Community orchard
Have you got a great idea ... but need some cash for it?
Vote for Riverside!
Pennine Community Power
Green News
Book review

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Newsletter from Blackshaw Environmental Action Team (BEAT -   September 2015 - no 40
Community orchard
BEAT has received another grant for garden furniture for the community orchard. The £500 from the Ward Forum has been used to purchase a second bench. It has been placed by the entrance to the orchard.

Asylum seekers from the Together We Grow project,, have started creating steps from the entrance of the community orchard to a picnic table and a bench. So you can have a sit-down and enjoy the views. Feel free to visit the orchard and to try the garden furniture.

If you come to the orchard in the evening you may be able to watch the bats flying near the trees along the road and the stream. BEAT has put up five bat boxes in the trees.

Unfortunately, a handful of the 75 fruit trees planted in the orchard have died. It could be due to lack of water after the planting. The 35 fruit bushes all seem ok. Carol and Garry King, who own the land, have agreed we can take water from a nearby well. BEAT has still got some spare grafted fruit trees we can plant in the orchard – to replace the dead trees.

Matt Taylor from Land and Forest has given BEAT £186 worth of deer guards and polls. We are very grateful for this large donation, which has protected our 75 fruit trees from being eaten by animals.
Have you got a great idea … but need some cash for it?
BEAT will be giving out a grant at a public meeting on Thursday 12th November – held at Blackshaw Head Methodist Church – to the best project that will benefit the community. It will be up to the people present at the meeting to decide what the best project is by voting. Everyone with a good idea for a project will explain their idea to the meeting, with the opportunity for the audience to ask questions and a vote will then take place. The project with the highest number of votes gets the grant.

The grant from BEAT will be at least £300 but hopefully much higher. From 13th October to 12th November all donations to BEAT given via will be added to the £300. From 13th October all donations of up to £10 to BEAT will be doubled and if you are a tax payer you can Gift Aid your donation as well, which will add an extra 25% to your donation. If you want to give more than £10 you can set up a standing order of £10 per month and donations during the first six months will be doubled up. You can of course cancel your standing order at any time.

ndividuals as well as local groups can come forward with ideas for this competition on 12th November. Just let us know in advance that you want to be considered by emailing
Vote for Riverside!
Riverside School in Hebden Bridge has been shortlisted for an Award from the M&S Energy Fund. Riverside has asked for £12,500 to buy solar panels for their building.

"This project will bring 8,000 kwh of clean, free energy into the local community every year, cutting 4400 kilos of carbon dioxide, and providing the school with savings and an ongoing income. It will support first class teaching facilities and offer the best possible educational experience to local children now and in the future."
- John Hairsine Chair of Riverside Governors

This is a national competition with regional heats. The projects with the most support – measured by votes - will be awarded funding.

Please take a moment to visit this web page and vote for Riverside:

Could you send this message on to other people who could also vote for Riverside?
Any ideas for how we can promote the project are very welcome – please drop us a line. We have until 30th September to get votes in.

We’ll be sharing news of the campaign and updates on our social media channels – find us on twitter @PowerCalderdale or on Facebook:
Pennine Community Power (PCP)

Having waited for months PCP has finally received an oral reply from Calderdale Council regarding a lease for the use of the roof of Colden J&I School for photovoltaic (PV) solar panels. The Council has said it does not have the resources this year to set up a procurement process to see if PCP will offer the best value.

“This is of course very disappointing as the PV project would have a lot of educational aspects to it. As there is no certainty of a possible lease we cannot go ahead with a community share offer to finance the project”, says Mark Simmonds, the chair of PCP.

To avoid the issue of a lease the only option is for the school to purchase the PV solar panels themselves. As the school does not have the money for this BEAT & PCP will offer the school to help with fundraising for the PV project.

PCP had to abandon the PV project at Staups Lea Farm as the government is planning to reduce the Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) by up to 90% by 1st January 2016 or even to abolish the scheme altogether. This means there will not be time to make a planning application for a large 90kW scheme. The costs of connecting the PV scheme to 3-phase electricity has also proven too high.

If you want to sign a petition against the planned cuts in the Feed-in-Tariff you can do it here:

PCP is as a member of Calderdale Community Energy and is also working on other community energy schemes across Calderdale.

PCP is a member on Power to Change’s Community Business panel in an advisory capacity. Power to Change has been given £150 million by Big Lottery Fund to spend over the next ten years. For more information go to

PCP was one of the main speakers at a community energy conference at York on 12th September.

Green news

www­.euractiv­.com - The European Union wastes about 22 million tonnes of food a year and Britain wastes the most, according to a study by European Commission-backed researchers.

www­.theguardian­.com - If the amount of food wasted around the world were reduced by just 25% there would be enough food to feed everyone on the planet, according to the UN.

Big Six energy companies have 'quietly abandoned their green electricity tariffs'
The commitment of the Big Six energy companies to tackling climate change has been called into question after it emerged that they have all quietly dropped their green electricity tariffs. Despite making public commitments to tackle climate change by reducing carbon emissions, none of the major suppliers, which together provide 90 per cent of UK household power, offers a renewable energy tariff. Tom Bawden, The Independent

However, you can sign up to 100% green electricity through BEAT’s partnership with Green Energy UK – just go to:
If you sign up through BEAT you will get the first month of electricity for free and BEAT will receive £25 from Green Energy UK.

Scottish & Welsh govts protest 'alarming' energy cuts
James Phillips, BusinessGreen

Ministers say Conservative proposals will hit community energy schemes and deter investment.
Environment and conservation groups representing millions of people have written to David Cameron to register their “major concern” at the cancellation or weakening of 10 green polices since he was re-elected.
 “This list of recent policy reversals is shocking, and shows disregard ... for the environment we all depend on”.
The heads of the 10 groups, which include the National Trust, Greenpeace and the RSPB, said they were shocked and worried at the changes, and rated the Conservative government’s track record on nature and climate change as woeful.
Since May, the government has ended subsidies for wind and solar power, increased taxes on renewable energy, axed plans for zero carbon homes, and closed its flagship energy efficiency scheme without a replacement. It also made a U-turn on banning fracking in Britain’s most important nature sites, and lifted a ban in some parts of the country on pesticides linked to bee decline.
Stephanie Hilborne OBE, chief executive of The Wildlife Trusts, which represents 47 local wildlife groups across the UK, said: “This list of recent policy reversals is shocking, and shows disregard for the health and wellbeing of current and future generations, as well as for the environment we all depend on.”
The letter commends the prime minister for signing a joint pledge with Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg to take strong action on climate change, and for the Conservative manifesto’s commitment to improving the natural environment. But it warned the decisions made by his ministers in the last few weeks ran counter to both.
“We would encourage you to resolve some of the contradictions that have emerged between the stated intentions of government and the actions of your ministers in its first period in office,” the groups said in the letter, which was also signed by Friends of the Earth, WWF, the Wildlife Trusts, and the Campaign To Protect Rural England (CPRE).
 We have, as yet, seen no positive new measures ...
They add that no new, positive policies have emerged to take the place of those scrapped or watered-down: “We have, as yet, seen no positive new measures that would restore the health of the environment or grow the low carbon economy.”
The groups note that only one of the changes, an end to subsidies for onshore wind farms, was in the Conservative manifesto. Others, such as changing the system of taxation for new cars so that from 2017 a Porsche will be taxed the same as a Prius after the first year, were announced in the summer budget by chancellor George Osborne.
The letter comes as some veterans of the green movement warn that this is the worst period for environmental policy they have seen in 30 years, and business leaders such as the head of Veolia’s UK operation warn ministers risk sending Britain “back to the dark ages”.
On Thursday, Swedish energy company Vattenfall said it was scrapping a planned windfarm in Lincolnshire, blaming the government’s changes to planning laws for increasing risk to the project.
Dame Helen Ghosh, director-general of the National Trust, described the recent policy changes as “worrying”. The CPRE’s chief executive, Shaun Spiers welcomed the government making better use of brownfield land but said: “its overall record on the environment has been woeful”.
The groups also warned that the scrapping of green schemes could undermine the UK’s leadership at the UN climate talks in Paris later this year.
John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, said: “This is not the mandate this government put to the country in the general election. And it will be a hard sell to the international community at the climate talks in Paris at the end of the year.”
The president of the AA , Edmund King, joined the criticism, telling BBC News of the car taxation changes: “If the government is serious about trying to get motorists to drive cleaner greener cars, this is really counter-productive.”
In a blogpost, the National Trust’s head of external affairs, Richard Hebditch, noted that it was unusual for the Trust to sign such a public letter, writing that: “there is a real danger that the debate on the environment becomes more and more polarised, with ministers allowing themselves to be portrayed as uncaring about the long-term health of our countryside and climate, and a conservation and environmental movement that ends up opposing government policy more generally. That situation would suit neither the Trust nor Ministers.”
A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change, which is responsible for most of the policy changes, said: “The government has been clear that our priority is to reduce emissions in the most cost-effective way, keeping bills as low as possible for hardworking families and businesses.
“As a result of world-leading levels of investment in the UK we have seen the cost of many forms of renewable electricity decrease significantly – in those circumstances it is right that we should seek to spend less, rather than more of consumers’ money subsidising these forms of energy.”
The Guardian
Book review
Tony Juniper: How Many Lightbulbs Does It Take To Change a Planet? – 95 Ways To Save Planet Earth. Quercus 2008, 303 pages, £7.99.

Those familiar with Martin Luther will know that in 1517 he nailed his ninety-five theses to the door of a church, which was “a direct challenge to the religious orthodoxy of his age, but were also positive, setting out what he and others saw as a better and more decent way.”

Tony Juniper also proposes ninety-five solutions “in order to underline the historic shift needed if we are to solve the pressing challenges that face us.” The focus of the book is mainly climate change and carbon-dioxide but covers a wide range of topics: how to achieve reductions in greenhouse emissions, protection of the bio-diversity around the world, farming, meat consumption, transport, recycling, sustainable products, tax reform and reform of international organisations like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation.

Although Juniper’s book is now eight years old his critique and solutions are still amazingly refreshing and relevant. What makes the book so readable are the examples given of how Juniper and others have been involved in making progress on many of the 95 solutions. One gets the feeling that they are not only very sensible solutions but also achievable.

The book shows that many of the issues can be addressed locally, regionally, nationally as well as internationally. We do not wait for the world leaders to sort it out for us. In fact, the world leaders – just like the national and regional politicians - are more likely to do something about it if they see local communities getting involved.

By showing ninety-five concrete solutions to the Earth’s urgent problems - rather than just describe them - the book makes the reader optimistic that it can be done and hopefully also makes the reader motivated to be part of the solution.
Copyright © 2015 Blackshaw Environmental Action Team, All rights reserved.

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