TTH trip to Dungeness Power Station

By Linda Jeal

Given the increasing concern that there is internationally about our access to energy and the environmental impact of certain raw materials, it was with great interest that a group from Transition Town Hastings visited Dungeness B Power Station run by EDF on 19th May. EDF operates two types of reactors in the UK. One type is Pressurised Water Reactor, the other, such as Dungeness B & most of the UK reactors, are Advanced Gas – cooled reactors. It is sited next to Dungeness A, which is in the process of being decommissioned. Spent fuel rods are transported by rail to Sellafield for storage.

Security was reassuringly rigorous, both before we were accepted on the tour and during our time going around the plant, including the opportunity to meet armed specialist police assigned to the facility. Health and Safety requirements were also strictly adhered to and great care was taken to ensure our safety as we toured around. We were also treated to a celebratory cake as Alison, who organised the trip was the 20,000 visitor.

The Interactive Visitor’s Centre, where we initially met, was very informative. The session was started with a talk, supported by a power point adapted from the Eco Schools website, to highlight the need for the efficient use of resources in all areas of life including the need to “reuse/recycle” and save water and energy resources by using these effectively. There was an explanation of the production of nuclear energy and the running of a plant. There was also a section where the environmental impact, land resources needed and CO2 footprint of a range of energy sources including renewables were compared. The main message was that in the UK, in our particular circumstances, that a mixture of methods both renewable and nuclear was the most beneficial. There is not, however, a clear solution at present to the problem of the final storage of all levels of nuclear waste. (it is possible to find very informative presentations about all these issues on the Eco Schools website)

During the tour we received a very informative presentation regarding the production of nuclear energy and questions were answered, as far as we could judge, thoroughly and honestly.

After the tour, the opinion was that we could thoroughly recommend taking the opportunity to tour the facility.

The Hastings Midnight Run film is released!

Take a look at the video for the Hastings Midnight Run, an event we took part in last autumn. See if you can spot someone you know!

The Midnight Run is a walking, arts-filled, night-time cultural journey through a city. It gathers strangers and local artists/activists to explore, play and create whilst the city sleeps.

The Hastings Midnight Run from Inua Ellams on Vimeo.

Commissioned by the Hastings Storytelling Festival, this event featured:

ARTISTS //
FILM MAKER – Joe Kaufman
BARGAIN STUDIOS – Alfie, Amy & Danielle
STORY TELLER – Gareth E. Rees
COMMUNITY GARDENERS – Transition Town Hastings.
MUSICIANS – MAGIC CITY MOONFLOWER – Lynda, James & Ross.

Facilitated by IMOGEN BUTLER COLE

Potential community use for the Old Town Hall

A group of residents are asking the council if they can turn the currently vacant Old Town Hall on the High Street into an arts based community hub. The likelihood is that the local council will give it to the group at a peppercorn rent until they are up and running (if they can prove its needed).

If you are interested in using the space for exhibitions, selling crafts etc, renting workspaces or running workshops, get in touch via the website.

The hub will be not for profit and any rents/profit share will be at a rate affordable to all.  They plan to run a couple of craft retro fairs to get some initial funds at the beginning of July this year.
At a later stage they want to pay a manager to run the building. The hope is it will be open 7 days a week all day and evening.

You can attend weekly meetings about the hub at 6.30pm on Mondays at Old History House, 21 Courthouse Street.

Transition Town first housing meeting

We held our first housing meeting after Ken Davis’s talk on eco-refurbishing homes.

12 people attended and the conversation was really lively.

 

Here are some abridged notes from the meeting:

One member gave some background information about Neighbourhood Plans. She is Chair of the Tulse Hill Neighbourhood Plan in South London.
Some funding was made available via Locality for some initial consultation within the area (they set up a stall in Brockwell Park). They asked one question: “If you could change anything in your neighbourhood what would it be?”.

Map out an area for your plan – Tulse Hill asked all those who came ot the Brockwell Park stand and then put a pin in a map for each person to create their boundary.

Once the group has 21 people committed to the plan it’s possible to apply to be a Neighbourhood Planning Forum. A Neighbourhood Plan must relate to the established local plan but the forum writes it’s own. The plan produced is then statutory.

One attendee shared his ideas about appropriate language. He does not like the word ‘housing’ as it is not a noun. He prefers to talk about ‘making places’. He said that there are three essentials for people: Food, Community and Place.

All present in the meeting shared what things they’d like to change in the town:

  • Better design of the local environs
  • Use of meanwhile spaces
  • Use of empty/derelict spaces
  • Better quality affordable, rented accommodation
  • Joined up thinking (eg how waste water is managed within developments)
  • A greater sense of community
  • Improved awareness of planning activity
  • More spaces for people to interact – many live in isolation

What should we call this group? Making places, environment, neighbourhood, community… Ideas?

Vision Day at the White Rock Hotel.

On Saturday 18th April 2015 we had our visions event at the White Rock Hotel, a fantastic afternoon when more than eighty people came together to contribute ideas for a more sustainable town. Here is a taster of some of the ideas discussed, including a few quirky ones:

Food growing

  • Community Gardens
  • Edible bus stops / guerilla gardening
  • Garden matching schemes

Transport

  • Car free days on the seafront
  • Travel passes for integrated transport system (including new funiculars to the West/East Hills)

Economy

  • Local currency
  • Skill share/swap

Energy

  • 100% renewable energy owned by Hastings Community
  • Bio-digesters to generate energy from local garden waste

Housing

  • Rent reform / Land tax control
  • CPO / planning reform
  • Eco-housing including Eco Open Houses

Waste

  • Community composting
  • Packaging-free shops
  • Acknowledge the value in waste and use it.

Also, the presentations about Transition Town Lewes, Community Fruit and Veg Project, Trinity Wholefoods Coop, Energise Sussex Coast and a short film of a TED talk emphasised the power of community.

As such, it feels important to consider the following in the future work of Transition Town Hastings:

  • work with existing community groups
  • bring people together to create a friendlier and safer environment
  • bridging age gaps through common activities
  • developing Transition Streets
  • encouraging broader engagement

We were excited to discover lots of people at the event had valuable skills to offer and we hope to see these in action soon.

On Monday 25th May at 7pm there will be a core group Transition Town Hastings meeting in the Notley Room at the White Rock Hotel.

This meeting is for those wishing to be involved in deciding the next steps. We will be looking at how we form and facilitate working groups, develop projects and raise funds. (Photos © John Cole).