Friends of the Earth North Herts

flowerSeptember Group Bulletin

12th September 2017

In this month's bulletin:

"Demain (Tomorrow)": film showing - 21st September, Holwell, near Hitchin

Our September meeting will include a showing of "Demain (Tomorrow)", followed by discussion of the issues raised. The meeting will begin at 7pm, to allow time to consider any routine business before the film.

"Tomorrow" is a positive and inspirational documentary, exploring creative solutions in the fields of food, energy, transport, economics and education. Produced by Cyril Doin and Melanie Laurent, it tells the story of their search for solutions to the crises humanity faces. See https://www.demain-lefilm.com/en

Please contact Peter (by reply to this email) if you'd like to come along, for directions and/or to organise lift sharing (please let me know if you would like a lift, or can offer to bring others).

Holwell is about two miles north of Hitchin, off the Bedford Road. Numbers will be limited by the capacity of Roy's living room!

Our next regular group meeting will be on Thursday 19th October, venue tbc.

Waste incinerator re-consultation - closing date Thursday 21st September

Herts County Council is running a re-consultation on Veolia ES's planning application for a facility to incinerate Hertfordshire's residual waste for 30-40 years. This re-consultation was necessitated by a slew of new and amended reports in response to queries on the previous version of the proposal.

Details at HCC's e-Planning Portal:
https://cloud1.atriumsoft.com/HCCePlanningOPS/

(see 'Further Information' folder for amended documents).

Herts WithOut Waste shares information about the amended proposal at http://hertswow.webs.com/apps/blog/

Protect Our Futures: day of action on fossil fuels and climate - 14th October

Fossil fuel projects are damaging our health, our communities and our environment, driving climate change.

On 14th October, thousands of people all over the world will be taking action with Friends of the Earth, calling on governments to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

Please get in touch if you'd like to support a local event as part of this global day of action. We'll be discussing this at our September meeting.

https://act.foe.co.uk/act/protect-our-futures-order-your-free-climate-action-pack-14-october

UK citizens are taking air pollution monitoring into their own hands

The Guardian recently published this article on Friends of the Earth's air quality campaign and DIY pollution monitoring:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/01/uk-citizens-are-taking-air-pollution-monitoring-into-their-own-hands

flowerAugust Group Bulletin

5th August 2017

In this month's bulletin:

Summer social - 17th August, Hitchin

Our next group meeting will be an informal social gathering on Thursday 17th August, from 7.30pm, at The Victoria, Ickleford Road, Hitchin SG5 1TJ (see http://www.thevictoriahitchin.com/contact-us/).

All are welcome. Come and meet other FoE supporters, enjoy a drink or two, and find out more about the group and our campaigns. Look for the Friends of the Earth logo, and/or T-shirts!

Hiroshima Day act of remembrance - 6th August, Stevenage

Members of the Stevenage Quaker meeting will be holding a silent remembrance at 8.15am on Sunday 6th August, in the garden of the Friends Meeting House, 21 Cuttys Lane, Stevenage SG1 1UP, and would welcome anyone who wishes to join them for a few minutes. A simple breakfast will be offered afterwards.

Please arrive in good time ahead of 8.15am, so that silence can be observed at the moment that an atomic weapon was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, on 6th August 1945.

http://cnduk.org/campaigns/global-abolition/hiroshima-a-nagasaki

Green drinks - 8th August, Letchworth GC

Tuesday 8th August from 7:30pm to 9:30pm at the Broadway Hotel, Broadway, Letchworth Garden City

Transition Town Letchworth's monthly get together. All welcome for a chat about all things transitional.

The Big Green Event - 9th August, Stevenage

Free event at Shephalbury Park, from 11am to 3pm, organised by Stevenage Borough Council. Birds of prey display, willow weaving, story telling, face painting (there's a small charge for this), and more.

http://www.stevenage.gov.uk/news-and-events/events/185342/

UK government releases latest (inadequate) plan for tackling air pollution

The government's much anticipated Air Quality Plan has now been published. But it doesn't do enough to tackle toxic air pollution and save lives now.

There's a big announcement - banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2040 - but this isn't a plan to end illegal air pollution now, or even anytime soon.

Read Friends of the Earth's analysis at: https://www.foe.co.uk/clean-air/latest-air-quality-plan

Public consultation on Hitchin air quality - respond by 1st September

A reminder that North Hertfordshire District Council (NHDC) is seeking views from the public about ways of improving air quality in Hitchin.

In 2012, NHDC designated a area along Stevenage Road, east of the Hitchin Hill roundabout, as an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA). This followed tests which showed levels of nitrogen dioxide above the recommended limit.

Almost five years later, the Action Plan for the Stevenage Road is due for a review and another part of Hitchin has been found to have levels of nitrogen dioxide that also exceed the recommended limit.

For details of the consultation, see: https://www.north-herts.gov.uk/views-sought-hitchin-air-quality-0

Stevenage residents can now recycle drinks cartons

Stevenage Borough Council has introduced kerbside collection of TetraPak drinks cartons, from 1st July. Stevenage residents will be able to put these in with paper and cardboard in their blue recycling box.

Please make sure to wash and squash the cartons to make room in your box and on vehicles - it also makes them easier to recycle.

http://www.stevenage.gov.uk/news-and-events/news/184785/

Earth Overshoot Day 2017 fell on 2nd August

By 2nd August 2017, the world's human population will have used more ecological resources and services than nature can regenerate in a whole year, through overfishing, overharvesting forests, and emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than forests can sequester.

Thriving lives within the means of our planet are not out of reach. Plenty of solutions exist for improving sustainability to #movethedate.

http://www.overshootday.org/

flowerJuly Group Bulletin

19th July 2017

In this month's bulletin:

Group meeting - 20th July, Hitchin

Our next group meeting will be on Thursday 20th July, at the Friends Meeting House, 1 Paynes Park Hitchin, SG5 1EH (in the large meeting room), followed by drinks at a local pub. Meetings are very informal, and non-members are welcome to attend.

Great British Bee Count 2017 - the results

Thank you to everyone who took part in the Great British Bee Count 2017. Over 320,000 bees were spotted, and thousands more people are now interested in the plight of our precious pollinators.

North Herts FoE ran a stall at Stevenage Day promoting the campaign, as well as organising a well-attended bee walk at Hexton Chalk Pits nature reserve on 18th June (which turned out to be one of the hottest days of the year so far!).

Full details of the results at https://www.foe.co.uk/bee-count

Get bee-harming pesticides out of garden plants

B&Q has announced that its flowering plants will be free of neonicotinoid pesticides (neonics) from next year. Ask other retailers to follow B&Q, urgently investigate their supply chains and commit to banning bee-harming pesticides from their plants.

https://act.foe.co.uk/act/get-bee-harming-pesticides-out-garden-plants

Clean Air Everywhere campaign

Hundreds of Friends of the Earth local group members and supporters recently took part in the Week of Action for Clean Air Everywhere.

It's an exciting time for the campaign for clean air - France just promised to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040, and the manufacturer Volvo is switching to hybrid and electric by 2019.

There's still time for you to make your voice heard before the UK government publishes its new Air Quality Plan at the end of the month. Sign the petition [link below] to Theresa May before Thursday 20th July, when it will be handed in at Downing Street.

Locally, we have obtained a number of diffusion tubes, which measure the concentration in air of nitrogen dioxide at a particular location; several of these have already been used by a primary school in Stevenage as part of a science project for Year 4 pupils, and we're currently awaiting the results. Please get in touch if you're interested in using one of the remaining tubes to measure pollution levels in your area. Results will be posted on the FoE website [link below].

See the next item for more on air quality, particularly if you live in the Hitchin area.

More on the campaign at https://www.foe.co.uk/clean-air

Petition: https://act.foe.co.uk/act/tell-prime-minister-its-time-clean-air-everywhere

Views sought on Hitchin air quality

North Hertfordshire District Council (NHDC) is seeking views from the public about ways of improving air quality in an area of Hitchin.

In 2012, NHDC designated a small area along Stevenage Road, east of the Hitchin Hill roundabout, as an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA). This followed tests which showed levels of nitrogen dioxide above the legal limit. Following public consultation, in 2013 the Council published an Action Plan that identified measures that might improve air quality in that area.

Almost five years later, the Action Plan for the Stevenage Road is due for a review and another area of Hitchin, where Park Way joins the Payne's Park roundabout, has been found to have levels of nitrogen dioxide that also exceed the recommended limit.

For details of the consultation, see:
https://www.north-herts.gov.uk/views-sought-hitchin-air-quality-0

Public surgery on aircraft noise from Luton Airport operations - 25th July, Whitwell

4-7pm, at New Fellowship Hall, Bendish Lane, SG4 8HX

An opportunity for residents of Whitwell, Breachwood Green, St Pauls Walden, Codicote and Kimpton and their representatives to meet with LLA's noise team to discuss any concerns relating to the noise impact of LLA's operations.

http://www.london-luton.co.uk/corporate/community/noise/talking-to-lla#PublicSurgeries

Green drinks - 8th August, Letchworth GC

Tuesday 8th August from 7:30pm to 9:30pm at the Broadway Hotel, Broadway, Letchworth Garden City

Transition Town Letchworth's monthly get together. All welcome for a chat about all things transitional.

flowerJune Group Bulletin

12th June 2017

Here is the June bulletin for members and supporters of North Herts Friends of the Earth. Please do circulate to anyone you know who may be interested.

In this month's bulletin:

Group meetings

There is no group meeting in June.

Our next group meeting will be on Thursday 20th July, at the Friends Meeting House, 1 Paynes Park Hitchin, SG5 1EH. Details in next month's bulletin.

Green drinks - 13th June, Letchworth GC

Tuesday 13th June (and next month on Tuesday 11th July) from 7:30pm to 9:30pm at the Broadway Hotel, Broadway, Letchworth Garden City

Transition Town Letchworth's monthly get together. All welcome for a chat about all things transitional.

Bee walk at Hexton Chalk Pit, SG5 3JP - Sunday 18th June

Group member Andy will lead a walk at this Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust reserve to look for bees, butterflies and other pollinators. Last year, we spotted four species of bumblebee and five species of butterfly, as well as hundreds of orchids.

The walk starts at 2pm, and will last 1 to 1.5 hours. It won't be an energetic walk, but the ground is uneven and not suitable for buggies or wheelchairs.

Afterwards, you could walk some of the nearby Icknield Way, have tea and cake at the Lavender Tea Rooms, or a drink at The Raven (both in Hexton).

Booking is essential, as numbers will be limited. Contact naturewalks@btinternet.com (or reply to this email)

'Tomorrow' film screening - 20th June, Letchworth GC

Tuesday 20th June, 7:45pm to 10:30pm in Broadway Cinema Theatre. Rating 12A, runtime 118 minutes. Shown in partnership with the Transition Network.

'Tomorrow' is a positive and inspirational documentary, exploring creative solutions in the fields of food, energy, transport, economics and education. Produced by Cyril Doin and Melanie Laurent, it tells the story of their search for solutions to the crises humanity faces.

The film will be screened following a short talk from Transition Town Letchworth and the Letchworth Sustainability Forum. Ticket price of £10 includes a complimentary glass of wine or orange juice.

To book go to https://www.broadway-letchworth.com/cinema/whats-on/tomorrow-with-short-talk-before-screening

Sign up for the Great British Bee Count - throughout June

Join Friends of the Earth's Great British Bee Count from 19th May to 30th June, and their free app will get you off to a flying start in identifying and recording different species.

By taking part, you'll learn more about our brilliant bees and easy ways to help them. It's also a great nature activity to do with children - encouraging them to get up close with these wonderful insects.

https://www.foe.co.uk/bee-count

Friends of the Earth campaigns website

The FoE website is having a makeover. Check out the new look and learn more about current campaigns at at https://www.foe.co.uk/about-us/our-campaigns

flowerMarch Group Bulletin

8th March 2017

In this month's bulletin:

Group meeting - 16th March, Hitchin

Our next group meeting will be on Thursday 16th March, from 7.30pm, at the Friends Meeting House, 1 Paynes Park Hitchin, SG5 1EH (in the large meeting room), followed by drinks at a local pub. Meetings are very informal, and all are welcome.

Basecamp 2017 - 2nd-4th June, Derbyshire

Tickets are now available for this year's Basecamp. Group members can get help with travel and accommodation costs; please contact Peter if you're thinking of attending this year's event.

Basecamp is Friends of the Earth's annual flagship gathering of the environmental justice movement. Located in the stunning Peak District, it is a festival of ideas and action. The ideal place to find out more about making a change in your community.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/basecamp-2017-an-environmental-activists-wonderland-tickets-26944808648

Grow It Yourself Organic event - Saturday 22nd April, Letchworth GC

2:00 pm - 4:30 pm at the Free Church Hall, Norton Way South (bottom of Leys Avenue), Letchworth Garden City, SG6 1NX

Talk on companion planting by Karen Kenny from Garden Organic (2:30 pm). Plant stalls and activities, cakes and drinks. Non-members of GIYO - £1. Members free.

North Herts FoE will be running a stall at this event. If you can help out, please add your name to the rota at https://doodle.com/poll/yemgn8v8g3r39d5p

Stall at Walsworth Festival - Sunday 21st May, Hitchin

We're invited to run a stall at this annual community festival, held on Walsworth Common in Hitchin. It's always a well-attended event, and a good opportunity to promote the group and our current campaigns. See http://www.walsworthfestival.co.uk/

If you're able to help run the stall (previous experience not required!), please add your name to the rota on the link below, ideally by 31st March, as we need to confirm our pitch booking with the organisers.

Rota at https://doodle.com/poll/9usu75i3hhw3gwgg

Consultation on waste incinerator at Hoddesdon - until 31st March

Hertfordshire County Council is currently consulting on a new planning applicaton for a mass burn incinerator to process domestic and industrial waste, at a site in Hoddesdon close to the Rye Meads Nature Reserve. The deadline has now been extended to 31st March 2017.

If you want to see residual waste sorted and recycled rather than incinerated (producing carbon dioxide and other pollutants), please consider responding to the consultation. Guidance is available on the Herts Without Waste site at http://hertswow.webs.com/consultations.htm or contact the group for more information via http://hertswow.webs.com/contact.htm

Cambridge Climate Lecture Series - continues to 16th March

The new Cambridge Climate Lecture Series brings leading climate change experts to a global audience with an emphasis on finding positive solutions to the challenges we face. Speakers include Baroness Bryony Worthington and Prof. Kevin Anderson.

Each lecture will be live-streamed, and subsequently available to view on demand. This year's theme 'Climate Numbers in Context' is a tribute to Professor Sir David MacKay and the central idea in his 2008 book Sustainable Energy without the Hot Air that whatever path we take 'we need a plan that adds up'.

Details at http://www.climate-series.eng.cam.ac.uk/

The circular economy: a climate change solution? - 14th March, Cambridge

Venue: The Wesley Methodist Church, Cambridge CB1 1LG
Time: 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

This workshop, part of the Cambridge Science Festival, will explore how the circular economy might apply to our own lives and communities, and how it might help us in addressing the climate change challenge.

http://circularcambridge.org/events/the-circular-economy-a-climate-change-solution/

Countdown to Earth Hour

It's less than three weeks until Earth Hour - a worldwide demonstration of support for action on climate change. Join millions of people around the world to switch off your lights on Saturday 25th March at 8.30pm.

http://www.wwf.org.uk/earthhour/

flowerFebruary Group Bulletin

9th February 2017

In this month's bulletin:

Group meeting - 16th February, Hitchin

Our next group meeting will be on Thursday 16th February, from 7.30pm, at the Friends Meeting House, 1 Paynes Park Hitchin, SG5 1EH (this month in the small meeting room), followed by drinks at a local pub. Meetings are very informal, and all are welcome.

This month, we'll be continuing the discussion begun at our AGM in January on the future direction of the group, and our priorities for 2017, including looking at some of the positive changes we might each be able to make in our own lives.

Green Drinks - 14th February 2017, from 7:30pm

Venue: The Broadway Hotel, Broadway, Letchworth Garden City, SG6 3NZ

Monthly get together organised by Transition Town Letchworth. All are welcome for a chat about all things Transitional.

http://www.transitionletchworth.org/

Consultation on waste incinerator for Hertfordshire (again!) - until 1st March

Hertfordshire County Council is currently consulting on a new planning applicaton for a mass burn incinerator to process domestic and industrial waste, at a site in Hoddesdon close to the Rye Meads Nature Reserve. The deadline is 1st March 2017, though later responses may be considered.

If you want to see residual waste sorted and recycled rather than incinerated (producing carbon dioxide and other pollutants), please consider responding to the consultation. Guidance is available on the Herts Without Waste site at http://hertswow.webs.com/consultations.htm or contact the group for more information via http://hertswow.webs.com/contact.htm

Cambridge Climate Lecture Series - 23rd February to 16th March

The new Cambridge Climate Lecture Series will bring world leading climate change experts to a global audience with an emphasis on finding positive solutions to the challenges we face.

The series will be live-streamed with participation via social media using #CCLS2017. This year's theme 'Climate Numbers in Context' is a tribute to Professor Sir David MacKay and the central idea in his 2008 book Sustainable Energy without the Hot Air that whatever path we take 'we need a plan that adds up'.

Details at http://www.climate-series.eng.cam.ac.uk/

The circular economy: a climate change solution? - 14th March, Cambridge

Venue: The Wesley Methodist Church, Cambridge CB1 1LG
Time: 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

With 97% of climate scientists in firm agreement that we are facing a climate change crisis, there is a need for new solutions that help us reduce carbon emissions rapidly. The circular economy is one potential carbon reduction and waste prevention solution gaining momentum and Cambridge is at the vanguard of this change through Circular Cambridge, a festival that celebrates progressive ways to design, manufacture, access, repair and reuse the things that we want and need in our lives.

This workshop, part of the Cambridge Science Festival, will explore how the circular economy might apply to our own lives and communities, and how it might help us in addressing the climate change challenge.

http://circularcambridge.org/events/the-circular-economy-a-climate-change-solution/

The countdown to Earth Hour has begun!

It's about six weeks until Earth Hour - the world's largest demonstration of support for action on climate change. Make a note in your diary and join millions of people around the world to switch off your lights on Saturday 25th March at 8.30pm.

http://www.wwf.org.uk/earthhour/

Help combat plastic pollution [petition]

16 million plastic bottles are thrown away every day in the UK. Many of them end up in our oceans - killing marine life and threatening fragile ecosystems.

Deposit return schemes in other countries have been shown to reduce significantly the number of bottles that end up as litter, in our oceans and in landfill.

Take action to stem the flow of plastic into our oceans; sign the petition from Greenpeace to show your support for a nationwide deposit return scheme for plastic bottles.

https://secure.greenpeace.org.uk/page/s/bottle-deposit

Switch to Ecotricity and support Friends of the Earth

Switch your energy supply to Ecotricity and they'll donate up to £50 every year to Friends of the Earth. Plus, for a limited time only, receive a free LED bulb kit (worth £30).

Ecotricity supplies electricity entirely from renewable sources, producing around 30% from their own wind and solar farms.

https://www.ecotricity.co.uk/for-your-home

About North Herts Friends of the Earth

We are a licensed local group of Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland

The group is run entirely by volunteers, and new members are always welcome! Membership costs just £6.00 per year: please contact me for details.

You can follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NHertsFoE

Peter Foord, Group co-ordinator

flowerJanuary Group Bulletin

11th January 2017

In this month's bulletin:

Next group meeting - AGM, 19th January, Hitchin

The group's 2017 annual general meeting will be held on Thursday 19th January, starting at 7.30pm. Our treasurer, Ann, has kindly offered to host the meeting at her home at 147 Common Rise, Hitchin SG4 0HS (within easy walking distance of Hitchin station). Refreshments (alcoholic and otherwise) will be provided!

The AGM is an opportunity to reflect on the group's activities over the past year, and to discuss our plans for 2017. What should be our campaigning priorities, and how can we grow our influence and seek to work more effectively with other local groups and organisations?

The AGM appoints officers (co-ordinator, treasurer, membership secretary and others) for the coming year.

Following a suggestion from a member, we will also discuss making a contribution from the group's funds towards Friends of the Earth's continuing efforts to prevent fracking in Ryedale, North Yorkshire; see https://www.foe.co.uk/donate/NorthYorksJR

The meeting is open to all, but only paid-up members can vote (if required). If you're intending to come along, it would be helpful if you could let Peter know (by replying to this email), so that we have some idea of numbers.

Protect Sherwood Forest from fracking [e-petition]

INEOS wants to carry out seismic surveys in public forests across Nottinghamshire, including Sherwood. This is a dangerous step towards industrial fracking in our forests - and a threat to our cultural heritage and the climate.

The Secretary of State for the Environment, Andrea Leadsom, is the legal owner of our public forests. Please add your name to this petition and urge her to protect the forests for future generations.

https://act.foe.co.uk/act/save-sherwood-forest-fracking

East of England Regional Gathering - 4th February, Cambridge

A day for Friends of the Earth Local Groups across the region to get together, share ideas, collaborate on campaigns and get some relevant training. The venue is within walking distance of Cambridge station.

Peter and Madela will be attending.

Members of other local environmental groups are also welcome.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/east-of-england-friends-of-the-earth-regional-gathering-tickets-28887921551

Green Drinks - 14th February 2017, from 7:30pm

The Broadway Hotel, Broadway, Letchworth Garden City, SG6 3NZ

Transition Town Letchworth's monthly get together. All are welcome for a chat about all things Transitional.

http://www.transitionletchworth.org/

British bees, fracking, coffee cups - highlights from 2016

Important wins for British bees and keeping fossil fuels in the ground. Friends of the Earth's successes in 2016, thanks to your support.

https://www.foe.co.uk/news/british-bees-frack-coffee-cups-more-from-2016

Friends of the Earth's 2016-2020 strategy

Learn more about Friends of the Earth's new strategy, and how it will help us to achieve the organisation's 2030 goal of a better environment for the next generation.

https://www.yourcampaign.info/strategy-intro/

Divest Parliament

Ask your MP to sign the pledge calling on the Parliamentary Pension Fund to divest from fossil fuels, and create a world leading fund on responsible investment.

http://gofossilfree.org/uk/divest-parliament/

Climate optimism for 2017

For some much needed positive news, check out this compendium of renewable energy success stories from climate campaign group 10:10:

https://1010uk.org/itshappening

flowerDecember Group Bulletin

9th December 2016

In this month's bulletin:

Group meetings

Our December meeting will be a pre-Christmas social gathering from 7.30pm on Thursday 15th December, at The Victoria, 1 Ickleford Rd, Hitchin, Hertfordshire, SG5 1TJ (see http://www.thevictoriahitchin.com/). The pub is about 10 minutes' walk from Hitchin station. All welcome, even if you've never been to a meeting before - we'll be pleased to see you!

The group's 2017 AGM will be held on Thursday 19th January, venue tbc.

Transport Vision 2050 - Public consultation on a new Local Transport Plan for Hertfordshire - closes 14th December

Hertfordshire County Council is seeking the views of residents and local organisations on the future of transport in our county, in advance of preparing its full transport strategy in 2017.

Derrick Ashley, cabinet member for transport, writes in his introduction:

"The LTP requires that we highlight problems in our current transport network, identify major transport schemes required and consider a wide range of options to help support future growth. At this stage our proposals include enhancing walking and cycling provision; better public transport between towns; technology to better manage traffic on our key routes; and embracing modern technology to facilitate more shared transport schemes such as lift-share and car clubs. We also propose some additional highway capacity on the most congested parts of the network.... However we cannot simply build our way out of trouble, and we must consider ways of reducing the ever increasing demand for road space."

[Group members - should we submit a response on behalf of the group? Is anyone prepared to co-ordinate this over the next week?]

For more details and instructions on how to respond to the consultation, go to: http://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/your-council/consult/transportconsult/TV2050/

2016-2020 strategy

Learn more about Friends of the Earth's new strategy, and how it will help us to achieve the organisation's 2030 goal of a better environment for the next generation.

Craig Bennett, Friends of The Earth chief executive, writes:

"In 1971 when Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland began, the environment was a marginal concern for a minority. Now it is mainstream. People overwhelmingly back action on climate change, support renewable energy, and want to protect wildlife - not only for its intrinsic value, but because our fate is inextricably bound up with that of the rest of nature.

"Our job is to help people turn their concerns into action for transformational change..."

https://www.yourcampaign.info/strategy-intro/

Clean air campaign

This campaign will be a major focus for Friends of the Earth during 2017.

The blight of diesel pollution in our towns and cities contributes significantly to 40,000 premature deaths from dirty air every year, but there are plenty of solutions already out there, including clean air zones, better public transport and a phase-out of diesel vehicles.

Group members interested in finding out more about the campaign are invited to a Freephone teleconference on Tuesday 13th December. The call will take place 7:00pm - 8:15pm and will be convened by Ted Burke at Friends of the Earth. Please contact Peter for more details.

https://www.yourcampaign.info/

East of England Regional Gathering - 4th February, Cambridge

A day for Friends of the Earth Local Groups across the region to get together, share ideas, collaborate on campaigns and get some relevant training. The venue is within walking distance of Cambridge station.

Members of other local environmental groups are also welcome.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/east-of-england-friends-of-the-earth-regional-gathering-tickets-28887921551

24 tips for a tasty and planet-friendly Christmas

Finally, whatever you're eating this Christmas, make sure it tastes great - and is great for our environment too - by following these tips from Friends of the Earth. Happy Christmas!

https://www.foe.co.uk/living/articles/24-tips-tasty-planet-friendly-christmas

flowerNovember Group Bulletin

15th November 2016

In this month's bulletin:

Group meetings

There is no group meeting in November. Our next meeting will be a pre-Christmas social gathering on the evening of Thursday 15th December, in Hitchin (full details in next month's bulletin) - all welcome!

The group's 2017 annual general meeting will be held on Thursday 19th January.

Sustainable St Albans Week, 19th-26th November

A week of exciting activities/events all about environmental sustainability; waste, natural habitat, heritage, water, transport, energy, health, happiness. Supported by St Albans Friends of the Earth.
https://sustainablestalbans.org

Urgent - Tell Philip Hammond to back onshore wind

The UK government has been cutting support for onshore wind, simultaneously handing hundreds of millions in tax breaks to dirty fossil fuels.

On 23rd November, chancellor Philip Hammond will present his autumn statement. It's his first major policy announcement and a key moment to ensure onshore wind isn't hung out to dry.

Onshore wind is popular: the latest BEIS public attitudes tracker confirmed support at its highest since polling began in 2012, at 71%.

Sign the petition from 10:10 by 16th November, demanding that dirty fossil fuel electricity is not given more public money than clean onshore wind power.
https://1010uk.org/blownaway/

Let's cut Europe and the UK's food waste in half!

In January, the European Commission will vote on a legally binding target to halve food waste in the EU by 2030. If this measure enters into UK law before Brexit, it would be difficult for the UK government to reverse. Sign the petition to support the most ambitious agreement on food waste the world has ever seen.
https://www.change.org/p/let-s-cut-europe-s-food-waste-in-half

Stop Barclays Fracking - week of action in October

Last month, thousands of people around the country took action against Barclays Bank and their support for the fracking industry.

Barclays bank owns 97% of Third Energy, the company that's been given the go-ahead to frack in Ryedale, North Yorkshire. But we know that we can't burn the fossil fuels we already have - let alone look for new ones - if we want to protect ourselves and future generations from the worst effects of climate change.

For a round-up of the week of action, see:
http://gofossilfree.org/uk/stop-barclays-fracking-week-of-action-wrap-up/
https://www.foe.co.uk/blog/thank-you-great-stopbarclaysfracking-week-action

Great British Bee Count - the results

The results from the Great British Bee Count 2016 are in! A total of 383,759 bees were spotted this year by people up and down the country.

Find out which bees were spotted the most and which plants they loved to visit. Mbr> https://www.foe.co.uk/page/great-british-bee-count-results

Good news on renewable energy

The latest on renewable energy and future energy solutions in the UK and around the world:
https://www.foe.co.uk/blog/11-renewable-energy-good-news-stories-latest-facts-about-green-energy

What President Trump means for climate change

This November is likely to have profound implications for climate change. The Paris climate deal came into force on 4th November, but last week's election of Donald Trump as US president casts an ominous shadow over the agreement and the chances of avoiding dangerous global warming.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/11/trump-presidency-a-disaster-for-the-planet-climate-change

flowerOctober Group Bulletin

15th October 2016

In this month's bulletin:

Hitchin Apple Day - Saturday 15th October, Hitchin

We'll be running a stall ot this popular annual event in Hitchin town centre. Come and celebrate the great British apple! Traditional and new apple varieties for sale, local apple juice, apple cakes and goodies, kids' activities, local food stalls plus much, much more…

10am-2pm at The Old Market Place.

Our stall rota is on Doodle at:
http://doodle.com/poll/xvse3swz8f9c7ddg

Details of the event at http://www.trianglegarden.org/events

Speak Out for the Climate - Sunday 16th October, Letchworth GC

Venue: Wilbury Hall and Church Hall, Bedford Road, Letchworth GC
Time: 12.30 - 2pm

Local MP Sir Oliver Heald has agreed to attend and will answer questions. Lunch (optional) will cost £5 a head, with proceeds to Christian Aid for their climate change fighting fund. Ingredients will come from places already suffering from Climate Change.

This event is part of the Speak Up Week of Action, organised by WWF: http://www.wwf.org.uk/how_you_can_help/speak_up_week/

Group meeting - 20th October, Hitchin

Our next group meeting will be on Thursday 20th October, from 7.30-9.15pm, at the Friends Meeting House, 1 Paynes Park Hitchin, SG5 1EH (we're now using the large meeting room). On our agenda this month are FoE's new campaign on air pollution, action on fracking and plans for the group in 2017.

Week of action to stop Barclays fracking - 24-29th October

This October, people from all across the UK will be taking action to highlight Barclays Bank's support for fracking in the UK.

Friends of the Earth are teaming up with People & Planet, Frack Free Ryedale, 350.org, SumOfUs and other groups. Campaigning will focus on Barclays because of its financial support for fracking in Ryedale, Yorkshire - and for its investments in other destructive fossil fuel projects around the world.

There will be a peaceful demo outside Barclays branch in Letchworth on Saturday 29th October, from 10.30am. For details and to contact the organisers, see http://act.350.org/event/frack-barclays/13222/

For more on the campaign, see http://gofossilfree.org/uk/stop-barclays-fracking/

Car-free visit to Kimbolton Castle - 28th October

From Cambridge transport campaigner, Simon Norton:

I am planning a half term group visit to historic Kimbolton Castle on Friday 28th October, aimed at bus users (buses from Bedford, St Neots and Huntongdon). The castle is normally used as an independent school, but has occasional public open days. However, these are always on Sundays when no public transport is available. The castle does however also do private group tours at other times, and we have made arrangements for one during half term when the building is not in use as a school.

Contact Peter for full details if interested.

What's Really Happening To Our Planet? - infographic slide presentation

Former Friends of the Earth director Tony Juniper has created a presentation to go along with his new book What's Really Happening To Our Planet? His beautifully produced infographics are a great way to convey often complex information about the issues facing our planet. The presentation can be downloaded, free of charge, at: http://www.dk.com/uk/explore/reference/tony-junipers-presentation-slides-now-available-for-download/

flowerSeptember Group Bulletin

11th September 2016

In this month's bulletin:

"Population Boom": film showing - 21st September, Holwell, near Hitchin

Group member Roy will be hosting a showing of "Population Boom" at 7.30pm on Wednesday 21st September, followed by discussion of the issues raised.

The film featured in this year's UK Green Film Festival: Werner Boote (director of "Plastic Planet") traverses the globe to examine the facts and myths about overpopulation. See http://firstrunfeatures.com/populationboom.html

Please contact Peter (by reply to this email) if you'd like to come along, for directions and/or to organise lift sharing (please let me know if you would like a lift, or can offer to bring others). Holwell is about two miles north of Hitchin, off the Bedford Road. Numbers will be limited by the capacity of Roy's living room!

Note that this replaces our regular monthly meeting for September. Our next group meeting will be on Thursday 20th October, venue tbc.

Don't let Brexit break our environment - ask your MP to sign the Environment Pledge

10 weeks on from the EU referendum we're still no clearer on what happens next. But whatever your view on the referendum, weakening our environmental protection wasn't part of the debate.

As part of the Green Alliance, Friends of the Earth is asking MPs to sign up to the Environment Pledge, for a more environmentally friendly post-Brexit world.

Protections from the EU have been vital in securing a better environmental standards. We can't watch years of progress get erased.

Tell your MP that you want them to ensure that Brexit isn't used as an excuse to get rid of our most important green protections.

https://act.foe.co.uk/dont-let-brexit-break-our-environment

Climate justice event - 24th September, Hitchin

The Justice and Peace Commission of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster is organising a meeting at the RC church on Nightingale Road, Hitchin to discuss the local and global effects of climate change, the message of Pope Francis in Laudato Si, and practical ways for individuals and parishes to get involved.

We have been invited to run a stall at the event, on the morning of Saturday 24th September. Please contact Peter if you're able to help out for an hour or so (the event runs from 10am until 1pm, followed by a shared lunch).

https://westminsterjp.wordpress.com/category/campaigns/climate/

Week of action to stop Barclays fracking - 24-29th October

This October, people from all across the UK will be taking action to highlight Barclays Bank's support for fracking in the UK.

Friends of the Earth are teaming up with People & Planet, Frack Free Ryedale, 350.org, SumOfUs and other groups. We will be targeting Barclays because of its financial support for fracking in Ryedale, Yorkshire - and for its investments in other destructive fossil fuel projects around the world.

Please contact Peter if you're interested in getting involved.

https://www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/climate/issues/fracking_background_information_33157

Beyond Brexit: long-term prospects for the UK? - 23rd September, Letchworth GC

Venue: Broadway Gallery, 2 The Arcade, Letchworth, SG6 3EW

A symposium with briefing sessions by key speakers, including Vicky Ford MEP (Conservative), and Q&A, from 7pm until 9pm or so. Cafe will be available from 6:30pm for refreshments and snacks. Places are limited; please book via John at jwebb2005@hotmail.co.uk

Green Drinks - 13th October, Letchworth GC

Venue: Garden City Brewery, 26 The Wynd, Letchworth Garden City SG6 3EN

Organised by Transition Town Letchworth: from 7:30pm at the Garden City Brewery. All welcome. Come for some excellent locally brewed ale (soft drinks are also available, and snacks) and a chat about all things Transition.

Hitchin Apple Day - 15th October, Hitchin

We'll be running a stall ot this popular annual event in Hitchin town centre. Come and celebrate the great British apple! Traditional and new apple varieties for sale, local apple juice, apple cakes and goodies, kids' activities, local food stalls plus much, much more…

10am-2pm at The Old Market Place.

http://www.trianglegarden.org/events

Speak Out for the Climate - 16th October, Letchworth GC

Venue: Wilbury Hall and Church Hall, Bedford Road, Letchworth GC
Time: 12.30 - 2pm

Local MP Sir Oliver Heald has agreed to attend and will answer questions. Lunch (optional) will cost £5 a head, with proceeds to Christian Aid for their climate change fighting fund. Ingredients will come from places already suffering from Climate Change.

If you wish to ask Sir Oliver a question, please contact Peter Willcox by 2nd October at peterj.willcox@ntlworld.com

You may like to examine his parliamentary voting record (e.g. on support for renewables), available at: https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/10267/oliver_heald/north_east_hertfordshire/votes

This event is part of the Speak Up Week of Action, organised by WWF: http://www.wwf.org.uk/how_you_can_help/speak_up_week/

flowerAugust Group Bulletin

6th August 2016

In this month's bulletin:

Summer social - 18th August, Hitchin

Our next group meeting will be an informal social gathering on Thursday 18th August, from 7.30pm, at the Half Moon, 57 Queen Street, Hitchin SG4 9TZ

All are welcome. Come and meet other FoE supporters, enjoy a drink or two (and maybe a bite to eat - see http://www.thehalfmoonhitchin.co.uk for menus etc.), and find out more about the group and our campaigns.

March on the Department for Transport - 10th August, London

Meet at 5.30pm at London Victoria Station. Organised by the Campaign for Better Transport to demand action over high fares for unreliable, late and packed trains (particularly on Southern Rail at the moment, but anyone who commutes by rail will have experience of these problems!).

http://www.bettertransport.org.uk/blog/rail/southern-rail-action-join-us-marching-department-transport

Wildlife survey at Sandon, near Baldock - 20th-21st August

From Pat Sinclair of Sandon Conservation Group:

We plan to give a survey form to Sandon households (devised by the Herts Environmental Records Centre) which lists common animal species for the area. The aim is to encourage interest in wildlife and flag up the importance of conservation.

The bio survey date will be the weekend of 20-21 August, with the forms distributed perhaps a week earlier. The plan is to set up a stall in the village that weekend and collect completed forms, with the secretary of the Herts Natural History Society. A fairly casual occasion and certainly not one claiming to be scientific in any way, but hopefully stimulating and friendly.

It would be great to have other biology experts on hand at that time (just for a couple of hours in the day) to help identify any offering, lend legitimacy to the event, and help firm up the networking side of things.

For more information and to contact Pat see https://sandonsg9.wordpress.com/

Film night - 21st September, near Hitchin

Group member Roy will be hosting a showing of the film "Population Boom" on the evening of Wednesday 21st September. The film featured in this year's UK Green Film Festival: Werner Boote (director of "Plastic Planet") traverses the globe to examine the facts and myths about overpopulation. See http://firstrunfeatures.com/populationboom.html

Full details of the evening in next month's bulletin.

Climate Change event - 24th September, Hitchin

The Justice and Peace Commission of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster is organising a meeting at the RC church on Nightingale Road, Hitchin to discuss the local and global effects of climate change, the message of Pope Francis in Laudato Si, and practical ways for individuals and parishes to get involved.

We have been invited to run a stall at the event, on the morning of Saturday 24th September. Please contact Peter if you're able to help out for an hour or so (the event runs from 10am until 1pm, followed by a shared lunch).

https://westminsterjp.wordpress.com/category/campaigns/climate/

Sign the petition to end coffee cup waste

Did you know up to 2.5 billion coffee cups are chucked away in the UK every year?

And while some cafes do promote re-usable and recyclable cups, action is needed to make all the big coffee chains put an end to the waste.

Please sign FoE's petition to back new rules to end coffee cup waste.

https://www.foe.co.uk/blog/why-cant-we-recycle-coffee-cups-like-we-recycle-plastic-bags

http://www.wastenotuk.com/

Ask the "Sustainable 100"

In June Triodos Bank challenged 100 environmental and sustainability leaders (including Craig Bennett, CEO of Friends of the Earth) to answer five big questions about climate change, green living, innovation, their ethical heroes and society's most significant sustainable achievements. Their answers, submitted via Twitter, have now been published online.

https://colour-of-money.co.uk/askthesus100/

Policy & Politics Blog

Insights from FoE campaigners into environmental policy and politics at a UK, EU and international level. Recent posts on the debate over the Hinkley C nuclear power station, and an assessment of David Cameron's record on the environment.

https://www.foe.co.uk/news_events/policy_blog

flowerJune Group Bulletin

6th June 2016

In this month's bulletin:

Group meeting - 16th June, Stevenage

Our next meeting will be at 7.30pm on Thursday 16th June, at the Stevenage Friends Meeting House at 21 Cuttys Lane, Stevenage SG1 1UP.

The venue is close to the town centre, rail and bus stations. There is a (small) car park adjacent, and plenty of unrestricted parking in nearby streets. Directions at http://www.quaker.org.uk/meetings/stevenage

We'll be joined by a representative of the Divest Herts campaign, which aims to persuade Herts County Council to reduce and ultimately eliminate its investments in fossil fuel companies. The HCC pension fund currently holds around £129m of such investments, according to the campaign's website at https://divestherts.org

We'll hear about what the campaign has achieved so far, and consider how we might get involved.

Can you help out at Stevenage Day?

We'll be running a stall at Stevenage Day on Sunday 12th June, from 11am until 4pm. This well-attended annual event is a good opportunity to promote Friends of the Earth and our current campaigns to a large audience.

The event takes place on the King George V playing field, a short walk from Stevenage town centre.

We could do with a few more volunteers to staff the stall throughout the day: if you're able to help out for an hour or two (no experience necessary!), please add your name to the stall rota at: http://doodle.com/poll/5xrirmq8easbw9w8

Triangle Garden Open Day and Fun Dog Show - Sunday 12th June, Hitchin

If you're in or near Hitchin, please support your wonderful local community garden, and the Greyhound Rehoming charity GRWE at their special annual event this Sunday afternoon. There'll be lots of great stuff going on: carnival drumming, dog agility demo, junior archery, welly wanging, veggie sculpture, global food stalls, pond gazing, plant stall, and some lovely new stalls too including Neals Yard Remedies.

http://www.trianglegarden.org/events

Encouraging Nature in Letchworth

Tuesday 14th June, 7:30pm - 9:30pm (refreshments from 7.15pm)

Venue: Mrs Howard Memorial Hall, Norton Way S, Letchworth Garden City

Wildlife needs linked corridors to flourish in towns: parks, verges, hedges and our gardens can all be part of wildlife corridors. Come and listen to Elizabeth Towler on how the Heritage Foundation supports nature in its green spaces and Diane Ketcher, who will explain how you can improve your own garden to help the birds, bees, bugs and more.

No need to book. Admission free but a £3 donation to help cover costs is welcome. Organised by Transition Town Letchworth

Get involved in the Great British Bee Count

Britain's biggest bee survey, organised by Friends of the Earth (in partnership with Waitrose) runs until the end of June. Count the bees where you are and help build a better picture of the health of our bees around the country. Download the app today.

https://www.foe.co.uk/page/join-great-british-bee-count-today

Ask your MP to defend nature

Vital decisions about the EU Nature Directives are due to be made in early June, and laws that protect special places such as the North York Moors, Dartmoor and parts of the South Downs are under threat. Please help defend them and the wildlife they protect by writing to your MP.

https://www.foe.co.uk/act/ask-your-mp-defend-nature

EU referendum and the environment - FoE's view

There are strong health and environmental reasons to support remaining in the EU in this month's referendum. Learn more about FoE's view on the benefits of EU membership.

https://www.foe.co.uk/page/eu-referendum

flowerApril Group Bulletin

8th April 2016

In this month's bulletin:

Group meeting - 21st April, Hitchin

Our next group meeting will be held on Thursday 21st April, from 7.30-9.15pm, at the Friends Meeting House, 1 Paynes Park Hitchin, SG5 1EH (followed by drinks in a local pub).

All are welcome (you don't have to be a member of the group), and meetings are very informal. Come along to meet other Friends of the Earth supporters and learn more about what we do.

Topics for this month's meeting include reports from the recent FoE regional gathering and the public meeting in Hitchin on community energy, local plans (see below), and elections to the FoE Board, plus updates on national campaigns including the Bee Cause.

Going Backwards on Climate Change demo - 8th May, from 12 noon, central London

Organised by the Campaign Against Climate Change

Since May 2015 clean energy technology has been sidelined in favour of a dash for gas, subsidies for clean energy have been cut and plans for new roads and runways announced. So what better way to mark the government's one year anniversary than to march - backwards - down Whitehall?

Please contact Peter if you're thinking of attending this event and would like to travel to London with other group members.

http://www.campaigncc.org/goingbackwards

Walsworth Festival - 22nd May, Hitchin

North Herts FoE will be running a stall at this popular local event. Please contact Peter if you're able to help out for an hour or two (no experience necessary!), between 10am and 5pm.

The festival takes place on the Walsworth Common, Woolgrove Road, Hitchin SG4 0AU

Full details at: http://www.walsworthfestival.co.uk/index.html

Creating a Peace Garden at Hitchin Friends' Meeting House

From Christine Kell of Hitchin Quakers:

We will be starting to dig a pond (in the shape of a dove) on Saturday 30th April and Monday 1st May, 10.00am start at the Meeting House (address above). We have a pond-designer coming to direct us, but we need lots of volunteers with healthy limbs who might enjoy the digging. We'll provide a shared lunch. No skill or religion needed - just enthusiasm and good intent!

If you're interested in helping out with this project, or to learn more, please contact Christine at chriskell37@gmail.com

Pirton Neighbourhood Development Plan 2011-2031

North Herts FoE has been invited to sumbit comments on the recently published pre-submission version of the Pirton Neighbourhood Development Plan, which is now available online. We'll be discussing this at our April meeting; if you're not able to attend this meeting (details above), but would like to contribute your thoughts or comments, please email Peter by 20th April. Alternatively, individuals can submit comments directly via the link below.

The consultation closes on 16th May.

http://www.pirtonneighbourhoodplan.org.uk/public-consultation/index.html

Recycle your electricals - near you soon!

From April to July, the Hertfordshire Waste Partnership (HWP) will be holding 10 events across the county specifically for residents to dispose of broken or unwanted household electrical goods.

http://www.hertsdirect.org/services/envplan/waste/wasteaware/BISWEEE

Shocking facts about air pollution

Air pollution is the UK's biggest killer after smoking. Act now to stop another 29,000 lives being lost every year.

You can choose not to smoke. But you can't choose not to breathe. Friends of the Earth believes everyone should have the freedom to breathe clean air now.

https://www.foe.co.uk/green-blog/shocking-air-pollution-facts-5-unbelievable

Say no to the relicensing of glyphosate

The EU is currently deciding whether to reissue the licence for the use of glyphosate. This is in spite of a report from the World Health Authority that it is potentially carcinogenic Garden Organic is campaigning for a 'No' vote when the EU Commission next meets.

An EU environment committee has already voted overwhelmingly against the relicensing. The decision now rests with the EU executive, who will discuss the matter in mid April.

http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/glyphosate

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/mar/08/eu-vote-on-controversial-weedkiller-licence-postponed-glyphosate

Conflicted Seeds + Spirit - Cambridge, to 17th April

The University of Cambridge presents an exhibition of new works by Ackroyd & Harvey, exploring the links between fundamental biology, global conservation, the Museum's collections and human ecologies.

Until 17th April 2016, Wed-Sun, 10am-5pm

The David Attenborough Building, New Museums Site, University of Cambridge, CB2 3QZ

http://www.conflictedseeds.com/

Sign-up to Meat Free May in 2016

The amount of meat and fish we feast on is damaging our planet and our health.

Meat Free May will help you discover a wide range of delicious meat-free recipes, and launch your less-and-better-meat diet.

https://www.foe.co.uk/page/sign-up-meat-free-may

The Great British Bee Count is back

Friends of the Earth is helping build a nationwide picture of bees' health with the Great British Bee Count. Last year, you helped spot over 104,000 bees - from the popular white-tailed bumblebee to the tree bumblebee and red-tailed bumblebee. Sign up to get news about the Great British Bee Count in 2016 - it takes place from 19th May to 30th June.

https://www.foe.co.uk/page/great-british-bee-count-2016-sign-up

BASECAMP 2016: a life-affirming weekend with the environmental movement - 3rd-5th June, Derbyshire

Tickets now on sale.

Located in the stunning Peak District, Basecamp is a chance for those in the environmental justice movement to celebrate last year's successes and start plotting the coming year's campaigns! It's a 3-day festival of networking, learning, making friends and telling stories with change-makers from across the country.

If you're a group member and are planning, we may be able to help with costs. Contact Peter if interested.

https://www.foe.co.uk/page/basecamp-2016

flowerMarch Group Meeting

13th March 2016

Please note that we've had to change the venue for our March meeting. Full details below.

Our next group meeting will be on Thursday 17th March, from 7.30-9.15pm, at Bedwell Community Centre, Bedwell Crescent, Stevenage SG1 1NA .

The venue is a 15-20 minute walk from Stevenage rail station and bus stations, and there is a free car park close by. For directions see http://www.bedwellcommunitycentre.co.uk/

We will be joined by Tim Fitzsimons, Environmental Development Officer at the council, and David Ashton and John Webb from Herts Without Waste. The theme of the meeting will be waste management, recycling and the circular economy. This is particularly pertinent in view of the forthcoming decision by Hertfordshire County Council on its future strategy for dealing with "residual" waste. What do we need to do to improve recycling rates (currently around 50% in Hertfordshire), and how should we deal with waste which cannot (currently) be recycled?

All are welcome, and meetings are quite informal. Come along to meet other FoE supporters and learn more about what we do.

Regards,
Peter Foord
(Group co-ordinator)

flowerMarch 2016 Bulletin

3rd March 2016

In this month's bulletin:

Group meeting - 17th March, Stevenage

Our next group meeting will be on Thursday 17th March, from 7.30-9.15pm, at Stevenage Borough Council offices, Daneshill House, Danestrete, Stevenage SG1 1HN. The venue is a short walk from Stevenage rail station, and is adjacent to the bus station. For directions, see http://www.stevenage.gov.uk/contact-us

We will be joined by Tim Fitzsimons, Environmental Development Officer at the council, and David Ashton and John Webb from Herts Without Waste. The theme of the meeting will be waste management, recycling and the circular economy. This is particularly pertinent in view of the forthcoming decision by Hertfordshire County Council on its future strategy for dealing with "residual" waste (see below).

All are welcome, and meetings are quite informal. Come along to meet other FoE supporters and learn more about what we do.

Tell Herts County Council we need more recycling, not incineration - act now!

About half of Hertfordshire's household waste is currently being recycled. Much of the remainder could and should be recycled or composted.

Hertfordshire County Council is about to decide whether to extend its waste management contract with Veolia to 2050, locking us in to expensive and polluting incineration for decades to come.

Please sign Herts Without Waste's petition calling on the Council to cancel the contract with Veolia and to increase its co-operation with district and borough councils to boost recycling rates across the county (currently averaging around 50%, well below what we know is achievable with current technology).

https://www.change.org/p/councillor-richard-thake-urge-herts-county-council-to-stop-incinerating-waste-and-raise-recycling-rates-instead

EU referendum and the environment - FoE's view

Should the UK exit Europe? There are strong health and environmental reasons to stay in the EU. Learn more about FoE's view on the benefits of EU membership.

https://www.foe.co.uk/page/eu-referendum

No new runways - support the Heathrow 13

Last week the "Heathrow 13" received suspended jail sentences, fines and community service for defending our climate.

We can't afford to build new runways in the UK if we are to keep global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees - the goal of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Please stand with these brave protestors by signing FoE's petition against airport expansion.

https://www.foe.co.uk/act/no-ifs-no-buts

Grow It Yourself Organic launch event - Saturday 2nd April, Letchworth GC, from 2pm

Venue: Letchworth Free Church URC, Norton Way S, Letchworth GC, SG6 1NX

Organised by Transition Town Letchworth:
Join us for the launch of Grow It Yourself Organic (GIYO). There will be stalls, refreshments, talks and demonstrations. We'll also be welcoming James Campbell, the Chief Executive of Garden Organic, as our keynote speaker on the topic 'Garden Organic's Vision for the Future' (speaker at 2.30pm).

North Herts Friends of the Earth will be running a stall at this event.

http://www.ttletchworth.org/events.html

BASECAMP 2016: a life-affirming weekend with the environmental movement - 3rd-5th June, Derbyshire

Tickets now on sale.

Located in the stunning Peak District, Basecamp is a chance for those in the environmental justice movement to celebrate last year's successes and start plotting the coming year's campaigns! It's a 3-day festival of networking, learning, making friends and telling stories with change-makers from across the country.

If you're a group member and are planning, we may be able to help with costs. Contact Peter if interested.

https://www.foe.co.uk/page/basecamp-2016

flowerDecember 2015 Bulletin

14th December 2015

In this month's bulletin:

Pre-Christmas group get-together - 17th December, Hitchin

Please join us from 7.30pm this Thursday, 17th December, for pre-Christmas drinks at The Victoria, 1 Ickleford Road, Hitchin SG5 1TJ. The pub is about 10 minutes' walk from Hitchin station. All welcome.

Annual General Meeting - 21st January, Hitchin

Our 2016 AGM will be held on Thursday 21st January, at 7.30pm. The venue will be the Barn at The Victoria pub (address as above). Full details to follow in the new year.

Could you be our next treasurer?

Jill Bracey, our treasurer and membership secretary, will be stepping down from this role after many years of active involvement in the group, which continued even following her move to London around a decade ago! Our heartfelt thanks to Jill for all she has done for North Herts FoE.

If any group member is interested in taking on this role, please let me know. The time commitment isn't huge - no more than a few hours a month, Jill says - as our finances are very straightforward, and our outgoings minimal.

FoE's view of the Paris agreement

Following the ground-breaking global accord adopted by nearly 200 nations in Paris this weekend, read Friends of the Earth's initial assessment.

The ambition to keep global temperature rises below 1.5 degrees is certainly a step forwards, but the Paris agreement doesn't provide an adequate plan to make this a reality; people-power will be requied to make sure that the politicians live up to their rhetoric.

Read CEO Craig Bennett's blog at http://www.foe.co.uk/blog/paris-climate-talks-analysis-final-agreement

There's also plenty of analysis of the Paris deal on the Guardian's enviroment channel, at http://www.theguardian.com/uk/environment

Climate Rising: the people's climate talks - 30th January, London

Climate Rising is an opportunity to come together after Paris and get energised for 2016.

A day of workshops, inspirational speakers and updates from the talks, hosted by Friends of the Earth, PCS and This Changes Everything.

The venue is Friends House, a short walk from King's Cross station.

http://www.foe.co.uk/act/climate-rising-london-30-january

Don't let David Cameron overturn Lancashire's fracking win

Lancashire Council listened to the people and voted for fracking company Cuadrilla to get out. Twice.

But this decision is now at risk.

The Government has decided to take Lancashire's locally made democratic decision away from local people - meaning there is a real risk this could be overturned by ministers in Westminster.

http://www.foe.co.uk/act/dont-let-government-overturn-lancashires-fracking-win

Christmas gifts from Friends of the Earth

If you've not yet finished your Christmas shopping, check out what's on offer at Friends of the Earth's online shop, at http://www.foeshop.co.uk/

Presents for home and garden, clothing and books - and your purchases will help support Friends of the Earth's campaigns!

flowerNovember 2015 Bulletin

19th November 2015

In this month's bulletin:

Join The People's March for Climate, Justice and Jobs
Sunday 29th November, London

Join us for the biggest climate march ever planned in the UK.

The December climate talks in Paris will bring together world leaders to discuss global action on climate change. But for those of us outside of the negotiation doors, it's important to remind our leaders:

Members of NHFoE will be travelling on the 10.58 train from Hitchin (11.03 from Stevenage) to King's Cross. The march will assemble at 12pm near Hyde Park Corner. Contact Peter for further details by replying to this email.

Full details of the London event at http://www.campaigncc.org/29novdemo

People around the world will be mobilising over the weekend of 28/29th November; see http://350.org/global-climate-march/

Lobby your MP on planned cuts to support for solar power

The UK government has recently proposed huge cuts to the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) - the scheme which supports small scale renewables. The proposal suggests that the domestic FiT will be cut by 87%, with grave consequences for the rooftop solar industry in the UK.

This proposal is just part of a raft of policy changes on renewables and energy efficiency introduced by the new Conservative government since its election in May, removing crucial financial support for the transition to low-carbon energy.

To write to your MP on the FiT cuts, go to https://www.foe.co.uk/act/help-saveoursolar

For more background on recent government announcements, see:

http://backbalcombe.org/
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/solarpower

Save Our Buses campaign - street stalls and public meeting
From Terry Figg, campaign co-ordinator:

Some of us will be in Stevenage town centre and Hitchin town centre on Saturday 21st November to publicise the long waits that passengers now have to endure following the bus cuts. Some of us will be in fancy dress on the theme of 'Frozen' to highlight waiting for buses in the cold weather.

If you can help on that day setting up or persuading people to sign a letter to the local MP that would be great. You don't have to dress up, just come for as long as you can spare - we will be in Stevenage in the morning and Hitchin in the afternoon.

The campaign is also planning a public meeting before the end of the year. The venue will be the Stevenage Leisure Centre and the date will be publicised soon. We will be inviting Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland, a representative from each bus company that operates services from Stevenage, local councillors, a representative from Hertfordshire County Council and a speaker from the Campaign for Better Transport.

http://www.save-our-buses.org.uk/

Herts County Council delays waste decision until 2016

Following the final rejection in Summer 2015 by the Secretary of State of the plan by Hertfordshire County Council and Veolia Environmental Services to put a huge waste incinerator on the New Barnfield site, near Hatfield, the County Council is looking for a way to deal with "residual local authority collected waste".

Residual LACW is household waste left after kerbside recycling and composting, the waste that is put by residents in their disposal bins. At the moment it contains plastics and other valuable materials that should be put in our recycling bins.

For more on this, see http://blog.hatfield-anti-incineration.co.uk/#home

North Herts FoE meetings - dates for your diary

Our December meeting will be an informal social gathering on the evening of Thursday 17th December (venue tbc).

Our 2016 AGM will be held on the evening of Thursday 21st January, in Hitchin.

Further details will be circulated next month.

flowerJuly 2015 Bulletin

16th July 2015

In this month's bulletin:

Group meeting - 23rd July, Hitchin

Note change of date

Our next group meeting will be held on Thursday 23rd July, from 7.30-9.15pm, at the Friends Meeting House, 1 Paynes Park Hitchin, SG5 1EH (followed by drinks in a local pub).

All are welcome, and meetings are very informal. Come along to meet other FoE supporters and learn more about what we do.

Butterfly and Bug Hunt - 19th July, Pryor's Wood, Stevenage

A guided walk with reserve wardens Andy Holtham and Stephen Gardner

Join us on a butterfly and bug hunt at Pryor's Wood Nature Reserve to see what we can find in and around the wood.

Meet at 10am at the main entrance in Gresley Way. Booking not required.

http://www.hertswildlifetrust.org.uk/events/2015/07/19/butterfly-and-bug-hunt-stevenage

Support local bus services and enjoy Hitchin's nature reserves

You can help build demand for a Sunday bus service in Hitchin by visiting two fabulous nature reserves by bus.

The no 80 Sunday service is running over the summer as a trial. The circular route connects Hitchin station and Hitchin town centre with Purwell Ninesprings and Oughton Head nature reserves.

The hourly service is a valuable link from two big housing estates to the town centre and the rail station.

Herts County Council has decided to stop supporting many Sunday services from September. This new service is a pioneering idea from local councillors who allocated locality budget funds to the pilot. Only if enough people use this bus service will Centrebus keep it going after the summer.

http://www.centrebus.info/Documents/80%20-%20Stevenage%20to%20Westmill%20Est%20120415.pdf (See the very last page for the trial Sunday service)

Stevenage housing numbers consultation - closes 27th July

Stevenage Borough Council is currently consulting on a revised housing target for the local plan. The consultation closes on Monday 27th July 2015.

I'd be interested to receive views from group members on whether (and if so, how) North Herts FoE should respond to this consultation.

http://www.stevenage.gov.uk/news-and-events/press-releases/141967/

Hertfordshire Rail Strategy Consultation

Herts County Council is consulting on its draft rail strategy until 4th August.

According to the HCC website, the strategy "aims to ensure that the railway in Hertfordshire will support sustainable economic development and prosperity, by identifying priorities which the County Council will work to secure. The strategy will also help the County Council to incorporate rail into its longer term transport and spatial planning objectives."

If adopted, the Hertfordshire Rail Strategy 2015 will be incorporated in the council's local transport plan.

http://www.hertsdirect.org/services/transtreets/railconsultation/

The Budget: full speed in the wrong direction

In the final months before global climate talks in Paris in December this year we needed a Budget that would put the brakes on the UK's dependency on fossil fuels. Instead we got confirmation of huge tax breaks to North Sea gas and oil.

http://www.foe.co.uk/news/osbornes-budget-full-speed-wrong-direction

The true cost of the onshore wind subsidy

At a vital time in international climate change negotiations, and just one day after more than a thousand people descended on Parliament to lobby MPs about climate change, the new Conservative government announced plans to reduce support for the cheapest large-scale renewable energy - onshore wind.

Read more in this blog post from the CEO of Good Energy, Juliet Davenport:

http://www.goodenergy.co.uk/blog/articles/2015/06/18/the-true-cost-of-the-onshore-wind-subsidy

flowerMay 2015 Bulletin

2nd June 2015

In this month's bulletin:

Group meeting - 21st May, Hitchin

Our next group meeting will be held on Thursday 21st May, from 7.30-9.15pm, at the Friends Meeting House, 1 Paynes Park Hitchin, SG5 1EH (followed by drinks in a local pub).

All are welcome. Come along to meet other FoE supporters and learn more about what we do. We hope to be joined by a representative from the Hitchin Inter-Faith Forum, to discuss their plans for a public event on climate change during the Hitchin Festival in July.

Stalls during June

We'll be out promoting Friends of the Earth and our current campaigns at the following events during June:

Triangle Garden Open Day, Hitchin, Sunday 7th June, 12-4pm
http://www.trianglegarden.org/events/open-day-and-fun-dog-show

If you're able to help out for an hour or two (no experience necessary!), please add your name to our Doodle poll at:
https://doodle.com/8x6h2su8hirkn99y

Stevenage Day, Sunday 14th June
http://www.stevenage.gov.uk/about-stevenage/stevenage-day/

Contact Peter if you're able to help (between 11am and 5pm).

We're also planning to have a presence at the Rhythyms of the World festival in Hitchin on 20th and 21st June; let us know if you're planning to attend and would be willing to help out with distributing FoE flyers and/or staffing a stall for an hour or two.

Seeking offers of storage space in/near Hitchin

Due to an impending house move, we're looking for a new home for the North Herts FoE stalls materials, ideally in on near Hitchin.

We have a gazebo and a couple of folding tables, plus two boxes of leaflets, banners, displays etc. Please contact Peter if you're able to offer storage space in a shed or garage, on either a short- or a long-term basis.

Proposals for solar farms near Royston and Sandy

A series of public exhibitions is taking place later this week (20th - 23rd May) on plans for new solar farms at three sites on the Central Bedfordshire/South Cambridgeshire border. The company behind the proposed development is UK Solar Provider.

Overall, the projects have a potential capacity of 100 MW, enough to power over 23,000 UK homes every year and displace over 39,000 tonnes of CO2 annually.

For more details, see the consultation website at:

http://www.ukspconsultation.com/

Save the "Live and Let Live" in Pegsdon - investing in a local community asset

Group member Sharon writes:

Our Pegsdon pub, the Live and Let Live is up for sale and the community is currently bidding to buy it. It's time our lovely local was owned by people who would care for it and know what the local community actually want.

We're looking for people to invest, at £250 per share (pledges can be made via the website).

It's such an exciting venture, though also ridiculously scary, but if the Red Lion at Preston can do it, we don't see why we can't!

http://savetheliveandletlive.org/

At our March meeting, we discussed the possibility of NHFoE purchasing a share in the pub - what do members think about this? £250 is obviously a lot for most individuals to find, but collectively we could lend valuable support to this local community enterprise.

Sign the petition to stop fracking in Lancashire and keep the UK frack free

Lancashire Council is about to decide whether to let fracking go ahead, with decisions on two applications now expected at the end of next month.

Fracking for shale gas risks damaging Lancashire's beautiful and wildlife-rich natural environment and brings disruption and health risks to local communities. There is no evidence it will reduce energy bills.

Please sign FoE's petition to Lancashire County Council leader Jennifer Mein and ask her help keep Lancashire and the UK frack free.

https://www.foe.co.uk/act/petition-stop-fracking-in-lancashire

Mass lobby of Parliament on climate change - 17th June

On 17th June, thousands of people from all over the country will be gathering at Parliament to meet their MP and talk to them about climate change.

This could be the biggest ever MP lobby on climate change - and vitally, it will put climate action at the forefront of MPs' minds just one month after the election.

http://www.foe.co.uk/page/join-mass-lobby-parliament-17-june

Update on campaign against New Barnfield waste incinerator

The Secretary of State is now re-determining Veolia's Planning Application to build an incinerator in South Hatfield to process residual waste from across Hertfordshire (and beyond). The decision will be made on or before 16th July.

For full details, see http://blog.hatfield-anti-incineration.co.uk/#home

Keep it in the ground - Guardian articles on fossil fuels and climate change

Climate change poses a threat to all of us. Join the Guardian's campaign and help urge the world's two biggest charitable funds to move their money out of fossil fuels

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/series/keep-it-in-the-ground

flowerMarch 2015 Bulletin

March 2015

In this month's bulletin:

Group meeting - 19th March, Hitchin

Our next group meeting will be held on Thursday 19th March, from 7.30-9.15pm, at the Friends Meeting House, 1 Paynes Park Hitchin, SG5 1EH (followed by drinks in a local pub).

All are welcome. Come along to meet other FoE supporters and learn more about our plans for 2015.

Oppose cuts to Hertfordshire bus services

Hertfordshire County Council is currently consulting on plans to cut funding for evening and weekend bus services, so that on Sundays very few bus services would run. The exceptions are direct routes to Hertfordshire hospitals that would run only until 7.30pm. From Mondays to Saturdays most routes would no longer run after 7.30pm.

These are revised proposals, following an earlier consultation in 2014. Note the responses to the previous consultation will not be considered in relartion to the new proposals.

Find out more, and sign the petition to oppose these cuts, at:
http://www.save-our-buses.org.uk

Time to Act climate march - 7th March

North Herts FoE was well represented at this recent march calling for urgent action on climate change, attended by around 20,000 people on a glorious spring day in central London. Media coverage was somewhat sparse (in particular, the BBC apparently failed to notice the event), but there's plenty of video and photos from the day on the Time to Act website.

http://www.timetoact2015.org/#!what-happened/c1n5l

This Changes Everything conference - Saturday 28th March, London

Speakers including author Naomi Klein (via Skype), comedian and activist Russell Brand and Friends of the Earth's Asad Rehman. This will be a participatory conference seeking to discuss practical next steps for action.

9am - 6pm, Friends Meeting House, Euston Road, London NW1

Tickets from £2.50 (pay what you can afford)

http://www.thischangeseverything.co/index.html

New Directions for Local Action on Climate Change - 28th March, London

Organised by The Climate Coalition, this will be a great opportunity to meet with other local campaigners and plan action in your area. Tickets for this event are free.

Venue: University College London (just around the corner from the venue for This Changes Everything, so you can attend both if you like!)

http://www.theclimatecoalition.org/events/reactivating-local-action-conference

'Speak Up!' Mass Climate Lobby of Parliament - Wednesday 17th June

Coordinated by The Climate Coalition, this will be a huge event, and a great way to tell new MPs and a new government that they need to get on the right side of history in supporting tough climate action.

Please let Peter know if you're interested in joining other NHFoE members to lobby our MPs.

http://www.theclimatecoalition.org/events/speak-love-climate-lobby

The Guardian launches 'Keep it in the ground' campaign on climate change

The Guardian has recently begun a major series of reports and comment/opinion pieces on climate change, under the banner 'Keep it in the ground'. The newspaper has also this week started a petition calling on two high-profile charitable foundations (the Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust) to commit to divest from fossil fuels.

It's time to invest in a better future.

http://www.theguardian.com/uk/environment

Hatfield waste incinerator - judgement on Veolia's legal challenge to Secretary of State's decision

For the latest twist in the long-running saga of Hertfordshire County Council's plans to build a massive waste incinerator in south Hatfield, see http://blog.hatfield-anti-incineration.co.uk/#post361

Although the High Court has quashed the Secretary of State's decision to refuse planning permission for the scheme, following the recommendation of the planning inspector, the judgement simply requires that the decision be reconsidered. No time limit was set for this.

flowerJanuary 2015 Bulletin

11th January 2015

In this month's bulletin:

Annual General Meeting 2015

Our AGM will be held on Thursday 15th January 2015, beginning at 7.30pm, at 60 Fishponds Road, Hitchin SG5 1NS. Refreshments will be provided.

The AGM is for group members only, but you can join on the night, and membership costs just £6.00 per year (or just £2.50 if you're unwaged). If you're unsure whether you are a current member, please contact Peter (or bring your cheque book to the meeting with you!).

The AGM is an opportunity to reflect on the group's activities and achievements during the past year, and to help shape our campaigning priorities for 2015. The AGM also appoints officers (co-ordinator, treasurer, membership secretary and others) for the coming year.

We'll be considering a proposal that the group should formally affiliate to the "Save Top Field" campaign, which is fighting a proposed supermarket development on land currently leased by Hitchin Town Football Club. For details see:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-30367159

http://www.hitchinforum.org.uk/hitchin-fc-vs-cow-commoners/

We'll also be discussing whether, and how, the group should respond to the current consultation on North Herts District Council's local plan:
http://www.north-herts.gov.uk/index/environment_and_planning/planning/planning_policy_and_projects-2/localplan.htm

Sustainable Letchworth - video of Jonathan Porritt's address to the launch event

Last October saw the launch of Sustainable Letchworth, a forum of representatives from Transition Town Letchworth, the Letchworth Heritage Foundation, Letchworth Garden City Society and residents who are sustainability professionals.

Sustainable Letchworth will be leading the creation of a sustainablity strategy for the town; to oversee and encourage the changes required to build resilience in the local economy, energy supply, food and housing.

Jonathon Porritt (former director of Friends of the Earth) attended the launch and a video of his inspiring speech, invoking the founding principles of the garden city movement, is now available on the Transition Town Letchworth blog: http://www.ttletchworth.org/blog/sustainable-letchworth-launch

Tell the Government to let schools invest in solar

If schools could borrow money for solar panels they could save up to £8,000 a year while producing low carbon energy and reducing dependence on polluting fossil fuels.

Thousands of FoE supporters have been asking the Government to help schools to Run on Sun. But they won't budge.

Instead, they are bending over backwards to help the fracking industry, and giving hundreds of millions in new tax breaks to oil companies.

Please email your MP today and ask them to help schools to Run on Sun.

http://www.foe.co.uk/act/tell-government-let-schools-invest-solar

Solar power drives renewable energy investment boom in 2014 [source: theguardian.com]

Global clean energy investment leapt 16% in 2014 led by solar power surge in US and China - but Europe lags behind.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jan/09/solar-power-drives-renewable-energy-investment-boom-2014

Friends of the Earth successes in 2014

Read about FoE's campaigning successes during the past year.

http://www.foe.co.uk/what_we_do/about_us/successes_23915

flowerDecember 2014 Bulletin

13th December 2014

In this month's bulletin:

Pre-Christmas group get-together - 18th December, Hitchin

In place of our regular group meeting this month, group members and supporters are invited to an informal pre-Christmas get-together at the Half Moon, 57 Queen Street, Hitchin SG4 9TZ on Thursday 18th December, from 7.30pm.

Annual General Meeting 2015

Our next formal meeting will be our 2015 AGM will be held on Thursday 16th January 2015, beginning at 7.30pm. Full details will be circulated after Christmas. Venue tbc, but likely to be in Hitchin.

Knebworth solar farm - NHDC planning committee meets on 17th December

Solstice Renewables' planning application for a 8.5MW solar park at Swangleys Farm in Knebworth will be considered by the North Herts District Council planning control committee on Wednesday 17th December. The meeting will take place at the Icknield Centre in Letchworth, beginning at 7.30pm. Full details of the meeting agenda, and officers' reports, are at:
http://www.north-herts.gov.uk/aksnherts/users/public/admin/kab14.pl?operation=SUBMIT&meet=95&cmte=PCC&grpid=public&arc=71

If approved, the solar farm will generate enough renewable electricity to power approximately 2,500 average homes and save around 3,800 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

Following the submission of amended plans by the developers, which sought to address a number of concerns raised by objectors to the scheme, officers are now recommending that the Council grant planning permission. However, they are also advising that the scheme should be referred to the Secretary of State for final determination, which could delay implementation and therefore undermine the economic viability of the scheme. Councillors may in any event vote against the officers' recommendations.

Attendance at the committee meeting by supporters of renewable energy will be very helpful; the local objectors are likely to turn out in large numbers. North Herts residents are encouraged to also contact their local councillors (particularly those who are members of the planning committee) to express support for the scheme.

I will be writing to all members of the committee on behalf of North Herts Friends of the Earth, but letters from individual constituents (who might vote for them!) are likely to carry greater weight, and numbers are also important (over 300 individual objections to the scheme have been registered in the NHDC planning portal).

Key points that you might include are:

For anyone concerned that solar farm developments are an inappropriate use of agricultural land, a useful article in the Guardian challenges recent statements by Environment Secretary Liz Truss on the impact of solar farms on food production: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/oct/21/are-solar-farms-really-hitting-british-food-production

Please do get in touch if you need any further information.

Act now to stop "Trojan horse" trade deals - TTIP and CETA

The European Union and United States are currently negotiating the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). CETA, a similar agreement with Canada, is close to ratification.

These agreements could make it harder to stop fracking, protect our environment and combat climate change.

With organisations from across Europe, Friends of the Earth is collecting (now more than) one million signatures to demonstrate the strength of our opposition to TTIP.

Sign the petition at https://www.foe.co.uk/news/act-now-stop-these-trojan-horse-trade-treaties

For more information, see http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/dec/08/transatlantic-trade-partnership-ttip-dividing-europe-cecilia-malmstroem-washington-debut

Christmas gifts from Friends of the Earth

If you've not yet completed your Christmas shopping, why not check out what's on offer at Friends of the Earth's online shop, at http://www.foeshop.co.uk/

Presents for home and garden, clothing and books - and your purchases will help support Friends of the Earth's campaigns!

flowerOctober 2014 Bulletin

26th October 2014

In this month's bulletin:

Letchworth Sustainability Forum - 16th October

With apologies for late notice, this month's group meeting is cancelled, due to a date clash with the launch event for the Letchworth Sustainability Forum, which will be addressed by Jonathon Porritt, noted environmental campaigner, author and former director (1984-1990) of Friends of the Earth.

This event takes place at the Spirella Building in Letchworth on Thursday 16th October, starting at 7.30pm. Advance registration (free) is required, and I've confirmed with the organisers that non-Letchworthians are welcome to attend.

Registration and full details at:
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/sustainable-letchworth-registration-13077885307

Our next group meeting will now take place in Stevenage (subject to confirmation of venue) on Thursday 20th November.

Knebworth solar farm - deadline for comments extended (previously circulated)

Solstice Renewables has submitted a planning application for a 8.5MW solar park at Swangleys Farm in Knebworth. If approved, it will generate enough renewable electricity to power approximately 2,500 average homes and save around 3,800 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

The plans include good natural screening (hedging and trees) from nearby roads and nearby houses, and the land will continue in agricultural use during the 25-year lifetime of the project.

More information about the proposal is available on Solstice's website, at http://www.solsticerenewables.com/knebworth-hertfordshire/

Details of the planning application can be viewed on the NHDC website at:
http://pa.north-herts.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=externalDocuments&keyVal=_NHERT_DCAPR_162555

Comments on the application can be made via this link (or by post or email), before 23rd October. The application is likely to be considered by the NHDC planning committee on 13th November. Currently individual comments (over 350) are running strongly against the development.

Let me know if you need more information about how to respond to the consultation.

I've also been contacted recently about a proposed 11 MW solar farm development near Codicote (NHDC planning reference 14/02360/1); I'll circulate further details of this shortly.

Hitchin Apple Day, Saturday 18th October

We'll be running a stall at this popular annual event in Hitchin town centre. Come and celebrate the great British apple! Traditional and new apple varieties for sale, local apple juice, apple cakes and goodies, kids' activities, local food stalls plus much more…

10am-2pm at The Old Market Place.

http://www.trianglegarden.org/events.htm

flowerSeptember 2014 Bulletin

20th September 2014

In this month's bulletin:

Group meeting - 18th September, Hitchin

Our next group meeting will be held on Thursday 18th September 2014, from 7.30-9.15pm, at the Friends Meeting House, 1 Paynes Park Hitchin, SG5 1EH (usually followed by drinks in a local pub).

All are welcome. Come along to meet other FoE supporters and learn more about our current campaigning activities.

We are planning to hold our October meeting in Stevenage (Thurs 16th October, venue tbc), and we hope to be joined by a speaker from the local Wildlife Trust. Further details in next month's bulletin.

Climate March, London - Sunday 21st September

Later this month, world leaders will meet for a historic climate change summit in New York.

On Sunday 21st September,people will be marching in London, and around the world, to show that we need action and ambition on climate change. The London march, supported by Friends of the Earth, will go through Westminster ending with a massive group photo outside parliament.

Please contact Peter if you're planning to join the march and would like to travel to London with other North Herts FoE supporters.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/march-through-london-for-climate-action-registration-12329621229?aff=estw

Save our buses!

Save Our Buses Hertfordshire (set up by Stevenage resident and NHFoE member Terry Figg, with support from the Campaign for Better Transport) is campaigning against the proposed withdrawal of funding by Hertfordshire County Council as set out in a public consultation that would mean a drastic reduction in bus services across the county.

If the proposed funding cuts are confirmed bus services between Monday and Saturday after 6.30pm and all Sunday services may no longer run. This would have a major effect on the economy, environment, access to employment and social lives of many people in Hertfordshire.

See the campaign's website for details of how you can respond to the consultation, which runs until 8th October.There's a link to a petition which Terry has created on the 38 Degrees site (you may already have heard about this direct from 38 Degrees).

http://www.bettertransport.org.uk/sob-herts

Knebworth solar farm - planning application from Solstice Renewables

Solstice Renewables has submitted a planning application for a 8.5MW solar park at Swangleys Farm in Knebworth. If approved, it will generate enough renewable electricity to power approximately 2,500 average homes and save around 3,800 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

The plans include good natural screening (hedging and trees) from nearby roads and nearby houses, and the land will continue in agricultural use (grazing and wild flower planting aimed at improving local biodiversity, which will replace intensive arable cultivation). The project has a planned 25-year lifespan, and the land could be returned to exclusively agricultural use at the end of this period.

More information about the proposal is available on Solstice's website, at http://www.solsticerenewables.com/knebworth-hertfordshire/

Details of the planning application can be viewed on the NHDC website at: http://pa.north-herts.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=externalDocuments&keyVal=_NHERT_DCAPR_162555

Comments on the application can be made via this link (or by post or email), before 23rd September. Around 50 comments from individuals (mostly local residents) have so far been lodged, most opposing the development. Knebworth Parish Council has voted (narrowly) to oppose the application, largely on the grounds that the site is within the Green Belt.

I am intending to submit a supportive response on behalf of the group; please let me know if you would like to comment on an initial draft of this. Supportive comments from individuals (particularly local residents) will also be very helpful. Let me know if you need more information about how to respond to the consultation.

Run on Sun - free solar panels for schools competition

FoE has just launched its Run on Sun competition, giving all primary schools in the country a chance to win free solar panels.

School children will be making creative entries demonstrating why they'd love their school to be powered by solar energy. The winning school, chosen by public vote at the start of the new year, will receive a solar installation free of charge.

It's the first time that Friends of the Earth has crowd-funded a renewable energy project.

Whether it's your old school, your kids' school or just a school close to your heart you can make sure they don't miss out by nominating a school to take part.

https://www.foe.co.uk/go/nominateschool

http://www.foe.co.uk/act/write-your-mp-help-schools-your-area-run-sun

TTIP - EU-US trade deal

Companies suing governments for billions? Special tribunals behind closed doors? Learn more about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and how it could hand even more power to big business at the expense of ordinary people and the environment.

Watch this video and follow FoE campaigner @SamuelMarcLowe on Twitter.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaPsg5FsEzk

Mike Berners-Lee talk - 23rd September, Berkhamsted

Mike Berners-Lee, carbon footprinting expert and author of "How bad are bananas?" and "The Burning Question" (and brother of Tim), will be speaking at an event organised by Transition Town Berkhamsted at 7pm on Tuesday 23rd September.

You can book tickets online at: http://oscar02.savoysystems.co.uk/TransitionBerkhamsted.dll/TSelectItems.waSelectItemsPrompt.TcsWebMenuItem_1068.TcsWebTab_1069

Hitchin Apple Day - Saturday 18th October

We'll be running a stall ot this popular annual event in Hitchin town centre. Come and celebrate the great British apple! Traditional and new apple varieties for sale, local apple juice, apple cakes and goodies, kids' activities, local food stalls plus much, much more…

10am-2pm at The Old Market Place.

http://www.trianglegarden.org/events.htm

flowerJuly 2014 Bulletin

16th July 2014

In this month's bulletin:

Group meeting - 17th July, Hitchin

Our next group meeting will be held on Thursday 17th July 2014, from 7.30-9.15pm, at the Friends Meeting House, 1 Paynes Park Hitchin, SG5 1EH (usually followed by drinks in a local pub).

All are welcome. Come along to meet other FoE supporters and learn more about our current campaigning activities.

NHFoE at Rhythms of the World festival, Hitchin Priory, 2nd-3rd August

We'll be running a stall at this popular local music festival. Volunteers will need to purchase a ticket (£15 per day) to gain entry to the festival, but if you're able to help staff the stall for two hours or more, we can offer a partial refund of the cost of your ticket from the group's funds. Add your name to the rota using the link below, or contact Peter for more details.

http://doodle.com/s8fyfckx7ka6p3dr

Details of the festival (including online ticket purchase) at http://www.rotw.org.uk/

Plan for Herts CC waste incinerator rejected

Following a long-running local campaign (supported by North Herts FoE), the Department of Communities and Local Government last week rejected the planning application to build a huge (and very costly) waste incinerator at New Barnfield, in Hatfield.

The DCLG has agreed with the decision of Inspector Richards, who led the Public Inquiry in Autumn 2013, that planning permission should not be granted for the incinerator, proposed by Hertfordshire County Council and Veolia Environmental Services.

This is very good news for local people, and for the environment. Herts County Council must now implement a waste management policy using methods that minimise harm to people and planet, rather than relying on expensive, outdated and polluting technology.

The DCLG decision letter is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/called-in-decision-new-barnfield-hatfield-ref-2190245-7-july-2014

See also http://blog.hatfield-anti-incineration.co.uk/#home and http://hertswow.webs.com/

Housing proposal for Priory Fields, Hitchin

North Herts DC has produced a further study of potential housing sites, following the consultations in 2013.

Priory Fields, a popular walking area which looks out to hills which are an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is included in this and could be built on.

The Steering Group of Hitchin Town Action Group is very concerned about this and wants to take urgent action to persuade the District Council to exclude this site from the Draft Local Plan.

They are also organising a guided walk around the affected area, on Sunday 27th July.

http://www.hitchinforum.org.uk/htag-housing-proposals-on-priory-fields/

Monsanto's 'Roundup Ready' GM maize could be growing in Europe next year

GM crops are deeply unpopular with European citizens, but the industry's massive lobbying is finally paying off. In June, the EU Environment Council accepted a proposal that could see GM crops planted in Europe as soon as next year.

Even worse, the proposal could give Monsanto and other biotech giants the power to overturn decisions made by democratically-elected governments to ban GM crops.

The European Parliament can still reject this decision. Sign this petition to call on MEPs to vote against allowing GM crops in Europe.

http://action.sumofus.org/a/gm-crops-europe/

flowerJune 2014 Bulletin

4th July 2014

In this month's bulletin:

Group meeting - 19th June, Hitchin

Our next group meeting will be held on Thursday 19th June 2014, from 7.30-9.15pm, at the Friends Meeting House, 1 Paynes Park Hitchin, SG5 1EH (usually followed by drinks in a local pub).

All are welcome. Come along to meet other FoE supporters and learn more about our current campaigning activities.

Run on Sun - getting solar panels into schools

Run on Sun is Friends of the Earth's campaign to make it easy for schools to run on solar power - and save bags of cash to spend on pupils.

It's about time we made the most of clean energy - so where better to start than big school roofs?

Running on sun could make cash-strapped schools up to £8,000 a year in electricity savings and payments for generating clean energy.

Learn more and register your support for the campaign at http://www.foe.co.uk/page/about-run-on-sun

Basecamp 2014 - watch online

Watch sessions from Basecamp 2014, FoE's annual activist gathering, live from Castleton, Derbyshire between 13th and 15th June 2014. The session recordings will also be available here afterwards.

http://www.seefoe.org.uk/basecamp/

The programme for this event is available at http://www.foe.co.uk/events/basecamp_2013_39459

Bite-sized IPCC report

FoE has distilled over 5000 pages of the three Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports into two pages and ten key facts.

There are also three more detailed briefings - about 10 pages long - on each of the three IPCC reports: 'Climate change, what the scientists say', 'Climate change, poverty and environmental justice' and 'Climate change mitigation, what the scientists say'.

Download the PDF document at: http://www.foe.co.uk/sites/default/files/downloads/climate-change-ten-key-findings-climate-scientists-46417.pdf

TTIP day of action - 12th July, London, Cambridge and around the UK

Behind closed doors, the EU and US are drawing up a new trade deal called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

If agreed, TTIP would extend the power of big business over our society to unprecedented levels. The UK government currently supports this. The sixth round of negotiations will start on 14th July in Brussels.

On Saturday 12th July, people across the UK will be taking action to say no to TTIP.

http://www.nottip.org.uk

GM crops - articles on health impacts

We were joined at our May meeting by Helena Paul of GM Freeze, the campaign on genetically-modified food, crops and patents.

Helena gave us a fascinating presentation about the risks and claimed benefits of genetically-modified crops, and the current position in the UK. We'll be discussing future campaigning on GM at our June meeting (details above).

Helena has sent me these links to articles that deal with the human health impacts of GMOs, a topic which we didn't have time to explore in our discussion:

I wrote this article for the Ecologist which has some details on South America that I touched on last night: http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2267255/gm_crops_are_driving_genocide_and_ecocide_keep_them_out_of_the_eu.html

The evidence detailed in this report from GM Freeze and Greenpeace demonstrates that glyphosate-based products can have adverse impacts on human and animal health, and that a review of their safety for human and animal health is urgently needed: http://www.gmfreeze.org/site_media/uploads/publications/Herbicide_tolerance_and_GM_crops_lo_res.pdf

Railfuture conference - Saturday 21st June, Cambridge

Railfuture is the UK's leading independent organisation campaigning for better rail services for passengers and freight (including the re-opening of an East-West rail link between Cambridge and Oxford). Railfuture is a voluntary group representing rail users, with 20,000 affiliated and individual members.

http://www.railfuture.org.uk/conferences/#2014_cambridge

http://www.railfuture.org.uk/ox-cam/

Wellbeing training and discussion day - date tbc

How can we make a better future for all?

Economic growth is increasingly recognised as a flawed way of measuring society's progress. We need a shift of focus so that the economy delivers wellbeing - without trashing the planet.

Friends of the Earth is planning to hold a training and discussion day for local group members in the next few months.

For more information, see http://www.foe.co.uk/news/wellbeing-training-discussion-day

flowerMay 2014 Bulletin

11th May 2014

In this month's bulletin:

Speaker on GM at next group meeting - Thursday 22nd May at 7.30pm, Stevenage

Please note new venue for this month's meeting: Bedwell Community Centre, Bedwell Crescent, Stevenage SG1 1NA.

The centre is within walking distance (15-20 minutes) of Stevenage rail and bus stations, and there is plenty of free parking nearby.

I'm very pleased to confirm that we will be joined by Helena Paul of GM Freeze, the campaign on genetically-modified food, crops and patents.

Helena will be talking to us about the risks and claimed benefits of genetically-modified crops, and the current position in the UK. This is of particular local interest, given that Rothamsted Research near Harpenden is conducting publicly-funded trails of various GM crops.

For more information on GM Freeze, see http://www.gmfreeze.org/

For more on GM trials at Rothamsted Research, see http://www.rothamsted.ac.uk/camelina

All welcome.

NHFoE stalls during May and June

We'll be running stalls at a couple of local events in the next few weeks, promoting the group and FoE's current campaigns.If you're able to help on either date please add your name to the rotas using the links below:

Walsworth Festival, Hitchin, Sunday 18th May

Stall rota at http://doodle.com/z8uteagq82wdnbwt

For information on the event, see http://www.walsworthfestival.co.uk

Stevenage Day, Sunday 8th June

Stall rota at http://doodle.com/u97u2q9y42qrzaai

Triangle Community Garden open day - Hitchin, 8th June

This well-established community garden will be holding its annual open day on Sunday 8th June. Unfortunately we won't be running a stall this year, due to a clash with the Stevenage Day event on the same day, but do go along if you're in/near Hitchin, and support this fantastic community-led project.

More information at http://trianglegarden.org/

Luton Airport expansion to go ahead despite strong local opposition

Despite being urged to call in the planning application by local MPs and Councils, Eric Pickles has failed to do so, confirming that the government is determined to expand airport capacity in the South East, whatever the cost to the environment (local and global) and despite the weight of objections from local people.

For more information see http://www.hale.uk.net/

Bee Cause campaign - update

The consultation on the government's draft National Pollinator Strategy has now closed.

Friends of the Earth has submitted a petition of more than 25,000 signatures to the minister responsible for the strategy, Lord de Mauley. The petition calls for the plan to include steps to restore bee habitats, tackle pesticide use, and help farmers switch to more bee-friendly farming methods.

Thanks to all of you who signed the petition, or wrote to your MP in support of the campaign. We now await the government's response to the consultation.

http://www.foe.co.uk/news/over-25000-call-brilliant-bee-action-plan

Help schools go solar

Imagine every school covered in solar panels.

It would be a significant boost to renewable energy in the UK, and could save each school up to £8,000 per year. Yet government rules currently leave many schools struggling to afford the upfront costs of installation.

Please sign FoE's petition asking Education Secretary Michael Gove to make it easy for schools to go solar.

http://www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/climate/press_for_change/help_schools_go_solar_41960.html

Wellbeing training and discussion day - date tbc

How can we make a better future for all?

Economic growth is increasingly recognised as a flawed way of measuring society's progress. We need a shift of focus so that the economy delivers wellbeing - without trashing the planet.

Friends of the Earth is planning to hold a training and discussion day for local group members in the next few months.

For more information and to register interest, see http://www.foe.co.uk/news/wellbeing-training-discussion-day

Tell your MP to save our buses!

Over £20 million is earmarked to be cut from bus funding this year alone. If this and the next Government are going to want to do anything about it, politicians need to realise that buses matter to people.

You can tell your MP how important buses are with this quick and easy action from the Campaign for Better Transport.

http://www.bettertransport.org.uk/campaigns/save-our-buses/MP-action

flowerApril 2014 Bulletin

22nd April 2014

In this month's bulletin:

Easter social - 17th April, Hitchin

Our next group meeting will be an informal social gathering on Thursday 17th April, from 7.30pm, at the Half Moon, 57 Queen Street, Hitchin SG4 9TZ

All are welcome. Come and meet other FoE supporters, enjoy a drink or two (and maybe a bite to eat - see http://www.thehalfmoonhitchin.co.uk for menus etc.), and find out more about the group and our campaigns.

May group meeting - 22nd May, Stevenage

Our May meeting will be held at a new venue for us, Bedwell Community Centre in Stevenage. The meeting will be on Thursday 22nd May, starting at 7.30pm, and we hope to be joined by a speaker from GM Freeze, the campaign on genetically-modified food, crops and patents.

More details in next month's bulletin.

Bee Cause campaign - consultation on government action plan

The consultation on the government's draft National Pollinator Strategy (the "Bee Action Plan") is only open for another four weeks.

The plan is a step in the right direction, but to be effective it needs to be much better. The plan must include steps to restore bee habitats, tackle pesticide use, and help farmers switch to bee-friendly farming.

Join FoE's call for a strategy that really addresses the causes of bee decline, by signing the online petition. We'll be out collecting signatures in Hitchin and Stevenage during April - see details below.

https://www.foe.co.uk/what_we_do/bee_cause_petition_to_lord_de_mauley_40967.html

NHFoE stalls during April

If you're able to help on either date (no experience necessary, as you'll be alongside other group members), you can add your name to the rota using the links below (or contact Peter by replying to this email):

Saturday 12th April, 10am to 3pm, Hitchin town centre: we'll be out collecting signatures for the Bee Cause petition on the government's draft pollinator strategy.

http://doodle.com/g27534kusa3yc9c6

Sunday 27th April, 12pm to 4.30pm, Stevenage Town Centre Gardens

We'll be taking part in the annual Stevenage Springwatch event.

http://doodle.com/wm3zkqwciyec6ahb

Help schools go solar

Imagine every school covered in solar panels.

It would be a significant boost to renewable energy in the UK, and could save each school up to £8,000 per year. Yet government rules currently leave many schools struggling to afford the upfront costs of installation.

Please sign FoE's petition asking Education Secretary Michael Gove to make it easy for schools to go solar.

https://www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/climate/press_for_change/help_schools_go_solar_41960.html

The Big Laugh, 8th May, London

Tickets are NOW on sale for Friends of the Earth's next comedy night at the Eventim Apollo, London W6, on Thursday 8th May.

Comedy greats Greg Davies, Josh Widdicombe, and Mark Watson will be performing live and for one night only. The night will be hosted by Patrick Kielty, with live music from Eliza Doolittle. Other special guests are soon to be announced.

Proceeds will go towards the Bee Cause campaign.

http://www.eventim.co.uk/tickets.html?fun=evdetail&doc=evdetailb&key=1151364%243749807&affiliate=HAL&source=webgains&siteid=73669

No Faith in Trident - talk by Bruce Kent, 25th April, Hitchin

Talk by the veteran CND campaigner on "The ethics of nuclear weapons: is it time to scrap Trident?"

Friday 25th April, doors open 7.00pm

Venue: Parish Hall, Our Lady Immaculate & St Andrew Church, Nightingale Rd, Hitchin, SG5 1QS

http://www.cnduk.org/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=1857

flowerMarch 2014 Bulletin

29th March 2014

In this month's bulletin:

Group meeting - 20th March, Hitchin

Our next group meeting will be held on Thursday 20th March 2014, from 7.30-9.15pm, at the Friends Meeting House, 1 Paynes Park Hitchin, SG5 1EH (usually followed by drinks in a local pub).

All are welcome. Come along to meet other FoE supporters and learn more about our current campaigning activities.

Please note that we intend to begin holding occasional group meetings in Stevenage later this year. We hope to hold the first of these in May, but will confirm details as soon as we can.

Bee Cause campaign - consultation on government action plan

Can you be part of the generation that helps save British bees?

The consultation on the government's draft National Pollinator Strategy (the "Bee Action Plan") started on 6th March and is only open for eight weeks.

The plan is a step in the right direction, but to be effective it needs to be much better. The plan must include steps to restore bee habitats, tackle pesticide use, and help farmers switch to bee-friendly farming.

Join FoE's call for a better Bee Action Plan, by signing the online petition. We'll be out collecting signatures in Hitchin and Stevenage during April - see details below.

https://www.foe.co.uk/what_we_do/bee_cause_petition_to_lord_de_mauley_40967.html

NHFoE stalls during April

The group will be out campaigning on two weekends in April. If you're able to help on either date (no experience necessary, as you'll be with other group members), you can add your name to the rota using the links below (or contact Peter by replying to this email).

Saturday 12th April, 10am to 3pm, Hitchin town centre: we'll be out collecting signatures for the Bee Cause petition on the government's draft pollinator strategy.

http://doodle.com/g27534kusa3yc9c6

Sunday 27th April, 12pm to 4.30pm, Stevenage Town Centre Gardens

We'll be taking part in the annual Stevenage Springwatch event; see http://doodle.com/wm3zkqwciyec6ahb

The Big Laugh comedy night, 8th May, London

Tickets are now on sale for Friends of the Earth's next comedy night at the Eventim Apollo, London W6, on Thursday 8th May.

Comedy greats Greg Davies, Josh Widdicombe, and Mark Watson will be performing live and for one night only. The night will be hosted by Patrick Kielty, with live music from Eliza Doolittle. Other special guests are soon to be announced.

Proceeds will go towards the Bee Cause campaign.

http://www.eventim.co.uk/tickets.html?fun=evdetail&doc=evdetailb&key=1151364%243749807&affiliate=HAL&source=webgains&siteid=73669

Fracking petititon [online action]

Fracking poses serous risks, from contamination of drinking water to damage to the local environment. It also produces dirty fossil fuels, which contribute to dangerous climate change.

Please tell David Cameron to say no to fracking.

http://foe.co.uk/get_involved/fracking_petition_41121

Email your MP to stop the cold homes crisis

Last winter, many people in the UK died in their own homes because they couldn't afford to heat them.

We want this stopped. Making homes super insulated will:

Lower energy bills so people can afford to heat their homes
Improve the health and well being of everyone who currently lives in a cold home
Reduce energy waste and carbon emissions

FoE is working with the Energy Bill Revolution to get the Government to make sure that the most vulnerable people have the super-insulated homes.

Please ask your MP to do the same.

http://www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/climate/press_for_change/lets_warm_thing_up_41734.html

flowerFebruary 2014 Bulletin

19th February 2014

In this month's bulletin:

Group meeting - 20th February, Hitchin

Our next group meeting will be held on Thursday 20th February 2014, from 7.30-9.15pm, at the Friends Meeting House, 1 Paynes Park Hitchin, SG5 1EH (usually followed by drinks in a local pub).

All are welcome. Come along to meet other FoE supporters and learn more about our current campaigning activities.

Bancroft Gardens, Hitchin - Initial Design Proposal consultation

North Herts DC and architects BDP are consulting on plans "to restore a historic park for local communities and to provide a welcoming and vibrant green space offering a range of facilities which meet the objectives laid out by the Parks for People Lottery programme".

http://www.bancroftgardens.wordpress.com/

See the Hitchin Forum website for more information about the consultation, and an analysis of the current proposals:

http://www.hitchinforum.org.uk/new-plans-for-bancroft-rec/

Go Green Week, 10th-14th February

Go Green Week is People & Planet's annual national week of action on climate change in schools, colleges and universities. Students run a week of activities to raise awareness and demand stronger action to tackle the climate crisis.

As Go Green Week coincides with Valentine's Day, People & Planet are calling on our colleges, universities and politicians to dump the fossil fuel industry on Fossil Free Friday (14th February).

http://peopleandplanet.org/gogreenweek

Tell the Government its national roads policy would be a national disaster

The Government has published a draft National Policy Statement (NPS) aimed at building new roads for 40% more car, van and lorry trips by 2040.

The Campaign for Better Transport is urging everyone who is concerned about transport, the countryside and especially climate change to tell them to abandon these dangerous plans, before the deadline of 26th February.

You can respond via the Campaign's website at: http://www.bettertransport.org.uk/campaigns/roads-to-nowhere/2014-roads-policy-alert

March against the badger cull - Saturday 1st March, St Albans (from 1pm)

Organised by Herts and Middlesex Badger Group; details at https://www.facebook.com/events/703221699702217/

Please email Peter if you'd like to get in touch with other group members/supporters planning to attend this event.

Tell David Cameron to say no to fracking [online petition]

Fracking poses serous risks, from contamination of drinking water to damage to the local environment. It also produces dirty fossil fuels, which contribute to dangerous climate change.

http://foe.co.uk/get_involved/fracking_petition_41121

See also http://www.foe.co.uk/sites/default/files/downloads/fracking_summary_2013.pdf [PDF: FoE briefing note on fracking, May 2013]

Email your MP to stop the cold homes crisis

Last winter, many people in the UK died in their own homes because they couldn't afford to heat them.

Making homes super insulated will:

FoE is working with the Energy Bill Revolution to get the Government to make sure that the most vulnerable people have super-insulated homes.

Please ask your MP to do the same.

http://www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/climate/press_for_change/lets_warm_thing_up_41734.html

No more subsidies for big biomass [DECC consultation - respond by 12th February!]

The UK Government is introducing new subsidies for energy classed as "renewable"; the proposed subsidy rules will be a major boost for power stations that burn large amounts of mainly imported wood.

Most of the UK's wood imports for power stations come from the southern US and British Columbia. In both regions, highly biodiverse and carbon-rich forests are being rapidly clearcut, a trend made worse by the new demand for wood pellets.

http://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/2014/cfd-alert-2/

FoE campaigner blogs on the flooding crisis

Guy Shrubsole, climate and energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth, has written today about the government's response to the current floods in the UK, and what action now needs to be taken to mitigate future crises: