5th June 2004, the day West Swindon marched on the civic offices… and won!

The following article was kindly written for us by Simon Smith, former co-ordinator of SCAN. 20th September 2019 and like many from SCAN I was marching around Swindon centre in support of the global earth strike. I got talking to others about another big environmental demonstration in the town centre. The day West Swindon marched on the Civic Offices, few remembered it so I was asked to take a wander down memory lane. It was all about the area we know as Shaw Forest Park. An area of former landfill creating an important ecological and access link between Peatmoor Lagoon and the River Ray Parkway. Now a mixture of trees and grassy areas, it was planted up as part of the Great Western Community Forest. Thousands of people helped through community tree planting days. Thousands of people is not an exaggeration. In one day in February 1995 alone 6,000 people[…]

Read more

Important action – local wildlife corridors blocked

For a while during lockdown, grass verges were not being maintained by local parishes. Many people have commented as to how nice it has been to have long flowing grass and wildflowers. Crucially, we need to be doing this. As the climate warms, wildlife corridors allow nature to move to suitable new habitats. Wild flowers encourage insects and pollinators, vital to life on Earth. So if we inhibit wildlife corridors we are in serious trouble. We need to take radical action considering the situation we’re in. That means changing how we do things, changing how we live. What is more important: short, neat-looking grass or the health of our planet? For anyone who needs reminding, we are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction of the Earth and a climate crisis. We need to take positive action now! Glynis Hales of the newly formed Transition Swindon group and the[…]

Read more

The Story of Plastic – community screening

***Plastic Free Swindon can now be found at https://plasticfreeswindon.org*** Wednesday 1st July 2020, 7:30-9:30pm We are delighted to be hosting an online community screening of The Story of Plastic for the start of Plastic Free July. It is made by the excellent Story of Stuff project, whose films have raised awareness of plastic pollution and helped form a worldwide movement. ‘Plastic pollution is everywhere we look, smothering our oceans and poisoning communities around the world. Meanwhile, Big Plastic only plans to expand production. We need to chart a different course.’– The Story of Stuff project. In fact, Big Plastic aim to increase plastic production 70% by 2030 having recently invested $185 billion in new refineries! More info, including a trailer for the film, can be found here. We’ll have a discussion afterwards about the film and what we can do in Swindon to make a difference. If you’d like to[…]

Read more

Redlands development – urgent action!

The proposed Redlands Park development in Highworth has recently had more revised plans submitted by the developer. We only have until May 1st 2020 to respond to those. Very little time is being allocated by SBC for parties to respond to planning revisions. We have drawn up a template letter (further down the page) that you are welcome to use. Please take and share this urgent action. We are objecting to the proposed plans for the following reasons: Removal of trees and other greenery. Possible damage to mature tree roots. Existing trees may be chopped back. Most houses are not suitable to have solar panels. There are too many houses / the density of housing is too high. Energy efficiency not up to required standards. Lack of sunlight for ‘affordable’ housing. The developer would like to develop further on adjoining land once access is gained through the proposed Redlands development.[…]

Read more

Tree planting / conservation activities *updated 6th March’ 2020

*Penhill tree planting is now confirmed. Trees play a vital role in the health of our planet, providing habitat, allowing us to breath, storing carbon dioxide, preventing flooding… SCAN support Friends of the Earth campaigns to double the amount of tree cover in each region of the UK, and to make our towns and cities ten times greener. The UK is the second least wooded country in Europe (after Ireland). In Swindon, we need to create more green spaces. We currently have 8% tree cover. The more urban areas of Swindon fare worse. This compares to Bath 20%, Salisbury 19.8%, Newbury 22%, Abingdon 16.3%, Oxford 21.4%, Gloucester 13.6%, Cheltenham 12.8%, Bristol 18.6%. SBC has introduced a 30% target but it is difficult to see how that will be achieved as trees continue to be cut down for housing developments. There are tree planting and other conservation activities planned around Swindon.[…]

Read more

Redlands – revised plans ignore Tree Protection Orders and proper planning procedures

See here for background on the proposed Redlands development. SBC agreed in January 2020’s full council meeting to a target of 30% tree coverage, up from the current 8%. How can this be achieved if we continue to fell trees for housing developments? Trees are a home for wildlife,they release oxygen and use carbon dioxide. They can also prevent erosion and flooding. Removing trees and bushes contributes to climate change and loss of biodiversity, causing environmental collapse. Sharing the housing we have, developing on brownfield sites and housing regeneration are better options. Over 70 trees with Tree Protection Orders in place will be felled if full permission is granted for the revised proposals for the Redlands development. It begs the question, what good are Tree Protection Orders if they can be ignored? Planting new trees is beneficial but will take many years to provide the same benefits as mature trees,[…]

Read more

Toxic chemicals in bamboo food and drink containers

***Plastic Free Swindon can now be found at https://plasticfreeswindon.org*** We are sorry to have to share this information. Many people have made the effort to switch to reusable food and drinks containers made of bamboo. This is forwarded from the CHEM Trust: ‘Bamboo cups and tableware might seem like a good alternative to plastic, but a statement from The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) highlights chemical concerns associated with this popular alternative. To make the bamboo coffee cups and tableware, bamboo fibres are often combined with melamine-formaldehyde resin (MFH). However, BfR warns that when the bamboo products are heated, the melamine and formaldehyde can migrate from the material into food. Formaldehyde is known to be hazardous, and is suspected to cause cancer and to damage DNA, while studies have suggested that melamine could damage the kidneys. Formaldehyde was released from 366 of the cups and bowls tested, and[…]

Read more