Join Energise Sussex Coast and other Community Energy groups across East Sussex for presentations and discussions about the potential for renewable and community owned energy. Hastings, being one of the sunniest places in the UK, gives us a real opportunity to create our own energy through solar pv. Come along and join the discussion on Wed 28th June, 7-9.30pm at The Palace, White Rock.
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.
Hastings is well known for its passionate support of the environment, and for addressing the impact of climate change. We realise we are an important part of the solution – lead by example and show others what is possible. Transition Towns are now a global initiative encouraging communities to address the challenges they face by starting locally.
Transition Town Hastings was originally started in 2006, and gathered pace in 2015 when frustrations about an issue no government seemed to be taking seriously came to a head. The Transition Network or Movement offered a productive, all inclusive, a-political approach.
Over the last two and a half years, TTH has run numerous events to raise awareness of the issues. There was an initial Vision Day, on which the public were invited to come along and share their vision for a healthier, more sustainable Hastings. We’ve hosted a number of well attended ‘Pot Luck Dinners’ and shown many inspiring films including ‘Inhabit’ – an introduction to Permaculture which included a Q&A with the director Costa Boutsikaris, and ‘Demain/Tomorrow’ – a story presenting positive solutions to our ecological, economical and social crisis. We have also hosted inspiring guest speakers such as Jeremy Leggett (founder of Solar Aid), Pop-ups at St Leonards Festival, several swap shops and much more.
TTH started a Community Garden at St Leonards Warrior Square Train Station (North Side) which produced its first harvest last year. Feel free to come along to a gardening session (every weekend) to get involved, find out more or pick something for your dinner! There are many exciting plans for this year: the garden will be part of the Chelsea Fringe Festival which runs from 20th May – 4th June and on Sunday 4th June the station community garden will host ‘A Day to Clear Your Head and Clear Your Shed’ from 11-3pm. Donate an old rake or bring something unusual to plant something in. There will be music too.
TTH are also developing a project to tackle polystyrene take-away food packaging and the use of disposable plastic cups given out by local pubs during public holidays and events. We often see these littered on the seafront or on the beach, and when they get into the sea, they cause huge damage to marine life. We’d like to help local businesses come up with a solution.
All TTH projects rely on volunteers. We need a constant flow of people in order to keep these projects moving, so if you want to be a part of something special, either to volunteer on the current projects, fundraise or set up a project of your own please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Equally if you’d like to learn more about any of the above please visit our website www.transitiontownhastings.org.uk or email us at email@example.com
Find us on Facebook: Transition Town Hastings
Or Twitter: @TTHastingsUK
Last Sunday, in less than half a day, our team of eager volunteers put together a beautiful garden bench. We created a ‘Proposal Bench’ for the #JaneEyreProject which takes place in St Leonards from Feb 21 to March 7.
We are inviting visitors to the garden to sit, enjoy the space and write a proposal.
So come down to the garden at St Leoanrds Warrior Square (north platform), see what we’ve been creating and write some words.
The East Sussex Pension Fund – which is administered by the County Council – currently has an estimated £172m invested in fossil fuels. In April, Hastings Borough Council – a member of the Pension Fund – passed a unanimous cross-party motion, calling on East Sussex County Council to divest the East Sussex Pension Fund from fossil fuels.
Now members of the East Sussex Pension Fund can use the new web tool (available online at http://tinyurl.com/divesteastsussex) to contact the chair of the East Sussex Pension Committee, Richard Stogdon, and urge the Committee to divest the Fund from fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas).
Two new low emission cars are now available for residents to hire in central Hastings, as part of a ‘pay-as-you-drive’ car club.
Hastings is the latest car club location to be launched by Co-wheels, the UK’s only independent car club operator, which runs successful car sharing schemes in over 60 locations across the UK. The scheme allows residents to have short term access to vehicles in an affordable and convenient way.
Residents and businesses can join the car club for a one-off fee of £25, which then allows them to quickly book cars online, and unlock them with a smartcard. Keys are kept in the car, and mileage and bookings are tracked with an on-board computer. At the end of the booking time, the car is returned to its bay.
The car club in Hastings has been brought about demand from environmentally-minded residents and community groups who have used car clubs elsewhere, and have campaigned to bring the service to Hastings. The council are not financing the scheme, but have provided two parking bays in Russell Street Car Park, where the cars have permits.
The two Toyota Aygo cars in Hastings can be hired from 30mins up to several days at a time, and are charged at £4.50/hr + 15p mile, which included insurance and fuel. This enables huge savings to be made on the cost of driving compared to car ownership, and studies show that anyone driving less than 6,000 miles per year could save money by switching to using a car club.
Car clubs also help to lower emissions and improve air quality in towns, as well as adding social value by providing access to cars for those unable to afford their own, or who need a second car occasionally.
Richard Falconer, Managing Director at Co-wheels said
“We are delighted to be expanding our service in response to demand from residents in Hastings. The car club will enable a new level of transport flexibility in the town, whilst encouraging people to think differently about car ownership.”
Residents can find out more about the scheme, and claim £10 free driving credit at www.co-wheels.org.uk/hastings
It’s quite hard to get your head around which of our actions create the largest CO2 emissions. Also how much do we need to reduce to keep temperatures from rising by more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels?
Ian Smith’s talk on Household Sustainability at Nico’s Kitchen last Saturday provided some answers. Many thanks to Nico’s Kitchen for hosting.
The talk, which you can download below, encouraged us all to consider our personal contribution to global carbon emissions.
Did you know that travelling on a cruise creates more CO2 than flying in a plane?*
Also, turning your thermostat down by 1°C could save 8-10% on your heating consumption?*
However, we all need to make big changes to our lifestyles to reach the ideal target of 2 tonnes of CO2 a year!
*Statistics above and in the presentation come from Carbon Conversations.
We’d really like to hold some Carbon Conversations for local residents. Please get in touch if you are interested in getting involved.
Includes discussions about projects to take forward.
It was very inspiring meeting and underlines what a broad range of interest and expertise there is in the community.
The minutes are quite detailed – mainly because we covered a wide range of potential local projects that we could promote, preferably with the backing of Amber Rudd (A divestment fund for energy, a school booklet, a Big Switch, a District Heating or Hospital scheme, an Open Homes event…).
There was a great turn out on November 26th at the Observer Building to hear Jeremy Leggett talk about the ‘great global energy transition‘.
The donations collected online and on the night raised over £400 for Solar Aid!
Thanks to OST Energy and Energise Sussex Coast for sponsorship, Dublin and Holland for giving the Observer Building for free and doing a great job setting up the event.