Friday, March 30, 2012

Save Richborough Recycling Centre

From the Richborough Action Group

The main environmental consequences of closing Richborough Recycling Centre are:

1. The increase in 'rubbish' miles travelled. For example, a Sandwich resident will typically travel 2 miles to deposit a carload of refuse and recycling at Richborough. If the HWC closes, the travel distance will typically be 12 miles (6 miles each way) to the Deal HWC.
2. Furthermore, when the Green Energy Park opens at Richborough, 'rubbish' miles for green and other carbon-based waste from Sandwich residents will be 28 miles! This waste will be re-transported by lorry from the Deal HWC back to Richborough for use in the pyrolysis plant or the anaerobic digester at the Green Energy Park.
3. Increased dangers of fly-tipping and reduced recycling amounts if people can't be bothered to travel further afield to either Deal or Margate HWCs
4. The Southwall Road tip will become considerably busier, resulting in congestion and noise to local residents.
It would be great if you could publicise the dangers in closing the Richborough HWC on your website, in your regular column for the East Kent Mercury, and in any other way that you can think of. It's particularly important that people in Deal are informed about how they may be impacted.
Many thanks, Ian Machin.

behalf of the Richborough Action Group.

Save Our Tip!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Victoria's Green Matters - 29th March 2012

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:
 After ‘Fairtrade Fortnight’ it was interesting and heart-warming to read about the surprising increase in the sale of Fairtrade goods, despite our difficult economic times.

The growth in Fairtrade sales is largely due to moves by the top supermarkets to sell Fairtrade goods at the same price as conventional ones and their decision to make some ranges completely Fairtrade, for example, bananas. This, along with other products, such as coffee, tea and sugar are all available at our local supermarkets. Fairtrade sugar represents 42% of the UK retail sugar market.

The UK is the largest market for Fairtrade products. It is helped by support from trade unions, religious groups and the Fairtrade campaign but we must remember that it is still only a tiny proportion of goods worldwide – something like only 0.01% of all food and drink sales.

Most Fairtrade products are grown but not processed in the poorer countries and the profits available from processing remain in the developed world. Marks & Spencer has recently made changes to this by launching a Fairtrade tea that is grown, processed and packaged in Kenya.

We must realise that shopping on its own will not change a grossly unfair system – but ‘every little helps’, as the saying goes. It should not be philanthropy but rights that give the developing countries what they need. The problem of a handful of super powerful corporations dictating trade terms and taking all the profit for themselves needs to be addressed with political action.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

An Cycling opportunity not to be missed

Flagship national cycle route
Just by Deal Pier, Sustrans’ flagship National Cycle Route 1, joins the main highway after miles of scenic cycling largely on off-road shared paths north from Dover, over the North Downs and along the beach. Sadly this is not the most attractive part of NCR1. Within a few hundred yards, the road narrows suddenly behind the Royal Hotel, before carrying on towards the golf courses and Sandwich.

Bad crash record
This pinch-point has a bad crash record, with 1 serious injury in 2009 and a death in 2010. An elderly
pedestrian was crushed against the Hotel wall when two cars collided - but this was not recorded as
fatality by Highways because he died several months later, having never left hospital.

Kent Highway Services has now agreed to paint‘SLOW’ road markings, a welcome step forward. Major sea defence works But in a few months, there’s an opportunity to consider making this whole seafront area both safer and more welcoming to cyclists and all its users.

The Environment Agency is just consulting on £10m of major sea defence works, including wave walls on the open prom. Dover District Cycle Forum, backed by Spokes, would like to see this include:

Visitor facilities
(1) add seats, cycle stands and a shelter to encourage cyclist tourists to stop and enjoy the seafront, its
cafes, bars and restaurants and the nearby shops;

Better toilets
(2) Add new high-quality public toilets for visitors on the seafront, to replace the poor quality facilities on King Street;

“Cafe culture”
(3) Re-align the Beach Street highway to permit outdoor seating on the pavements in font of cafes
and businesses facing the seafront (on the same lines as the paved area by the Kings Head, Port Arms
and Dunkerleys), with effective traffic calming (such as a 20mph “pavementless street”) to permit
safer pedestrian access between the seafront and the High Street - and preserving drop-off facilities for coaches;

Take cyclists off the road
(4) take NCR1 off-road onto the promenade from the Pier to just before the Royal Hotel,
which many cyclists do now to avoid traffic; Re-locate carpark, transform the space

(5) Move the Royal Hotel car park to the north of the Hotel, enabling the promenade area to be re-planning as an attractive multi-use space, for uses such as Contental markets, performances, outdoor eating areas associated with nearby cafes and restaurants.

Tackle accident blackspot
(6) restrict vehicles to one lane through the narrow pinch-point, ideally with traffic lights - making it
safer for cyclists and all users - a quaint part of the seafront scene rather than a hazardous blackspot. 

One-off opportunity
These enhancements could be achieved much more cheaply if planned while bulldozers are on-site and the whole area is being dug up for the sea defence works. If the interested parties agree a common plan, a timely bid for external funding such as the Coastal Communities Fund could turn the sea defence works into something much better - with powerful potential to help Deal’s regeneration, enhancing the High Street as well as the seafront.

Ian Killbery
Dover & Deal Cycle Forum

Next Dover & Deal Cycle Forum 2nd April

1. Notes of the last meeting on 10th January 2012 (previously circulated - thanks to Tom Rowland)

2. AGM: Election of Chairman, Secretary(-ies), any other Committee posts

3. Events and rides for spring /summer (exchange of views and dates)

4. Deal seafront and NCR1 - news and responses re Environment Agency sea defence works from Royal hotel to Deal Pier (see attached handout)

5. Cycle routes to Sholden and Fowlmead - news re Albert Rd-Church Lane Sholden link; Deal Chamber of Trade's Mary Portas bid

6. Ongoing campaign for town-wide 20 mph speed limits
See this link for poster idea from Sevenoaks.

7. "The end of foot passenger and cyclist facilities on the Channel Ferries?"
-developments since last meeting (correspondence with MEP)

8. Melbourne Ave Dover - new cycle route from Whitfield to Dover town centre consultation

9. Date of next meeting Tue 3rd July.
Meeting ends at 9pm
The venue, as before is  (Tom Rowland's house) in the corner of Alfred Square (Thanks again Tom).. please email for details

Ian Killbery
Chair, Dover District Cycle Forum

Friday, March 23, 2012

East Kent FOC Letter Fuel Poverty

The number of families living in fuel poverty is far higher than thought and is likely to rise from 6.4m to 9m people over the next five years.

A recent survey for Friends of The Earth has revealed widespread public anger about the big six energy giants profits and rising bills. We have received overwhelming  public support for our call to
The Government to launcha Public Inquiry into the power of the big six - 86% and support for a levy on their excessive profits is alsohigh at 71%.

Over 30.000 have backed our Final Demand Campaign and signed our petition to David Cameron calling on him to launch an independent Public Inquiry. Green Party Leader - Caroline Lucas MP has tabled an Early Day Motion in Parliament calling for a levy on the big six energy giants with the support of over 100 MPs. The big six are makin massive profits while at the same time failing to make the investments needed in renewable energy The UK needs

The Chancellor failed in the budget to address the failings of the big six and their growing profits and above allgrowing national scandal of fuel poverty.

Yours Sincerely.
Stuart Cox
Group Coordinator
East Kent FOE

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Victoria's Green Matters - 22nd March 2012

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:
 Our ‘greenest government ever’ is proposing to remove legislation that protects our environment through acting to cut so called ‘red tape’. That money comes first should be no surprise where this government is concerned. They even label the costs of environmental and social legislation as ‘ridiculous’.

The government has a ‘red tape challenge’ (RTC) – nothing wrong with that, I hear you say and everyone would agree that much more common sense is needed where legislation is concerned. To use this proposal to attack laws that protect the air we breathe, landscape management and wildlife is unbelievable. The European Union’s (EU) Habitats Directive is a specific target for George Osborne and this means that our rarest and most threatened wildlife will no longer be protected to the same degree.

We have stringent rules regarding the removal of asbestos, an extremely dangerous material, and together with rules limiting industrial air pollution with dust, smoke and grit, are due to be ‘reviewed’. Wildlife and the countryside do not escape – twenty regulations are also listed.

There is, of course, no guarantee that these changes will save businesses the £1billion George Osborne claims but it could be devastating for the environment if these regulations, most of which are recent, are changed.

We can only hope that public opinion will cause the chancellor to think again and the list of 174 regulations which he plans to scrap, merge or liberalise will go the same way as the plans to privatise our woodlands one year ago.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Deal Energy Fair Competition Winner

Congratulations to Lesley Whybrow from Hythe who has won our Prize Quiz. 

Visitors to the Deal With It Green Energy Fair held last week in Deal Town Hall were invited to enter a challenging quiz. 

Lesley will receive a superb hamper of food and household goods, generously provided by Fairtrade Deal."

Protect Kent on plans to close KCC Recycling Centre

KCC’s Rubbish Proposals

Jamie Weir, PR & Events Manager, Protect Kent 
19th March 2012
Did you see Kent County Council’s public consultation on their household waste recycling centre (HWRC) service which opened at the end of last year? Better still, were you one of the 3,500 people that responded to it by the deadline of 9th February? Most importantly, do you know that based on the results of the consultation, KCC are proposing to close the household waste recycling centres at Richborough and Hawkinge? If your answers to these questions are no, we (Protect Kent) are not in the least surprised!

For the past year, since April 2011, KCC have been conducting a review of HWRCs in Kent.  Providing and managing these sites is a statutory requirement of KCC under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The review of the current network of 19 sites across Kent forms part of KCC’s on-going cost-cutting exercise.

As part of the review process, KCC’s own Policy Overview and Scrutiny Committee asked for a public consultation on the draft proposals. The consultation opened in December at a time when everyone’s mind was focussed on preparing for Christmas. It was so poorly advertised that few people knew of its existence (as evidenced by only 3,500 responses from a Kent population of over 1.4 million). It was based on a biased questionnaire constructed to give the answers that best suited the Waste Management Section’s aims. It suggests that very few people will be affected by the closures (for example, only 150 homes in the Sandwich area). This is obviously a significant departure from reality as Sandwich alone has a population of around 7000!

In common with people from those communities around Hawkinge and Richborough who will lose out from the withdrawal of this service, Protect Kent are alarmed that KCC are even considering such backward steps.

Andrew Ogden, Campaigns Manager for Protect Kent said:

“KCC should be encouraging even greater efforts by the public to recycle their waste, building towards a sustainable future. Closing these sites gives the wrong message to local residents and reduces the incentive for them to manage and dispose of their waste in a sensible way.”

Andrew continued: “We are also concerned that this move could lead to a greater incidence of fly-tipping in the rural areas around these sites when closed. Fly-tipping is anti-social, harmful to wildlife, often causes pollution, and is a significant eyesore in our beautiful Kent countryside. Of course, KCC are not responsible for clearing fly-tipped waste – this falls on the local authority or the unlucky land-owner – so the closure of Hawkinge and Richborough HWRCs will be of no disbenefit to them.”

At today’s meeting of the Cabinet, KCC’s Members deferred making a final decision on the recommendations of the HWRC Review until the full Council meeting on 29th March. Local pressure groups have welcomed this delay, seeing it as an opportunity to lobby Members further and get them to appreciate the strength of support for keeping the sites open.

Protect Kent will be backing this action and seeking further opinion from KCC on issues such as potentially opening the sites at weekends only, limiting the wastes received to only the commonest types and whether the guideline 20 minutes maximum travel time to alternative sites is both  practical and realistic for affected local residents.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Victoria's Green Matters - 15th March 2012

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:It is astounding to think that the UK has some of Europe’s worst air pollution but money rears its ugly head once more with the government stating that it cannot afford to comply with European Union (EU) laws on air quality.

Britain’s considerable air pollution comes mostly from traffic and we have consistently failed to meet EU targets and time limits to reduce the amount of soot and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in our atmosphere. These pollutants arise from burning diesel fuel.

How can we ‘not afford’ to meet these standards when breaching the EU regulations could lead to hefty fines? The government has already successfully argued for more time to comply but has even stated that it will not meet the new deadline of 2015.

Poor air quality is responsible for at least 2,905 deaths annually in London and probably many more according to the London Assembly’s Environment Committee. High levels of NO2, particulates and ground level ozone lead to heart and lung diseases and cause complications for people with other conditions. London’s Low Emission Zone begins to tackle some of the problems of pollution in the city, but does not go far enough.

It is very sad that with the Clean Air Act, many years ago now, we greatly improved the air quality in the UK which had become dire during the industrial revolution and beyond due to heavy industry but now we still continue to endure the poorest air quality in Europe

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

New 12 Bus route to Canterbury

There is a new 12 bus route to Canterbury via Whitfield - Journey takes about 45mins....

It was one of the things Jeremy Cooper discussed at our meeting in Nov 2011

Nice to see it in operation ... thanks for listening Stagecoach ... now if we could work on the idea for electric buses...

TT Faversham's school presentation

Creative way  to tell the transition story from our colleagues at Transition Town Faversham

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Deal Energised!

Event Organiser Guy chats to Solar Age
We had a really sucessful day on Saturday at our Green Energy Fair here in Deal. 

We are very pleased with its outcome (we think between 150-200 people attended), loads of people signed up to get involved on community energy projects, draught busting workshops or went away with some ideas to reduce their energy consumption and bills.

More importantly it was great fun!

Lots of  'thank you's :
Deputy Mayor Eileen Rowbotham opens the Fair
first to our all our stall holders: Groombridge Solar, Shaun from Dover District Council, Window Advisors, Transition Energy, Deal CAB, Solar Age, UvShield, East Kent FOE, CORE.

Talk on mircogeneration
Our Speakers Anthony Morgan from Carbon Free Group, Ian Smith from Transition Energy and Luci Ramsome from 'Draught Busters'.

Kieran for the Bicycle Generator (& Annie + Steve for supplying the human power);

"Deal Buskers Collective"
Our great buskers - Ravenhill, Quidnunc, Mac, Jon & Elaine and especially Rose & Sue from Driftwood Duo for making it all happen.

Mike and all the staff at the town hall and all our great set of DWI volunteers (and their Spouses!) for all their hard work prior and on the day - special thanks to Guy our Event Organiser

All our photos can be found here

Friday, March 9, 2012

Let's energise our Deal - Deal's Green Energy Fair 10th March

Deal's Green Energy Fair is happening this Saturday (10th March) at Deal Town Hall between 1-4:30pm

The event will have something for everyone. Practical ‘how-to’ sessions on home insulation, advice on grants for insulation, advice and providers on solar power for the home and business, talks on microgeneration after the recent changes to the feed-in-tariff and on community generated energy schemes.

Rosemary Rechter, Co-ordinator for Deal With It said: “The Everyone’s energy bills are rising and we know they will go on doing so. Whether you are a householder, a business or responsible for a school, church or community centre, on Saturday afternoon you could find something that will really help you to save on your energy bills, while at the same time reducing your carbon footprint and helping to mitigate the dangers of Climate Change.

You will have the opportunity to find out whether you are eligible for a grant to insulate your home and how to go about doing it. You will discover that there is far more to renewable energy than wind farms !

If you are a business, then you might welcome the chance to talk to an independent Energy consultant. If you are a community organisation then we have an energy consultant who only does pro bono work! There will be local firms and suppliers of solar energy, wind power, wood stoves and heat exchange pumps, talks and exhibition as well as a workshop on DIY insulation."

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Victoria's Green Matters - 8th March 2012

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:
 It seems that spring is on the way at last! These last weeks of winter always appear to be longer and drearier than they should be but spring flowers in the garden serve to cheer us along to better times. How lovely it was to see the snow drops, even if they did spend some very cold days buried in snow, and now we see miniature daffodils, tiny iris, crocus and muscari to brighten a dull, wet day.

It is the time of year that we can start thinking about what we can grow as the days get longer and the temperature rises. Those of us lucky enough to have allotments, large plots or greenhouses will already have seeds sown and will be looking forward to planting out seedlings at the appropriate time. For the rest of us, we are waiting until the ground is warm enough for us to sow our seeds directly outside and to see the miracle of new growth pushing through the soil.

It seems strange that we here in the Southeast are suffering from drought but try looking back over the autumn and winter and it is difficult to remember any prolonged rain. Today we have welcome rain for our parched plots and we must conserve as much water as we can. It is a great idea to install water butts in your garden to capture the rain; your plants will thank you, as they prefer rainwater to our hard tap water.