AGM 2018 on Tues 15th May

Basingstoke Transition Network’s 2018 AGM will take place on TUESDAY 15TH MAY at 7 pm at Market Chambers, Wote Street, RG21 7QE (entrance opposite the Camouflage Shop, just behind the Willis Museum).

The AGM2018 agenda includes a small change BTNconstitution13Jan2016proposedmods2018 to the constitution  BTNconstitution13Jan2016  to accommodate our observation of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

We are also looking for volunteers for the officer roles of BTN.  Please let the secretary (secretary (at) basingstoketransition.org) have your name if you are interested, or any other pertinent business you want raised at the AGM.

After the AGM Tom Brenan, director of WinACC, will give a talk on his first year in this active and interesting job, from which BTN will take inspiration!

All are welcome to BTN’s AGM.

Two M3 Service Station proposals

Proposals for service stations at Junction 6 and Junction 7 of the M3, close to Basingstoke, have been made.  Both Maria Miller, Basingstoke’s MP, and the Borough Council Labour Party are opposed to these proposals; so is Cycle Basingstoke.

TWO petitions are doing the rounds.  One is an e-petition from Kim Taylor, Labour party, aimed at Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, and is at

J7

Maria Miller has instigated the second and it can be found, with explanation, at

https://www.maria4basingstoke.co.uk/news/basingstoke-mp-launches-parliamentary-petition-basingstoke-residents-against-motorway-service

Unfortunately it is a paper petition and you have to print it out and POST it to Maria  at The Mount, Bounty Road, Basingstoke RG21 3DD

Why is BTN in particular opposed to M3 service stations?  Maria, Kim and local residents give enough reasons on their webpages (above), but BTN’s specific reasons are:

  • Air pollution – the M3 is not recognised by Basingstoke Council as a source of air pollution, but when traffic is not flowing freely, which includes manoeuvring in a service station car park and accelerating after leaving the service station, it produces more pollution than when speeding by;
  • Modal shift – in the long run, the current model of transport in the UK, with private cars and commercial vehicles driven by human drivers and using fossil fuels and with long-distance road freight the norm, is unsustainable and incompatible with Paris Accord decarbonisation targets.  Building more service stations simply encourages the current model.

Borough Council’s Design and Sustainability SPD

“SPD” stands for “Supplementary Planning Document”, and this one contains some really good aspirations that BTN supporters should welcome.  The point is that we need to SAY that we welcome them, by 4 pm on Monday 19th March

https://www.basingstoke.gov.uk/planning-policy-consultations
submit written comments by post to:
Planning Policy Team, Civic Offices, London Road,
Basingstoke, RG21 4AH.
submit written comments by email to:
local.plan@basingstoke.gov.uk

 

Some of the statements in this SPD are very encouraging and encapsulate BTN ideas and policies.  See here for some quotes from the document, on which to base your comments.

Note you will need to log on with your user name, or register, to access a copy of the document and use the online comment facility.

Air Pollution in Basingstoke

NEW! 6th Jan 2018: We have started an online petition addressed to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s Environment portfolio holder, stating that “We want cleaner air in Basingstoke”.  Link to petition is here.

We are aiming to have a presence at the next meeting of the Council’s Community, Environment and Partnerships Committee, on Wed 17th January 2018 at 6.30 pm – link to agenda page.

Basingstoke bypass on a winter morning, January 2018.

Sept 2017: Over the last few months BTN has been producing a report on the high levels of air pollution that exists in our town. In some parts of the town air pollution is already at illegal levels.

Along with Friends of the Earth we installed 14 air quality monitors all around the Town.  The results confirmed what the Council has already found – that in key areas air pollution is above legal levels.

Cars trying to join Basingstoke bypass on a winter morning, January 2018.

The Gazette has already reported on it.  See their report here. We have produced a report of our findings.  Our full report is here.

Overall we found 9 sites across Basingstoke where air quality levels might be below the legal limit. Whilst our results are not conclusive they do show that we, like other growing towns, have an air quality problem.

These are the results. The sites in red and orange are above legal limits for air pollution.

As part of Basingstoke Green Week we will be hosting a public meeting on air quality and what can be done about it. We and FoE will be there. We have invited local politicians to be there as well. The meeting will be on Thursday 21st Sept at Brookvale Hall 7pm.

 

 

General Election 2017 – queries for candidates

We expect our local MP to think nationally and act locally.  Hence we pose to candidates almost the same questions as to Hampshire County candidates on 4th May:

1. Pollution
The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) set out the dangerous impact of air pollution on health in the UK, suggesting that around 40,000 deaths a year are linked to air pollution.
1(a) Is pollution an important issue for you?
1(b) What steps would you take to reduce pollution locally?

2. Energy
Basingstoke and Deane Borough meets only 1.8% of its energy needs from local renewables; Hampshire as a whole meets only 1.5%.  The national target is 15% by 2020: this is also the target in the borough Local Plan.

2(a) How do you think the borough, the county and the UK should reach the target?
2(b) How will you engage with the public and local and national business to reduce pollution and increase renewable energy production?

Hampshire County Council elections 4th May

This is not the General Election and Hampshire County councillors can’t do anything about Brexit, but they CAN do things about air pollution and meeting the 15% renewable energy target.  We asked candidates how:

1. Pollution
The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) set out the dangerous impact of air pollution on health in the UK, suggesting that around 40,000 deaths a year are linked to air pollution.
1(a) Is pollution an important issue for you?
1(b) What steps would you take locally as a councillor to reduce pollution?

2. Energy
Basingstoke and Deane Borough meets only 1.8% of its energy needs from local renewables; Hampshire as a whole meets only 1.5%.  The national target is 15% by 2020: this is also the target in the borough Local Plan.

2(a) How do you think the borough and the county should reach the target?
2(b) How will you engage with the public and local business  to reduce pollution and increase renewable energy production?

So far we have had replies from:

Gavin James, LibDem, Basingstoke South East

Warwick Lovegrove, LibDem, Tadley and Baughurst

Basingstoke Green Party

We have not had specific replies from candidates in Whitchurch and The Candovers, but candidates there sent information, unfortunately not specific to sustainability issues, to the Basingstoke Gazette, which published it at http://www.basingstokegazette.co.uk/news/15254301.County_council_elections_for_Whitchurch_and_Overton__who_is_pledging_what_/?ref=ebln

 

BEIS green paper on “Industrial Strategy”

The government department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has issued a “green paper” (consultation document) “Building our Industrial Strategy” and is inviting comments

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/building-our-industrial-strategy

Deadline for comments is: 11:45 pm on 17th April (there is a web link for these).

I hope that BTN members will comment. Having a strategy is welcome, particularly for its commitment to improve equality across the nation, but you can tell that the department has its eye on its usual customers. A few of my thoughts are below:

The paper says that the strategy must:
• build on our strengths and extend excellence into the future;
• close the gap between the UK’s most productive companies, industries, places and people and the rest; and
• make the UK one of the most competitive places in the world to start or grow a business.

It is keen on big infrastructure projects, particularly the Hinckley Point nuclear power station, the Heathrow runway and HS2. There is a whole section “Delivering affordable energy and clean growth” This includes the ambition to win a “substantial share of the global market” in manufacturing and services around clean energy, but the first statement on this is to form a UK supply chain for Hinckley Point. The only genuinely renewable energy generation mentioned is offshore wind turbine manufacture. “solar” is not mentioned. Electric cars are glamorously illustrated, and grid management strategy for charging them is highlighted, but is the Government’s enthusiasm for them based more on playing to the UK’s “strength” in automotive engineering than a genuine commitment to integrating them into a “green” transport strategy?

The Government says it will commission “a review of the opportunities to reduce the cost of achieving our decarbonisation goals in the power and industrial sectors”. Could we add a thing or two to guide this? Microgeneration? Community solar? and INSULATION!! Also, do we want only to reduce up-front costs, or invest in the workforce to do labour-intensive jobs (like insulate EVERY home and factory) that will make the energy generation go further?

The Government plans to advance via “sector deals” with promising industrial sectors, to support innovation and employment. How do we make sure that these “deals” are with sectors that advance the clean, low-carbon economy and not with the “usual suspects” just because they happen to have big operations at present?… I don’t know, but we certainly won’t unless we submit our views and do not give up hope of influencing the BEIS just because we are individuals or small companies not “big business”. If you belong to a trade or professional association or a trade union, check out its policy secretariat – is it responding?

(pic below – Earlsburn Wind Farm, out of focus and partly in shadow – will the industrial strategy have any effect on national and local government attitudes to onshore wind? Photo taken by me on 2/1/2017.)

2017 Green Week – make plans now

2017 Green Week is 16th to 25th September and plans are already well forward  between BTN and Basingstoke and Deane Council to create the best annual opportunity for local organisations to show off their “Green” ideas, opportunities and wares.

We will as usual have STALLS in Castle Square, The Malls, on Saturday 16th, and on Saturday 23rd we will hold BROOKVALE SUSTAINABILITY DAY in Brookvale Village Hall.  If you want to be involved in either of these please contact secretary@basingstoketransition.org

We are looking for ACTIVITIES during the day or evening on any day in the week – cycle rides, clothes swaps, visits to places of interest, film showings, talks or demonstrations – anything “green” – contact us secretary@basingstoketransition.org.  For inspiration, see older posts on this page for last year’s Green Week activities.

VOLUNTEERS are needed for BTN’s own activities during the week.

If you want to be involved in volunteering or discuss activities for Green Week, we are holding VOLUNTEER SESSIONS on the last Monday of the month at 6.30 pm in the Tea Bar, London Street (RG21 7NT).