Last Saturday Witney’s Edible Gardens group met for the second time to discuss local grow-your-own issues and to provide a place for information, advice and opinion over tea and cake. Yesterday was the start of Grow Your Own Week so it was quite timely.
Archive for March, 2010
Longing to eat fruit and vegetables that are really fresh and full of flavour? Want to reduce your carbon footprint? Prefer to eat organic food? Need a bit of healthy, free outdoor exercise? Then why not grow your own food?
The next meeting of Witney Edible Gardens will be 3pm, Saturday 17 April, at Daphne & Dave’s. Email Brenda at firstname.lastname@example.org, or give her a ring on 01993 700715, for more info, directions etc.
Professor Liz Dowler, from Warwick University will be talking about:
Getting food right: how should we eat, fairly and well?
at the Hollybush in Corn Street Witney on Tuesday, 30 March at 7.30pm.
Professor Dowler is contributing to the Green Party programme of talks ‘Thinking Green’. She is a member of the Food Ethics Council and the Iona Community. She is a nutritionist with many years experience of work in social policy both in the UK and abroad. In 2008, she co-authored: Reconnecting Consumers, Producers and Food: Exploring Alternatives.
I first noticed the existence of Eco-Schools a couple of months ago when The Blake CE Primary School in Witney was awarded a Green Flag for their efforts. Since then I’ve discovered that there are 25 schools in Witney and the surrounding area working on the Eco-Schools Programme. The Ducklington CE Primary School was awarded their Green Flag in 2008, which is proudly displayed outside the school. Another local school, that is actively working on the programme, is The Henry Box Secondary School. One of their Student Voice committees is focussed on environmental concerns including Eco-Schools.
Living Streets met with representatives of Oxfordshire County Council on Welch Way this morning to discuss the missing crossing. Prior to Welch Way being closed at the start of building work, a pelican crossing existed opposite what is now the entrance to the new shopping centre. On completion of the work the crossing had vanished.
Picture from original Witney Gazette article
Monday 22nd March is the deadline for responses to the District Council’s key planning document The Core Strategy. This planning policy document forms the framework for how communities in West Oxfordshire will develop up to 2026. It contains specific references to sustainability.
The document we are discussing is here (2.8MB), in particular section 8.
Tonight’s meeting is an opportunity to discuss our response and decide the practicalities of doing it.
Wednesday 17th March, Langdale Hall, 7:30 pm.
Come and participate in the running of the town.
Last year I decided to join the growing band of poultry keepers but instead of buying point-of-lay pullets I decided to start a small flock of rescued battery hens. I felt I could best play my small part in rejecting the high-intensity egg producing business but giving a better life to birds that had already suffered too much. There are a number of groups who re-home battery hens such as The Battery Hen Welfare Trust, but I used Hen Rehomers UK because they have a distribution network here in Oxfordshire. All they asked was proof that the hens would have somewhere decent to live and a donation of 50p per hen.
In August I collected my 3 ex-batts, and they were in a pitiful condition. None had any neck feathers and they looked very sorry for themselves. However, they were soon producing eggs, despite appearances!
We’ve received a slightly greenwashing voucher from Scottish and Southern Energy for six rolls of this combi loft insulation and we’ve been trying to work out if it’s worth it. Obviously free stuff is always welcome, but only if it’s going to be useful. There’s embedded carbon in all products and materials, so we want to be sure it’ll come in handy before we just swipe it off the shelves.
The depth of insulation recommended by the Energy Saving Trust is 270mm (or 11 inches). Currently our loft has a rather scrappy-looking 100mm (4in) with some bare patches, so some sort of top-up seems in order. However, that does mean we’d need two more layers of the thickness on offer from SSE/Focus DIY to get close to the recommended amount. If each roll covers 13.9m2 then that means we get 70m2 for free (900 sq ft). Our house’s footprint is around 25m2 (280 sq ft), so that should mean… two layers, plus a bit to spare?
Does this sound right? and worth our while? And does anyone have any thoughts or experiences to share; any pitfalls to warn about or any advice to give? And are there any other local grants/discount schemes other people can take advantage of? (For example, Focus are sneakily offering those rolls at two for the price of one anyway, and Oxford City Council has joined up to a council tax rebate scheme if you get British Gas to install the insulation for you. Anything like that from WODC?)
A Contribution From A Local Business
Well from the 1st April 2010 if you install electricity generating solar panels (photovoltaic) you will be paid for each unit of electricity the system produces. Even if you use it all!
The new “feed in tariffs” (FITs) will allow anyone fitting a typical 2.5kW photovoltaic system to their existing home to be paid 41.3p per kilowatt hour (kWh) generated. Enough according to the government to reward them with up to £900 in first year on top of £140-a-year saving on their bills.
You could earn a return of 7%-10% tax free!
Payments are guaranteed for the next 25 years and unexpectedly, linked to inflation. With electricity prices expected to rise by 20% by 2020 investors in solar panels will future proof themselves from these increases.
It also seems Britons are willing to pay more for a home with renewable energy so investing in solar could add to the resale value of your property.
So, if you are one of thousands of homeowners tired of earning a measly rate on your savings or someone looking to demonstrate their commitment to the environment why not look at solar energy and invest in the future.
If you require further information regarding these systems please contact Martin Grimsley at Homestyle Solar Solutions on 01993 703 187 or visit our website.
Public Meeting at Witney’s Corn Exchange, more information on the WWV website.
A deadline is looming for responses to the District Council’s key planning document The Core Strategy. This planning policy document forms the framework for how communities in West Oxfordshire will develop up to 2026. It contains specific references to sustainability.
Sustainable Witney will be responding before 22nd March and are interested in your views.