Food festival
Community orchard
Have you got a great idea?
Pennine Community Power
Together We Grow
Book review
Green News

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Newsletter of Blackshaw Environmental Action Team (BEAT)                                                   Issue no 39 July 2015
Food festival
A couple of hundred people attended the food festival at the New Delight Inn on Sunday 28th June. It was a great success with food stalls, live music, speakers, poets and children’s activities.
The festival was organised by the Great Rock Coop, Blackshaw Optimistic Gardeners, Charlestown Allotment Group and BEAT – with financial support from Calderdale Council, GRC and BEAT. The fete committee kindly let us use the car port and a tent for first aid for free. Many thanks to them all.
Community orchard
During the food festival BEAT gave a talk on the community orchard and led a group of people to the orchard. The picnic table and the bench had been brought onto the site and the picnic table assembled by Steve H and Phil D. Many thanks to them both.
The fruit trees will need pruning during the winter. BEAT will arrange with Mark Simmonds a pruning workshop on the site for anyone interested.
Have you got a great idea?
Do you have a project that will benefit the community you would like to implement but have not quite got the money to do it? If so, BEAT would like to help you by giving you a grant.
BEAT wants the community to decide who should win the grant at a public meeting in October/November. Anyone with an idea for a project will be given a chance to explain their proposal to the public meeting, which will then decide via a vote who should be the winner of the grant.
We expect the project to be of benefit to the community and invite people to express interest. Details of the grant scheme to follow.
If you want to present your idea for a project at a public meeting in October/November in the Methodist Church (the Chapel) at Blackshaw Head in the hope of winning the grant please contact
Let us see how creative this community can be!
Pennine Community Power
PCP has received a £1,400 grant from Community Foundation for Calderdale (CFFC)  towards our PV solar panel project for Colden J&I School. This project has been slowed down for months as PCP is waiting for a response from Calderdale Council.
In the meantime PCP is working on a larger PV solar panel at two large barns at Staups Lea Farm. This could be a 90 kW system with 360 plus solar panels on the roofs of the barns. An initial desktop quote from Northern Powergrid for 3-phase electricity to the farm came out at well over £50,000, which would not make the project viable. From previous experience PCP is optimistic that it can find ways to reduce these costs substantially.
If you own a good south-facing roof and are a user of large amounts of electricity and would like to investigate the benefits of having community-owned PV panels generating electricity on your roof, selling to you at a lower rate than mainstream electricity companies, and generating a return for the local community, please get in touch with PCP at
Together We Grow
A new organisation has been formed in Blackshaw Head – it is a project involving asylum seekers and refugees coming from Rochdale to Blackshaw Head, to grow food, enjoy nature/the country side and to do voluntary work.
The project is called ‘Together We Grow’ and it has a Facebook page of the same name: So far 54 people have liked the page.
Up to 33 asylum seekers, including children, have come for a monthly Saturday visit. At one visit they went to Phil and Lucy's nearby smallholding to see the animals, bottle feed the lamb, chase the chickens, watch the pigs, etc.
The local community has been great in supporting this project by donating outdoor clothes (wellies, jackets, hats, gloves, etc) for the asylum seekers to wear, baking cakes and giving plants for them to plant. Jacob’s Garden even donated a large summerhouse and 12 builder’s bags for the asylum seekers to use.
At the end of the first visit we asked the asylum seekers to fill in a feedback form. Here are some of the replies in their own words and spelling:
"I would like to say thanks to Finn and Laura. I like collective action and work group together. I like this area it's very nice and quiet."
"Today is nice day to me because remember my Farm the farm is very good and beautiful."
"It was very Exciting day. nice house, nice country side and nice town."
"I like playing football and Gardening. I like work around the Garden"
"I like about planting and nice weather. My children enjoyed playing."
"everything was fine"
"All things"
"We had a good day and fine day on farm"
"First, I would like to thank your hospitality. I like your house and garden."
The ‘Together We Grow’ project can be contacted on 01422 846863 or by email:
Book review
Mike Berners-Lee: How bad are bananas? – The carbon footprint of everything. Profile Books, 2010, 240 pages, £8.99, ISBN 978 1 84668 8911.
If you want to reduce your carbon footprint this book is a useful handbook. It shows the carbon footprint of 80 items most of use – from sending a text message to having a child.  It starts off with a guide to carbon and carbon footprints, how it is impossible to make an exact, scientific measure because there are so many variables. However, it is possible to calculate an estimate within a rather narrow range of possibilities.
With some of the examples there are more than one carbon footprint for an item depending on how it has been produced. To take the example of an apple: Zero CO2e for an apple plucked from your garden, 10 g CO2e if it is a local and seasonal apple, 80 g CO2e for an average apple (or 550g per kilo) and 150 g CO2e if the apple is shipped, cold stored and inefficiently produced.
So how bad are bananas? Answer: 80 g CO2e for one banana. A raw 4-ounce beefsteak has a carbon footprint of 2 kg CO2e – or the same impact as 25 bananas imported from another continent. Cheese has the same carbon footprint as meat – so being vegetarian might not be enough to get your annual carbon footprint down to the 2-3 tonnes that is the maximum if we want to avoid catastrophic climate change.
Although the book is mainly about food it does have calculations of the carbon footprint for other items as well, like a volcano, the world cup, the world's data centres, a bushfire, a country, a war and the burning the world's fossil fuel reserves.
It is not a book that tells you what to do but it allows you to make informed choices about what you want to do if you want to reduce your personal carbon footprint.  It acknowledges that there are limits to what we can do as individuals unless we also change the way our society in the developed world is organised – in other words: it is the economy, stupid!
Green news

Railway stations go full steam ahead with coffee recycling scheme
The company that owns and operates Britain's stations, Network Rail, has announced a new partnership to turn coffee waste into biofuel.

UK opposes new EU waste recycling targets in leaked paper
The UK has rubbished the idea of Europe setting new targets for recycling, despite warnings from the EU's environment commissioner that such measures should be non-negotiable.

European Parliament backs circular economy resolution
MEPs have passed a European circular economy report calling for a 30% increase in resource productivity by 2030, which could add nearly two million green jobs.

Air pollution claims 9,500 lives each year in London
Adam Vaughan, The Guardian
More people die early each year in London due to long-term exposure to air pollution, according to new research.

MEPs back tough new air pollution limits
Environment Committee vote backs new round of air quality targets for 2025 and 2030
By James Murray BusinessGreen
Congestion charge C road sign in London
Governments across the EU could soon face a new round of tough new air pollution targets, after MEPs on the European Parliament's Environment Committee narrowly voted in favour of fresh round of air quality standards.
The MEPs also voted for interim binding targets for 2025 for all of the designated pollutants except methane and backed plans for tougher rules on emissions testing, including specific tests for diesel vehicles that have been blamed for poor air quality in many European cities.
The Committee said the targets would prevent an estimated 74,200 premature deaths a year, 16,200 more than the Commission's original proposal, and lead to health savings worth between £28bn and £98bn.

The French Senate has called for new efforts to tackle air pollution, arguing it inflates healthcare costs, reduces economic productivity and agricultural yields, and has put Paris in the EU's bad books. EurActiv France reports
A Committee of Inquiry in the French Senate has described air pollution as an "economic aberration". The committee's proposals to reduce the phenomenon, which costs France over €100 billion every year, include raising the tax on diesel and taxing emissions of the worst polluting substances.
While overall air pollution has fallen in recent years, "the nature of the pollution has changed". Rather than localised industrial pollution, today's problem is more diffuse, caused by transport, heating and agriculture, the report said.
Particle pollution is responsible for 42,000 premature deaths each year in France alone, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

George Mombiot, The Guardian:
A new national organisation called Rewilding Britain has been launched with the aim of reversing centuries of ecological damage by returning species and habitats to the British countryside that have been absent for decades and sometimes much longer. In the process it hopes to recharge the natural world with wonder and help people to reconnect with it.

Tackling climate change will reap benefits for human health
Curbing climate change could be the biggest global health opportunity of the 21st century. But if we choose not to act, we could reverse all the progress made by economic development in the last 50 years towards improving global public health, concludes a new report by the Lancet Commission out today. Curbing air pollution, phasing out coal, access to clean energy worldwide and promoting healthier lifestyles would have "immediate gains" for human health, says the report. Roz Pidcock

Society will collapse by 2040 due to catastrophic food shortages, says Foreign Office-funded study
A scientific model developed has suggested that society will collapse in less than three decades due to food shortages if policies do not change, the Independent reports. The model, developed at Anglia Ruskin University's Global Sustainability Unit, does not account for society reacting to escalating crises by changing global behaviour and policies. 'The results show that based on plausible climate trends and a total failure to change course, the global food supply system would face catastrophic losses, and an unprecedented epidemic of food riots', said Dr Aled Jones. Louis Dore, The Independent

Climate change threat must be taken as seriously as nuclear war – UK minister
A stark new report commissioned by the UK foreign office warns of tripling food prices, unprecedented migration, high terrorist alerts and lethal heat if global temperatures continue to rise unchecked. In a foreword to the report, Baroness Joyce Anelay, minister of state at the Commonwealth and Foreign Office, said security threats and other indirect effects from climate change could have a greater impact than direct effects, such as flooding, and that climate change should be assessed in the same comprehensive way as nuclear weapons proliferation. Sir David King, former UK chief scientific adviser and lead author on the report, said ministers had taken worst-case risks into account when dealing with bird flu almost a decade ago, reports The Financial Times. The Express and RTCC also have the story. Damian Carrington, The Guardian

Benefits far outweigh costs of tackling climate change, says LSE study
The economic benefits for a country from tackling climate change easily outweighs the costs, according to a study that seeks to highlight the incentives for individual nations to take urgent action to cut emissions. Countries stand to gain more than they would lose in economic terms from almost all of the actions needed to meet an agreed global warming limit of no more than 2C above pre-industrial levels, according to the paper published by two research institutes at the London School of Economics. It is the latest research to underscore the apparent economic gains from limiting emissions, which include new jobs and improved health, even before the benefits of preventing dangerous climate change are taken into account. BusinessGreen also carries the story. Katie Allen, The Guardian
Contact BEAT:
Ashley Sharp (secretary), tel: 07855 746295, email:
Finn Jensen (treasurer), tel: 01422 846863, email: