Thursday, April 30, 2015

Victoria's Green Matters - 30th April 2015

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

There is more news this week of the effects of neonicotinoids on bees. A new study has shown that it is not only honey bees that are affected by these chemicals but also wild bee populations, including bumble bees and solitary bees.

There have been two studies, both published in the journal Nature, one of which shows that bees can become addicted to neonicotinoids just like humans become addicted to nicotine. The other study, the first to be conducted ‘in the field’, showed a dramatic effect on wild bees with populations being halved around fields treated with the chemicals.

The first study, conducted by Newcastle University, showed that bees preferred sugar solution containing imidaclopid and thiamethoxam, the principle neonicotinoids, suggesting that they had become hooked on the chemicals and would therefore not be able to avoid crops treated with them.

In the second study, conducted by scientists from Lund University in Sweden, it was discovered that bumble bee hives stopped growing and produced fewer queens when the chemicals were present. Further research was required regarding honey bees.

A bee expert at Sussex University, who was not involved in the research, has labelled the studies as ‘hugely significant’. It is no longer credible to say that the use of neonicotinoids does not harm wild bees.

It is amazing that the Crop Protection Association, speaking for the producers of the chemicals, still continues to maintain its stance that spraying crops with these pesticides is harmless to bees.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Transition Conference: 18-20th September

The next International Transition Movement conference is down in Devon between the 18th - 20th September. If you are interested in going please let us know asap - this will need to be self-financed but we will look at options for fundraising for travel and other costs.

Looks really interesting and packed weekend of ideas to bring back to Deal

Full details are at

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Folkestone Transition Meeting on Local Energy 15th May

Deal With It Organising Group Monthy Huddle April

Deal With It's Organising Group had their monthly huddle at the Landmark Cafe on Saturday Morning...

Stuff we discussed:

  • Deal Station Garden: lots of work on planters and staging area. The Big Dig meadow making very successful if hard work over 20 people involved. meeting with National Rail on fenced off area and possible water on ramsgate side. Donated cold frame now operational.Sarah arranged watering rota
  • Landmark Garden: Core group Imogen, Tracy, Sue, Adrian, Sonja and Steve - £170 of interesting plants planted and looking at removing central bed to extend the 'people' space.  Town Council has flagged up we are stop one on the judges tour of SE in Bloom and they will also be going to Deal Station and to our colleagues at Sandown castle community garden
  • Deal Seedy Saturday - Next one on Saturday 30th May. Tracy organising a gathering to look at themes etc plus plan for July, October applefest and December Solstice fair
  • Beach Clean. March ones very sucessful with good tie up with colleagues in Kingsdown.
    • May : MCS National Mid-week one organised with M&S Tuesday 12th May 10am Deal Beach
    • June: Pop-up one for Walmer Beach meet at Sea Cafe Sunday June 7th 10am
    • July: Special 'Sandown Castle' Big Clean - Beach & Prom areas Sunday July 5th 10am - To support the Sandown Castle Community Gardeners who are on SE in Bloom judging circuit on 10th July
  • Green Energy
    • 15th May - Folkestone Transition and Community Energy South (CES)have a meeting on community energy in Folkestone
    • Lots of good work on Energy Champions locally saving over £700 off people's bills
    • Regional switching option coming up based on CESMeeting in Ashford 8th June
  • Green Gym
    • Mini-golf area been taken down
    • Contact artist group and Tides 
  • Transition Towns Conference 18-20th Sept - see who is interested and work £ support
  • Finance
    • PLI in place but expensive
    • Launching appeal for litter pickers (we need to replace about 20-30 @ £15)
    • Income around the garden projects is ok but need more fundraising for core DWI needed. Want to avoid public funds except for specific projects with community outcomes.
  • AOB
    • Next Huddle on 23rd May Landmark 9:30am
    • Need to discuss with DTC their representation after the elections
    • Ideas for pop-up library at Deal Station (Steve)
    • Ideas for Infogram on DWI (Stephanie)
    • Meeting with Kent Wildlife Trust in May to discuss joint activity on MCZ

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Victoria's Green Matters - 23rd April 2015

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

It is a fact that climate change is the greatest challenge the world and all its occupants face today. For some developing countries this challenge is compromising economic growth, harming agriculture and causing social unrest. Water supplies are being threatened, natural resources stretched and infrastructure damaged.

For nations to develop in a sustainable way, clean sources of energy are essential. If nations have to resort to burning fossil fuels to give them the energy supplies they need then the climate will be damaged beyond recall.

Today’s coal industry is on its last legs. Coal is the dirtiest of fossil fuels and burning many million tonnes of it has brought us to where we are now with a warming climate and all that goes with it. Most developing countries are suffering from extreme weather events such as stronger storms, more destructive floods, longer droughts and altered seasonal timing of rain. But as the tide turns against coal, the industry has embarked on a global campaign to promote coal as the solution to energy poverty. The true cost of coal has to include the air pollution which is already reducing life expectancy in China and India; pollution causes hundreds of thousands of premature deaths each year in these countries.

The cost of energy production from solar has rapidly declined over the last few years and it is quick to install. It is reliable and the ability to store the produced electricity has improved, making it an increasingly attractive option for rural communities.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Victoria's Green Matters - 16th April 2015

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

There was a dramatic announcement this week about the discovery of between 50billion and 100billion barrels of oil, lying under fields just north of Gatwick Airport. A very scary thought indeed! Only a climate change denier would celebrate such an occurrence as coal and oil are the dirtiest of fossil fuels and will do the most damage to the world’s changing climate.

We have also heard news of some brave Greenpeace campaigners who have boarded a Shell drilling rig on its way to the Alaskan Arctic to drill for oil in that most pristine of landscapes.

We must, of course, temper our horror of both happenings because we have to realise that we are a long way from the production of oil in both cases and at the present time the price of oil is low enough to discourage investment in drilling. If you are looking for good news, it is fair to say that the process of producing oil near Gatwick will not involve fracking and there are many such wells around the country that have been producing oil for many years.

It is difficult to believe that Shell have continued to go ahead with their plans to drill in the Arctic in the face of vigorous protests from around the world. It is unfortunate that while President Obama has announced plans to cut carbon emissions, he has also given Shell permission to drill in the Arctic. The climate cannot afford the burning of this fossil fuel

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Busy day down at Deal Station Garden...

Busy day down at the Deal Station Garden
 Planting done on the front planters, litter pick on meadow areas and we have a tidy up in meadow in front of the telephone exchange (poppies, cornflowers, globe thisle and corn marigolds all planted).

Thank you to Roisin, Sue, Sarah, Sally, Pat and Steve for volunteering today

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Victoria's Green Matters - 2nd April 2015

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

Welcome news last week about the Betteshanger Sustainable Parks development. This fascinating local project has been on the cards for some years and now seems set to become reality with work due to commence on a visitor centre on the Fowlmead Country Park site within the next three months. 

 Plans are to have the visitor centre open by summer 2016, followed by the building, on the other side of the road, of an Enterprise Park, opening a year later.

The visitor centre, which will comprise a Kent mining museum, restaurant and cafe, conference centre and wedding venue, will be a large building of some 2,000 sq. metres of passive building design incorporating a green energy centre using solar photovoltaic technology and natural ventilation.

Funding for the development has been received from the Heritage Lottery Fund, a sum of £200,000, a Coastal Communities Grant of £2.5million and public funding of £9.75million. In principle, there is agreement for £10million of private investment.

The project is a joint venture with Hadlow College, a land based college comprising of courses in agriculture, horticulture, forestry and arboriculture, animal husbandry, including horses, floristry and sport. The Enterprise Park will create a venue for further training and education courses for the college.

The proximity of Betteshanger, a very large brownfield site with enough capacity for 135 years of commercial opportunities, to the Sandwich Discovery Park, will secure opportunities for the enterprise zone to be extended. Ultimately, 700 jobs will be secured for local communities.