May 2015 Newsletter

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Climate change hustings | Foraging walk & picnic | Chelsea Road
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Transition Bath

May Newsletter

It’s been an exciting couple of months for Transition Bath, we’ve had a charity collection in Waitrose, held a hustings for our parliamentary candidates and the transport group’s Chelsea Road project was concluded.

We’d like to say a big thank you to the more than 90 of you who came along to our parliamentary hustings in March and asked Bath’s candidates some searching questions.

And don’t forget, if you’re free on Saturday we have our first foraging walk of the year, which includes a picnic – everyone is welcome so please join us.

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Transition Bath Enviromental Sustainability and Climate Change Hustings – event report

Climate change hustingsThank you to the more than 90 of you who attended our parliamentary hustings at BRLSI on March 23rd. We hope you found the session as informative as we did and that it helps you decide which of the 6 candidates you will be voting for on Thursday? Also, thank you to all those who submitted questions to the candidates before the event, we received 80 in the end which we whittled down to a final 22 questions which the candidates answered during the event.

If you missed the hustings or want to remind yourself of the event you can find a video of the whole event, photos and a transcript of the candidates’ answers to your questions on our website.

Waitrose Community Matters: your tokens have helped raise £260 towards our running costs

Waitrose Community Matters

Thank you to everyone who put tokens in our charity box at Waitrose in Bath in April. We will use the money to contribute towards Transition Bath’s running costs of about £1,000 per year. Most of our costs are for insurance which allows us to run events and to cover volunteers. We are always very appreciative of your donations however small which mean we can focus on running events and making Bath more sustainable rather than spending time raising money.

We are also looking for a volunteer book-keeper to manage our finances, if you know of anyone or are interested in helping us with this work, which will only take about two hours per month could you contact us by email?

BWCE Energy Demand Management Project

 

BWCE energy demand

For the last year Bath and West Community Energy (BWCE) have been involved in a government funded £560K project to research techniques and technologies for shifting electricity demand away from peak times.

The aim of the project is to reduce domestic demand between 4.00pm and 8.00pm by switching appliances like washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwashers off. This demand reduction will allow the grid to make better use of renewables like solar PV and reduce the need for capital investment in new fossil fuel power stations. A write-up of the project appears on our website – here

Do you work or live in the Lansdown area and would like garden informally?

Donkey Lane garden

We have two very small guerrilla gardening sites that need someone to look after them over the summer. The person who established them is living away from Bath until the end of the year. One is at the top of Park Street, the other at the Gay Street end of Gravel Walk.

Each site has herbs and fruit bushes / trees, which pretty much look after themselves but weeding, watering and ideally the planting of some salads and other veg requires some time (little and often) over the summer. We can supply some plants we’ve grown in modules and, in true guerrilla gardening style, passers-by will sometimes plant things – and of course can harvest the fruit and veg when it ripens.

 

Please get in touch with Virginia, food@transitionbath.org, if you’d like to hear more.

 

Energy Saving Competition leads to a 20% electricity consumption reduction at 13 Bath Schools

Schools reduce energy consumptionGiven the evidence from this project and previous schools projects we think a little competition between classes and schools is a great way of achieving results.

The Energy Saving Competition between 13 primary schools with support from B&NES council led to a 20% average reduction in electricity consumption at the 13 schools involved. The best school St Julian’s primary achieved a 30% reduction. Find out more about how they did it, and what you could do to cut your energy consumption on our website.

Transition Bath transport group’s Chelsea Road project comes to a close

Chelsea Road projectThe transport group’s Chelsea Road came to a close in March with a public meeting for traders and residents.

Having chosen Chelsea Road as an area representative of the community hubs around central Bath, the group hope that the project will demonstrate the positive changes that are possible in and around Bath, especially in encouraging walking access and making areas safer.

The group presented the findings of their research and surveys at the public meeting, and you can read more details and the full report here.

BWCE Community Fund winners announced

BWCE community fund winners

Part of the remit of Bath and West Community Energy is to distribute a target 2% of its return back to the community via its Community Fund. This is the first year for the fund and £20,000 was distributed.

In addition to the announcement in March’s newsletter that Transition Bath received funding for its innovative LED lighting project, a further 5 winners have since been announced. These include Age UK for a project to reduce fuel poverty among older people, Dry Arch Growers for a solar powered watering system, solar air heating for Bath Canoe Club, a calendar integrated boiler controller for Freshford Village Hall, low energy lighting for the Percy Centre and a Quids-In special magazine to provide energy advice to low income households. More information on all the projects is available on BWCE’s website.

Do you know of a small business who would like £6,000 of free energy efficiency measures installed?

Energy efficiency grants

As part of reparations for not meeting its energy efficiency targets British Gas have been fined £10million, which will be spent on free energy efficiency measures for small businesses.

This is a rare opportunity for small businesses to receive free fully funded measures, so if you know of a business who could do with measures like insulation, LED lighting or a new boiler please let them know about the offer? More information is available on our website.

Can the planning system be used to support local food production?

Bath Western RiversideWe often hear that planning policy precludes new initiatives such as urban agriculture. And yet, Boris Johnson’s Capital Growth scheme supports food growing in central London and some local authorities manage to persuade developers to incorporate food production into new developments. Transition Bath food group has been working with the Sustainability team in B&NES for some time, encouraging and supporting them to build sustainable food production into local policy. There have been a number of developments in the past year:

  • B&NES appointed Sophie Kirk as a Sustainability Officer with responsibility for local food
  • B&NES became a member of the Sustainable Food Cities Network
  • B&NES has developed a Local Food Strategy, launched in April
  • Policies which are more supportive of local food production, both via agriculture and within new developments, have been drafted for inclusion into the Local Plan (via the Placemaking Plan).

Rooftop allotments Arguing that ‘greening’ new developments would make them more aesthetically pleasing as well as sustainable, Transition Bath invited Francesca Iliffe from the Sustainability/Policy team at Brighton & Hove Council to give a presentation on their methods of encouraging the inclusion of spaces for growing food in new developments (see her presentation here). Two key factors are (i) the creation of a Planning Advice Note inviting developers to specify what growing spaces they will provide, (ii) agreement across the council (politicians and officers) to work towards sustainable food production which includes urban agriculture. B&NES officers who attended our event will be discussing these ideas with their colleagues.

Welcome to the new convenor for the Transition Transport and Built Environment Group

Ped, new convenorDue to other commitments, Dick Daniel has decided to step down as the convenor for the Transition Bath Transport and Built Environment Group. He does however hope to remain an active member of the group. This meant that the group voted in a new convenor — Ped Asgarian.

Ped was born and raised in Bath. Wanting to help create a sustainable Bath, he joined the transport group to become part of a movement that will help make Bath an eco-friendly progressive city.

After studying Marine Biology at university, Ped travelled the world before embarking on a career in business management and development. Having worked in the food industry, he has now been able to combine his love for science and nature with his business experience as the Commercial Operations Manager of The Community Farm in Chew Valley.

If you’d like to join the Transport and Built Environment group please get in touch at transport@transitionbath.org.

Other news

  • Thermal Imaging: if you were involved in the project this winter we have a meeting on May 19th to discuss the results. It would be great to see you and help us use the feedback to improve the project for this coming winter
  • 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 £6,000 to provide solid wall insulation, underfloor insulation and replacement gas boilers. The first phase of the scheme ended in April, but a new second phase has just started, more information is available here,
    2. The Government’s £120M Green Deal Home Improvement Fund: if you live outside B&NES you can use the government scheme, which is less generous than the one offered by B&NES but still very worthwhile.
    3. British Gas’s Free Cavity Wall and Loft Insulation Scheme: this free non-means tested scheme is still available.
  • BWCE’s new Wilmington Solar Farm:  just west of Marksbury went into production in March and is now producing enough electricity to power Marksbury and 5 surrounding village – 650 homes in total: more here.

 

Events

We have decided to try to consolidate all ‘sustainability’ events in Bath in our events calendar so if you are interested in sustainability there is only one place to go in Bath.

If you are aware of any events and sources of events we have missed and should add to our calendar please let us know by emailing website@transitionbath.org.

Upcoming events include:

May 9th Evening forage and picnic
May 13th Bath Green Drinks
May 19th Transition Bath Energy Group Monthly Meeting: new projects and wrapping up this winter’s thermal imaging
May 21st Transport Group Monthly Meeting
June 10th Bath Green Drinks
June 16th BRLSI: Activism in relation to Globalisation and Environmental Issues

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