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In June, a small group of us joined the demonstration outside the Assembly Rooms in Chesterfield before the start of the public enquiry on Ineos’s application for a test well with a view to fracking for shale gas at Bramleymoor Lane, Marsh Lane, Derbyshire.
The objectors were very hopeful about winning their case and preventing the drilling but the decision came though in August that the exploration has been approved. Yet again local democracy has been bypassed, the health and well-being of the local population ignored and industrial action approved in the green belt, not to mention the perpetuation of exploration for fossil fuels when the fight against climate change requires that we should not burn all those fossil fuel reserves we already know about, never mind those not yet discovered.
Protests will continue.
The government is intent on exploiting shale gas and plans to make exploration for shale gas a permitted development, treating it like the addition of a small porch to the front of your property or putting solar panels on your roof- no planning permission required! If you object to this, take part in the “consultation” on their plans here and / or here though, if you respond to any of their questions other than the yes/no of whether exploration should be made a permitted development, your answers could be represented as supporting it.
Waste and Recycling Group
The need to reduce our plastic use is something that has been constantly on our minds for many years. This is now in the forefront of many peoples minds and we are planning to have a campaign in Wirksworth against single use plastics in particular. If you want to help with this, contact email@example.com
Meanwhile, if you want to reduce your own plastic use, both the butchers in town are happy to use your own reusable containers to pack your meat purchases in. I find that the tubs from takeaway meals make great food containers- it’s still plastic but at least you reuse it many times before recycling it.
The film A Plastic Ocean is available on Netflix.
Sue’s Sustainables is an exciting new business in Belper at The Gatehouse, De Bradelei House, Chapel Street open Wednesday to Friday 11 – 2, Saturday 11 – 4 with occasional later evenings and special events. Take your own containers for re-use. Find them on facebook.
Energy & Homes Group
Much of our work has been involved in securing charitable status for the Community Land Trust. It will own assets on behalf of the communities of Wirksworth Town and Middleton Village. These will include low energy affordable homes for rent to those who cannot afford ownership.
We gained charitable status early summer and are formally launching the CLT at Wirksworth Cricket Pavilion on Wednesday 10th October from 7 to 9pm. The evening will be chaired by Tim Ellis Chair of East Midlands Community Land Trust with a presentation from John Lees on Passivhaus standards. Refreshments will be available and there will be an opportunity to join. A £1 fee enables new members to join for life.
Further information from Noel Mayes firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s the press release: Registered Charity No.1178158
LANDOWNERS in Wirksworth and Middleton are being asked to come forward with land suitable for development. Grassroots Wirksworth Community Land Trust is seeking land for the potential development of low energy affordable housing for the people of Wirksworth and Middleton.
Interested landowners have until the 31stOctober to register land. Registered sites will then be considered for suitability.
WTCLT chair, Noel Mayes said ”We have set up the CLT so that we can build affordable homes for the people of Wirksworth and Middleton. By doing this we can make sure the homes remain affordable and the land they are built on is held in Trust for the people of Wirksworth and Middleton. WTCLT is now a registered charity. All the trustees live in Wirksworth and are committed to building low energy Passivhaus standard homes.”
or John Mather East Midlands Community-Led Housing 01522 785288 email@example.com or come along to Wirksworth Cricket Club at 7pm on Wednesday 10thOctoberfor the CLT launch and a talk on Passivhaus by Jon Lee of the Ecology Building Society.
Transitioners will also be aware that the government are consulting on changes to the Feed in Tariff. Please make your thoughts known. The following may be helpful.
The Feed-in Tariff [FiT] scheme is scheduled to close to new applications on 31 March 2019. Existing accredited projects will be unaffected. The Government has stated there will be no new public support for renewable energy until 2025 at the earliest (unless cost reductions can be shown to reduce consumer bills). The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) closes to new projects in 2021 and there is no clarity beyond this date. Meanwhile, the UK is obliged to meet legally binding targets by 2020 for renewable energy and is currently well behind targets for heat and transport. Over-achievement in power would help meet the target. The Committee on Climate Change has stated that we have a ‘Policy Gap’ in the UK regarding how to meet our next target for the Carbon Budget. In addition, the electrification of transport will cause a large increase in the requirement for power, which has been estimated by the National Grid to be around 4GW of new power capacity [equivalent to approximately 2 x new nuclear power stations] by 2030 to charge electric vehicles on the road by that time. Therefore, nationally, there will be a continued need for more renewable power generation to meet the energy gap.
Consumers considering installing renewable energy schemes are protected by maintenance of data bases [MID] and accreditation of installers to schemes [such as MCS and RECC], which must not be lost.
Other parts of the UK are actively supporting renewable energy. Scotland has recently introduced an interest-free or heavily subsidised loan programme for small-scale renewable installations. This could be extended to include energy storage devices as this would benefit the system as a whole and the consumer in terms of maximising savings. Locally, Wirksworth is the third poorest fuel poverty area within the three counties of Nottingham, Derbyshire and Staffordshire. On-site renewable energy is an obvious way to reduce energy bills in households facing fuel poverty.
The simplest solution is to continue ‘Export Tariff’ Payments
This provides recognition of the power supplied to the grid, which would otherwise not be compensated for at all. Maximum generation takes place during daylight hours when consumption is also high. The tariff is paid for by the larger electricity supply companies directly, as they sell on the power procured to their retail customer base, at a higher price than they purchase it.
Existing owners of small scale projects will favour this rather than giving the electricity they generate, free, to the big 6 power companies.
Other options include altering the tax system for renewable energy and recognition of the importance of carbon reduction in new build. For example, the carbon reduction benefit delivered from increased self-consumption could be used to in calculations to grade the Energy Performance Certificate. This would encourage new-build developers and building refurbishment contractors to install such measures as a means of achieving the required Certificate. Building regulations should be strengthened to encourage the use of renewable energy on-site at new housing and commercial developments. For example, a target could mandate a percentage of the building’s power consumption be provided by solar PV on new buildings. Similarly, a revival of the Government’s Zero Carbon Buildings programme would be enormously beneficial at no direct cost to Government.
Small-scale renewable energy must be supported in the England. It is widespread across Europe, and not only delivers clean energy, but also jobs and investment as well as transitioning us to a low-carbon, flexible energy system.
Stoney Wood Volunteer afternoon 13th October 1pm-4pm Meet at the Community Orchard.
The national Transition Network has recently changed its statement of purpose following a review.
The Woodland Trust is offering free trees to schools and communities. To be delivered from March 2019.
Trafford Hall, the home of the National Communities Resource Centre in Chester, is running a series of reasonably priced courses for community volunteers. See the website.