December 2016 newsletter

Home News & Events Latest News December 2016 newsletter

December Newsletter

Happy Xmas and a Sustainable New Year!

Since our last newsletter there had been lots of local sustainability activity and news in Bath covering all 3 areas of Transition Bath’s main project groups: energy, food and transport.

West of England Spatial and Transport consultation – please respond by December 19th

The West of England Joint Spatial and Transport consultation is currently open for comments. The plan covers the building of 105,000 homes in the region over the next 20 years. To cope with the estimated 26% increase in the number of journeys over this period the consultation proposes a £7.5Bn investment in a modal shift in transport from cars to public transport, cycling and walking; however Transition Bath feels these proposals aren’t ambitious enough.

Among the proposals included in the plan, some projects which will cause controversy are a P&R on Bathampton Meadow, a freight consolidation centre on Bathampton Meadow, a light railway running from Bathampton Meadow to Bristol (£2.5Bn), new strategic cycle routes and the A36/A46 bypass.

Further information and our analysis of the plan is available here. Transition Bath will be responding to the consultation before the deadline on December 19th.

An update on Transition Bath’s “Energy Sparks” project to teach primary schools kids about energy

Since we gained funding from the Open Data Institute in August to develop a website, we have been busy beavering away developing the website which will form the basis of a ‘School Energy Competition’ which we plan on using to teach primary school children about energy.

We now have a working test website, which has the potential to take near real-time Smart Meter electricity and gas meter data from over 70 schools around Bath and publish them publicly. We are currently working with pupils at 2 test schools, St Saviour’s Infant and Twerton Infants to make the website more “child-friendly’. We will soon be publishing their data live on a production website.

At the moment our focus is on the ‘gamification’ of the website. The website turns saving energy into a game which should improve the children’s enthusiasm and learning. Pupils will be able to gain points for coming up with initiatives at their school to save energy and will then be able to see the impact of their actions through looking at graphs of their 1/2 hourly energy consumption. The website will then allow them to compete against other schools in order to see who can save the most energy. A paper based version of this approach saved on average 20% of energy at 13 schools last year.

We are currently looking for grants and sponsorship to run the first version of the competition at up to 10 schools using the new website in the New Year. More information on the project is available here.

The project is being developed in conjunction with Bath: Hacked, Resources Futures and B&NES Council.

B&NES named winner of British Food Fortnight

Bath & North East Somerset Council has won the National British Food Fortnight competition for 2016. The programme of events which celebrated British Food Fortnight between the 17th September and 2nd October involved over 30 businesses, schools and the launch of a new online local food directory – all contributed to B&NES becoming the unanimous winner in this national competition.

More information on the win is available in B&NES’s press release.

New group formed to promote the reintroduction of trams in Bath

A new group called “The Bath Tram Re-Introduction Group” has been formed following a meeting at BRSLI to promote the reintroduction of trams in Bath. The group hope that by reintroducing trams they will help solve Bath’s congestion and pollution problems. The proposal suggests installing overhead electrical rails, and rails in the road to form a network which includes the streets where Bath’s now defunct tram service used to run, plus connections to the Park & Ride sites:

As the trams run only on electricity they will produce little local pollution. Evidence from other European cities which have recently installed trams suggest their frequency and fixed routes encourage a greater shift to public transport than buses.

More information on the project is available on our website.

Progress update: BWCE Waterwheel at Batheaston now generating electricity

The community owned waterwheel at the Old Mill Hotel has finally started turning. The water wheel was the first project discussed 6 years ago by the then newly formed Bath & West Community Energy – an offshoot of Transition Bath Energy group

In the mean time BWCE has raised just under £13million for 16MW of projects for solar arrays and panels on schools. BWCE are hoping the wheel will act as a show piece for clean energy and inspiration for others to work together combat climate change.
There was a slight hiccup at the start of the month when the area is flooded, but the wheel survived and is now in place and generating clean electricity.

More information on the installation of the wheel can be found on the BWCE website.

Fresh Range: wins B&NES contract to supply 60 schools with locally produced food

Fresh Range, a relatively new Bristol based online food retailer which specialises in the delivery of locally sourced food has won a B&NES council contract to supply 60 schools with seasonal food from local producers.

Fresh Range can also supply fresh produce direct to homes in Bath (BA1, BA2 & BA3), often at below supermarket prices.

More on the council contract here and the Fresh Range website here.

Keynsham Food-Waste to Biogas CHP plant going live in March will provide electricity for 80% of Keynsham’s homes

The brand-new plant in Keynsham owned by Resourceful Earth Ltd will be going live in the Spring. It will use food and feedstock waste collected from households and businesses in Keynsham and anaerobic digestion to produce methane biogas which will then be used to produce electricity. The remaining solids will then be pasteurised and used for fertiliser by farmers.

More information on the project is available on our website.

Radical City of Bath ‘Living Heart’ Transport Plan aims to make the centre of Bath more pedestrian friendly and reduce vehicle congestion

The proposal being developed by Adam Reynolds, who is Chair of CycleBath, aims to make the centre of Bath a more pleasant and less polluted place, by restricting traffic flow into the centre of Bath.The initial suggestion includes 17 number plate recognition cameras to restrict vehicles entering a central area of the city to those of residents only and for deliveries.

By making this radical proposal he hopes to promote a discussion on how to solve Bath’s congestion and pollution problems. From Transition Bath’s perspective we feel this type of radical approach is necessary given there has been very little progress with solving Bath traffic and pollution problems over the last decade under the leadership of B&NES council.

Again, more information is available on our website. Adam will be talking about his proposal at Bath Green Drinks on December 14th.

Cleveland Pools puts in a planning application to include a water sourced heat pump

Cleveland Pools has just submitted its planning application for the the restoration of the UK’s only surviving Georgian lido. The application will include the world’s first naturally treated, heated, outdoor swimming pool.

Transition Bath is particularly supportive of the use of a water-sourced heat pump which will extract latent heat from the River Avon to heat the pool. This is a much better and more eco-friendly alternative than gas heating which most pools use, as it will have a lower carbon footprint, which will continue to reduce over time as the UKs national grid gradually de-carbonises. It is also a farsighted choice as it will avoid the requirement to replace a gas system if installed in about 2030 in order to meet the UK’s carbon commitments.

We wish that other developers in Bath, particularly those developing the new housing estates were as far-sighted. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the builders seem to focus on their own short-term profits over environmental concerns, leaving new home owners having to install additional insulation and replace gas boilers within 15 years

More information on the design and design choices of the heating system is available here.

An update on Bath Abbey’s eco-friendly project to heat the Abbey from the thermal springs

As previously reported by Transition Bath under Bath Abbey’s £19million Footprint project the Abbey will become more sustainable by using hot water from the Roman Springs to heat the Abbey. On Monday 21st November Charles Curnock presented an update on the project.

The mains points of interest from a sustainability perspective from his presentation were:

  • The designs for extracting heat from the thermal spring water are almost finalised
  • LED lighting will be installed throughout
  • They are still interested on installing solar PV panels but no decision has been made yet

Further technical detail on the Energy Blade heat exchangers and heat pumps is available on our website.

Bath: Hacked: using Strava data to analyse routes taken by cyclists in Bath

Bath: Hacked have been working for the last year, to use data from Strava a smart phone GPS tracking app to work out where people are cycling in Bath.
This data provides an insight into the cycle routes taken within Bath by Strava users which can’t be obtained in any other way, and has the potential to help plan future cycling routes.

From their analysis the busiest routes appear to be: London Road to the east of Bath, Upper Bristol Road, 2 tunnels cycle-way, Wells Road, Bradford Road and Bathwick Hill

They have produced an interactive online tool to help analyse the data and some animations to show how traffic changes over time e.g. throughout the day. A summary of this work appears here.

Food Drop: Bath University students are distributing surplus Pret a Manger Food to local charities

Food Drop is a new project started by Bath University volunteers to distribute waste food to local charities. Initially they have agreed to deliver spare food from Pret a Manger once a week to 3 local charities funded by £300 grant from the ‘O2 Think Big’ fund. “The charities support young people with drug and alcohol misuse problems and families experiencing domestic violence. Food drop would assist these charities in providing a safe place with the comfort of knowing food is available to them and their children

More information is available on the project at their website:

Bristol and Bath lose out in bid for low emission poo buses

First Bus and Wessex in combination with local biogas bus pioneer Geneco have lost out in a bid to get government funding for 130 biogas buses powered by human waste from Wessex Water’s Avonmouth sewage treatment plant. They were unsuccessful in their bid for funding to the government’s £30million low emission bus scheme for 2016 to 2019. they lost out to 13 other cities who will now receive funding for hydrogen, battery, biomethane and hybrid powered buses.

It looks as though the biomethane produced by the sewage works will not be wasted and will be pumped into the national grid.

Other news

  • Grants, Loans and Financial Support to make your home more energy efficient: grants for solid wall insulation (£1000), room in roof insulation (free) and cavity wall insulation (free) are still available – more information is provided on B&NES Council’s “Energy at Home” website
  • Thermal Imaging Camera Course: If you are interested in being formally trained to use our thermal imaging camera could you please let us know ? If we get enough interest we will run this free course, however it would be really helpful if you could volunteer your home for the course venue for 2 hours one evening, with up to 8 participants?

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