Basingstoke Transition Network statement on EU referendum result 24th June 2016

Basingstoke Transition Network statement on EU referendum result 24th June 2016

Basingstoke Transition Network (BTN) exists to promote community-based, forward-looking projects for transition to a low-carbon economy and robustness against climate change. The enormous threats posed by environmental degradation do not respect either borders or nationality, and the EU referendum result does not decrease our obligations to work individually and collectively to mitigate them. We call on all political sides to focus on co-operation and not to impede UK/EU/international collaboration towards our aims. We also urge UK politicians to increase environmental protection and carbon-reduction targets above the levels set by current EU agreements, and to strive for all appropriate higher thresholds, looking forward.

Basingstoke Transition Network, 28th June 2016.

BTN quick quiz for Council candidates 5th May

Thursday 5th May – Borough Council elections

If your ward is having an election this year, put BTN’s quick survey questions to your Council candidates (and share with us how they respond) –

1. Will they allow community-backed wind turbines in the Borough? Y/N
2. Will they oppose fossil fuel exploitation, especially “fracking”, in the Borough? Y/N
3. Will they push for a policy of “roofs are for solar panels” for all new and suitable existing buildings? Y/N
4. Will they set a high target for waste recycling (at least 70%) and make policy to meet it? Y/N

 

BTN writes to local MPs about EU referendum

Basingstoke Transition Network is not taking sides in the European Union in/out question, but we do feel strongly that our local MPs should be encouraging voters to think about the environment when they make up their minds in time for 23rd June.  However modestly they present themselves in this matter, their arguments will be influential with voters, hence we were disappointed to see no mention of the environment in the context of the EU referendum on any of their websites.  We have written to them all, stating our views on this.

The text of our letters is below.

 

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We received replies from Kit Malthouse, whose position as declared on his website is against membership of the EU, and Maria Miller, who states that she is in favour of remaining in the EU.

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BTN response to proposed revised Local Plan

Happy 2016 from Basingstoke Transition Network.

Consultation on the proposed modifications to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council Local Plan following its inspection by the Planning Inspector closes on 8th February.  The consultation can be read on http://www.basingstoke.gov.uk/localplanmods  We have prepared an open letter to Councillors opposing the proposed change (mentioned in our October 2015 post below) that would make it exceedingly difficult to build a wind farm in B&D Borough. PlanningPolicyLetter16Jan2016

Please draw this to your Local Councillor’s attention – the Council clearly has not registered that there is widespread support for wind farms in the Borough.  With the welcome COPS agreement in Paris the need is even greater for every Borough in the country to do its best to install renewable energy, and Basingstoke has good sites as described in the 2010 report cited in our letter.

Don’t forget to come to our AGM on Wed 13th January at 7.30 pm at Brookvale Hall, and put 17th to 24th September into your diaries as 2016’s Green Week!

Best wishes from Basingstoke Transition Network!

Come to BTN’s first AGM, 13th January

We are holding our first Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Wednesday 13th January 2016 at 7.30 pm at Brookvale Village Hall (near Basingstoke town centre, postcode RG21 7SD).  Refreshments will be served from 7.15 pm and we shall finish by 9 pm.

The agenda is:

  1. BTN Annual(ish) report and financial report;
  2. Change to constitution;
  3. Elections for officers:

President (if we change the constitution)

Secretary (one, or two if we do not change the constitution)

Treasurer

4. AOB and discussion of plans for the coming year.

If you are interested in standing for election for one of the three posts please do contact us info@basingstoketransition.org to let us know or make enquiries.

On behalf of Basingstoke Transition Network,

Sheila Peacock, Secretary.

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ACT NOW or wind turbines banned for 20 years!

We were GOBSMACKED to find out that Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has, by a subtle mix of revision and omission, banned wind turbines over 20 m high in the Borough. They have done this without consultant and without debate.  The ban affects the entire Borough area (public and private land).

They have done this by introducing a subtle amendment to the Local Plan. The Plan is being examined by an inspector, Mr Mike Fox, so we urge all our supporters to contact him.  The enquiry into the Local Plan is ongoing, and Mr. Fox is scheduled to reach environment issues on 10th November.  A representative from BTN will be speaking on that day, but won’t have time to cover all the issues, so we need YOU to WRITE to criticise the exclusion of wind turbines.

Unfortunately we have been told that the address previously published on this website should not be used, as the deadline has passed for new public input to the enquiry.  We understand that there will be an opportunity to comment during the statutory six weeks public consultation on main modifications to the Plan, details of which will be published by the Council in due course.

Meanwhile you can write to your Borough Councillor – see http://www.basingstoke.gov.uk/mycouncillor to find contact details.  It was made clear by the Bullington Cross planning decision that councillors don’t realise the support for wind farms that exists in their constituencies.

The specific new clause about wind turbines is in this document:

Examination of the Basingstoke and Deane Local Plan (2011 to 2029)

clauses 20.3.4 to 20.3.8.  The Council has taken advantage of a Written Ministerial Statement (WMS) by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, which says that local people should have the final say on wind farm applications.  The WMS gives two grounds on which planning permission CAN be granted: that the proposed turbine(s) is in an area “identified as suitable for wind energy development in a local or neighbourhood plan”, and that the proposal has the backing of the affected local communities.

The Council clearly and correctly says that whether a wind turbine proposal has the backing of the local community is a matter for the judgement of the planning authority.  Where it seems to want to ban wind turbines altogether is via the first ground, simply by omitting from the Local Plan (topmost document in the list on this link) any specification of areas in the Borough that are “suitable for wind energy development”.  A March 2010 study by AECOM, commissioned by the Council, shows that Basingstoke and Deane has “significant potential” for both medium-scale and large-scale wind energy development.  This study shows these areas (and specifically excludes the areas of outstanding natural beauty in the borough).  The Local Plan cites this document but doesn’t SPECIFICALLY say that all, or a named subset of, the areas mentioned in it are suitable for wind energy development.  Hence the Council can be challenged because it has effectively refused to identify suitable areas for wind energy development in its Local Plan.

Green Week programme (final)!

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Here it is!  The programme for the 2015 Basingstoke Green Week – click, plan and enjoy!

See you all there!  And remember we need volunteers on Saturday 19th September in Festival Place to set up and mind stalls – just come along, the earlier the better (8 am would be great!).  And if you can spend some time with us 10am to 4 pm on Wed 23rd, Thurs 24th or Fri 25th in our Pop-up Shop in Festival Place, we’d be pleased to see you.

 

BTN wants volunteers for Green Week 2015

2015 Basingstoke Green Week Programme

We are seeking 2-3 volunteers to help us with:

(a) Setting up displays in a “pop-up shop” in Festival Place;
(b) Staffing the shop for Saturday 19th September and other days to be decided, including Sunday 20th if possible, 8.30 am to 5.30 pm;
(c) Dismantling on final day (we have the shop for a week but are not sure how many days we can sustain it with volunteers);
(d) Setting up, staffing and dismantling temporary stalls in Portchester Square, Festival Place, on Saturday 19th September – stallholders will bring their wares but they will need help setting up, staffing and dismantling; hours 8 am to 6 pm or part thereof if we get enough volunteers.

We also have a vacancy for one or two co-ordinators for Green Week, willing to
start immediately and work until end of Green Week on 26th September. The volunteer would co-ordinate among the organisers of various activities for Green Week, communicate with Basingstoke Council, liaise with public liability insurer if necessary, work with a BTN member on social media publicity and keep in touch with local media (especially the Basingstoke Gazette) to publicise Green Week. A person or people with social, telephone and social-media skills, internet and social media access, proximity to Basingstoke and enthusiasm for and knowledge about the aims of the Basingstoke Transition Network (sustainable living, protection of the environment and biodiversity, climate change prevention and mitigation, and alternative energy production) is/are sought. Enthusiasm for the aims of BTN is also a prerequisite for volunteers helping in the pop-up shop.

At present we are not in a position to pay travelling or subsistence expenses to volunteers, but we hope to be able to pay telephone/internet expenses to the Green Week co-ordinator.

Applications and enquiries should be sent to info@basingstoketransition.org

2015 Basingstoke Green Week Programme