Thursday, July 30, 2015

Victoria's Green Matters - 30th July 2015

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

It was good to read recently about the creation of Europe’s largest man-made nature reserve here in the UK. Wallasea Island Wild Coast project is in Essex and has, so far, used 3 million tonnes of material excavated from the London Crossrail development to transform farmland into coastal marshland, back to what it was 400 years ago.

The first stage of this 20 year RSPB project was completed a couple of weeks ago when walls were breached to allow the sea to flow into the marshland. Eventually, by 2025, the RSPB aims to create many hectares of mudflats, salt marsh and shallow saline lagoons and to incorporate eight miles of coastal walks and cycle tracks to enable people to get closer to the wildlife that will colonise the area.

This project will show for the first time on a large scale how to future proof low lying coastal areas against the sea level rises that will result from global climate change and also provide benefits to wildlife. Many species are expected to re-colonise the area in large numbers including spoonbill, avocet, lapwing, and redshank and in winter the visitors will include large flocks of Brent geese, dunlin, widgeon and curlew. New visitors such as black-winged stilts will also be welcomed and plants such as samphire, sea aster and sea lavender are also expected to appear.

This wonderful partnership between the RSPB and Crossrail has created a lasting environmental legacy as well as supporting the economy and creating jobs through tourism. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Victoria's Green Matters - 23rd July 2015

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

Europe is getting tough on climate change. In the run-up to the climate talks in Paris in December, the EU’s commissioner for climate action is urging heads of governments around the world to encourage their ministers to come up with plans for a deal on limiting the effects of climate change.

In December, governments will meet in the French capital at a UN summit to make a new global agreement to limit carbon emissions which will come into force when the present one ends in 2020. This is seen as the last chance for the world to take action on scientific advice regarding the necessity to curb carbon emissions if we are to have any chance of avoiding dangerous climate change.

Developing countries are a crucial part of these negotiations. Poor nations do not have the finances to put in place the actions to limit carbon emissions and to deal with the effects of a changing climate. ‘Climate finance’ has been promised by the EU and other countries to the tune of £65 billion a year by 2020 to developing nations and the talks are expected to agree a system for providing finance well beyond then.

Developing nations, of course, are the ones at the ‘coal face’ when it comes to suffering from the droughts, floods and heatwaves that are the result of a warming world and they need to protect what infrastructure they have. Sufficient financial aid will encourage them to go ahead toward a low carbon world.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Victoria's Green Matters - 16th July 2015

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

It was great to hear the news from Lancashire that the county council had turned down an application to allow fracking to take place in the county.

A recent report from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), obtained after a freedom of information request, and released two days after the result in Lancashire, has shown that there are several reasons why fracking is bad news for communities, all of which have been voiced by our local campaign group, East Kent Against Fracking (EKAF).

There are four main reasons why fracking should not be considered an option and these are, firstly, house prices near fracking wells are likely to fall and the values of homes within a mile of wells have a potential reduction of 7%. Secondly, properties that are within a mile and a half of fracking sites may be subject to additional insurance costs. Thirdly, the leakage of fluids used in the fracking process has proved damaging to the environment in the USA and fourthly, even if contaminated water from the fracking process does not directly effect drinking water, which is by no means certain, there could well be human health affects through contaminated wildlife, agricultural products or livestock.

It has to be said that fracking could generate jobs and economic growth as well as providing greater energy security for the UK but at what cost? The jobs will not be long term or ‘quality’ jobs and the remains of fracking wells will scar our beautiful county.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Victoria's Green Matters - 9th July 2015

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

There has been a disturbing report recently that the government that once claimed to be ‘the greenest government ever’ intends to end support for on-shore wind farms by removing subsidies by April 2016, a year earlier than previously proposed.

On shore wind is the cheapest form of renewable energy and we desperately need to produce more energy from wind, not less. All forms of energy production are subsidised through tax incentives and other methods and to remove subsidy from clean energy production while continuing to support fossil fuel use is madness for our climate. Alternatively, the government has agreed to go ahead with more off-shore wind power.

There are already 1,000 on-shore wind projects in the pipeline that could have their investment plans affected by the government’s announcement and could dissuade investors considering future projects. It is also possible that consumers could end up paying more for their electricity if subsidy is removed from wind power.

In contrast, we have the report from Lancashire that the county council has turned down a planning application by Cuadrilla for permission to frack for shalegas. The government is quite prepared to give tax incentives to companies that wish to set up fracking operations, with all the dangers that that entails.

Once more our government has shown disregard for the future, both in the short term concerning jobs in the renewable industries and the long term where there seems little regard for our renewable obligation or the effects of climate change.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Chris Boardman Challenge: Deal traffic and cycling meeting Weds 8th July Golf Rd Centre

Local people can bring their traffic issues to an open meeting in Golf Rd centre next Wednesday to share with neighbours, councillors.and local amenity societies.
CHRIS BOARDMAN, legendary professional rider and now British Cycling’s policy advisor, used the AA’s Magazine to set an “urban challenge”. 

He says that, if people want their town to be a better place to live, they need to take steps to make where they live “more people friendly”. A few e-mails to newly-elected MPs and councillors can have a “profound effect” on local transport priorities  he claims. Making walking and cycling attractive will make a town where people are  “fitter, healthier and happier and shops and restaurants thrive”, says Boardman.

The meeting is expected to look at making Deal High St and seafront better for pedestrians, congestion around local schools and the effects of traffic speeds and heavy vehicles in our historic town centres of Deal and Sandwich - also the Mercury-backed campaign to discourage drivers from texting while they drive.
More details at the local cycle forum website,
- with the opportunity for you to identify the issues places that should be high on the politicians’ priorities over the next 4 years.

The meeting  to discuss Chris Boardman's URBAN CHALLENGE will be chaired by local Transport campaigner IAN KILLBERY of the Spokes cycling group and Trains4Deal.
It is at 7pm on Wed 8th July 2015 in Golf Road Community Centre

See Cycle Forum website for more information and to respond:
best wishes
Ian Killbery
Dover District Cycle Forum

Sandown Beach Clean....

Thank you to our 15 volunteers at the Deal Beach Clean this evening at Sandown Castle 

We shifted some 18bags weighing over 58kgs of rubbish from the beach and surrounding around the great Community Garden on the Castle Site. 

Thank you all and also to the people who did turn up this morning! 

The weather was much nicer - great to be on our beach.

Deal Beach Clean postponed to 5pm today

Given the heavy rain earlier we have decided to postpone the beach clean on Deal Beach to 5pm today. 

We are still meeting at Sandown Castle for our first evening clean!

There is quite a lot of rubbish on the beach and surrounding areas to the Community Garden at the Castle site

Thanks to the people who did brave the rain

Saturday, July 4, 2015

National Meadows Day - Deal Station Garden Meadow

Today is the first National Meadows Day and right on cue our meadow at the Deal Station Garden is in full bloom.

If you have time this week try to get down there for a peek - it will be even better next year!

Back in March we had about 20 volunteers helped to ready the site and sow perennial meadow seed.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Victoria's Green Matters - 2nd July 2015

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

There are a lot of reports these days about the wrangling between developers, builders, local residents and wildlife groups regarding the building of new homes. We all know that there is a huge shortage of houses throughout the country, particularly affordable homes for ordinary people. We also know that developers always prefer to build on virgin land, quite often these days it’s also green belt land, which usually kicks off a local protest by residents like the one over the Sholden Fields development and the forthcoming development in Station Road in Walmer. There are many brown field sites around the country that could be developed but builders do not like to waste time and money clearing a site that may have been used for industry.

It was very interesting to read about a development near Aylesbury where there has been co-operation between the builder and the RSPB to create a large, nature friendly housing scheme which will include wildlife corridors to enable creatures to move around; nectar rich plants for bees; homes for swifts and bats; hedgehog highways and fruit trees in gardens. The development will also include 250 acres of wildlife rich open space which will be accessible to all residents of the area.

It is intended for the project to continue when the homes are finished and new residents have arrived; the RSPB will work with residents for them to learn about the wildlife around them and to help them maintain the ecosystems that have been created.