Monday, November 28, 2011

KCC Planning Committee on Fracking 6th Dec

We finally have a date for the hearing of the application to drill a test bore hole at Woodnesborough. It will be heard at Sessions House, County Hall Maidstone on Tuesday 6th December, starting at 10 am.  
It would be great to have as much support as possible at what will be the beginning of what may be a long process in the possible exploitation of Shale Gas by means of fracking in our district, and a show of strength at this point would help to persuade the members of the Planning Committee that is not a good idea to open the way to an industrial procedure that could contaminate our water,degrade our environment, cause long term health problems, and distract us from the need to develop renewable energy and preserve our lovely countryside to grow our food on.
If you are free to come with us on Tuesday, and need a lift, or can offer one please email us at
We will be leafleting again  in Deal outside M&S on Saturday morning from 10.15 am ,please join us if you can!
The planning committee report can be found here

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Transition Partnership meeting Deal Town Council

Our Third Transition Partnerhip meeting took place on Saturday with representatives from Deal Town Council.

We are looking at joint project to promote Tree and Pond Wardens and series of events in highlight green  initatives on local energy and food.

We had a useful discussion on sustainable alternatives to fencing such as reintroducing hedges and jubliee trees for schools. Next meeting will be in early 2012.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

No Plastic Bags in Deal

The local campaign to banish the plastic bag in Deal was on the streets today handling out leaflets.

The Dover & Deal Coop party gave a donation of £25 towards the campaign.

More acitivity is planned with the build up to Xmas.

Interested in joining in email

Have you signed the petition yet -

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

DWI - Bio-Diversity meeting

Really cracking meeting on Tuesday - I certainly learnt a lot from Mel Wrigley from the White Cliffs Countryside Partnership which promotes and protects our lovely Chalk grasslands and habitats.

Clive Grant from Walmer Parish Council and the Freedown Hawkshill Volunteers spoke about the fantastic work they do trying to keep the Freedown grassland and their 10 year plan.

Thanks to Sarah for organising and chairing.

Green space is good for you... its offical

From Neighbourhoods Green

Greenspace is good ... fact!

Research into the Social Return on Investment (SROI) of green space demonstrate value for money.

Greenspace Scotland has published the largest single set of Social Return on Investment (SROI) reports to prove that green space is good for our health, our communities and our quality of life. Ten SROI reports have revealed that every pound invested in environmental community activities in greenspace delivered between £2 and £17 in benefits. That represents good value for money.
Green space is good - so prove it! was a two year research programme funded by the Big Lottery Fund. Greenspace Scotland worked with 10 community groups using an SROI approach to show the social, economic and environmental value of their green space activities.

All of the projects made a positive contribution to their local communities and generated a good return on investment. The individual SROI analyses undertaken covered a wide range of activities including: community growing; diversionary use of greenspace; community engagement; youth volunteering; health walks and environmental competitions.

Speaking on the launch of the reports Julie Procter, Chief Executive of Greenspace Scotland said:
"By using a Social Return on Investment approach community greenspace groups have been able to show the real of value of their projects. At first glance, a community growing project has obviously delivered benefits through turning derelict ground into a productive growing space. But taking a closer look through these studies, we see that volunteers have improved their health through increased physical activity and eating the vegetables they produce; they've learned new horticultural and environmental skills; increased their social contacts and built their self-confidence - for some this has been a key part of their journey back to employment. That's just one example of the multiple benefits that the groups delivered as a result of their green space activities.

Collectively these studies provide powerful evidence that investing in greenspace represents good value for money - and that's becoming increasingly important in these very challenging times. We've shown that relatively small investments lever very real benefits in terms of preventative spend, with community greenspaces delivering big returns by improving people's health and wellbeing; building confidence and skills; reducing anti-social behaviour and creating safer, stronger and more vibrant communities."

Speaking about the experience of being involved in the programme, Helen Trainor of Gorbals Healthy Living Network said:
"The SROI project is proving invaluable to us. We are expected to be able to put a monetary value on the work we do. However, due to the nature of the service we provide and the groups and individuals we serve, it was always difficult for us to show this. Now thanks to SROI programme we are able to do this. We are also finding that being involved with Greenspace Scotland and the SROI programme has enabled us to present a more professional case, which has assisted us in achieving funding."

A summary of the report can be found here.
Further information can be found here.

Victoria's Green Matters - 23rd Nov 2011

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:
The time is rapidly approaching for the next world summit on climate change in Durban. The International Energy Agency has already warned all nations that we are a long way away from avoiding dangerous climate change. The Kyoto Protocol inspired the world to take steps towards a carbon neutral energy system but now greater steps are required to consolidate and surpass this achievement.

The failure of the last summit in Copenhagen to bring nations together on a definite agreement to limit carbon emissions has left the world with ‘ voluntary agreements’. A voluntary framework will not keep climate change within the 2°C temperature rise limit that we need to insure us against the collapse of our food and water systems.

All major industrialised countries have adopted the ‘we must all do it or it’s no good’ approach, leading to most doing very little at all. The world has shown that international agreements are possible – the multilateral trade system, the international criminal court, the European single market for example – and this international agreement is the most vital because it affects us all.

We are in a time of global economic crisis and we are rapidly approaching the point of no return where climate change is concerned. Most countries have higher unemployment than is healthy for growing economies so why not agree to invest as much as we can in clean, renewable technologies of every kind around the world, creating jobs and limiting our carbon emissions.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Trains4Deal report

Trains4deal was at last week's Southeastern Stakeholders' Forum in Gillingham, along with a contingent from Dover District Council.

We spoke about the results of our spot surveys of passenger usage of the new HS service for Deal and Sandwich (see latest updates on ). Southeastern MD, Charles Horton, commented that Trains4deal probably know more about the figures than he did, and could we pass them on!

Our questions established that consultations on the level of service under new franchise (starting March 2014) will start in the new year. Southeastern said there was no prospect of any additional HS services to either Maidstone or Deal and Sandwich before then.

All Trains4deal supporters who are interested are invited to the next meeting of the the Kent branch of RAILFUTURE, which campaigns for better rail services and is a good supporter of our cause. It's this Saturday, 2pm at the Alma pub in West St. If you're thinking of attending, an RSVP would be appreciated and will be passed on to the organisers to help them prepare. The meeting will discuss rail issues generally in Kent, and Deal and Sandwich are certain to come up!

best wishes,

Tom Rowland / Ian Killbery
Join the rail-users' group for the Deal area
Campaigning for High Speed trains to Deal - NOW!
Join the trains4deal group on Facebook

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Victoria's Green Matters - 17th Nov 2011

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:
Our government has pledged to be the ‘greenest government ever’ but has this last week scored an own goal when it comes to feed-in tariffs (Fits) with regard to energy generation from solar photo-voltaic (PV) panels.

Fits are the amount of money paid per unit of electricity generated by a PV installation and this is 43p until 12 December when it becomes 21p. We have known all along that they would be reduced from next April but for some reason the government has brought this day forward to December 12 this year and has announced that it will cut the level by half.

An even greater, and much less publicised, change that will take place from next April is that homes will have to comply with energy efficiency measures to qualify for payment of Fits. The level of qualification is set so high that many homeowners will find the cost prohibitive.

Many schemes for social housing to have PV panels fitted, paid for by the local council who then receive the Fits to reinvest with the householder benefiting from the free electricity generated will no longer be viable.

Probably the worst result of this short-term thinking will be the effect on the burgeoning solar industry. Our country needs good, long-term jobs in new, clean industries and just as the solar industry was building up speed and employing 25,000 people, these cuts have been announced. Let us hope that proposed legal challenges and protests have the desired effect.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Kent Marine Conservation Zones at risk

From Kent Wildlife Trust

Marine Conservation Zones at risk

Big Society has spoken up for our seas – but will Government listen?

The wildlife in England’s seas is facing a serious threat, warns Kent Wildlife Trust.

The long-awaited network of marine protected areas, promised by Government for 2012, is in danger, according to the largest voluntary conservation organisation for Kent and Medway, which has been instrumental in marine campaigning and research. Kent Wildlife Trust is urging the public to write to Under-Secretary for Natural Environment and Fisheries, Richard Benyon MP, in support of Marine Conservation Zones.

After years of pressure from NGOs, and with huge public support, the Marine and Coastal Access Act of 2009 promised a coherent network of protection around the coasts by 2012. Now 127 marine sites around England’s coast, including eleven around Kent*, have been recommended by four regional stakeholder groups to become Marine Conservation Zones next year.

The recommendations are the result of two years of consultation with more than one million stakeholders involved including fishermen, conservationists and businesses. This has been the first ‘Big Society’ experiment where local stakeholders have decided together which areas of the sea should be protected.

There is concern that the Government will only progress a fraction of the 127 recommended sites to designation. This would result in an ineffective network of Marine Conservation Zones, leaving vulnerable and precious areas unprotected.

Bryony Chapman, Marine Policy Officer at Kent Wildlife Trust, said:

“A huge amount of work has been done to get a broad agreement on this network of sites needed for the health and future productivity of our marine environment. Now, however, in the final stages the Government has lost its direction and is proposing to over-ride the recommendations of local stakeholders and cut the 127 sites down to a fraction of this number, in contradiction with the aims of the new Marine and Coastal Access Act.”

*The recommended sites around Kent are:
Thames Estuary, a hugely important ecological corridor supporting fish spawning and nursery grounds.
Medway Estuary with its rich muddy sediments full of small creatures which provide food for fish and birds, and home to the very scarce tentacled lagoon worm.
Swale Estuary, with its channels and creeks providing very important fish spawning and nursery grounds.

Thanet Coast, with its wonderful chalk reefs extending across the shore and out to sea, rich with mussel beds, rossworm reefs, colourful seaweeds and fish, and supporting special species such as stalked jellyfish. Outer Kentish Knock, an impressive sediment bank where mussels and rossworm reefs provide habitat shelter for other species.
Goodwin Sands, the famous sand banks where grey and common seals can forage for fish, and haul out to rest, and where some even have their pups.
Deal to Dover Reef, with its colourful chalk gullies and boulders which abound with special plants and animals, including stalked jellyfish, elegant anemones and tompot blennies.

Dover to Folkestone Reefs, where the chalk, clay and greensand outcrops provide home to seahorses and other varied animal and plant life, while rossworms build reefs on the sediment in between.
Folkestone Pomerania Ross Coral Holes, large seabed bowls where delicate and colourful sponges, ross corals, fan worms and anemones live on the rocky ledges.

Hythe Bay, with its specialised community including spoonworms, square crabs and molluscs that burrow in the soft muddy seafloor.

Offshore Foreland, an area of high biological diversity on the rock and sand seabed in the middle of the Dover Strait.

John Bennett, Kent Wildlife Trust’s Chief Executive added:

“Kent Wildlife Trust’s Marine Officer, backed by a large body of volunteers, has for years been recording the marine animals and plants we find off the Kentish coast, and on our shores. Now, with other Wildlife Trusts all around the UK, we are lobbying hard for the successful completion of a process that will make the difference between the life or death of our seas. We know there is great public support for Marine Conservation Zones. This is a once in a lifetime chance. The Government can’t afford to let it slip away.” 

Kent Wildlife Trust is urging people to write to Richard Benyon and ask for Government to create the proposed network of 127 zones in England. Guidance on writing to the Minister can be found at

Sunday, November 13, 2011

We are looking for Tree Warden for Deal

One of Deal With It's local initatives is find volunteers to act as Tree Wardens in Deal and Walmer.

Tree Wardens are a national force of local tree champions and a key part of The Tree Council's community action programme.

The Tree Council, which launched the Tree Warden Scheme in 1990, co-ordinated it nationally. It works with local authorities, voluntary organisation, parish councils and local partnerships to set up and develop Tree Warden networks - in towns, city and countryside.
Today there are around 8,000 Tree Wardens in over 150 local networks throughout the UK, forming a volunteer force of immense value to the environment.

The Kent Tree Warden network is co-ordinated by BTCV

All Tree Wardens are required to attend a series of 1 day training courses organised by BTCV. These courses are free of charge and provide an excellent opportunity to learn more about tree issues and meet fellow wardens. The courses cover tree identification, laws and grants, coppice ecology, hazardous trees and hedgerow ecology and management. In addition to this BTCV also provide a selection of reference materials and a regular newsletter to keep you up to date with events. Existing wardens have assisted with conducting surveys of trees and woodlands, offering advice to communities on suitable species to plant, how to manage a habitat and from where to obtain project funding, notifying the relevant person of hazardous trees and organising public events such as tree planting days and guided walks. There is also the opportunity to get involved with publicising the scheme through parish newsletters or distributing leaflet.

Becoming a Tree Warden is simple. Just contact the Kent BTCV Tree Warden Network Co-ordinator
Due to the community work involved in being a Tree Warden, we would recommend you also contact your local parish council or conservation group. This will ensure they are aware of you and can also act as valuable support.

Contact us at

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Free Trees from KCC

Kent Free Trees scheme 2011

This year more than 20,000 trees are available to community groups, schools, parish councils and charities across Kent to ‘green’ their spaces.
The 2011 scheme is focusing its attention on local community groups and the spaces they use and maintain.
Groups are being offered free-of-charge packs of 25 trees. There are five different types of pack, including a Hedgerow mix, Woodland mix, Foragers mix, Wildlife mix and Schools mix. All of these contain native species suited to Kent.

More details at WCCP & KCC

SeaCafe on Green for Community events

Pete St Ange continues to keep the Sea Cafe on the Green at Walmer focussed on the local community. He is now making the Cafe available for community use in the evenings.

Contact him at the Cafe or at and see his Facebook site

Great initative Pete!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sandwich Pfizer recycling site

From ThisIsKent:
PART of Pfizer's Sandwich site could be used for waste disposal and recycling.
A three-hectare plot at the pharmaceutical firm's facility is one of nine additional areas being looked at by Kent County Council for its mineral and waste sites development plan.

The authority called on businesses and landowners to put forward possible sites for waste treatment and mineral extraction last year. In response, 96 existing and potential sites were put forward for consideration.
The public were asked for views on the sites during a consultation between May and August this year. Now KCC has opened a new eight-week consultation to look at the nine additional sites.
In February Pfizer announced plans to shut down its operation but has pledged to retain a small workforce as an anchor for the sale of its site.

The Great Stonar site is being put forward because of the ability to use its waste-water plant, combined heat and power station, its high temperature incineration facility and the ability to expand to take in recycling.

In the consultation document KCC says: "The site would handle hazardous, non-hazardous and commercial wastes. The proposal is to continue to import locally-sourced waste and waste from within the EU in line with the site's current waste licence.

"The proposal is to allow for the importation of waste from the region. It also has the potential to retain employment in the local area."

The Pfizer site, renamed Discovery Park, has been on the market since June and was given Enterprise Zone status, which brings tax and business rate breaks, by the Government in August.
The aim is to keep the site as a life sciences hub to draw in 190 new companies and provide 2,500 new jobs

Comments will be used by KCC as part of the assessment process.
David Brazier, KCC Deputy Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Waste, said: "Preparing the minerals and waste plans is a complex and lengthy process.
" We have to get it right, therefore it is only proper that we consult on these additional sites in the same way.
"This means it will take longer to prepare the plans. We are still taking less time than neighbouring counties."
The consultation closes at 5pm on December 19. If the government agrees to KCC's plan it will be adopted in 2014 following a full public examination in front of an independent inspector.
To view the proposals, and for more details about the consultation, go to, email, or call 01622 696815.
Sites in the first round of consultation include, Thanet Waste Services, which is to extend its to include green waste services. BFL Management has plans for a green energy park at Richborough Power Station. Ovenden Plant Hire has put in plans for Tilmanstone in Pike Road, Eythorne.

Victoria's Green Matters - 10th Nov 2011

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:
The recent report into the cause of the earth tremors in Lancashire earlier this year has concluded that they were very probably caused by hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Operations were halted after the tremors occurred until after the report has been sent to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the British Geological Survey.

The process of fracking unlocks gas that is stored underground in cracks in rocks and this is achieved by injecting water and chemicals into the ground, under high pressure, to force the gas out. The process itself is fraught with dangers. Regardless of the possible structural damage, the chemicals used can contaminate ground water, large amounts of greenhouse gases can be released to the atmosphere and vast quantities of water are needed for the process.

Much is being made of the large amounts of gas that are to be found in several areas around the UK. Companies set to make large amounts of money out of the process try to tell us that this gas is a ‘green’ option as burning gas releases only half of the greenhouse emissions that coal produces. Together with the gases released during fracking this is clearly not so.

The possibility of this process coming to Woodnesborough rests on the outcome of a planning application for an exploratory borehole due to be considered by Kent County Council next month. Please write to your MP and your local councillor objecting to this application - KCC/DO/0069/2011 – and please do it now!