Monday, August 30, 2010

BUDDING chefs will be given the chance next month to learn how to use up "waste food".

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BUDDING chefs will be given the chance next month to learn how to use up "waste food".

BUDDING chefs will be given the chance next month to learn how to use up "waste food". On Tuesday, September 14, chefs from Bristol's award- winning Thali Cafe will give a free cooking demonstration using food that would otherwise be destined for landfill, reprocessed as animal feed or otherwise wasted.
The event is being organised by FareShare South West, which collects surplus food from producers and suppliers within the food industry and redistributes it to those in need.
The demonstration is being held at Bordeaux Quay for groups that FareShare South West work with.

Very interested to see the story above in the local paper, especially after watching the BBC program the Great British Waste Menu recently (information below). Its well worth a watch - click the link to BBC iPlayer.

Programme following four of the nation's top chefs - Angela Hartnett, Richard Corrigan, Matt Tebbutt and Simon Rimmer - as they journey deep into the heart of Britain's food waste problem, exploring how and why the nation throws away and reject huge quantities of perfectly edible food.

Cameras follow the chefs as they source shocking amounts of unwanted food from every link in the food chain - from supermarkets to ordinary homes, markets to farms - and then transform it into mouth-watering dishes.

The chefs face a unique and near-impossible task: can they create a fabulous banquet for over 60 VIPs using the food that the rest of us don't want? Can they create restaurant-standard food using ingredients that have been discarded, rejected or deemed unsuitable for sale? Will they be able to change the way Britons think about waste food?

The dishes the chefs create are judged by four of the nation's toughest food critics - Matthew Fort, Prue Leith, Oliver Peyton and Jay Rayner - who decide which dishes go onto the menu for the lavish banquet designed to prove that saving scraps is good.

As the chefs source their ingredients and the banquet unfolds, the solution to the scandalous food waste crisis reveals itself to be a simple one: just eat it.

The first ever Green-governed council? It could happen soon | Liberal Conspiracy

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The first ever Green-governed council? It could happen soon Liberal Conspiracy

On 9th September local elections in Norwich could lead to Greens becoming the largest party on a Principal Authority Council.

Ruscombe Green: ClientEarth wins case

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Ruscombe Green: ClientEarth wins case

ClientEarth, are an organisation of activist lawyers working to bring change - well they recently won a landmark case. You can see the details here - the UK has breached the Aarhus Convention - we have the worst court fees in Europe making it hard to challenge decisions. We can now be hopeful that decisions will be easy to challenge.

Yes, the Aarhus Convention is supposed to ensure: good opportunities for full public participation; good quality environmental information; access to environmental justice, are made available early and proactively by public decision making bodies. This is not currently the case - and its something that features strongly in the planning issues I've been involved in (see here) - so this case win could prove very valuable in making access to environmental justice in the courts more affordable.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Johann Hari: How much proof do the global warming deniers need? - Johann Hari, Commentators - The Independent

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Everything the climate scientists said would happen - with their pesky graphs and studies and computers - is coming to pass. This is proving the hottest year ever. Thank God man-made global warming was proven to be a hoax. Just imagine what the world might have looked like now if those conspiring scientists had been telling the truth. No doubt Nasa would be telling us that this year is now the hottest since humans began keeping records. The weather satellites would show that even when heat from the sun significantly dipped earlier this year, the world still got hotter. Russia's vast forests would be burning to the ground in the fiercest drought they have ever seen, turning the air black in Moscow, killing 15,000 people, and forcing foreign embassies to evacuate. Because warm air holds more water vapour, the world's storms would be hugely increasing in intensity and violence – drowning one fifth of Pakistan, and causing giant mudslides in China.

The world's ice sheets would be sloughing off massive melting chunks four times the size of Manhattan. The cost of bread would be soaring across the world as heat shrivelled the wheat crops. The increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would be fizzing into the oceans, making them more acidic and so killing 40 per cent of the phytoplankton that make up the irreplaceable base of the oceanic food chain. The denialists would be conceding at last that everything the climate scientists said would happen – with their pesky graphs and studies and computers – came to pass.

This is all happening today, except for that final stubborn step. It's hard to pin any one event on man-made global warming: there were occasional freak weather events before we started altering the atmosphere, and on their own, any of these events could be just another example. But they are, cumulatively, part of a plain pattern where extreme weather is occurring "with greater frequency and in many cases with greater intensity" as the temperature soars, as the US National Climatic Data Centre puts it. This is exactly what climate scientists have been warning us man-made global warming will look like, to the letter. Ashen-faced, they add that all this is coming after less than one degree of global warming since the Industrial Revolution. We are revving up for as much as five degrees more this century.

Yet as the evidence of global warming becomes ever clearer, the momentum to stop it has died.

The Copenhagen climate summit evaporated, Barack Obama has given up on passing any climate change legislation, Hu Jintao is heaving even more coal, David Cameron has shot his huskies, and even sweet liberal Canada now has a government determined to pioneer a fuel – tar sands – that causes three times more warming than oil. True, the victims are starting to see the connections. The Russian President, Dmitri Medvedev, had been opposed to meaningful action on global warming until he found the smoke-choked air in the Kremlin hard to breathe. But if we wait until every leader can taste the effects of warming in their mouths, the damage will be irreparable...
more via this link

Johann Hari: How much proof do the global warming deniers need? - Johann Hari, Commentators - The Independent

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bristol biofuel station: appeal for letters/emails to government and planning inspectorate

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Guest blog post from Zenith Milner: In Bristol,last year, a biofuels power station was planned and many of us have been working to campaign on it. We have worked hard and got petitions ,press, BBC... have lobbied councillors,and MPs and had demos and more.

Now the application has gone to a public inquiry. The decision now is going to be in the hands of Eric Pickles,secretary of state for communities and local government [email address bottom of this blog entry]. Maybe you have been involved, maybe not.

But even at this stage there is something you can do which could make a difference.

The biofuels company,W4B said in the public inquiry that there was very little opposition.So,please,dont let them get away with it. Please write in and say you dont want the power station in Bristol or anywhere else.

Issues include:

Lack of consultation with the public at every stage of the application for planning permission

Biofuels are not the green alternative they were first thought to be,they are the opposite.

Palm oil is often used and it causes widespread rainforest destruction -a holocaust where orang utans are shot their,babies are orphaned and injured; animals are burnt alive in their thousands as forest is cleaered by burning.Orangutans and,sumatran tigers face extinction as do many more species.

The Indigenous forest peoples are violently displaced from their land with homes and livelihoods ripped away from them.

Farmers are deceived into growing plants for biofuels and left with now way to feed themselves.

Shockingly,biofuels plunge millions more into hunger-an extra ten million in 2008.
No wonder Zeigler in the UN called them a " crime against humanity. "

Insanely the goverment massively subsidizes these power staions in a faulty opinion that they lower climate gas emmisssions, but the opposite is true.In fact along the whole life span of the biofuels, there are more emmissions than even fossil fuels.

The power stations would cause pollution in the locations in Britain they are planned for causing respiratory and heart disease ezcema and even infant mortality.THey are often planned for relatively deprived areas where people cant fight back so easily.

Truly green alternatives do exist;solar, wind,wave and tidal. Good insulation schemes would provide jobs as well as reducing consumption and carbon footprint.

For all these reasons and more,

Please write even a paragraph of an email [or letter, to the email/postal addresses below] to show that you do care, and prove the biofuels company wrong. And please encourage your friends etc to write too.

Many thanks
Zenith Milner

Ps I am intending to got to the Animals Rights Summer Gathering this weekend and give a workshop.about this issue. Do come along to find out more. Hope to see you there.

*Emails to

*Letters to:
The Planning Inspectorate
Room 4/02
Temple Quay House
2 The Square

*Appeal no. APP/Z0116/A/10/2126342/NWF

*Rt Hon Chris Huhne MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change

*Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Govt

   Stockwood Pete: Good News from First (honest!)

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Stockwood Pete: Good News from First (honest!)

The new 54 timetable, now in force, shows a later last bus home to Stockwood on a Sunday night - leaving the Centre at 11.19. That brings it into line with the rest of the week. What's more, the journey isn't being subsidised by the council.

Last buses are generally well patronised, but most are still subsidised - you have to wonder why.....

Conservative Party: how money talks

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Tories sell access to ministers for £1,000 a head - Telegraph

More evidence of building a fairer and more open society from the Conservative Party...

Executives who buy £1,000-a-plate tickets to a fund-raising dinner at the Conservative Party conference will get to sit with ministers. Despite David Cameron's pledges to bring transparency to party funding, the identities of the businessmen will be kept secret...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ruscombe Green: Hinkley petition and Oldbury's extension plans

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Ruscombe Green: Hinkley petition and Oldbury's extension plans

Apple blocks iPhones from green ranking scheme | Environment | The Guardian

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Apple blocks iPhones from green ranking scheme Environment The Guardian

...The scheme gives phones a rating of zero to five based on their environmental footprint and major manufacturers including Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Samsung have signed up. The network O2, which is launching the rating system today, said 93% of the devices its customers use will be covered.
Launched in partnership with sustainability advisers
Forum for the Future, the green ranking scheme scores handsets on the ecological impact of their raw materials, the manufacturing process, packaging, how long they are likely to last, energy efficiency and how easy they are to reuse or recycle.
An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on why the company had decided not to join the voluntary labelling scheme, but highlighted its
environmental reporting online.
Many other mobile phone manufacturers, including market leader Nokia,
publish similar environment reports online and are taking part in the rankings...

BBC News - Budget hits the poorest hardest, says IFS

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BBC News - Budget hits the poorest hardest, says IFS

Note what the Treasury and Coalition Government say their budget was all about, summarised in this picture. Remember that they have said that we are all in it together or words to that effect. Then read what an independent analysis by the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) says (extract below, more detail via link):

The coalition government's first Budget has hit the poorest families hardest, a leading economic think tank has said.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said the measures announced in the Budget in June were "regressive".

Its analysis suggests that low income families with children are set to lose the most as a percentage of net income due to benefit cuts announced in the Budget.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Energy firm 'discovers oil' off Greenland - Business News, Business - The Independent

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Energy firm 'discovers oil' off Greenland - Business News, Business - The Independent

Edinburgh-based explorer Cairn Energy today hailed signs of a possible oil discovery in the untapped waters off the coast of Greenland...Greenpeace warned that Cairn's announcement was "grave news" and threatened the fragile Arctic environment.

Cairn said it was too early to gauge the potential of its find, with the well not yet drilled to its target depth.
It has been drilling in the area 110 miles (175km) off Disko Island in west Greenland since July, with plans to reach water depths of between 985ft (300m) and 1,640ft (500m) - more than twice the 500ft (152m) drilling moratorium initially imposed by US President Barack Obama after the Deepwater Horizon explosion.

Greenpeace, whose Esperanza ship is currently positioned within sight of Cairn's rigs in Greenland, claimed Cairn was risking another devastating oil spill by targeting "ever more dangerous, difficult-to-reach places".

It said tough conditions and icebergs posed a risk to operations in the region.

Campaigner Leila Deen added: "If a spill happened here, this pristine area would face an environmental catastrophe. The BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico showed what can happen when they drill in deep and remote places." ...

And of course even if oil is extracted without accident, spillage or other incident, when we use this finite fossil fuel we are: adding further to climate change and poor air quality; still hanging on to what should be our energy past and not focussing on the only energy future that is sustainable ie energy efficiency and renewables.

Also see:

No joined up thinking from the "greenest government ever"

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Hugh Muir's diary Politics The Guardian

'...of the 16 cabinet committees set up by the Con-Dems to cover cross-departmental issues...there not one to deal specifically with the environment... issues of biodiversity, the landscape, climate resilience and other activities of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs...pretty fundamental in terms of the economy, businesses, health, education, and so on. The Cabinet Office explains that environmental issues are usually covered by two other committees: home affairs and economic affairs. Interesting, then, to note that Caroline Spelman, the environment secretary, sits on only one of them (home), and neither mentions the environment in its remit. Nor do any of the other 14 committees. So how exactly is this the greenest government ever?...'

Answer - its not a green government at all let alone the greenest government ever! Joined up (systems) thinking - acknowledging and dealing with interrelated and interdependent matters - is perhaps THE key feature of being green.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Nick Clegg put under heavy fire by Bristol voters

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Nick Clegg suffers rough ride at Q&A session - UK Politics, UK - The Independent

Nick Clegg suffered a rough ride at the hands of the public [in Bristol] over his decision to go into government with the Tories.

The Deputy Prime Minister was accused of failing to secure the key Liberal Democrat goal of electoral reform, supporting "brutal" social policies, ignoring tax avoiders and overseeing "dangerous" cuts in the NHS...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hosting world cup games in Bristol could cost us rather than make us money

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...The city council had arranged to host a Hyundai-sponsored fan park – one of only two in the country – as part of its campaign for Bristol to host World Cup games if England is awarded the 2018 cup. But failing to control a budget of £80,000, which escalated to £270,000, will leave taxpayers fearful of what costs they might end up facing if the city does host World Cup games...

Hosting world cup games could cost us rather than make us money and worse than that - their focus on the world cup is yet another indication that our councillors and MPs are far from focussed on genuine and appropriate economic development, with the goals of stability, security and sustainability, that builds strong local communities.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Greens best ever results in Australian elections

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Green tide sweeps Fielding from Senate - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Australian Greens leader Bob Brown is celebrating his party's best-ever result in a federal election. He says their Senate vote has increased from 5 per cent to 14 per cent, making the Greens the undisputed third party in the Parliament.

"It looks like we'll have nine senators in the new Parliament, a party room of 10," he said.

"From where I sit, that's a greenslide."

Senator Brown is vowing to work responsibly with the victorious party if they hold the deciding vote in the Senate after today's election.

"Whether it's an Abbott government or a Gillard government we will work with that government, that's what the people will have voted for," he said.

**The Greens' momentum carried over into the Lower House with Adam Bandt claiming a maiden victory for his party in the general election.

Mr Bandt won the seat of Melbourne, which was held by outgoing Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner.

The Greens needed a swing of 4.7 per cent to win, but extended the swing to more than 10 per cent on a two-party preferred basis.

Mr Bandt says the two major parties have let voters down.

"We have seen the need to respond to the climate emergency pushed into the too-hard basket, and we have seen political leaders denigrate the love between two people, just because of their gender," he said.

"But there's another side to us, there's a side that lends a compassionate and helping hand to people who are in trouble."

Further information/detailed results:

Friday, August 20, 2010

Resourcing SD in DEFRA (Jonathon Porritt)

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Resourcing SD in DEFRA (Jonathon Porritt)

In my blog yesterday, I referred to the paper from Andrea Ross, and there’s a very helpful paragraph in there that I think will help you to understand why sustainable development is so much more than the sum of its constituent parts – including straight environmental issues and climate change.
“As a ‘whole systems’ concept, sustainable development must not be too closely linked to one particular concern, including environmental protection, human rights or climate change. Consequently, sustainable development cannot be an effective champion for any of its component parts on their own. These concerns need their own champions. Instead, sustainable development is most appropriately viewed as providing the forum or ‘table’ to which important and more concrete objectives and values can be brought. Used in this way, sustainable development can offer a framework for decision-making which ensures that these objectives and values have influence in the decision-making process.”

In other words, “whole systems” not disaggregated bits of greenery.

RESIDENTS in Brentry are "disgusted" that the city council has put forward plans to build nearly 50 homes on open parkland near their homes.

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RESIDENTS in Brentry are "disgusted" that the city council has put forward plans to build nearly 50 homes on open parkland near their homes.

RESIDENTS in Brentry are "disgusted" that the city council has put forward plans to build nearly 50 homes on open parkland near their homes.
The row is the latest in a string of campaigns which have been launched in all corners of Bristol against the council's plans to sell off parcels of land to improve parks and open spaces.

Here we go yet again...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Faith School Menace? - Faith School Menace? - Channel 4

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Faith School Menace? - Faith School Menace? - Channel 4

The number of faith schools in Britain is rising. Around 7,000 publicly-funded schools - one in three - now has a religious affiliation.

As the coalition government paves the way for more faith-based education by promoting 'free schools', the renowned atheist and evolutionary biologist Professor Richard Dawkins says enough is enough.
In this passionately argued film, Dawkins calls on us to reconsider the consequences of faith education, which, he argues, bamboozles parents and indoctrinates and divides children.

The film features robust exchanges with former Secretary of State for Education Charles Clarke, Head of the Church of England Education Service Reverend Janina Ainsworth, and the Chair of the Association of Muslim Schools, Dr Mohammed Mukadam.

It also features insights from child psychologists and key players in faith education as well as insights from both parents and pupils.

Dawkins also draws on his own personal history as a father, arguing that the government must stop funding new faith schools, and urges society to respect a child's right to freedom of belief.

MORE than 150 Bristol residents and their pets walked in protest at the prospect of losing green fields to development in Brislington.

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MORE than 150 Bristol residents and their pets walked in protest at the prospect of losing green fields to development in Brislington.

...Bristol City Council's Site Allocations and Development Management Options document earmarks a 18.5-hectare area to the west of Bonville Road for potential development. The three options are to build up to 926 houses, develop industry and warehousing or have no development at all.
Any development could see the loss of allotments off School Road, but Victory Park would not be affected...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

YouTube - Norwich Green Party Local Election Video 2010

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YouTube - Norwich Green Party Local Election Video 2010

The Norwich Greens have put together the video above, for their 13-ward by-election on the 9th September.

Please do anything you can to help make Norwich Greens the largest party on the council after the by-election - and get Greens governing there.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Could a Green Norwich change local rule across the UK? | openDemocracy

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Could a Green Norwich change local rule across the UK? openDemocracy

Go no impact

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Home - No Impact Man

Take a look at this new website telling us all about the experiences of No Impact Man and the film that is soon to be released in the UK. These blog entries are well worth a read:

Our Economies are Eating the Planet Away

Getting Kids Eating their Vegetables with Garden Organic

No Impact Man: "Day one and the whole thing is a big mistake" » Towering Lunacy

No comments: » Towering Lunacy

Green enthusiasm for vertical farms shows that no one is untouched by magical thinking.

Yes, I agree with Monbiot's general argument here (though not all his examples) - many Greens often need to be much more realistic and hard headed.

Mainstreaming Sustainable Development (Jonathon Porritt)

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Mainstreaming Sustainable Development (Jonathon Porritt)

'... I would say that less than 5% could make any sort of claim to sustainability being “fully embedded”.'

Avonmouth biofuel plant: appeal to Secretary of State

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Copy of email to Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Govt and Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change:
I made a statement to a Bristol City Council planning committee on 09/03235/F, the application for a 50 MW biofuel power station to be built in Avonmouth, Bristol by the company W4B. The application was rejected by the council but W4B have since appealed and a Planning Inspector has therefore been dealing with the matter during August 2010 (ref APP/Z0116/A/10/2126342). I urge you to fully consider my view on this matter as part of your deliberations.

It is my personal and professional opinion that the facts show that permission for this biofuel power plant should be refused. Proper public consultation and debate, with full and accurate environmental information, should take place before this proposal and any similar ones are even considered.

Bristol City Council and the applicant W4B have not supplied, early in the environmental decision making procedure, adequate, timely and effective environmental information and therefore provision for public participation has been inadequate – in fact completely absent for lengthy periods. The council has not complied fully and properly with either the letter or the spirit of Environmental Impact Assessment regulations, in particular as modified by the various EU Directives which enact the Aarhus Convention (see note 1 below). The council’s Green Capital/Green City policies clearly aim for best practice in this area but in this case at least it has not been forthcoming.
The Aarhus Convention is a relatively new kind of environmental agreement and enacting it enables a decision making body to deal well with the interconnected, interrelated nature of environmental, economic and social issues, such as those posed by this planning application. The Convention: links environmental rights and human rights; acknowledges that we owe an obligation to future generations; establishes that sustainable development can be achieved only through the involvement of all stakeholders; links government accountability and environmental protection; focuses on interactions between the public and public authorities in a democratic context.
Public authorities such as Bristol City Council are obliged, under the Convention and related EU Directives, to actively disseminate environmental information in their possession – but this has not happened for the whole of this application as there are many months when the only people who knew of the potential planning application and the planning officers opinion on environmental impact assessment are the officers themselves and W4B (who went away with privileged information and prepared a planning application).
The Area Planning Coordinator said this in an email to me on 16 Dec 09,
‘The applicant made a formal request to Bristol City Council as theLocal Planning Authority in February this year, to which Bristol indicated in April that it did not consider the proposals as set out inthe request to be EIA development. Whilst the applicant has proceeded inpreparing their planning application on this basis, this position wasnot however formalised until earlier this month (11 December 2009) whena formal Screening Opinion was issued in accordance with the EIARegulations. I have therefore attached a copy of the formal ScreeningOpinion of Bristol City Council as Local Planning Authority, for your information.’
The council made no attempt to actively disseminate the fact that a formal request (note: formal request) had been made. It made no attempt to disseminate the fact that it was minded not to consider the proposals an EIA development. Yet the environmental decision process has very clearly begun and the applicant has had the benefit of early information from council planning officers! Opportunity for public opinion and participation, including non-council experts, early on in the decision process were thus lost.
In fact, there was no opportunity for public participation in the screening process, the first stage in the Environmental Impact Assessment procedure, at all. The council gave what it says was its ‘formal’ opinion on December 11, identical to the opinion it gave the potential applicant in April 09, and only released the relevant letter to a very small selection of members of the public like myself on 16 December 2009 after we made a nuisance of ourselves through repeated phone calls and emails. So much for actively disseminating environmental information!!
Almost a year passed by (ie Feb 09 to mid-Dec 09) with no opportunity for public participation. Keep in mind the fact that the planning committee was close to having this application on its agenda in January!! As a result the many contributions people have been and are still making - a huge glut of observations and arguments – were all presented over a very short period of time, dealing with complex, interlinked, possibly unresolved issues. Properly abiding by environmental impact assessment procedures, as modified by the Aarhus Convention, taking on board the principle of early, environmental information and public participation is I believe what the council in obliged to do, is what its Green capital policy says it should do, and it’s the best practice way to have proceeded. Both council and company should be proactive in this regard.
Just some of the complex and interlinked issues (referred to above) are listed below:
*how to define what a renewable fuel from plants is (potatoes for human consumption are a renewable fuel source from plants if grown properly but another plant product like mahogany certainly would not be, or at least not on anything like the same basis);
*how to guarantee that any fuel supplied is renewable in practice (certification standards, inspection, independent verification…are in my view absent for the fuels proposed by the applicant);
*what a total carbon footprint is and how the carbon accounting is best done (the carbon footprint figures supplied by the applicant are not a total carbon footprint as this would require all direct and all indirect carbon emissions to be accounted for – but there are no figures supplied for land use changes and methane emissions associated with the fuels proposed, a major omission, and in fact several processes);
*whether cumulative air pollution impacts on people’s health and on the health of nearby designated sites is sustainable and would allow the Environment Agency to permit any power station given planning permission to operate (Avonmouth is already heavily polluted – see below).
The council view that no Environmental Impact Statement needed to be prepared is incorrect as well as being established with zero public participation. Officers wrongly concluded that were no impacts of significance. Even within the council officers narrow and irrational system boundary which does not acknowledge that the world’s ecosystems are interconnected, this fails to account for the effects of the power-plant on the Severn Natura 2000 Marine site, which are in fact of significance.
This area was selected against rigorous scientific criteria to protect the most threatened and important species and habitats in Europe, as described by widely respected organizations like the RSPB. The site is of international significance (UN RAMSAR listed, up to 100,000 birds over-winter there, Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust is just upstream). It is 450 yards from the power-plant site. It is protected with tough international limits for nutrient nitrogen deposition. Those limits are already exceeded in Avonmouth because of the traffic on the M5.That means only insignificant levels of nutrient nitrogen can be permitted by the Environment Agency if they are to give W4B’s power station an Operating Permit. Insignificant is defined as less than 1% of the Environmental Quality Standard.
The Environment agency have written to me on this matter saying:
> “There are some areas of Natura sites within 10km of the proposed installation> where the background deposition already exceeds the critical load. In this> case it would be difficult but not impossible to justify emissions above 1% of> the critical load. It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide such a> justification. The figures in the planning application suggest that there may> be such potential impacts but this is not certain at this stage."

I look forward to your reply (please note that I have published this email on my blog and would like to – and plan to - publish your reply on my blog).

Yours sincerely

Glenn Vowles, MSc, PGCE, BA
Associate Lecturer in Environmental Studies and Environmental Decision Making

1. Two Directives concerning the first and second "pillars" of the Aarhus Convention have been adopted by the EU; …. implemented in the national law of the EU Member States by 14 February and 25 June 2005 respectively:
Directive 2003/4/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 January 2003 on public access to environmental information and repealing Council Directive 90/313/EEC
Directive 2003/35/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 May 2003 providing for public participation in respect of the drawing up of certain plans and programmes relating to the environment and amending with regard to public participation and access to justice Council Directives 85/337/EEC and 96/61/EC
Provisions for public participation in environmental decision-making are furthermore to be found in a number of other environmental directives, such as Directive 2001/42/EC of 27 June 2001 on the assessment of certain plans and programmes on the environment

Friday, August 13, 2010

No Impact Man: UK release this Sept.

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Dogwoof, a film distributor specialising in social-issue and environmental documentaries and whose previous titles include Age of Stupid, Burma VJ and Food Inc are now preparing their next UK release, No Impact Man. Its a documentary that follows well-known American environmentalist and blogger Colin Beavan and his family as they embark on a year living with absolutely no impact, in Manhattan. This means no cars, no fridges, no TV … and no Starbucks. The film trailer is above and is on You Tube here:

More details on show dates and venues to follow. Further information:

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bristol Lib Dem cuts in support for public transport

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FERRY and rail services will be affected by one of the biggest shake-ups of taxpayer-funded public transport Bristol has seen.

Bristol City Council is putting all of its subsidised transport services out to tender from next month, inviting companies to bid for the right to run them.

The Evening Post revealed how this would affect local bus services last week, but it will also affect a number of ferry and rail services that serve the city.

The council part-funds the Bristol Ferry Boat Company weekday commuter service between Cascade Steps and Hotwells Road; the cross-harbour ferry between the ss Great Britain and Porto Quay; and the Severn Beach rail line between Severn Beach and Temple Meads...

Bristol's transport boss Cllr Gary Hopkins says this not about cuts. The Post story says the council would like to cut its support for train, ferry and bus services by this move. Something's got to give somewhere if support is cut, so does Cllr Hopkins want to correct his statement or does he not bother with logic much??

Government at all levels should ensure the incentives are right for all modes of transport and should ensure that the price we all pay for travelling reflects its total net cost ie accounting for external costs and benefits as well as private costs and benefits. This would mean that clean, efficient and safer, more sustainable transport would be cheapest, so improving the incentives to use it and putting all transport on a rational footing. As it is now dirty, unhealthy, unsafe, inefficient transport modes like cars and lorries are wrongly given priority.

Pope Benedict's State Visit this Sept

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Yesterday's BBC news stated that the Pope's visit in Sept will cost UK taxpayers £12 million - not the main reason I'm against honouring him with a Sate Visit but it adds to the load in this time of cuts and job losses! Passing this on: Protest the Pope public meeting - 12 August. Join us in opposing the Pope's intolerant policies: Thursday 12 August 7.30pm, Richmond Library, Old Town Hall, Whittaker Ave, Richmond, TW9 1TP (nearest station: Richmond underground and national rail). All welcome.

The Pope's first event in London, on the 17 September, will be at St Mary's University College in Twickenham, south west London. The pontiff will talk about his views on education, which have included his support for separate faith schools and the right of these schools to discriminate in their admissions policy and their recruitment of staff.

"The Protest the Pope campaign rejects the promotion of religiously segregated education. We believe in the right of all children to an unbiased education, where school admission policies are non-discriminatory and where there is no discrimination in recruitment and employment," said Protest the Pope spokesperson, the human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.

"Protest the Pope is supporting a coalition of local groups and people, based in south west London, who have organised a public meeting to express their disagreement with Pope Benedict's opposition to women's rights, gay equality, fertility treatment for childless couples, embryonic stem cell research and the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV," added Mr Tatchell.

The public meeting will take place this Thursday 12 August at Richmond Library, Old Town Hall, Whittaker Ave, Richmond, TW9 1TP. It will start at 7.30pm, with speeches from spokespersons for the Protest the Pope campaign, followed by a Q and A. The meeting is open to the public. All welcome.

The speakers are:

David Pollock, President of the European Humanist Federation, will talk about the Catholic Church's influence at European level as a result of the Lisbon treaty.

Keith Porteous Wood, Chief Executive of the National Secular Society, will talk about the pressure growing at the United Nations on the Vatican, which is failing to produce a report on child protection...

Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society, will talk about the "Protest the Pope" Campaign and the six main reasons why we are against against honouring Joseph Ratzinger with a State Visit.

Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, will talk about Catholic dissent from the Pope's hardline, intolerant opposition to liberation theology, women's rights, gay equality, contraception, fertility treatment, embryonic stem cell research and the Pope's collusion with Holocaust deniers and appeasers.

See the Facebook event for more information and to tell us you're coming! Note: The main entrance to the Old Town Hall is from Whittaker Avenue, up a flight of stone steps. The building has disabled access off Whittaker Avenue, next to the entrance to the Information Centre.

More information:Peter Tatchell - 0207 403 1790

Marco Tranchino - 07806 647 903

If you would like to contact Peter Tatchell, please email

You can follow Peter on Twitter at or join the Peter Tatchell Human Rights Campaign Facebook group at

Donations are requested to help fund Peter Tatchell's campaigns promoting human rights, democracy, LGBT freedom and global justice. Peter depends entirely on donations from supporters and well-wishers to finance his campaigns. Please donate generously to the PTHRF.

To make a donation via PayPal - or to download a donation form or a standing order mandate - go to Donations at: Please make cheques payable to: "Peter Tatchell Human Rights Fund". Send to: PTHRF, PO Box 35253, London E1 4YFFor information about Peter Tatchell's campaigns:

Thursday, August 05, 2010

GAS generated at a sewage works in Avonmouth has been used to power a car.

GAS generated at a sewage works in Avonmouth has been used to power a car. It is believed the modified Volks- wagen Beetle, called the Bio-Bug, is the first vehicle in the UK to run on biogas from sewage sludge...

Interesting development. Its always worth putting such things into context. In this story what caught my attention most was this line,

'...The company claims waste flushed down the toilets of just 70 homes in Bristol would be enough to power it for a year, based on an annual mileage of 10,000 miles...'

Assuming these figures are accurate they give us a clear idea just how many UK cars could in theory be run on methane from UK human sewage ie a very small percentage of the total that currently exists. There are other non-fossil fuel sources of methane...animal waste, food waste of course but we are still talking about small numbers of vehicles potentially - unless we can get people to produce more sewage (after all Parliament manages to produce far more than its fair share).

Bristol Lib Dem broken promise on better transport for all

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THE majority of fares are set to go up on First buses in Bristol from this Sunday.

Compare this to the Bristol Liberal Democrat 'six to fix' promise number one - Cut congestion - better transport for all.

After the bombs dropped: Hiroshima and Nagasaki - Asia, World - The Independent

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After the bombs dropped: Hiroshima and Nagasaki - Asia, World - The Independent

An exhibition documenting the impact of the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II opens in London today.

Stopped clocks, flattened clothing, the charred contents of a tin lunchbox and a mangled glass bottle are among artefacts recovered from the wreckage of the two Japanese cities and brought to the UK for the first time to coincide with the 65th anniversary of the attacks.

The exhibition brings together first hand accounts of what took place on the 6th and 9th of August 1945 with objects representing the 340,000 people killed when the United States dropped two atomic bombs- events which led to Japan’s surrender from the war only days later...

Its the 65th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima tomorrow and Nagasaki on 9th Aug. We then demonstrated the capability and willingness to deploy atomic weapons of mass destruction in a war situation, mass killing non-combatants on a scale and with a speed previously unmatched. We can kill on an even bigger scale now (there's 'progress' for you) and continue to regard the threat of mass destruction as acceptable and worth spending billions on to update systems. Presumeably the [growing number of] countries in possession of nuclear weapons are all willing to use them in certain circumstances. We cannot escape the consequences of our ethical choices - so lets hope nuclear disarmament proceeds ever more effectively and rapidly.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

BRISTOL City Council should know whether it can swap bendy buses for a light tram system by the autumn.

BRISTOL City Council should know whether it can swap bendy buses for a light tram system by the autumn.

I've long argued that Ultra Light Rail (ULR) is a far better public transport technology choice than bendy buses. If the council do go for ULR this would be an improvement to local public transport plans - still issues about the system not being properly integrated, fairly priced, sustainably fuelled, on appropriate routes etc...

BRISTOL City Council should know whether it can swap bendy buses for a light tram system by the autumn.

Ultra Light Rail is essentially a tram that can run on branch rail lines and roads, is environmentally friendly and does not require electrification.

Unlike trams, the tracks can be laid down on road surfaces, which means roads don't have to be dug up to make it work, and overhead electric cables are not needed.

Currently the West of England Partnership – which includes the city council and its three neighbouring local authorities – has government funding bids in for £288 million of bendy bus routes across Bristol...

Monday, August 02, 2010

Nuclear New Build proposals in England and Wales: Have Your Say

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Received the information below * from the Environment Agency. I'll be taking part in the consulation process and hope many others do likewise. No more nuclear stations should be built and existing ones phased out. Nuclear and its waste is environmentally, socially and economically unsustainable - we should be going for efficiency and renewables.

*Why are we writing to you?
The UK needs new and replacement energy infrastructure that can provide secure, reliable, low carbon electricity. The 2008 Nuclear White Paper said that nuclear power could play a vital role in this. Power companies are now planning to build new nuclear power stations in England and Wales and two sites potentially suitable are at Hinkley Point and Oldbury . We would like to tell you about our role in this process and highlight an opportunity for you to tell us what you think of the designs and our findings so far.

What is happening?
We regulate the nuclear industry on environmental matters and are currently working with the Health and Safety Executive to make sure that any new nuclear power stations would meet high standards of safety, security, environmental protection and waste management. Together we have implemented a new approach called ‘Generic Design Assessment’ (GDA) and have been assessing two new reactor designs from an early stage, in advance of site specific proposals coming forward. This enables us to identify any problems and influence the design at an early stage, before any major construction begins. We are currently assessing two different reactor designs: Westinghouse’s AP1000™ and the Areva/EDF designed UK EPR™.

What next?
As part of our GDA process, we are conducting a consultation on our findings so far. The consultation recently began on 28 June and will last sixteen weeks, closing on 18 October. We welcome your views. At the close of the consultation we will carefully consider the comments received before we reach a final decision on the acceptability of each of the two designs. We intend to publish the key issues raised during our consultation before the end of the year and to come to a view about the acceptability of the designs in June next year.

If a developer comes forward with proposals for a new nuclear power station at a specific site, they will still need to apply for and obtain all the safety, security, environmental, planning and other permits that are required before development can proceed. When considering any future applications for site specific environmental permits we will take into account all the work we have done on GDA.

How can you get involved?
You can take part by visiting the Environment Agency consultation on-line at:
You can call 08708 506 506* and ask for a consultation document, or
send an email to: and request the consultation papers.
* Approximate call costs: 8p plus 6p per minute (standard landline). Please note charges will vary across telephone providers.

Free independent legal advice on: housing; employment; benefits; debt; discrimination; education...

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Passing on this recently received Advice Network press release: Need free, independent, high-quality legal advice? A new local website shows you how to get the help you need.

Advice agencies across Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset have collaborated on a new website, which is launched today, to help the public find the right help at the right time.

The new site – – has been created using funding from the Big Lottery Fund by Advice Centres for Avon, a network of organisations who offer free, confidential, independent and impartial advice to anyone who needs it on a wide range of topics such as housing, debt, benefits, consumer issues, education and employment.

In the current difficult economic climate, with many people losing their homes, struggling with debts and entering the benefit system for the first time, accurate and timely legal advice can be the difference between someone’s life falling apart and them being able to manage their problems. The new website aims to help people find the right agency for their problem by letting them search through all of the local organisations for the one that covers the right area of law and is most convenient for them to visit or contact. All of the agencies in the directory offer free, confidential advice in accessible locations across the region, meaning that the public should never have to go too far to get the help they need.

‘Modern life is complex,’ said Jane Emanuel, a project worker at the Advice Network, ‘and it is important that people know where to look for help. The website helps people get to the right place without delay because getting the right advice quickly can make all the difference.’

For people who just need information and self-help materials there are plenty of resources on the site for people to make a vital start in bringing their situation under control. Our advice to the people of Bristol and surrounding areas is this: don’t ignore your problems, get help to deal with them now. can be your first step.’


Notes for editors:
1 – Advice Centres for Avon has been in existence as an informal network since the mid-1980’s.
2 – Member agencies raise more than £8,000,000 per year in additional income for clients across the region, money that is spent locally supporting local economies.
3 – The Advice Network project is a three-year project to promote, defend and improve advice services across the region, running from 2009 - 2012.
Ben Sansum
Project Worker
Advice Network
84-88 Colston Street
Bristol BS1 5BB
0117 929 2153

Contact: Ben Sansum or Jane Emanuel

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Nailing the Lib Dems (Jonathon Porritt)

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Nailing the Lib Dems (Jonathon Porritt)

...Sticking to the environment / SD bit for now, Lib Dem performance to date has been poor to very poor. Not having a Liberal Democrat Minister inside Defra is proving particularly problematic. Claims that Defra will be enhancing its capability to promote sustainable development are, as yet, entirely unsubstantiated, and the likely outcome of further cuts in Defra is that SD capability will be even further hammered come the Comprehensive Spending Review this Autumn...