such a wide range of work going on across the county and hope that more of you will be able to share your stories and successes, no matter their size. I have attached a copy of the template to this email, please complete and return to if you would like to submit your story.
We are currently in the process of putting all your case studies online and they will be linked via an interactive map, to allow you to see what is going on in your area. We expect the site to go live in January.
Elham residents discuss renewable future
On 7th October Elham Environment Group held a public meeting to explore renewable energy at home and in the community. The purpose of the evening was to present possible energy solutions and hear the views of the community about the best way forward. Presentations on solar, wind, heat pump and biomass energy were made by group members, together with Matthew Morris from the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The team was also joined by Rachel Coxcoon, from the Centre of Sustainable Energy and Richard Knox-Johnston, from Protect Kent, for a question and answer session chaired by the local County Councillor. Subjects included the sustainability of government incentives, how to convert warm air into heating and how to include the community in joint ventures. Wind turbines were the most debated issue of the evening and the chair gave extra time for this discussion. There was wide agreement that the event was well worth the effort and the debate has well and truly begun! For more information, email
Remember, if you have any good news about projects you are working on, or want to promote a community event you are running please email and we will include you in the next update. Deadline for submissions is 3rd February 2012.

National News

Climate Change Week: 12th - 18th March 2012
Climate Week is a national campaign designed to inspire a new wave of action on climate change. It culminates with thousands of events and activities taking place throughout the week of 12th to 18th March 2012, planned by organisations from every part of society. Showcasing real, practical ways to combat climate change, the campaign aims to motivate people to create a more sustainable, low-carbon future.
The Climate Week Challenge in 2011 was Britain's biggest ever environmental competition, with over 145,000 people participating in the one day and one-hour versions. You can register now for the 2012 Climate Week Challenge, which will be revealed on Monday 12 March at 9am. Entries are also open for the prestigious Climate Week Awards, recognising the most inspirational and impressive actions taking place in every sector. To find out more about Climate Week go to, email or telephone on 020 3397 2601.
New advice on how to set up and run a community buying group
There are many benefits to joining together with other consumers and combining your buying power to get better deals from shops and other suppliers. By buying in bulk, you should be able to get discounts on prices, saving everyone money. Typical examples of things that groups buy in bulk include food, heating oil, insulation and solar panels. The ‘Guide for Community Buying Groups', offers general advice for groups of consumers wishing to set up and run a buying group on a not-for-profit basis, it also aims to raise awareness of legislation and highlights the R Shop Bulk Buying Project, started in 2009 with the support of the Social Innovation Lab Kent.
Planning for climate change
A new resource for local communities has been produced by Climate East Midlands, to enable them to make informed decisions and provide meaningful input into planning consultations, especially for renewable energy, low carbon and adaptation work. The resources are part of a Climate Change Skills programme for the East Midlands; however most of the information is useful for communities across the UK. For further information, visit
Updates to Community Energy Online
The Department of Energy and Climate Change have recently updated their Community Energy Portal, which is aimed at community groups looking to develop community energy projects. The website currently offers community groups links to video training on the different stages of project development, such as choosing a technology and finding an installer. It also offers information on funding, best practice, feasibility, planning, land ownership and case studies.

New Funding Initiatives

Local Energy Assessment Fund
This new £10m scheme from the Department of Energy and Climate Change is designed to help communities prepare for, and benefit from, the Green Deal, feed-in tariff and Renewable Heat Incentive. The funding can be used for a range of activities, for example, to commission assessments of the energy efficiency of homes and buildings in the community, to run demonstration projects of the type that will shortly be available through the Green Deal (e.g. solid wall insulation), to carry out feasibility studies for community renewable energy projects, or to run public awareness-raising and engagement events.
Around £50,000 is available to each successful group (up to a maximum of £130,000). Applicants can be any legally incorporated not-for-profit group, such as a voluntary organisations, parish council, community-interest company or cooperative. The deadline for Phase 1 is the 22nd December 2011 and for Phase 2 the deadline is the 20th January 2012. For further information visit
EDF Green Fund
The EDF Green Fund has been in existence since 2001, and was set up to provide a source of funding for non-profit organisations who wish to install small scale, renewable energy on their sites, who otherwise would not have been able to afford to do so. Grants of up to £30,000 are available to help cover the cost of renewable energy technology that can be used to produce green energy from the sun, wind, water, wood and other renewable sources. The next deadline for bids is the 28th February 2012. Visit the Green Fund website for further information.
For more information on community funding opportunities visit Kent4Community or for support on developing funding bids visit the Funding Buddies website.
This partnership bulletin is produced by Kent County Council, on behalf of the Kent Low Carbon Community Partnership.
Please forward this bulletin to others who may find it of interest, or ask them to join the partnership by emailing
This email is available in alternative formats and can be explained in a range of languages. Please call 01622 221919 for details.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Stop fuel poverty - FOE

Letter from FOE

This Christmas around 150.000 households in The South East will be in Fuel Poverty that is why politicians are being urged to get tough on the big 6 energy companies.

90% of Brits are backing our call for a public inquiry into their power bills and half believing the main reasons for bills doubling since 2004 is energy company greed. According to the recent Friends Of The Earth Survey.

Martin Lewis, creator of has joined our calls for politicians and regulators to make "radical changes" to the energy system following Octobers summit where The Government failed to tackle the energy rip-off.

Friends Of The Earths Final Demand Campaign is challenging The Government to launch a Public Inqury into the power of the big 6 who are making billions in profits while at least 1 in 4
households are struggling to afford their energy bills following recent price rises. Also recent figures show complaint about the big 6 have risen by 25%.

FOE are asking people to sign our petition at demand. The Government is cosying up to the energy companies instead of calling time on the big 6 market stitch-up. The big 6 are making billions by keeping The UK hooked on expensive imported fuels instead of setting us on a path to more affordable clean British energy to afford
Stuart Cox
Group Coordinator
East Kent FOE

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Petition on Canterbury Air Quality

From our colleagues from Canterbury Greenpeace - sign the petition for Canterbury Council to do something about air quality and to honour its obligations to fight climate change:

Sholden Plans at DDC 14th Dec


Planning Applications for new housing for both Sides of Sholden Village near Deal will be considered by The Dover District Council Planning Committee at The Council Offices at Whitfield on Wednesday Night from 6pm.

The plans include a revised appication for up to 230 residential dwellings on land between Sholden New Road and LondonRoad (A258).

The other application is for outline permission for up to 230 residential dwellings from Hancocks Field, Hunters Walk and Hyton Drive Sholden. The land includes The area between Sholden Village and Deal including Court Lodge Farm,  North West of Church Lane Sholden/Deal.

A lot of residents from Sholden will be attending so please get there early if you can.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Victoria's Green Matters - 8th Dec 2011

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:
Canada has the second largest store of carbon in the world after Saudi Arabia. These are tar or oil sands from which oil can be extracted. The process by which this oil is extracted is extremely polluting, being very energy intensive with high greenhouse gas emissions, the destruction of forests and the contamination of air and water.

The European Union (EU) proposes to designate transport fuel from tar sands as producing 22% more greenhouse gas emissions than traditional fuels, thus discouraging suppliers who need to reduce their emissions by 10% by 2020, from using it. This would also label the fuel as ‘dirtier’.

Canada has been running a campaign against the EU proposals and the UK government has been lobbied by oil giants Shell and BP, which both have large tar sands projects in Canada. Embarrassingly for the UK, David Cameron has discussed the issue with his Canadian counterpart, stating that he wanted to find a way forward. The opposition to the EU proposal puts the UK in the minority in Europe and will cause great concern at the climate change talks in Durban.

At a time when we need to be reducing our use of fossil fuels and cutting our carbon emissions, the UK government is actively involved in trying to avoid probable EU sanctions against tar sand oil. Far from being the ‘greenest government ever’ it is guilty of putting big business first over the needs of the planet.