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.[…]

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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,[…]

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Toxic chemicals in bamboo food and drink containers

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 melamine from 291 products. The levels of formaldehyde released[…]

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Penhill tree planting **Event postponed one week

**Update: Please note the change of date, from the 15th February to the 22nd. This is due to weather warnings. Saturday 22nd February 2020, 10:30am – 2:30pm. ‘WE NEED YOU!  Yes you!Penhill Naturehood, Penhill Street Reps, Swindon Junior Reps, Penhill Nature Reserve and SCAN invite volunteers to join them in a conservation event to plant 150 parkland species whips and 50 shrubs.No experience necessary, come along and join us in leaving a wildlife and woodland legacy for penhill.  Planting on the grass parkland that is situated between Minety Road and Ramsbury Avenue.  If you can attend, arrangements to meet are 10.30am at the pocket park on Ramsbury Avenue, Penhill (which isn’t far from the shops at the bottom of Ramsbury Hill).Beverages and bathroom facilities are to be located at the Chippenham close community centre, off of the bottom of ramsbury hill.Hope to see you soon.’ – Penhill Street Reps. ‘We[…]

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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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Plastic Free Swindon – simple guide

*Last updated 2nd February 2020. We have put together this simple guide to reducing plastic. Working together as part of the global Break Free From Plastic movement, 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. *Update – Sadly Nude Foods stopped trading in January 2020. An announcement is to follow shortly. 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[…]

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Naturehood project encourages Swindon residents to do ‘One Thing for Wildlife’ this autumn

Earthwatch Europe’s community wildlife project Naturehood is embarking on a new campaign to encourage residents to take positive action for nature this autumn. The ‘One Thing for Wildlife’ campaign will focus on the first Naturehood communities in Swindon and Oxford, encouraging them to make the most of the season before hibernation begins in earnest. Many people associate acting for nature with the spring and summer months, and tend to spend less time outdoors once the autumn begins. But this is a crucial time to support wildlife. Dr Tristan Pett, Research Manager for Naturehood, says: “The nights are drawing in, which means that now is the time to help local wildlife get ready for winter. The actions people take now can make a real difference to some of our favourite species, like sparrows and hedgehogs, and ensure they get the best possible start when spring comes.” The Naturehood team is promoting[…]

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Plastic pollution commitments from Swindon’s parliamentary candidates

We wrote to all local general election candidates asking them for commitments on phasing out plastic pollution; two simple questions:1. Do you and your party support the aims of the Plastic Pollution Bill?2. Do you and your party support a permanent ban on fracking? Show full letter Dear (candidate), Plastic Free Swindon is a campaign to help phase out plastic pollution as soon as possible. It is one of the many plastic-free campaigns around the UK and part of the global Break Free From Plastic organisation. The campaign launched for Plastic Free July 2018 and has been very active in Swindon. The campaign so far has included the introduction of the Refill campaign to Swindon, the launch of Nude Foods (zero waste shop), litter picks around Swindon, an ecobricks group, education, lobbying, articles, art, music, and engagement. For further information, please have a look at the website: https://swindonclimate.org/plasticfreeswindon/. Pollution, environmental[…]

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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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