March 2015 Newsletter

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Welcome to this month’s Transition happenings in Bath…

March Newsletter

The most important item in this month’s newsletter is our parliamentary Hustings which we have organised for Monday 23rd March 2015. Please book a ticket and make an entry in your diaries and help us with crowd-sourcing questions for our parliamentary candidates – see below.

We also have 15 sustainability related events on our calendar in the next 2 months for you to go to.

Who will you be voting for in the May elections?

Transition Bath has organised a Hustings where all the main parliamentary candidates for the Bath constituency will be answering questions specifically on Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability.

The event is on Monday 23 March at the BRLSI in Queen’s Square, Bath. Tickets are FREE but you must book your seat quickly as there are, literally, only a few places left.

The Hustings will be chaired by Jane Stephenson, CEO of Resource Futures and a non-executive director of Bath & West Community Energy.

What questions do you want answered?

From today we will be gathering together the questions to ask the candidates. There will be a round of quick fire questions to be answered in 10 or fewer seconds and series of questions that will require a more in-depth answer from the candidates.

Most importantly we want to hear the questions you want answers to – so please go to our website now and complete the online form with your questions.

BWCE Chair Pete Capener awarded MBE for services to Sustainable Energy

Congratulations go to Pete Capener for the MBE he was awarded as part of the 2015 New Year’s honours list. Pete has been involved with and a supporter of Transition Bath over the years. For more information on Pete and the award see Bath & West Community Energy’s website.

Come guerrilla gardening with us this weekend!

We have lots of events on our calendar over the next 2 months, but for this one we would like your help this weekend. Do you have the time to spend a few hours brightening up the city at our guerrilla gardens at Hedgemead Park, Gravel Walk or Park Street? More information is available here. Do come along and join in, meet the other growers and help maintain these small spaces as beautiful, productive plots.

LED Down-Lighter Try-Before-You-Buy Kit: Lots of positive feedback:

The kit of 40 LED bulbs, which you can borrow from Bath Central Library and which was only launched in December has been receiving lots of positive feedback. Many halogen lights have been replaced already despite the project being live for just 3 months. If you want to find out more about this innovative project and the feedback click here.

And, the LED project has just won a £1,500 award from BWCE to expand the service

We have just been notified that we were successful in our bid to expand the service. Our aim is to use the additional money to fund further kits, target 1,000 homes over the next 5 years and save households in Bath £175,000, 1,500,000 kWh of electricity and 400 tonnes of carbon!

More detail on how we are intending using the money is available on our website,

Bath wins a £3.8 million grant to improve its cycling and pedestrian infrastructure

Bath has received a £3.8 million government grant to improve its cycling infrastructure. It includes proposals to improve:

1. Kennet & Avon Canal towpath: To enhance the traffic-free route into central Bath along the towpath by upgrading the surface and widening the path for 2.44 km along the NCN4 cycle route to benefit cyclists and pedestrians. This includes the path between Grosvenor Bridge and the towpath. Estimated cost £675,000.

2. Halfpenny Bridge: To widen the bridge, or construct a new bridge alongside the existing structure, to span the River Avon and link up the Bath Spa Rail Station with Rossiter Road for cyclists. Estimated cost £1.82 million.

3. Locksbrook Railway Bridge: To provide a new crossing for pedestrians and cyclists over the River Avon, linking the Railway Path and Two Tunnels. Estimated cost £1.3 million.

Read the full details here.

Help Transition Bath’s Energy Group decide on what projects to run this year

We have a planning meeting on April 14th to decide which projects we are going to be running in the coming year. These might include: Thermal Imaging, a Blower Door, LED lighting, Schools Energy, Bath Green Homes, Close The Doors campaign, Electricity generating bicycle, Draught-proofing workshops, Carbon Descent Plan, Bulk selling of Draught-proofing and insulation, and Electricity and appliance monitoring. We are also looking for ideas for new projects?

Please help us completing by our online form, which will inform us what you would like us to be doing over the next year to make Bath more sustainable.

If you are interested in our new blower door project something we believe no other community group has attempted, please come along to the meeting and get involved.

BWCE has been given planning permission to install a water turbine at Batheaston Old Mill

Planning permission for a water wheel at Batheaston Old Mill has been granted. This was the first project discussed by the founders of BWCE at its inception 5 years ago, and it is finally coming to fruition!

It should provide enough electricity for 25 homes, and will act as a great demonstrator for renewable energy.

More information on the history of the site is provided in a previous post on the Transition Bath website.

BWCE Wilmington Farm 2.3 MW solar array well on the way to completion

The Wilmington Solar Farm being development by BWCE is well on its way to completion following a slight hiccup satisfying planning conditions. The hiccup unfortunately has meant that BWCE missed the higher FIT tariff which may impact how much cash can be distributed to its charitable Community Fund in future. The site will provide clean renewable energy for about 600 homes and will satisfy a third of B&NES’s renewable electricity target for the year.

More information on the current status of the farm is available on BWCE’s website.

Transition Bath response to B&NES Placemaking Plan Consultation

We have responded on your behalf to the Council’s Placemaking Consultation which sets out future development plans for Bath & North East Somerset.

Thanks to our volunteers who waded their way through the 325 page plan and wrote a comprehensive 23 page response!

In summary we were supportive of the plan but asked for:

  • Enhancements to the allotment and local shops policy
  • Greater focus on walking and cycling, a policy on Car Clubs and vehicle electrification
  • Reiterated our objections to fracking
  • Called for a thorough rethink on the Council’s traffic pollution policy which has seen no improvement in air quality over the last 10 years

Chelsea Road – results of survey and final public meeting to discuss the way forward

The TB Transport & Built Environment Group’s Chelsea Road project considered the potential of local centres to support walking and cycling. Chelsea Road was selected as a residential community in which around a quarter of households have no car.

Following a questionnaire, meetings with residents & traders and a traffic survey carried out by B&NES, a scheme was produced to reduce the impact of vehicles while increasing footfall, including extra pedestrian crossings, new walking and cycling routes through the adjacent Locksbrook cemetery and restricting traffic through Chelsea Road itself. In 2014 householders were surveyed; the responses (available here) show strong support for improving pedestrian access with lower levels for restricting cars. It’s hoped that residents and traders will study the findings, developing proposals to improve and enhance access to Chelsea Road.

A presentation of the scheme will be held at Weston Methodist Church at 7pm on Friday 20 March.

Transition Bath is objecting to government proposals to stop schools monitoring their energy consumption

The Department of Communities and Local Government are running a consultation just before the election whose aim is to redefine schools as non-public buildings in order that they no longer need to monitor and display their annual energy consumption in the form of Display Energy Certificates (DECs).

DECs require very little time to complete each year, yet have provided our Schools Energy project with excellent information from which we have been able to make significant reductions in schools’ energy consumption. The proposals seem to be a triumph of political dogma over evidenced, rational economic argument.

We have formally objected: our more detailed arguments are available here. We have asked our MP Don Foster, as an ex-Minister for Buildings, to use his influence to squash these proposals – we will let you know if we hear anything back from him. It’s another reminder why you should come along to our hustings and find our whether our future MP will help and support us in making Bath more sustainable.

Spring is here! Need some discounted seeds or want an allotment?

Whether you want to grow vegetables in containers, in your garden or on an allotment plot, you may be interested to join B&NES Allotments Association to get discounted seeds, composts, soil improvers, fleece, equipment to build cloches and polytunnels, etc.

The Association’s Trading Hut reopens for the 2015 season on Saturday 7 March (10am – 12 noon) at Victoria Park.

There are currently some allotment plots vacant on each of these sites: Larkhall, Monksdale Road, Moorfields Road and Bloomfield Road. Apply to via the B&NES website.

Other news

  • Thermal Imaging: so far this winter we have trained 30 people to use the thermal imaging camera. We will do our best if the weather stays cold to getting around to helping those of you who have signed up for a survey of their homes. For those of you who have been trained it would be great if you could volunteer to help survey some homes: contact us at
  • Grants for home insulation, boiler replacements etc: there are three schemes currently running which could provide subsidies to help you increase the energy efficiency of your home:
    1. B&NES Council’s Energy at Home Scheme: provides grants of up to £7,000 to provide solid wall insulation, underfloor insulation and replacement gas boilers. More information on the scheme is available here, but be quick as the offer may be time and fund limited.
    2. The Government’s £120M Green Deal Home Improvement Fund: relaunched earlier this month, it potentially provides grants for 40+ energy saving home improvements. Again you will need to be quick – the solid wall insulation part of the package ran out of funding within 24 hours of its relaunch. MSE’s website provides a good overview of the scheme. The B&NES Energy at Home scheme is probably a better deal.
    3. British Gas’s Free Cavity Wall and Loft Insulation Scheme: this free non-means tested scheme is still available. Free means-tested boiler replacements are also available. More information is available here. If you apply via the MSE website free £25 gift vouchers are also available
  • Planning: Unfortunately we have been unsuccessful in our objections to the large housing developments at the ex-MOD sites at Ensleigh North (no allotments, minimum energy efficiency), Foxhill/Mulberry Park (no allotments, minimum energy efficiency, minimum levels of affordable housing) as they have both been given planning permission. We provided qualified support for Warminster Road (no allotments, but reasonable building energy efficiency); this also gained permission.

Hustings: 23rd March 2015

And, another reminder, please book this event and put it in your diary!

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