We are a voluntary group of people united by a common interest in local 'green issues' and social justice. We campaign on a wide range of key environmental matters in the area between Royston, Hitchin, Hatfield and Hertford, Stevenage, Baldock, Letchworth and Buntingford.
Our aim is to improve the environment for everyone living in North Hertfordshire. We do this through letter writing, lobbying council officials and MPs, organising public meetings, demonstrations, stalls, leafleting, can shakes and taking part in the democratic process within our community. We hold informal monthly meetings where you can learn about what's happening locally and have your say.
We also have a full diary of up-coming activities, contact us if you want more information.
The Group is a licensed branch of National Friends of the Earth and gets help and professional support from them to carry out FOE's National Campaigns within our area. We also run our own Local Campaigns on issues that are important to us locally such as the Campaign against the west of Stevenage expansion and opposing the building of an incinerator in Stevenage or WGC and encouraging waste reduction and recycling.
Unlike other environmental organisations, you don't just pay your money - you have the opportunity to take part and have your say too. This activity helps us deliver one of FOE's main campaign themes:
Think Globally, Act Locally.
FRIENDS OF THE EARTH
- The name of the Group shall be North Herts Friends of the Earth.
- The Group shall work within the following geographical area within the Herts County Boundary - North Herts District, Stevenage Borough, and of East Herts District - SG1 to 3, some SG4, and SG6 to 8. This includes Royston, Letchworth & Baldock, Hitchin, Stevenage & Knebworth and surrounding areas.
- The Group shall operate within the terms of the Partnership Agreement agreed by the Group and Friends of the Earth UK.
- The aims and objectives of the Group are:
- to promote an environmentally sustainable way of life.
- to promote Friends of the Earth and its campaigns in the defined area.
- to campaign actively on local and national issues relevant to meeting these objectives.
- to inform and obtain the help of the general public in furthering these issues in order to influence local and national government policy and local and national commercial decision making.
- The Group shall have a written Constitution. Amendments to the Constitution require:
- circulation of the proposed amendments to all Members of the Group.
- calling an Extraordinary General Meeting, with at least 14 days' notice given to all Members, to discuss the changes.
- at least ten percent of the Members or four Members, whichever is the greater, must be present at an Extraordinary General Meeting called to amend the Constitution.
- a simple majority of a quorate Extraordinary General Meeting that is called to amend the Constitution is needed to agree changes to the Constitution.
- The Officers shall ensure that Friends of the Earth UK is sent an up-to-date copy of the Constitution.
- Membership of the Group is open to any person supporting its aims and paying the annual subscription, as agreed by the Annual General Meeting of the Group.
- Membership is open to all persons without discrimination. All Members of the Group are required to act in a manner compatible with the Group's aims and to encourage the effective, efficient and harmonious operation of the Group.
- Only local Group Members may participate in the election of Officers and Campaigners to the local Group and vote at the Annual or Extraordinary General Meeting.
- The Group shall have at least six meetings a year, to be known as General Meetings. Members shall be notified of all General Meetings at least 14 days in advance. A General Meeting shall be the forum at which the major policies of the Group shall be agreed. A record of all decisions taken at meetings shall be kept.
- A General Meeting shall have a quorum to be determined by the Annual General Meeting of the Group. If that quorum is not met, major Group policy cannot be altered or formulated.
- In the event of the membership of the Group falling to 5 people or less, a quorum shall be two people.
- Policy decisions on a specific issue may be delegated at a General Meeting to a sub-Group. The sub-Group shall be required to keep records of its business and to report regularly at General Meetings.
- The Group must hold an Annual General Meeting every year and re-elect Officers and Campaigners every year at this Meeting or at an Extraordinary General Meeting.
- Members shall be notified of all Annual General Meetings or Extraordinary General Meetings at least 14 days in advance.
OFFICERS and CAMPAIGNERS
- The Group shall have a number of elected Officers, one of whom shall be the Treasurer. If the Group is sufficiently active, a Co-ordinator and Membership Secretary may also be elected.
- The duties of these Officers shall include:
- managing the finances of the Group and keeping accounts;
- distributing information to the appropriate Officers within the Group;
- acting as a 'Business Committee' to ensure the smooth running of the Group in accordance with the Constitution and achieving the aims set out in Paragraph 4. above;
- supplying Friends of the Earth UK with mailing/telephone details of a person who will receive information from Friends of the Earth UK;
- supplying Friends of the Earth UK with one contact telephone name and number and/or postal address which can be made available to members of the public;
- attempting to resolve any conflicts within the Group.
- The Group may also have a number of elected Campaigners who may be responsible for organising campaigns in which the Group wishes to be involved. The duties of these Campaigners may include organising actions, representing the Group to the media, letter writing and any other activities as shall promote the aims of the campaign for which they are responsible.
- Each Officer or Campaigner shall be nominated and seconded by a Member of the Group. Either the proposer or seconder shall be an Officer /Campaigner.
- Nominations may be verbal or written, but must reach the Co-ordinator at least seven days before the date of the Annual General Meeting or Extraordinary General Meeting.
- Each Officer or Campaigner shall be elected by a simple majority.
- From time to time, the Group may co-opt another Member ("a Co-optee") to act as spokesperson to represent the Group to the media. At least two Members shall agree to this co-option, one of whom shall be an Officer or Campaigner. The co-option shall be ratified by a simple majority at the next General Meeting.
- Only a Member of the Group may stand as an Officer, Campaigner or a Co-optee. A Member may be both an Officer and a Campaigner.
- Only Officers, Campaigners and Co-optees may represent the views of the Group to the media.
- The minimum age at which people can act as Officers or Campaigners of the Group is sixteen.
- The Treasurer shall be responsible for presenting the accounts of the Group at least once a year to a General Meeting, and also to any other meeting if requested to do so by a General Meeting, at one month's notice.
- The Group shall open a bank or building society account in the name specified above. At least two of the elected Officers or Campaigners shall be signatories to the account, and two signatures shall be required on any cheque drawn on this account.
RESIGNATIONS and TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP OF GROUP
- Any Officer or Campaigner who wishes to resign shall inform the General or Extraordinary General Meeting in writing and/or verbally. When necessary, a Group Member can be co-opted to carry out that Officer's or Campaigner's duties until the next General, or Extraordinary General Meeting. Election of a new Officer or Campaigner may take place at the following General Meeting. The Group will inform Friends of the Earth of new Officers and/or Campaigners and/or Co-optees as appropriate.
- The Group has the right and responsibility to suspend or expel a Member who has contravened the Partnership Agreement with Friends of the Earth UK, or brought the name of the local Group into disrepute, or been deemed to work against the aims or methods of the Group.
- All reasonable efforts shall be made to resolve conflicts amicably within the Group. When a Member of the Group is considered by one or more other Members to have acted in a way which is considered to be disruptive or abusive, or conflicts with the aims or methods of the Group, matters may be dealt with using the most appropriate approach, which may include the following:
- the matter shall be brought to the attention of the Coordinator and/or one of the other elected Officers of the Group. The matter shall then be dealt with by the Coordinator and Officers, if necessary by arbitration;
- a written record of the complaint shall be made and kept;
- the Coordinator and Officers are empowered by the Group to set out the Group's concerns to the Member involved;
- the Coordinator and Officers shall seek a resolution with the Member with the aim of resolving the matter to all parties' satisfaction;
- if all parties cannot reach an amicable agreement, arbitration from a Member, who is not an Officer, and who is mutually acceptable to parties in the conflict should be sought. If the Arbitrator is not able to achieve an agreed settlement, then the Officers are empowered to make such decisions and take such actions as they believe at the time are in the best interests of the Group, including withdrawing membership of the Group;
- if a mutually acceptable Arbitrator is not available within the Group, then the Regional Campaigns Co-ordinator should be asked to act;
- if a complainant is an elected Officer, that person should be replaced in negotiations by another Member of the Group, who is acceptable to the Officer and other Members.
- If the Officers receive a letter signed by three Members with regard to the conduct of any other Member, or the Group, that letter must be discussed at the next General Meeting, if so requested.
- Each Member has the right and responsibility to call the attention of Friends of the Earth UK to any of the Group's activities which in his/her view bring the name of Friends of the Earth UK into disrepute.
TERMINATION OF GROUP
- The Group shall be wound up by a vote at an Annual General Meeting or by an Extraordinary General Meeting called for that purpose. Notice of intention to wind up the Group must be sent to all Members and Friends of the Earth UK at least twenty-eight days before any such meeting.
- If it is decided to wind up the Group, a decision shall also be taken as to what shall be done with any remaining funds. In the event of a decision not being taken, the money will revert to Friends of the Earth UK.