July 2014 Newsletter








Welcome to this month’s Transition happenings in Bath…

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Transition Bath

July Newsletter

We have a surprising amount of news for a summer month. The news is dominated by transport – B&NES has launched its transport strategy, Transition Bath its Chelsea Road initiative and we are asking for your views on how to make it easier for cycle commuters to travel north-south in Bath.

Transition Bath’s energy group is also preparing itself for its biggest event of the year – Bath Green Homes which starts in September. And, finally Bath and West Community Energy are planning their biggest ever share offer for a solar PV farm near Marksbury which will be 10 times larger than their previous largest site!
 

Bath Transport Strategy Consultation 

Bath Council has recently launched its ‘Transport Strategy Consultation’ – the most important in many years.

If you are interested in reducing congestion, noise and pollution in Bath we have produced a handy article which tries to summarise the main points from the council’s consultation documents. The article is available here and it includes links to the council’s on-line consultation feedback form which we would encourage you to complete if you are concerned about Bath’ traffic.The closing date for the consultation is 25th July.
 

Transition Bath is participating in university research into the ancient Amazonian practice of using biochar to enrich soil and reduce climate change

Biochar has been used in the Amazon since 450 BC to enrich soil for crop production. Transition Bath’s garden at Hedgemead Park and 3 of its volunteers’ gardens are being used by researchers at Coventry and Oxford Universities to understand the benefits of this practice which has the potential to not only increase crop production but provide carbon sequestration. More information on the project and its potential benefits in this article “Biochar: snake oil or elixir for climate change?”
 

Bath and West Community Energy are planning their biggest share offer yet
 
.Planning permission has recently been granted for a 2.3MW solar array to be built outside Marksbury.
 
The array, BWCE’s largest installation to date, will generate enough electricity to power over 500 average households. BWCE intend launching a public share offer to raise the £2.4million to pay for this installation early in September.

If you are interested in finding out more about this local, community-owned energy initiative go to their website  and sign up, without obligation, to receive information about the coming share offer. BWCE are holding its AGM on July 19th at Hartham Park, the site of its 250Kw ground mounted solar array. It is you opportunity to not only quiz the directors but be taken on a tour of the array. All are welcome including non shareholders.

We would be interested in your views on how north-south cycle commuting in Bath can be improved?
 
The topography of Bath with its steep hills has long made it a challenge to use a bicycle for a north-south daily commute; it is the preserve of the super fit. Recently during its planning consultation for the redevelopment of Foxhill, Curo have provided some suggestions on how to encourage cycling from the valley up to top of the hill.

We decided to take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of 7 different potential solutions to the problem including cable cars, lift shafts, a foot drag-lift mechanism used in Trondheim, and a few more mundane alternatives. We would appreciate your views on the alternatives by completing a short survey with background information  on which options you think are best.

Weekly foraging expeditions in Bath

You’ll probably feel confident picking blackberries and wild garlic, but what other edibles and medicinal plants can be found within a few minutes’ walk of the centre of Bath?  Nat from Transiton Bath’s food group will be leading regular, free, foraging walks on Saturdays, starting on 19th July at 1pm, from our community nuttery project in Smallcombe Vale. Go to our website for more information and our calendar of events.

Bath Green Homes 2014 – Volunteers Needed!
 
Bath Green Homes VolunteersBath Green Homes is actively seeking volunteer stewards for this year’s Open Homes Weekend, which will be held on 27th and 28th September. No previous experience is necessary – you just need to be happy to help welcome the public, have an interest in energy efficiency and renewable energy, and be free for our short briefing event on 3rd September. 
 
As well as stewards, we also need help with leafleting and putting up posters during late July and August. 
 
To find out more, please visit www.bathgreenhomes.co.uk/volunteer – or contact us on admin@bathgreenhomes.co.uk / 07875 986399. 
 
As volunteer help is vital to delivering this project, we’re grateful for any support you can give. We hope to hear from you! 
 
Bath Green Homes is a community project supported by Transition Bath, Bath Preservation Trust and Bath & North East Somerset Council

Chelsea Road Project: improving pedestrian access to a local shopping street
 
Transition Bath has been working for some time on a project to improve the urban landscape of a local shopping area, Chelsea Road in Newbridge.

For the latest stage of the project we have put some concrete proposals for potential traffic schemes which should make the Chelsea Road a safer, more vibrant place to live. If you currently make use of Chelsea Road, would like to understand more and influence its future, our proposals and a short on-line survey are available here.

B&NES Core Strategy: the planning inspector has removed the requirement for developers to build sustainable homes

Unfortunately at both a local level and a national level Transition Bath’s arguments about the benefits of building more sustainable new homes have fallen on deaf ears. The government has short-sightedly blocked local councils from requiring more sustainable homes and the planning inspector has also removed the requirement from B&NES’s Core Strategy.

We are lucky that some enlightened developers like Skanska at Ensleigh South and Square Bay at Warminster Road are specifying higher standards. Unfortunately at Keynsham East, Barrett and Ensleigh North, Linden/Bloor are building to minimum standards.

A much longer explanation of the current regulatory situation is available on our website, along with our comments on Square Bay’s planning application for 189 homes at Warminster Road.

Bathford Energy Group’s Thermal Imaging Project 2014

Bathford Energy Group were involved in this year’s Transition Bath Thermal Imaging Project and completed 15 surveys. They have just completed their write-up of their experience with thermal imaging, a copy of their report is available in our website, along with example images. Overall, home owners were very positive about the experience and found the results very helpful in identifying opportunities to make their homes more energy efficient and comfortable.Look out for a fuller write-up of this year’s project in a future newsletter.

Does Bath have the highest level of excess winter deaths in the UK?
For a number of years the Energy Group has been quoting the statistic that Bath has the highest number of excess winter deaths in the country. We had assumed this was caused by an elderly population living in Georgian hard to heat homes. Recently, we wondered whether there was any truth in what we had been told or whether it was an urban myth?
Our analysis suggests that it is largely a myth, Bath is about average, although it did go through a unexplained bad patch between 2006 to 2008 where it was ranked 7th and 16th worst in the UK. More detailed analysis is available here.
 

Come along to our Monthly Group Meetings….
 

Energy Group Monthly Meeting
July 14, 7pm – 9pm

Transport Group Monthly Meeting
July 24, 7pm – 9pm

Please also keep an eye on our calendar, there are new events being added to it all the time.

 

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Please contact group convenors if you’d like to get involved, plan an event or start a project:

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Posted in Energy, Food, General, newsletter, Thermal Imaging, Transport.