Author Archives: Sheila Peacock

Mon 21st May – “Air Pollution, Particulates and Health”

“Air Pollution, Particulates and Health” is the title of a talk to be given to Basingstoke Café Scientifique by Dr Matthew Loxham, a Fellow in Respiratory Biology and Air Pollution Toxicology at the University of Southampton.

He is coming to talk to us on Monday 21st May at the Tea Bar, London Street, Basingstoke 7.30 pm.  This is the latest CafeSci/BTN collaboration to bring you talks relevant to a sustainable future in Basingstoke.  BTN has invited local Councillors to attend this meeting to get useful background information for the Local Plan, Manydown and Horizon 2050 (three local planning projects on which BTN has engaged with the Council).

BTN will have a social meeting at 6.30 pm at the back of the Tea Bar (underneath the big TV screen).  Look out for us there!

CafeSci information is on its Meetup page at www.meetup.com/cafesci-basingstoke

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 AGM2018agenda 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.

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).

Fortnightly Bin Collections?

One of our members reacts to the announcement that Basingstoke and Deane Council is considering switching to fortnightly collections of the “grey bin” (non-recycleable rubbish):

Here’s an interesting conundrum.

Basingstoke has a terrible record in waste and recycling. Last time we looked (a wrote to the Gazette about it) Basingstoke had one of the highest levels of household waste production and one of the lowest rates of recycling.

Alternative week collection (AWC) is one of the few proven ways of both increasing recycling rates and reducing household waste. However a key component is a separate food waste collection.

Basingstoke Council are proposing to move to the AWC but without separate food waste collection.  In my view we should support the Council in its proposal to move to AWC but ask for a food waste collection as well.  

The Gazette is running the story, with an online vote http://www.basingstokegazette.co.uk/news/15016381.Bin_collections_could_go_FORTNIGHTLY_in_Basingstoke_as_part_of_council_cuts/ (but I couldn’t get the voting button to work, so I added a post – Ed.).  The main response so far is seemingly along the lines “How dare the Council stop me throwing stuff away – that’s my right”

A report by the House of Commons is attached.  What do we think should be BTN’s position on this? Do we support it. If not what are we going to do about waste and recycling in Basingstoke?  Post your answers here or on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TransitionBasingstoke/?ref=bookmarks

Link to copy of House of Commons policy document on alternate-week bin collection:

SN05988wastecollectionHouseofCommonspolicydocument