Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Victoria's Green Matters - 27th Dec 2012

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

Have you made your New Year resolutions yet? Perhaps you could consider living with a view to making the world a greener place? Sounds difficult? Not really and with the economic situation as it is, you could save yourself some money in the process!

One of our greatest problems in the affluent West is waste, particularly waste food, which is especially expensive as food prices rise. If you plan your meals, write down your plans and stick to them when you shop, you should be able to eliminate food waste completely. If you have leftovers from a meal, these can be creatively used for further meals. Composting any kitchen waste will give you good, homemade compost for your garden where you can grow vegetables.

Try and shop locally and buy British products wherever possible. This supports local businesses and also cuts carbon emissions from visits to out of town shopping centres. Yes, there maybe no parking charges at Westwood Cross but have you considered how much fuel you have used to get there? A good way to buy local goods is to have a box of locally grown, seasonal vegetables delivered to your door every week or fortnight depending on your choice.

Cut your fuel bills by fitting low energy light bulbs, switching off lights and electrical appliances when not in use and make your home as cosy and draught proof as possible.
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy, Green New Year!

Victoria Nicholls. Deal With It - Transition Deal.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

'Dagenham' idea of Airport off Deal

We thought that the Government's decision on the restart of fracking in Lancshire was Barking last week.... 

Well this week's idea of a Deal Airport on the Godwin Sands is at least two stops beyond that! 

Just in case you have missed it, This idea of a Heathrow replacement 7 miles off the coast on the Godwin Sands has been 'floated'.... I don't think the argument's over Lydd and Manston are fully landed yet.

All this one week after the government deciding not to make it a marine conservation zone

Whoever came up with this one must have been smoking something....

Full story in the EKM

Sunday, December 16, 2012

'Chasing Ice' - Witness Climate Change happening

One film to definately see in 2013 ....

Acclaimed photographer James Balog was once a skeptic about climate change. But through his Extreme Ice Survey, he discovers undeniable evidence of our changing planet. In Chasing Ice, Balog deploys revolutionary time-lapse cameras to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers. His hauntingly beautiful videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate.

Traveling with a team of young adventurers across the brutal Arctic, Balog risks his career and his well-being in pursuit of the biggest story facing humanity. As the debate polarizes America, and the intensity of natural disasters ramps up globally, Chasing Ice depicts a heroic photojournalist on a mission to deliver fragile hope to our carbon-powered planet.

Website site - 

Victoria's Green Matters - 14th Dec 2012

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury: I often wish that I was a climate change denier and cared not a jot for the future of our planet. I know that I shall be long gone from this world when the most extreme effects of climate change take place so why should I worry about what will happen?

It is very easy to scoff at the evidence put forward for climate change and pretend to yourself that it isn’t really happening. Well, we’ve always had changeable weather, haven’t we? It’s not any different now, is it?

It is difficult to understand that the warming of the atmosphere, exacerbated by the carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels to enable us to follow our industrialised, energy dependant lives has and will affect the lives of millions of people around the world. Isn’t even the possibility of this not enough to encourage everyone to take steps to limit their carbon footprint?

If I didn’t care about my carbon footprint I wouldn’t have to think about how I travel, where I shop, what I buy, how I use energy and how I deal with waste, amongst other things. Thinking hard about these things and taking steps to limit your carbon footprint will restrict lots of the things you do but this is no hardship for the greater good.

Shop locally for locally grown or produced goods; grow food if you can; don’t fly when you go on holiday; don’t waste energy – these will be good for your pocket as well!

Victoria Nicholls. Transition Deal

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Kent Marine Conservation Zones - Only 4 selected by Defra

From Kent Wildlife Trust 
‘Bitterly disappointed’ - Kent Wildlife Trust reacts
to the Marine Conservation Zones consultation just published

On 12th December Defra released its long-awaited consultation on the next stages of designation of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) in English and non-devolved waters.

Along with other English Wildlife Trusts, Kent Wildlife Trust is gravely concerned at the lack of ambition shown in this consultation.  Defra proposes to designate only 31 of the 127 sites recommended by experts and stakeholders at the end of August last year.  This includes just four small sites of the eleven MCZs recommended around Kent and just 9 of the 31 recommended in the south east.  The four Kent sites are: Medway Estuary, Thanet Coast, Folkestone Pomerania and Hythe Bay. 

Kent Wildlife Trust’s Marine Policy Officer, Bryony Chapman, said:  “We were promised a network of sites to help reverse the decline in our marine wildlife and habitats, and this does not even approach a network.  We are bitterly disappointed that the Government has largely ignored the recommendations made by the stakeholder groups, and is failing to safeguard the future of our seas.”

The 127 recommended Marine Conservation Zones were chosen after two years of hard work by more than one million stakeholders from all sectors of the marine environment and at a cost of over £8.8 million to Government.  Kent Wildlife Trust was heavily involved in this process, attending all the stakeholder meetings, discussing the best sites for wildlife and for all the various industries and recreational users and reaching consensus on a network of sites across the south east. 

Seven of the recommended sites around Kent are not being put forward for designation in this consultation.  Of these, four have been identified as being at high risk to damage, and yet their designation is being delayed for an undetermined time, so they will continue to be degraded, and wildlife lost.
See Editors’ Note 1.

To admire some of the many wonders these MCZs feature, visit The Wildlife Trusts’ interactive map at  This includes videos taken on survey dives in several of Kent’s recommended Marine Conservation Zones, showing the wonderful and fragile marine life we are trying to protect.

Marine Conservation Zones should protect the species and habitats found within them from the most damaging and degrading of activities whilst mostly allowing sustainable activity to continue.  The network was designed to ensure that we don’t end up with isolated and vulnerable sites and to ensure that the wide range of marine habitats found in UK seas are protected.  Failure to designate all but a very small proportion of sites recommended by these stakeholders will mean that we lack the ecologically coherent network that our seas so badly need to recover.

The UK’s marine habitats are rich and diverse but largely unprotected - which is why The Wildlife Trusts spent a decade asking the Government to pass the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009.  This included a commitment to designate this ecologically coherent marine network of protected areas. 

The seas surrounding Kent have an astonishingly varied range of submerged landscapes which support wonderful marine life: from sponge meadows and shrimp beds to rossworm reefs, and from deep chalk gullies and greensand ridges to massive sandbanks.  Without these habitats and wildlife communities there simply wouldn't be any fish, let alone fantastic dahlia anemones, seahorses, dolphins, brittlestars and all the other wild and extraordinary creatures which are part of a healthy marine ecosystem.

Despite the variety of fantastic species and habitats, our marine environment is in decline.  In the last 400 years, two species of whale and dolphin have gone extinct in UK waters and of the 11 commonly sighted species found in UK waters, all are considered to be in decline.  Basking shark numbers have declined by 95% and species such as the common skate, once abundant in our waters are now critically endangered.  For too long, we have taken this environment for granted, taking too much, with too little care, destroying fragile habitats.

Designation of an ecologically coherent network would provide our seas with the protection they need to recover from past abuses and help them to be restored to their full potential.

The Wildlife Trusts will be responding to the Government consultation.  We will be publishing our recommendations on the consultation on our webpage.  Meanwhile, we urge those interested in responding to the consultation, to sign up to be an MCZ friend so that we can contact you when we complete our response to the consultation.


Editors’ Notes:

1) Kent sites included in the 31 for designation in 2013:
            Medway Estuary, Thanet Coast, Folkestone Pomerania, Hythe Bay
    Sites not included for 2013 designation:
Thames Estuary, Swale Estuary, Goodwin Sands, Kentish Knock, Offshore Foreland, Dover to Deal and Dover to Folkestone.
    Four sites ‘at high risk’ but not included for designation in 2013: 
Thames Estuary, Swale Estuary, Dover to Deal, Dover to Folkestone.

2) Map of the recommended MCZs and the sites put forward for 2013 designation is available on request.  

3) Background to recommended MCZs: At the end of 2009, the UK Government passed a piece of landmark legislation, the Marine and Coastal Access Act. This was swiftly followed, at the start of 2010, by similar legislation in Scotland - the Marine (Scotland) Act. These pieces of legislation place a duty on the UK, Welsh and Scottish Governments to dramatically boost protection by creating an ecologically coherent network of protected areas.  By 2013, the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments should designate their network of protected areas.  The 127 recommended MCZs mentioned above cover England and non-devolved waters.  The Scottish Executive and the Welsh Assembly are in the process of determining their network. The Welsh Assembly is in the first round of consultations for its sites and the Scottish Assembly is expected to release its proposed network for consultation later this year. The Northern Irish Assembly is currently consulting on its Marine Bill which should ensure this network extends into Northern Irish waters.

4) Kent Wildlife Trust is the leading wildlife conservation charity for Kent and Medway. Since its formation in 1958 we have worked to make Kent a better place for both wildlife and people. We manage five visitor centres and 60 nature reserves covering 7,500 acres, and we are supported by over 31,000 members and around 1,000 registered volunteers.

5) The Wildlife Trusts
There are 47 individual Wildlife Trusts covering the whole of the UK.  All are working for an environment rich in wildlife for everyone.  We have more than 800,000 members including 150,000 members of our junior branch Wildlife Watch.  Our vision is to create A Living Landscape and secure Living Seas.  We manage around 2,300 nature reserves and every year we advise thousands of landowners and organisations on how to manage their land for wildlife. We have 35,000 volunteers and host around 17,000 events engaging people with nature every year.  We also run marine conservation projects around the UK, collecting vital data on the state of our seas and celebrating our amazing marine wildlife.  Every year we work with thousands of schools and our nature reserves and visitor centres receive millions of visitors.  Each Wildlife Trust is working within its local communities to inspire people about the future of their area: their own Living Landscapes and Living Seas.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Victoria's Green Matters - 6th Dec 2012

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:
 A definitive report this week confirms the loss of four trillion tonnes of ice from Greenland and Antarctica during the last twenty years. Dozens of scientists were involved in the research along with ten satellite missions and the results present an alarming picture of melting ice at the poles.

There has been some debate as to whether the Antarctic ice sheet has been losing or gaining ice and this study has confirmed that, overall, it has lost mass. Western Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula are losing twice as much ice as previously while Eastern Antarctica is gaining some ice. It has been definitely shown that both Greenland and Antarctica are losing mass and as the world’s temperature rises, more ice will be lost.

One of the greatest long term threats from climate change, and hence melting ice, is rising sea levels. This endangers low lying communities and increases the menace from hurricanes and typhoons.

All this information is available to our ‘greenest government ever’ but still we hear that our energy policy will include the burning of fossil fuels ad infinitum and even that the possibility of fracking for shale gas is becoming more of a probability. Burning shale gas is not a greener option as it emits the same amount of carbon dioxide as any other gas. Other countries, such as Germany, are looking forward to energy production without burning fossil fuels and are working towards that goal for the near future. How wonderful if we were to follow suit!

Victoria Nicholls. Transition Deal.