A Million Views for the the Repair Cafe

Malvern Hills Repair Cafe have been told by the BBC that the video they produced following their visit to the repair cafe  a couple of sessions ago has now been viewed on their website ONE MILLION TIMES !!!

Just in case you haven’t seen the video, and want to increase the viewer numbers even further, here is a link to it …

http://www.bbc.co.uk/…/uk-england-hereford-worcester-387178…

Our congratulations to the repair cafe, showing we can make a difference.

A new Urban Design and Transport Planning Philosophy for a Sustainable Future

This article is from notes taken by Dinah Sage at the talk given to Rail and Bus for Herefordshire on 23 November 2016 by Professor John Whitelegg of the Stockholm Environment Institute.

Image by Laurent Mercat, Vélivert Intermodalité STAS, CC BY-SA 3.0

Professor Whitelegg has worked with community groups worldwide, saving pedal rickshaws in Calcutta, working with groups in Britain, saving the Settle -Carlisle Railway. He believes that railways should be accountable with a public service remit.

He is questioning why Deutsche Bahn’s excellent service and use of renewable energy has not be transferred to its subsidiary Arriva Wales. He is hoping his letter will be published in the German newspapers.

Good things

Freiburg – a German city similar to Hereford – has totally turned its transport system around in the last forty years. Only a quarter of journeys are by car. The transport system is integrated, with high quality bus, train and bike routes. When a large housing estate was planned, it was designed to be car-free, and the tramline to the city was put in first. Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands have similar systems. There is not one in Britain.

In Switzerland hourly buses connect Basle railway station to small towns and villages.

Tourists staying in the Black Forest are given a free transport pass. It gives a psychological boost to using public transport. The area has similarities to Shrewsbury to Hereford, and is booming.

Why is transport so bad in the UK?

The problem lies deeper than the integration of buses and trains

Decision makers on transport do not relate the problems to bigger issues.

Our transport system is regressive – it seems designed to take from the poor and give to the rich.

Highspeed rail, airports and roads do not address the problems faced by old people, those on limited incomes or children.

The funds allocated for an M4 relief road round Cardiff, supposedly to ease congestion and boost economic growth, could be used to create a South Wales Metro on the German model.

The connection between transport and social exclusion was examined in a Cabinet Office report in 2003. But the political system rejects evidence. The Implications for health and climate change are ignored.

Good public transport maximises economic activity.

If you want a city to be cheaper to run – have good public transport. High car use is very expensive. The International Organisation for Public Transport shows that a public transport system can be cheaper.

Opinion surveys are generally ignored by politicians. When asked if they would prefer more road and no buses, most people would say no.

The possibility that the social costs of looking after old people and children could be lower, and the population could be healthier are ignored.

Bad News

Climate change is worsening. According to the Stockholm Environment Institute, homes and manufacturing are becoming more efficient, but transport is out of control.

Public Health officials do not understand the impact of transport on health – contributing to obesity, cancer and lung disease.

There is no mention of an air quality action plan on the Herefordshire county website – even though it is a legal requirement. Particle emissions are not monitored.

The air quality in Hereford falls below acceptable levels. Councillors know this, but the leaders decided to build more roads – making the problem worse.

Road congestion near Hereford Cathedral is bad for road safety, and health – but so far no-one has been killed, so no attention is paid.

What do we do?

If there is a consultation or survey, or at the school gate, talk, argue, lobby to show that the situation can be improved.

The idea of change is thought ridiculous but ridiculous debates have happened before. Providing access to clean water and sewers for all was once considered too expensive. The society for the Protection of Slavery made a case for slavery being necessary to the economy.

We are really backward. 100,000 vehicle in London contribute to 9000 deaths a year.

  • Need to argue convincingly that this is wrong
  • Public health implications are appalling
  • Fiscal accountability would provide a different way of assessing transport costs
  • Cities become cheaper to run.
  • Helps to mitigate climate change
  • Transport needs to be seen in a wider context.

Can we raise the level of discussion?

  • Convince government to ensure fiscal policy aids investment in better transport systems.
    • This would help the environment
    • And mitigate climate change
  • Join forces, eg groups campaigning for speed reduction join groups trying to improve bus services, railways, provision for cyclists and walkers. As in Sweden’s’ Living Streets and Vision Zero (no more road deaths).
  • Use facts and figures – see CAT’s (Centre for Alternative Technology) Zero Carbon Britain and the Stockholm Environment Institute’s Vision Zero.

Good News

There are numerous examples of chipping away at negativity such as Energiewende in Germany. Deutsche Bahn has joined in – all its trains will run on renewable energy (except Arriva).

There are many groups in Europe arguing for the transformation of transport.

The New York transport commissioner has made several squares car-free.

Local groups with an interest in transport are working hard – campaigns for buses, railway groups, those interested in roads, cycling and accessibility of services.

 

Consultation on Worcestershire’s Next Local Transport Plan

Worcestershire County Council has a consultation open on its next Local Transport Plan (LPT4). The consultation runs until 17 March 2017.

Select here for the information on the County Council web site.

Our Dinah Sage has looked plan and has produced the following summary and suggestions:

Local Transport – Have a Say!

The The Local Transport Plan for 2017-2030 makes reference to the health and environmental benefits of active travel, but most of the detail is based on roads.

The consultation runs until 17th March. It suggests reading the LTP4 documents and links to a straightforward survey.

Here are some suggestions for pages of particular local or environmental interest.

The Local Transport Plan

A key showing how transport schemes are prioritised, from “in construction” to “emerging concepts” can be found on page 16.

Malvern Hills comes under “South Worcestershire Area Profile”. (p28)

Environmentally interesting description of Active Travel. (p35)

Great Malvern Town Centre Regeneration Scheme. (p42)

Transport policies

Consultation and partnership (p7-10, p13-14)

Pedestrians (p16-18)

Cycle infrastructure. (p23-28)

Integrated passenger transport. (p29)

  • Bus costs low (p30)
  • Information (p31)
  • Parish councils and old bus stops (p32)
  • Subsidies for buses (p33-35)

Motorcycling (p39)

Climate change (p42-46, especially p44)

The Worcestershire Network Management Plan

This document does make reference to health, promoting travel choices and an Air Quality Action Plan, though the detail is mostly roads.

The environment is barely mentioned in Transport Technology. (p26)
Travel Choices (p28) especially

  • improving access to information NMP9
  • travel choices major trip generator
  1. working NMP12
  2. travel planning NMP13
  3. station travel plans NMP14
  4. car share database NMP15

Habitats Regulation Assessment

Acronyms (p3)

If a scheme may lead to damage to human health – the Precautionary Principle is triggered. (p6, para 1.3.5)

A detailed study is not required. (p15)

Strategic environmental assessment

Assessment of alternative approaches (bottom of p6)

Summary of assessment findings – South Worcestershire (starts p11)

Climate change (p11-12)

Population and Communities- effect on households without a car (p13-14)

Health and Well Being (p14)

Next steps (p18)

Priorities and objectives for LTP4 (p21)

Climate change (p25)

Assessment questions (Table 1.4 on p28) include communities (p29,30) health and wellbeing (p30) especially access to the countryside for recreation

Statutory consultation (p23, para 1.5.1) is required with Natural England, the Environment Agency and Historic England.

In my opinion, this seems to mean that consultation with user groups is left until the final stage, when the main decisions have effectively been made. Accessibility to services by public transport, walking or cycling is particularly important for people whose health or budget precludes car ownership. But including walking or cycling links requires forward planning to integrate them with new housing developments or road upgrades.

I hope this encourages you to take part in the survey, as alternative views take time and repetition to be accepted.

Dinah Sage

Build a Wind Turbine

Members of Transition Worcester are planning to build a wind turbine. They will be using a tried and tested design produced by Mr Hugh Piggott who has designed homemade wind turbines for people in many countries.

They would welcome anyone  who would like to join them in making this turbine.

Select here to download the poster.

If you would like to be involved or to know more about renewable energy please
contact us or the Transition Worcester energy group transitionworcester@gmail.com.

New Year from Despair to Hope?

 

This is copy of an article by Robin Coates, first written for Malvern Hillistic.

There can be no doubt that 2016 will be remembered as a year of seismic political shifts. We now live in a world where the President of the United States has espoused climate change denial and has installed a climate sceptic to head up the Environmental Protection Agency, whilst the former CEO of ExxonMobil is the Secretary of State! Meanwhile here in the UK, most established environmental policies are up for grabs in the Brexit negotiations and Government action on renewable energy is sadly lacking, although the cost of onshore wind is now the cheapest form of energy. It would be hard not to feel despair in the face of our new reality.

We can’t deny having those feelings but there is also a great deal of hope. For the first time, we (and the majority of nations) have ratified the international Paris agreement that begins to address the key issues of climate change. Investment and operating costs of renewables are outperforming fossil fuels across the world, and global businesses and finances are coming on board and disinvesting from fossil fuels – the momentum appears irreversible. Alongside this (whilst it might not always feel like it), public opinion supports tackling climate change and renewable energy, that makes us really hopeful.

Another hope indicator was the Marrakesh Climate Change meeting in December. Where despite Trumps pronouncement’s about not ratifying the Paris agreement, there was overwhelming support to redouble efforts to tackle it. China, now by far the biggest investor in renewables, is leading the way and India now realises, it is a cheaper option than coal and allows them to help their massive rural population without having the expensive and long lead times of building a grid. There are also a number of States in the USA who have told Trump they will take him to court if he renegades on the Paris agreement.

The other big shift is all the new thinking and investment on energy storage.  We are now seeing the possibilities of household batteries, use of parked electric cars batteries at peak times and major battery installations, like those of Google all happening. Other large scale storage solutions are either being installed or seriously being considered like compressed air, electricity conversion to hydrogen and chemicals. All this together with local grids with smart systems that can shed load and charge differential prices for peak time electricity and manage supply and demand in new ways. These approaches can make the intermittence of renewables a benefit rather than a problem.

We citizens need to keep talking to others about all this to realise that a consensus is building and take every opportunity to put pressure on the Government to get back into renewables, rather than the Fracking dead end and the unbankable nuclear option. The UK needs to return to leading on these issues, most of the good work that has been done to date was as a result of the pre 2008 government, the frameworks they put in place that allowed on and off shore wind as well as PV have now been dismantled.

Phasing out fossil fuels gives us a chance to reverse a number of serious problems. The obvious ones are environmental climate change, devastating pollution in many poorer countries around the mines and oil fields, acid rain from the power stations. There are also political problems, oil rich states are very often totalitarian as they can “bribe” the people to keep the status quo, in democratic oil rich states the lobbying has distorted democracy (see USA). The plight of indigenous peoples has often been extreme as their lands have been plundered and destroyed.

It is to be hoped that this move from fossil fuels will allow more people to wake up to the need for humanity to deepen its awareness and change its relationship with the whole of creation. This consciousness shift has been growing (it is what our Inner Transition Group is all about). More people are aware of the devastating impact of believing humankind are separate from the natural world and can use it as we please as if it is inexhaustible thereby creating waste, destruction, pollution and actual progressively harming ourselves by losing the clean air, water, fertile soil, heathy animals, wilderness and climate that supports us and all life.

It would take a long article to outline the many influences that have lead us into this dead end of separateness from most of creation. It is important to see it as a progressive blindness that has come over the developed world.

Although this process started before the Enlightenment, its influence and subsequent educational emphasise placed an over reliance on so called “rational thinking” and the idea that the material world is the whole world. This has led to us subordinating or discounting our imagination, intuition, embodied experiences (feelings, emotions and things we know but can’t yet put into words), sense of mystery, wonder and the sacred.

So, the hope for 2017 is that the technical solutions to our/the earth’s problems happen in parallel to humankind’s consciousness shift to understanding and being part of all creation, if we care for all creation we will be caring for ourselves.

 

 

This website has been rehosted

If you are reading this then you are looking at our website on our new host.  This has now completed. Our address remains transitionmalvernhills.org.uk.

Since the start of Transition Malvern Hills, John Howes has been hosting our website as part of his own hosting. John has now rationalised the web hosting and we have moved to a commercial hosting solution. We thank John for the hosting he provided.

As part of  the move we have taken the opportunity to updated the structure of the site. The main change is that we have removed working groups as Transition Malvern Hills no longer has active working groups.

Chair’s Report 2016

This is the report given by our chair, Ginny Lee to our Annual Network Meeting 28th, September 2016.

This year has been a reflective 12 months.  The core Transition Malvern Hills group, (Myself, Robin, Ian and Dinah) has been investing the time in looking at ‘where next’ for TMH.  We started this process by organising 6 weekly workshops, to discuss potential new projects, these were led by Richard Priestley, who has a wider vision and knowledge of low energy projects that are happening on a global as well as a local scale. The idea of the workshops was to reconcile the work of TMH within the Malvern area with the initiatives that have  happened in the area.  The conclusion was that many of us are now working on existing successful initiatives not leaving the manpower to begin new projects.

Our next step was to take an overarching view of our work since the grassroots Transition movement was brought to life in Malvern in 2007.  Some of us remember those early days when we had a blank slate to work with – The question being ‘What was to be our first low carbon initiative?’ Much of it was about creating a medium to highlight the issues we will be facing with Global Warming being very much a reality that would affect us all.  Hence the creation of the TMH calendar, this was distributed throughout Malvern advertising films, talks and projects led by founder volunteers.  In 2009 our calendar had the following events:

  • Transition Roadshow
  • Pudding Club – Bring your favourite pudding to share & swap recipes
  • Transition Drinks
  • Breakfast on the Beacon
  • Colwall Car Club meeting,
  • Malvern Community Forest: Nest boxes for Spring
  • Films
  • Malvern Mulchers
  • Network Meeting
  • Gardener’s Question Time
  • Malvern Community Forest: Nature Trails and Footpaths
  • Alternative Energy Talk
  • Transition Quiz
  • Transition Tavern – Open Mic – Food & Drink to Share
  • An illustrated talk on the problems caused by light spillage from poorly designed street lighting, floodlighting and security lighting,
  • Fun activities for the young people at Malvern Youth Centre.

This stirs up a dose of nostalgia.

Ok, so where are we now?

Within Malvern we have, a Car share club, Electric bike hire scheme, Gas Lamp project to upgrade and reduce their gas use, a community centre (Malvern Cube), Raised Vegetable Bed project, Community Energy Company, Energy Tracers, Garden Share, Inner Transition, Repair Cafe, Malvern Food Alliance, Malvern Community Forest, Abundance, could there be more…

Next door in Colwall we have, Colwall Orchard Group

The work and energy that has gone into these sustainable projects is something we should all celebrate.  Transition Malvern Hills is proud to have initiated some of these ideas and have supported the others that have grown from the need to recognise that a low carbon life style will benefit us all as well as protect our environment.

TMH would like to continue as a mouthpiece to promote and inspire others to continue to develop and grow new low energy projects, also to sign post existing and new initiatives.

How will we do this in the coming year?  By continuing with our newsletter.  We need help with this…  Please let us know if this idea is something you would like to offer some of your time to help with and support.

 

Ginny Lee (Chair Transition Malvern Hills)

MalvernSoup

Crowd funding for micro community projects

MalvernSoup is a new start-up Soup following in the tradition of Soups around the country  and inspired by Detroit Soup. 

So what is MalvernSoup?  They are a Group of volunteers who will organise a Sunday lunch get-together four times a year somewhere in Malvern.  You’ll pay an entrance fee which will go to the winning project.

The next Malvern Soup is to be held At:  Malvern Town FC Langland Avenue, Malvern WR14 2EQ. On:  11th December, 2016 At:  3pm to 6pm.

see malvernsoup.co.uk for more information.

Green Heart Gratitude Walk

greenheart

Green Heart Gratitude Walk 14 October 2016

Show the Love

Women’s Institute (WI) members, their friends and other members of the community will be showing their gratitude to organizations in Great Malvern for taking action against climate change, on Friday 14 October. Green hearts, made by members of the WI, will be presented to organizations for taking a range of positive actions.

Harriett Baldwin MP will be joining them and the Gazette has promised some coverage – it would be good to have a bit of a crowd, so please join us – and bring a friend.

They will meet at 3.30pm at Malvern Theatres, where the first presentation will be made. We are then planning to walk around the town centre (not far), making 2-3 other presentations. We plan to finish by 4.30pm.

For more information, please contact Julia on 07904 389889 or 01684 577400.

Can we together Create the Future we want

This is copy of an article by Robin Coates, first written for Malvern Hillistic.

To add to the Transition to a low Carbon more Community resilient world that Transition Malvern Hills (TMH) has been working towards we now have the massive Brexit transition to work our way through.

From a TMH perspective the big concern about Brexit is that the EU has been very successfully working towards (and achieving in many areas) much improved environment protection and standards. As well as being vital leaders of the Climate Change agenda. Will the UK now backslide to the position it was before we joined “The Dirty Man of Europe”? We had the poorest recycling rates, the highest level of pumping sewage to sea and spreading sewage sludge to agricultural land, the most inefficient houses (by Northern EU standards), the least interest in restricting dangerous chemicals and pesticides and much more. Having to raise our game to meet EU regulation has led to major benefits in nearly all environmental areas. In others like air pollution the regulations have enabled the Government to be taken to court by UK pressure groups and instructed by the courts to create a plan.

If there is a loud enough voice from the public we can perhaps stop there being a bonfire of necessary regulation (the bonfire proponents would call all this red tape).

It is just possible that Brexit could lead to the UK creating a vision of a different future. We will be less attractive to Multinationals so maybe their lobbying tactics will stay focussed on Brussels and the publics’ voice could carry more weight in the UK.

As Rob Hopkins the Co- Founder of Transition Towns recently wrote in his blog:
It could, after all, end up with England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, in whatever permutations of independence or united-ness we end up with, as a model sustainable, equitable and resilient nation, showcasing a completely renewable energy grid, home to thriving and diverse food economies, meeting its housing needs through truly affordable gorgeous homes in community ownership, supporting each other through the long-overdue disintegration of neoliberalism, creating diverse thriving working communities. And if those of us fighting for a better world in the UK have lost the link to the EU, then we will need to find other ways of co-operating with our friends across Europe and around the world, working locally but sharing our learnings, overcoming barriers and tapping with greater vigour into the networks that exist. Well why not?

From a Hillistic perspective we can add to this healthier citizens supported to eat and live healthily with unhealthy food advertising banned or carrying serious warnings and lots of emphasis on complementary treatments that support our bodies to heal themselves, with drugs being a last resort.

To make this much more attractive future come about we, as citizens, are going to have to raise our voices and support or create the many experiments and prototypes of this more healthy society. We need to realise just how many people want this more desirable future and feel rather hopeless about it happening. It is worth pondering on how many small groups are quietly working on this, usually believing they are in a tiny minority as they are not connected to other groups and individuals working on another aspect of a very similar vision.

There is a book called Blessed Unrest subtitled: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming. It is a 2007 New York Times bestseller by Paul Hawken. He identifies all the fragments from social justice, indigenous peoples’ oppression, inequality and environmental issues and more and showed how interconnected these are and how many millions of people are working for change but most not realising how much we need to join the issues and our pressure and solutions. To broaden our sense of community and realise together we can achieve much more.

TMH’s project have been based around the notion of them being community schemes (the Malvern Hills Car Club and the Malvern Community Energy Coop being examples). All our efforts have also built links to other Malvern groups. The Malvern Cube Youth and Community Centre is perhaps the most overtly community based project, helping to save the building from demolition and then run it and develop it with a wonderful group of Trustees and Volunteers from other groups and interests.

A great venue for your next event, group or class, have you tried it yet?

Now Malvern has a community resource second to none where all ages, abilities and interest can do their own thing and meet others with different interests.
What else can we create together?

We would like to start a project that brings together the distribution of local food but we need interested volunteers, could you be one of them?

More information: for electric bike greenwheels.org.uk, for the car club malvernhills-carclubs.org.uk, for the malverncube.com or contact Robin Coates 01684 540284, robin@robincoates.com.