Thursday, November 22, 2012

Victoria's Green Matters - 22nd Nov 2012

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

It was very noticeable that during the recent Presidential election in the USA, both candidates for the White House only mentioned climate change once during the whole campaign. This year we have seen some unprecedented extremes of weather in all parts of the world, not least the USA, where extreme drought has ruined food crops and hurricane Sandy has destroyed lives and property along the East coast.

It is pretty obvious that climate change is happening all around the world and it’s happening much faster than expected. The disappearance of the Arctic sea ice this summer was predicted to happen at the end of the century but it is happening now and by the end of summer 2015 there will be none left.

Closer to home, floods have devastated parts of Italy over the last week and experts warn that even more severe flooding in the future will destroy food crops and the country’s natural beauty. Venice has seen its sixth worst flooding since 1872 and climate change is clearly having an effect on crops this year with the production of bananas for the first time in Sicily.

But, even as all these dire things are happening around the world, our leaders seem to be turning a blind eye. Worse yet, governments are heading to produce more fossil fuels to burn through tar sands oil in Canada and fracking for gas in the USA and here at home. Surely, the signs are obvious – how can our governments ignore them?

Victoria Nicholls. Transition Deal.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Last chance for £300 free insulation....

Last chance. FREE £300 insulation
Energy firms' duty to dole out £100s for cavity wall & loft insulation's ending. Miss it, and you could miss out

Big energy firms' CERTs (Carbon Emission Reduction Targets) force them to pump cash into making UK homes more efficient. Failure means big fines. Yet in December CERTs end, and some have already hit targets, so deals are going.
  • free insulationWho can get free insulation? Cavity wall & loft insulation can slice £100s/yr off energy bills. It's available to anyone unless in a housing association / council home, a flat where you can't co-ordinate with other tenants, while the deals below exclude NI. Full info in Free Insulation Deals.
  • Urgent. Free £300 loft & cavity wall insulation. Even non-customers can apply for British Gas's free insulation, but must do it by Fri 30 Nov. It'll also pay for £450 scaffolding and £100 air vents if needed. After that, Scottish Power's free insulation's the only 'available to all' deal left. It says there are no plans to end this, but we still say go quick. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Draught Busters Workshop in Deal

As you know we had to cancel the fair today but we were able to run the first of our 'draught busters' workshops today in the Town

We had a very full house with seven of us crowded in at Guy's small house in College Rd Deal to listen to Luci Ransome from Transition Glasglow.

Luci toook us through the all the practical tools in identifying draught issues (thermal camera or candle), what draughts are good, damp in building, options for doors and windows depending on their construction, making radiators more effective, tools and materials needed (which is relatively few - but we all liked the nail punch. Average cost for most homes £20-£50) and general good practise in floor and person coverings!

It was very much a practical session and great fun - we all learnt a great deal and were enthusied to get similar sessions going in the town.

If you are interested either in getting involved either as a 'buster' or your home needs some 'draught busting' please drop steve a line at

Big thanks to Luci for sharing her knowledge and skills (and Cake) with us and Guy for hosting and letting us loose on this back door and windows!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Victoria's Green Matters - 15th Nov 2012

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury: It is wonderful to be able to report some good news this week. We all know that our economy is in trouble and that new jobs are hard to come by but very little is spoken or written about the increasing number of green jobs and businesses that have been created.

There are now nearly one million workers in green jobs. These industries range from electric car manufacture to biofuels and wind turbine installation and more than 25,000 new jobs were created last year.

It seems strange that the government – our ‘greenest government ever’ – appears to be reluctant to talk about this success. Could this be because so many of our MPs are still climate change deniers, still want to limit any subsidy on renewable energy even when there are new jobs involved?

David Cameron has recently visited the United Arab Emirates with a view to persuading them to invest huge amounts of money in renewable energy. Many MPs are worried that anti-green comments from other MPs in the coalition – including the Chancellor, George Osborne – will lead to us discouraging vital overseas investment in these important areas.

There are more than ten companies just waiting to invest millions of pounds in our wind industry – all they need is the encouragement to do so by some good political backing. If this doesn’t happen, we could easily miss out on this much needed cash.

The green economy is worth more than £120 billion per year so let’s help it be worth even more!

Victoria Nicholls. Transition Deal.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Protect Kent - Water Conference

Please be sure to book your ticket by Monday 19th November to guarantee your place.

“Planning for Drought – Is Kent in Crisis?”

Don’t let economic recovery be washed down the drain !

Whatever your views on our Government’s “growth agenda” and their drive to ‘develop

ourselves out of recession’, there is no doubt that for this to happen we must have a sound

foundation to work from.

And this includes a sound infrastructure, around which to build. A comprehensive

infrastructure for reliable and sustainable forms of transport, energy, and significantly,

water supply. This is a principle tenet of our new National Planning Policy Framework.

Unfortunately, the reality of a reliable water supply into the future is still a long way off,

particularly here in Kent. Other segments of our national infrastructure are within our

means to control; water resources are not. Changing and erratic weather patterns over

recent years suggest that the risk of droughts is likely to increase. Placing greater stress

on the water environment. Placing greater stress on our water resources. Placing greater

stress on our ambitions for growth.

So what is to be done ?

CPRE Protect Kent don’t have the answers – yet – but are aiming to develop some.

Through an all-inclusive and comprehensive seminar scheduled for 26th November.

Which is why we are inviting you to our November Conference “Planning for Drought –

Is Kent In Crisis ?” If you are a planner, involved with the planning system, a developer,

or have an interest in development in our county, this is a ‘must attend’ event for you.

This promises to be a very informative and productive event, with 8 speakers from key

organisations in the water and environment sector, including a keynote speech from

Richard Benyon MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for the

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Our full-day conference will be held on Monday 26th November at the Kent County

Showground, Detling, in the Clive Emson building. Tickets can be booked at . The take-up of places is progressing well,

and we would recommend you book yours as soon as possible.

Ticket prices are £60 for CPRE Members, £75 for non-members. We hope you will understand

that, as a registered charity fully dependent on the generosity of our members and supporters

for income, we do need to ensure we cover our costs in staging this event. If you do find that

the cost of a place will prohibit your attendance, please contact us at

or on 01233 714540.

Conference Programme

09:30 a.m. Registration – Coffee and biscuits

10:00 Welcome and Introduction – Richard Knox-Johnston

10:10 Keynote Speech – Richard Benyon MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State

(Natural Environment and Fisheries), Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

10:40 Trevor Bishop – Environment Agency

11:05 Meyrick Gough – Southern Water

11:30 Graham Warren – CPRE Protect Kent

11:55 Question time for am speakers

12:30 p.m. Buffet lunch and discussion sessions

14:00 Dr Andrew Clark – National Farmers’ Union

14:25 Richard Frost – Shepherd Neame

14:50 Andrew Wickham and Alan Turner – Kent County Council

15:20 Question time for pm speakers

15:50 p.m. Summary and close – Richard Knox-Johnston

Question Time(s): These will be held as a ‘panel session’ chaired by Richard Knox-Johnston, where

delegates will be invited to pose their questions to a collective panel of the morning’s or afternoon’s speakers.

Lunchtime Sessions: These will be facilitated ‘round-table’ informal discussions on topics drawn from

the speakers’ presentations.

We hope to see you there !

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Get Fractious on 1st Dec....


Deal Insulation Fair 17/11 - CANCELLED

We have had to cancel our Insulation Fair due next Saturday at the Town Hall (17/11).

Apologies if you we planning to come - we had some key stallholders/demonstrators unable to come to the fair.

We will be running it in 2013 and will look at some pop-up sessions we can do around the town... more news later in the week

Victoria's Green Matters - 8th Nov 2012

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury: It is difficult for us to comprehend the extremes of different climates that occur around the world. We are never satisfied with our weather – it is too hot, too cold, too dry, too wet, too windy........ but we never suffer the devastating hurricanes like Sandy, the one recently experienced in New York and the Eastern seaboard of the USA.

The USA is a vast country which experiences extremes within its own boarders. Severe drought in some US states has seriously affected its food crops this year which has, in turn, affected the price and supply of food around the world. We have suffered extremes of weather to a much lesser degree this year when we had hosepipe bans followed rapidly by more rain than in many years.

Sudden downpours of rain after weeks of drought can often result in flooding which can mean weeks of misery for people who have their homes ruined by dirty water. Modern forms of agriculture with huge fields and little in the way of trees and hedges add to the dangers of flooding by allowing water to run quickly off the fields instead of soaking into the soil. Run-off like this also adds to nutrient loss from soil and pollution into rivers.

Climate change deniers will say that these extremes are the natural course of things but man’s continued use of fossil fuels has warmed our atmosphere over generations, has added to the melting of our polar ice caps and altered our weather.

Victoria Nicholls. Transition Deal.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Kent Wildlife Trust on Dover-Deal MCZ

Running between Kingsdown, Deal to the north and Dover to the south is an important stretch of rich chalk reef, lying below the famous white cliffs of Dover.

 The chalk platform extends across the shore and out to sea, with deep sand-filled gullies between tall ridges of chalk covered in seaweeds, sponges and anemones. Large crabs and lobsters find shelter within the chalk in recesses, while baby cuttlefish swim around the outcrops, demonstrating their amazing camouflage.

Further offshore, the chalk gradually becomes covered in coarse sediments. Here, thousands of sandy tubes made by tiny ross worms form significant reefs which can harbour a wonderful diversity of wildlife and support the whole food web.

Film taken on Kent Wildlife Trust Seasearch surveys within the Dover to Deal recommended Marine Conservation Zone.

Saturday, November 3, 2012


Thanks to Harold at the Deal Web for this  -

A group campaigning against the possibility of Kent County Council closing the Richborough Household Waste Centre is urging people to sign its petition. 

The Richborough Action Group (RAG) say that closure of the tip near Sandwich would lead to congestion at neighbouring tips in Deal and Margate, environmental damage through longer car journeys and, very probably, more fly-tipping. 

For local residents on the Southwall Road and Middle Deal Road routes to the Deal waste tip the prospect of increased traffic is seen as especially unwelcome. 

To sign the petition or comment, go to:

Friday, November 2, 2012

'ASH TAG' - save our Ash trees!

From '38 degrees'
Over the last few days, news reports have revealed that British ash trees are threatened by a disease called ash dieback. The disease could devastate the 80 million ash trees across Britain. [1] But people power can help to stop it.

Computer programmers have teamed up with tree experts to make a clever piece of software called AshTag. [2] It lets people send in photos and locations of ash trees they think may have ash dieback. The photos are checked by a team of experts and then action is taken to try to stop the spread of the disease.

Once trees lose their leaves, it’s much harder to spot the signs of ash dieback. [3] So this weekend is vital: it could be the last chance to gather information about the health of our ash trees before spring. If you’re going for a walk in the woods this weekend, can you help identify ash trees in danger?

If you have a smartphone or a digital camera, it’s simple. If you spot an ash tree with signs of the disease, take a photo and send it in using the website or the AshTag app on your mobile phone.

If you have an iPhone you can download the AshTag app by searching the App Store on your phone for “AshTag” or by clicking here:

If you have an Android phone search for “AshTag” in the Google Play store from your phone or use this link:

If you don’t have a smartphone you can take a digital photo and upload it onto the website here:

Toby Hammond, one of the experts at the University of East Anglia who developed AshTag said: “38 Degrees members have proved they care passionately about our woodlands, through the amazing work they did saving the forests last year. If they could join us now in our fight to save Britain’s ash trees it could make all the difference to how our woodlands look in the future.”

Government has taken a few steps to try and stop the spread of the disease. [4] But there’s a real danger these measures won’t be enough - and without tracking tree health, we won’t know whether or not the government’s plans are working.

In Denmark this deadly disease has wiped out 90% of ash trees. [5] We need to make sure that doesn’t happen to our trees here. If thousands of us get out into our woods to get the facts, we’ve got a much better chance of heading off a disaster for Britain’s beautiful woodlands.

Click here to help protect our woodlands and find out how to spot signs of ash dieback:

Thanks for being involved,

Belinda, David, Robin and the 38 Degrees

[1] Channel 4 - Q&A ash dieback disease:
[2] The Daily Mail - The mobile phone app that could help save Britain's ash trees:
[3] Foresty Commission - Chalara dieback of ash:
[4] Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs - Government bans import of Ash trees:
[5] The Guardian - Dieback kills off 90% of Denmark's ash trees. Britain faces a similar threat:

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Deal Eco Artists at Margate

Exhibition Nine/9
2nd to 14th November 2012 ( Closed Mondays )
11am to 5 pm
You are invited to Meet the Artists
.Sun 4th November 2pm to 5 pm
Nine East Kent Artists come together in a show to explore concepts of place, space, time, journey, loss and change
through musical soundscapes , film, photography , painting,
enamels ,ceramics and installation.
The nine artists are
Painters… Amanda Thompson and Jackie Russell
Photographers… Annie Spencer Smith and Adrian Sullivan
Musicians and Composers….Christian Dada and Jonathan Russell
Ceramicists…..David White and Marilyn Williams
Installation Artist….Sue Sullivan
Musician Jonathan Russell will interpret some of the works in the exhibition through Musical Soundscapes while Composer and Artist Christian Dada has teamed up with local photographer Adrian Sullivan to make a film called THE DREAMING. A soundtrack that has it’s roots in Aboriginal storytelling comes together with a lifetime’s photography and video taken by Adrian to produce an hour long ‘’ painting ‘’.

Deal ceramicists David White and Marilyn Williams explore inspiration drawn from the natural world and also the loss due to climate change and environmental degradation.

Painter Amanda Thompson explores issues surrounding repetition and loss in landscapes by twinning paintings to highlight difference, using paint, mixed media and enamels, while Jackie Russell’s oil paintings of interiors explore and reflect on quiet spaces .

Sue Sullivan’s installation addresses issues of biodiversity and species loss and mankind’s role in this unfolding story, and uses an array of found objects and materials from the natural world.

Annie Spencer Smith’s multiple exposure photography aims to produce work that has an ethereal depth and mystery to it. She does this by using old cameras, film ,chemicals and silkscreen techniques

Victoria's Green Matter - 1st Nov 2012

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury: Do you still dig your vegetable garden? Tradition seems to dictate that we must dig over our vegetable plot before we can sow seeds or plant seedlings next year. Most vegetables will be more successful if you adopt a no-dig policy.

There are many advantages with this method, not least the fact that there is less back breaking work which saves time and other great benefits such as fewer weeds in spring and less slug damage to seedlings in undug beds.

The long term health of the soil can be improved by adopting the no-dig method of growing. Worms and fungi which are beneficial are encouraged to do their work uninterrupted by our interference. This means that the soil is better aerated so that plants are able to access soil nutrients. Charles Darwin spent many hours watching earthworms which he regarded as nature's gardeners. Digging the soil turns their world upside down and limits their work.

So how do we achieve our no-dig vegetables? The most important thing that you can do now as your garden is coming to the end of the growing season is to clear your beds of the end of the harvests and any weeds you have and then spread two inches of compost as a mulch over the soil. Your worms will enjoy their job of dragging down the new compost and creating a fine tilth for you to sow and plant next spring. It really is as easy as that - try it and see.