The Steyning 10:10 Climate Action Group is a local initiative aimed at making a start in cutting carbon emissions right here in Steyning. We’re running a ‘Greening Campaign’ to get the whole community thinking about what we can do – and taking action so that together we can make a real difference. It is aimed at everyone in Steyning, Bramber, Upper Beeding and the surrounding area.
Bramber Brooks Nature Reserve now open
Bramber Brooks Nature Reserve is now open to visitors, and the Greening Group was lucky enough to join in the first ever guided tours of the site, led by Nick Mills, owner of the land, and instigator of the project. Over 100 people came along, and it was a real treat to get a glimpse of this brand new nature resource right on our doorstep.
Bramber Brooks is tucked behind the houses on the North side of The Street in Bramber. It stretches from the river right up to the fringes of Bramber Castle. Its secluded ponds and ditches make it a wonderful habitat for birds and other wildlife. There’s also some interesting archaeology about, with the remains of 14/15th Century salterns. Thanks to a grant from the Rampion Fund, work has been done over the summer to create a series of new paths, footbridges and benches so it can be made much more accessible. Steyning Community Orchard group have already planted a small orchard, and there’s plans in the pipeline for other improvements. We’ll be publicising news of future activities at the Reserve in the Greening Steyning email newsletter, so sign up if you’d like to stay in touch.
Green Revolution: Winning the Carbon War
Solar pioneer, Jeremy Leggett, gave a brilliant talk at our special Steyning Festival event on 29 May. Those who braved the stormy weather were in for a real treat.
With so much grim news about on the environment, it was a real shot in the arm for everyone to hear him argue the case that ‘Yes, we can win the Carbon War’. It’s not a done deal yet, but with the economics of solar and other renewables tumbling, battery technology getting cheaper and better all the time, and new innovations like electric cars coming in, he makes a convincing argument that fossil fuels really are on the way out.
If you missed the talk, it’s worth taking a look at his slide presentation, where all the background facts and sources are carefully set out.
Rampion Boat Trip
Despite two cancellations due to bad weather, a group of us made it out to get a close-up view of the Rampion wind farm in its final stages of construction. It was quite a trip – 7 miles offshore in a bit of a chop. But well worth it to see these massive and elegant structures being assembled. Nearly all the turbines are up now, and the first of them are due to start turning in late Autumn. Here’s a link to some photos on Facebook.
If you missed the trip but would like to do one under your own steam, contact Paul Jackman, the skipper, directly via his charter firm website.
Electric cars have arrived!
We has an impressive line up of electric vehicles on display at Green Drinks on 28 June – from a Twizy to a Tesla – not to mention a Renault Zoe, a Nissan Leaf, a Mercedes B-Class, a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and a Porsche Cayenne PHEV – plus a BMW C-Evo electric scooter. Click on the links for profiles of each of the cars. Here’s a link to more photos of the event on Facebook.
Owners were there to answer questions about their experience of owning and driving an electric vehicle. It’s fair to say that everyone who’s got one is a convert. So, to answer the question, “has the time for electric cars come?” – it’s a clear Yes!
We’ve produced a special Beginners Guide to Electric Cars to go along with the event. Take a look!
Election Hustings Debate: democracy alive and well in Steyning
Our “Question Time” style hustings debate for candidates in the Arundel & South Downs Constituency on 22 May was a great success. Steyning Grammar School provided the venue and we had an excellent turnout with many sixth formers taking an evening off exam revision to engage with candidates and take part in the democratic process. All five parties were there: Caroline Fife (Labour), Frances Haigh (Lib Dem – representing Shweta Kapadia), Nick Herbert (Conservative), Jo Prior (Green), and John Wallace (UKIP). Once again it was skilfully chaired by Robin Hart.
The panel were grilled on the full spectrum of election issues, including the NHS, social care, immigration, environment, Grammar schools, affordable housing, reducing the voting age to 16. Here’s a list of the questions asked.
If you missed the debate, the whole event was recorded on video and can be seen on YouTube. It comes in three sections, so check the side bar for the next episode. There was a detailed article by local journalist Stephen Wynn-Davies capturing some of the main points in the debate that you can find on the Steyning Herald website. And for some more photos of the evening take a look at our Facebook page.
I think we can say the political pot was shaken and well and truly stirred!
Drilling started at Broadford Bridge
** Latest Update ** In September West Sussex County Council approved an application from UKOG to extend their drilling permit for another year despite strong local protests. To stay in touch with the campaign to block further developments, see the Broadford Bridge Action Group’s Facebook page.
You may not have heard, but drilling at the Broadford Bridge site, just 9 miles from Steyning, has started. And so have the howls of protests. Two of our members, Sally and Heather, made a trip to the site last week to check out what’s happening. They were met by a few protestors, two security guards, and some policeman with a video camera. Here’s their report on what they saw, the letter they’ve written to UK Oil and Gas (UKOG) to get clarification on what’s happening, and some links to key resources. And here’s the reply from UKOG defending their position.
Note that the official line is that this well is not going to be used for fracking – but there are still deep concerns about what it will actually involve, not least the likelihood of there being hundreds of additional drill sites needed if oil is found in commercial quantities.
If you are interested in what your parliamentary candidates have to say about fracking, check out the Part 1 of the hustings video (starting 14 mins in). Looking at the Manifestos, the Green Party, Labour, and Lib Dems, are all against fracking, with the Conservatives & UKIP in favour. The Conservative Manifesto included a policy to change planning laws, so non-fracking drilling – like at Broadford Bridge – becomes ‘permitted development’. This controversial policy seems to have been dropped, however, as it did not appear in the Queen’s Speech.
If you’d like to get involved in activism around this and other green issues, send an email to 1010steyning.org with the word “Activism” in the subject line, and we’ll add you to our small but growing list of members who are up for making some noise.
Fracking in Sussex: could it ever happen?
I think we know the answer to that now. Plans to push ahead with fracking in the UK have been quietly moving ahead. North Yorkshire County Councillors have given a drill site in Rydale the go ahead, in the face of staunch local opposition. And there’s talk of sweetener payments to local residents becoming part of government policy. The map shows the areas that are already licenced in Sussex. You’ll see we’re only 7 miles from the nearest licenced sites in Storrington and just north of Partridge Green. So we’re certainly on the fracking radar.
Beki Adam, Ellie Wyatt and Jill Sutcliffe from local pressure group FrackFree Sussex gave an excellent talk at Green Drinks in September, laying out the
environmental and health hazards of fracking, and the casino economics behind the US fracking boom. To find out more about it, and sign up for updates, check out their website, which includes loads of useful resources and links to series of hard-hitting videos that really get the message across.
This video is one of the most striking (click on the image). It provides a Google Earth tour of Texas, showing the incredible number of fracking sites across the state. Just imagine Sussex being pock marked this way. It doesn’t bear thinking about.
Beginners Guide to Green Investment
To accompany the Special Seminar on Green Investment held last November we’ve produced a online ‘Beginners Guide’ to the subject that sets out some of main options and provides useful links to find out more.
Join us for Green Drinks
This is our regular get together to talk about matters green over a pint and a packet of crisps. It is the last Wednesday of most months. We generally have a speaker – and it’s usually at Steyning Cricket Club, starting at 8.00pm.
Check the Events page to find out the latest.