Plastic pollution commitment letters – Andy Bentley

I played a small part in that SCAN Plastic Free July campaign by helping to put together the personal blogs of some SCAN supporters, who shared their experiences of cutting out single-use plastics. As one of the contributors I was already somewhat aware of the issues around the huge amounts of unnecessary plastic waste that we generate, and learnt a lot more as a result of being involved. The Green Party have always been at the forefront of the fight against pollution of all sorts, and Caroline Lucas was one of the supporters of the Bill when it was presented to Parliament in February. Given all that, I have absolutely no hesitation in supporting the aims of the Bill. The Bill is well-balanced, with the separate targets for the elimination of single-use and other plastics, and a distinction for “essential” plastics (e.g. medical purposes where no alternative currently exists). I[…]

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Penhill tree planting

‘Penhill Forum in conjunction with the Penhill Junior Street Reps will be holding a tree plant sometime shortly after St. Valentines Day 2020. This will take place on Minety Road recreation ground, Penhill.  We are adding to trees already there to create a Play Wood. One, which we hope, as it grows children will be able to use. It is being planted on a steep hill, which is no good for play as it is, but holds untold possibilities for exciting ‘urban’ type additions in the future, once the wood is well grown. The First plantings put in on April Fools Day 2016 are doing well.  We hope that this wood, will take a few years to complete and that youngsters will be involved at each planting, although it will be their children that will benefit.  We strongly believe that adults won’t value wildlife unless they have the opportunity to[…]

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Central Swindon North Parish tree planting – Ferndale area, SN2

‘My name is Hakan and I am an allotment officer in Central Swindon North Parish Council.  I am proud to say that the parish is focusing on planting lots of trees, looking after our green spaces for future generations.  I have been asked to organise a tree planting session on Tuesday the 10th December 2019 around Cobden Road, Ferndale Road, Iffley Road and Wembley Street, SN2.  We have around 550 tree whips (60-80cm tall) of different species to plant. I have been asked to get as many people as I can with tree planting on the day.’ To get involved, please contact Hakan on 07741 849106 or by email. Please bring suitable clothing for all weathers, including boots. And please, if you can, bring a shovel. Children to be accompanied by a responsible adult(s), thanks. Here’s a list of the species that will be planted, with links for further info:10x[…]

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Peatmoor Community Woodland Open Morning

On Sunday 1 December the volunteers who look after Peatmoor Community Woodland in West Swindon are holding a visitor open morning between 10.30am and 1pm. The area is a rare example of a wet woodland which has been a carbon store for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years. As a result, it is a biodiverse and ecologically important site preserved within an urban setting. Volunteers will be demonstrating the ancient art of coppicing – cutting down hazel trees in a fixed rotation to allow them to regenerate over the following seven years.  We’ll also be showing off the equally old technique of hedge laying whereby trees are partially cut and woven into a barrier. The trees will then continue to grow strongly to make the hedge stronger. Please come along to find out more about the history of the copse and see what volunteers have been doing over the last 31[…]

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MPs’ voting records on the environment

SCAN regularly meet with MPs and political party representatives to discuss environmental issues. We encourage them to act in the best interests of our planet. So, how have Swindon’s MPs voted on environmental issues? South Swindon:Robert Buckland ‘generally voted against measures to prevent climate change’:https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/24843/robert_buckland/south_swindon/votes#environment North Swindon:Justin Tomlinson ‘generally voted against measures to prevent climate change’:https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/24870/justin_tomlinson/north_swindon/votes#environment And how have the leaders of each party voted? Conservative:Boris Johnson ‘almost always voted against measures to prevent climate change’:https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/10999/boris_johnson/uxbridge_and_south_ruislip/votes#environment Labour:Jeremy Corbyn ‘generally voted for measures to prevent climate change’:https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/10133/jeremy_corbyn/islington_north/votes#environment Liberal Democrats:Jo Swinson ‘voted a mixture of for and against measures to prevent climate change’:https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/11971/jo_swinson/east_dunbartonshire/votes#environment Green Party:Siân Berry and Jonathan Bartley. Neither of the joint leaders have been an MP. Caroline Lucas was the former leader and is the only Green MP to date. She ‘generally voted for measures to prevent climate change’:https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/24910/caroline_lucas/brighton%2C_pavilion/votes#environment Other issues of social justice also have environmental impacts. Equality and[…]

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Save Redlands Copse update – Revision of plans and improper planning procedure

Developers for the proposed Redlands development, Backhouse, have notified SBC that they are to revise their plans for the development. This comes after high levels of objection from local people, both through the planning portal and petition. Planning procedures don’t appear to have been followed properly, as this letter from SBC’s consultant ecologist shows. A demonstration took place at the Planning Committee meeting on the 12th November 2019 to show objection to the development. It was covered in this article by the Swindon Advertiser. We are waiting to see when the proposed development will be on the Planning Committee meeting agenda. We continue to monitor the situation and will keep you informed.

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Amnesty and the Climate Crisis

‘For nearly six decades Amnesty International members around the world have been holding governments to account for their violations of basic human rights. What began in 1961 as a campaign to free Prisoners of Conscience is now a global movement that works to protect people from a broad range of human rights abuses in order to create a safer, more just world for us all. A key priority now is to hold governments to account for their inaction over the climate emergency. The need to put people and their human rights at the centre of the climate debate is increasingly urgent. Whether it is floods, drought, rising sea levels or burning rainforest, the climate crisis threatens rights across the board: the right to food and water, health, housing and homes, livelihoods, culture and development and, of course, the right to life itself. It impacts upon each and every one of[…]

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Plastic Free Swindon – simple guide

We have put together this simple guide to reducing plastic. Working together, we can eliminate plastic pollution. This is a work in progress; as the campaign expands so, will it. Supporting zero waste, local, independent and organic has many benefits for the health of people, animals and the environment. Fortunately for Swindon, we have a couple of brilliant community shops that support these important aspects: Nude Foods is the new zero waste co-operative, launched on April 17th 2019. Founded in 1976, Swindon Pulse Wholefoods is a co-operative that sells a variety of local, organic produce, increasingly providing options for zero waste. Refill Swindon launched in September 2018. It is part of the growing international Refill scheme. For those of you without access to the phone app, please check out the local Refill stations list. Asking cafes, restaurants and pubs to support the scheme is a simple way to make positive[…]

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Plastic Free Swindon – Aims

Plastic Free Swindon is a campaign to help eliminate plastic pollution. It is designed to help facilitate change by engaging with the people, organisations, institutions and representatives of Swindon. We seek to understand barriers to change in order to implement solutions. When we set up the campaign, we drew up a detailed plan and have been working on different aspects of that. Plastic Free Swindon is one of many plastic-free town and city campaigns across the UK and is part of the global Break Free From Plastic movement. By working together, our actions in Swindon become part of global efforts to end plastic pollution. In this way, it can be seen that all of our actions matter and count towards a bigger whole. We urgently need legislation to stem the tide of plastic production. This is a major aim of our campaign as it would have a hugely beneficial impact.[…]

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Building Resilience in Low-Income Communities

By Ellie Stevens of The Centre for Sustainable Energy. ‘What happens to low-income households whose energy bills suddenly increase – for example because prices rise dramatically or they experience a change in circumstances such as an elderly relative living at home. And how can such households and their neighbourhoods be supported to become more ‘energy resilient’? These are questions we at the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) are exploring through Powering Up!, a 3-year project funded by the Friends Provident Foundation. We’re working in three low-income communities – Druffyn in Newport, Penhill in Swindon and Hamp in Bridgwater. The project started with a six-month ethnographic study undertaken by Bradon Smith in partnership with Bath University, which involved in-depth interviews and a workshop with three residents in each community. So what did we learn during the research? Firstly, that energy reduction is not a priority for most people we spoke to[…]

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