Friday, December 27, 2013

Victoria's Green Matters - 27th December 2013

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

It is difficult to believe that there are still people who are climate change deniers and even more difficult to believe that lots of them are part of our ‘greenest government ever’.

We have news of the projects in mind to increase the capacity of our airports when what we should be doing is gradually reducing our dependence on air travel. We hear about proposed plans to expand Gatwick Airport which could mean that the number of flights would be doubled. This means not only double the flights but double the traffic to and from the airport and all the extra vehicles needed for the services required to cope with the extra people. Another runway at Heathrow would necessitate the moving of the M25 – that is something to conjure with – and all the work that would entail to again increase the capacity for flights.

Another option under discussion is an airport on the Isle of Grain – a beautiful area with lots of wildlife and where the local communities are very much against the plan.

Then we hear of the possibility that up to two thirds of our country may be leased to companies for fracking for shale gas. It is reported that 150 applications for licences to frack are expected from major energy companies and the government is planning to bribe affected communities with up to £1bn of financial incentives. They will need compensation when they are dealing with air pollution, noisy trucks, gas flaring and possible water contamination!

Victoria Nicholls. Transition Deal.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Victoria's Green Matters - 19th December 2013

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

We are fast approaching the festive season when most people will be running around preparing for just, in reality, is one day. True, lots of us will have much more holiday than one day but spare a thought for the people who keep our essential services working and who we could not do without.

It is crazy that the chain stores on our High Streets feel that they must open their doors on Boxing Day when most people have had more than enough time to do their shopping. Surely their staff deserve a decent holiday? The out-of-town shopping outlets have led the race in this aspect appearing to be open without a break.

When you are shopping for your holiday food, try and spare a thought for those people who are not so well off; those in fuel poverty, those who do not have money to buy food and those who are homeless. Please do not buy food without a clear plan; after all, you do not really need to eat twice as much as you normally would! Try not to fall for the ‘Buy One Get One Free’ offers unless you know that you can use the food up or give it away to others. There are some lovely recipes for leftovers out there so be inventive and, most importantly, don’t waste food.

Spending time with friends and family is the most important aspect of Christmas, so have a very Merry, Green Christmas and a Happy New Year!

 Victoria Nicholls. Transition Deal.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Deal Station Garden Seasons Wishes...


Saturday, December 14, 2013

DWI supports Greenpeace Arctic Campaign

Deal With It presented our colleagues in Canterbury Greenpeace with a cheque for £200 for their 'Save the Arctic' campaign today at the Astor. 

The money was the proceeds from the very successful film show 'Chasing Ice' at the Astor at the end of November.

John Halladay from Greenpeace said "

The Arctic is a precious, beautiful region that faces an unprecedented threat. Oil companies are moving north, seeking to exploit its resources, while climate change is causing the Arctic to change beyond recognition. Three-quarters of the sea ice has melted since summer 1980, and scientists
predict the Arctic Ocean could be ice free in the next few decades. If that comes to pass it will be the
first time since humans developed our civilisation.

The only reason oil companies can drill there is because the ice is retreating. They’re drilling for the
oils that caused the melting in the first place. It’s crazy. We have to draw a line in the ice and say to
the oil companies, ‘You come no further’. That’s why Greenpeace has held peaceful protests in the
American, Norwegian, Greenlandic and Russian Arctic.

The Arctic is a region that could not cope with an oil spill of the magnitude of the Deepwater Horizon
disaster. It is forbidding, with darkness six months of the year, and ice returning every winter. BP
needed 6,000 boats to deal with the consequences of the Gulf of Mexico blow-out, but the Arctic
does not have an infrastructure to react at anything like that level.

The money raised by Deal With It will help to fund actions and campaigns to protect the Arctic - before it's too late."

More details on Greenpeace's campaign  can be found out at their website

Victoria's Green Matters - 12th December 2013

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

We continue to hear about the amount of food that is wasted in our modern world. We also continue to hear about the growth of Food Banks around the country and it is difficult to accept that so much food is thrown away when so many people don’t have any.

Of course, it is not only here that food is wasted; several studies have shown that between one third and one half of all food produced in the world is thrown away and it has been estimated that this amounts to 1.2 – 2 billion tonnes each year.

We all know that that there are many people worldwide who are malnourished but still food is wasted. Not only is this a scandal but the global carbon footprint of food waste is 3.3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide. It is now imperative that we lower our carbon emissions if we are to have any chance to slow down the climate change that is already happening. It has taken a long time for governments and organisations to realise how serious the problem is but at last action is being taken in Europe and around the world.

It is very strange but there is a majority of people in all walks that think food packaging waste is a greater danger than food waste itself. After all, the packaging has served its purpose, preserved the food and is mostly recycled but perfectly good food, produced at great cost, is just thrown away.

Victoria Nicholls. Transition Deal.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Victoria's Green Matters - 5th December 2013

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

A European Union survey has recently shown us that houses in the UK are among the most expensive to heat in Europe. We have one of the highest levels of fuel poverty and our country has one of the highest proportion of homes in a poor state of repair in Europe - more than 10 million families live in a home with rotting windows, a leaking roof or damp walls. This seems incredible for one of the richest countries in the world.

This situation has come about following years of poor construction in the building industry exacerbated by lack of government legislation regarding building standards, particularly regarding insulation and draught proofing.

This poor housing stock means that thousands of people are dying each year because their houses are not only cold but are also damp – a great combination causing debilitating disease. One way out of this situation was ECO – the energy company obligation – which provides for homes to be insulated by the energy companies for a small cost on all our fuel bills. The Big Six energy companies have said that they can no longer continue with this policy and have urged the government to step in and cover the cost through general taxation.

While we have to question the energy companies’ profits which, of course, have to pay share holders, we must ask if it is fair that these costs are added to fuel bills which must be paid by all, rich or poor.

Victoria Nicholls. Transition Deal.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Notes of DWI Committee Meeting on 23 November 2013

DWI Committee Meeting

23 November 2013
Various energy saving events are being planned – Green Doors trail, a Public Energy Saving event in Autumn 2014, a Draught-busting programme, and the hire of a thermal camera so you can identify where heat is being lost.

We are working on a Deal Spring Clean event to involve as many community organisations as possible.
Following the success of the Breaking Ice showing we hope to arrange future film shows. 
A Winter Solstice Fair is being planned at the Landmark Garden on 21 December, weather permitting.

Planning is under way for a seed and produce-swop early next year.

On a more bureaucratic note we are going to move forward to gain formal accreditation as Deal’s Transition Town Group.

Finances are relatively healthy at the moment but our fairly ambitious plans for 2014 will require a more intensive fundraising programme – details to follow.
Next meeting 11th January 2014.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Dover Cycling forum safer route for A258

Following discussions at the recent Dover Forum, we have mapped out the alternative safer route discussed, avoiding the A258. This would be a signed and promoted route.

It would run via quiet country lanes, starts at Route 16 at Guston, going via East Langdon and Martin (near Martin Mill station) past Ringwould (where the accident occurred) to Walmer, joining the existing off-road path at Telegraph Rd near Walmer station.

It is suggested that signs at key points along the A258 itself attempt to direct any cyclists on the main road towards the safer alternative.

See it on Google Maps at

Any comments and suggestions for improvement would be very welcome - there is a "comments" form on the web page.

The Dover Forum will approach County members along the route for support, access to Highways engineers and funding - also the Squires family to see whether they would wish to be associated with the proposal.

best wishes,

Ian Killbery
Chair, Dover District Cycle Forum
representing everyone interested in cycling in Dover District
affiliated to SPOKES East Kent Cycle Campaign

Victoria's Green Matters - 28th Nov 2013

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

The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned that the world stands within 30 years of using up its ‘carbon budget’ i.e. the amount of carbon dioxide it can emit without causing a dangerous 2⁰C rise in temperature and problematic climate change.

A recent study has shown that just 90 large companies around the world are responsible for two thirds of the green house gas emissions that are causing climate change. In fact, 30% of emissions are caused by just the top twenty companies. Many of these companies are sitting on significant reserves of fossil fuels and they know that the climate cannot withstand the burning of these reserves. Other large emitters are cement makers. These companies have also funded the climate change denial movement.

‘Our greenest government ever’ has come in for considerable criticism this week after various reports about the removal of some green policies. The most publicity has been given to the green levies that make up our energy bills – they are only actually 9% of bills – and go towards fighting rising prices in the future.

It is difficult to accept that any government could be ‘green’ when its Environment Secretary is a climate change denier but that does not mean that the green economy isn’t doing well, employing a million people and it has increased by 5% while other industries have stagnated.

Building a strong economy and carrying out policies that protect the planet should be one and the same thing.

Victoria Nicholls. Transition Deal.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Dungeness under threat ... again

Hello friend of Dungeness!

Thank you for your previous objections and comments regarding the proposal to excavate shingle from the Dungeness nature reserve (made via the website). Your involvement in our campaign has helped keep the application at bay thus far (thank you); however, the applicants continue to pursue their quarry and recently submitted additional information to Kent County Council regarding their plans [1]. This information once again reveals that the applicants haven’t changed their plans at all. More alarmingly, the applicants also conceded at a recent public meeting that the twelve-year term of their planning application could be insufficient, and they may want to extend the operational life of the quarry beyond this! [2]
Dungeness is the world’s largest shingle structure and is the most diverse and extensive stable vegetated shingle in Europe. Excavating shingle from Dungeness would damage this internationally important and environmentally diverse habitat for generations. Both Lydd Town Council and New Romney Town Council have twice opposed the application for a quarry at Dungeness due to the fact that it is flawed—and, with some 70 lorry movements expected across the Dungeness nature reserve each day when the quarry is operational, our local MP (Mr Damian Collins) has stated that we are “right to be concerned about the number of proposed vehicular movements”.

We only have a couple of days to voice our concerns with the new information and reconfirm our objections to the quarry—and it would help enormously if you could send Kent County Council a message too. You can do so via our website (or email Kent County Council: Feel free to use the email we’ve drafted to Kent County Council below, regarding the latest information from the applicants.
Thanks again for your help protecting the Dungeness Nature Reserve from the proposed quarry. Please share this email with anybody you think may be interested (or alert them via our website).

[1] In case you missed it, the new information is available to view online – just search for the application number “KCC/SH/0381/2011” on Kent County Council’s website at and click on the “Documents” tab. The new information has a filing date of November 2013.
[2] From the Meeting of the Planning and Environment Committee held in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, New Romney on Wednesday, 25 September. Minutes available online at

Draft response to Kent County Council (use as you please)
I write to oppose planning application KCC/SH/0381/2011, which seeks permission to excavate shingle from Dungeness in Kent, and to object to the recent submission made by the applicants (as published on the Authority’s website with a filing date of 5 November 2013).
The applicants’ state in their recent submission that their proposal will have only “Minor/negligible” effects and result in a “Low/negligible” magnitude of change on the Dungeness nature reserve. If the proposal is allowed to proceed, large-scale shingle extraction operations will clearly be heard and visible from across the nature reserve and the 70 lorry movements proposed per day will dangerously crowd the narrow road that winds through it. The quarry will obviously have more significant effects and greater impacts than the applicants’ suggest on this fragile Natura 2000 site, which is protected by the Habitats Regulations and the Authority’s own planning policies.
Dungeness is internationally important for its physiography, flora and fauna. Whether standing on its vast stone beaches surrounded by intense light and bright blue skies, or walking in the low coastal mist that makes the sky and the stones appear completely grey, the experience is always exhilarating and breath-taking. Permitting a quarry in this special environment—which is heavily protected by national and international nature conservation designations—would rob Kent of one of the jewels in its crown and set an extremely worrying precedent for other special and supposedly protected areas in Britain.
It is clear from both the application and the applicants’ remarks at a recent public meeting that the proposal to excavate shingle in Dungeness is poorly considered and inappropriate. (The applicants even acknowledged at a Meeting of the Planning and Environment Committee held in New Romney on Wednesday, 25 September, that the twelve-year term of their planning application could be insufficient, and they may want to extend the operational life of the quarry in the Dungeness Nature Reserve beyond this.) The proposed quarry would change the unique character of Dungeness for generations to come and won't provide local communities with the effective long-term flood protection they need.
I ask you to reject the application and to push the applicants to pursue a more effective and sustainable alternative that does not involve Dungeness.