Lewes Town Council is developing a Neighbourhood Plan, and has invited TTL to join a community steering group which will define its vision, priorities and content. If the Lewes community and council accept the Plan, it becomes statutory planning policy and any development in the area will need to conform to it. This could be an opportunity to encourage and promote sustainable design and construction, reducing energy demand in existing buildings, local community energy, sustainable transport networks, local small businesses, and more!
TTL is forming a small group to explore responses to the Plan as it evolves over the next year, drawing on Transition Town principles and practice. If you would like know more or to join the TTL group, please contact Dirk Campbell on 01273 479018.
By Ann Link and Juliet Oxborrow
Late November saw Guardian journalist Duncan Clark speak to a capacity audience about his book The Burning Question at a public meeting organised by Transition Town Lewes.
|The Burning Question explores how the world has any chance of keeping within the critical 20C temperature rise agreed at the 2009 Copenhagen climate talks, given that carbon emissions keep rising exponentially.|
In his talk, Duncan explained that burning fossil fuels has so far put 2,000 billion tonnes of CO2 into the air. To have a 50/50 chance of staying within the two-degree limit, the world can afford to emit only an additional 1,600 billion tonnes of CO2 (or just 700 billion tonnes for a 75% chance). Read it here...
Useful links and information
Send a message to the Big Six energy companies: switch to an independent renewable supplier. It can be easier than you think, and prices are competitive.
Over the winter we’ll be taking a focus on Landport Bottom and its surrounding communities to see how they benefit from the chalk grassland restoration there. Take a look at Introduction to ecosystems. And join us learning more to help our local environment, e.g. 1 tree in Lewes saves us £40 through absorbing carbon dioxide, conserving water & reducing air pollution … so what ‘eco-nomic’ benefits come from chalk grassland?
Take inspiration from these short, fun clips about the life cycle of stuff we consume. There may be a way of using these to spread awareness of the issues and if you have ideas and are keen to work on a project relating to this, TTL would be happy to hear from you.
If you have long been meaning to join the East Sussex Credit Union, there is a new opportunity! You can now join online and save and borrow knowing your cash is staying local and going to help the community in East Sussex. You can still visit the Brighton office on weekdays between 10am and 3pm, and the Lewes help point is open on Wednesdays from 10am to 12 noon in the community flat on De Montfort estate. For more help points see website
Our Credit Union also offers Workplace Savings & Loans Schemes, with payments made direct from employees' payrolls. These are currently available for staff at ESCC, Lewes and Wealden District Councils, Eastbourne Borough Council, East Sussex Fire and Rescue, Brighton & Hove Buses, University of Brighton and Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals Trust, among others. Anyone working for these employers can contact us to arrange membership and take advantage of the services on offer. Further details can be found on the Workplace Schemes page of the ESCU website.
We are also looking for willing employers to join this scheme, as we believe that this offers a valuable service to employees. Please get in touch if you think your place of employment and colleagues could benefit.
|SNUG is a Transition Town Lewes enterprise, providing draught proofing services and workshops across East Sussex. Whether you want to draught proof your home yourself, or want an expert to do it, we’re here to help. more...|
A new social enterprise is seeking to set up a community aquaponics system here in Lewes - but they need space to do it.
Green Acre Aquaponics
Neil Whichelow and Emma Poole have, between them, been involved in sustainable food generation for 30 years. Aquaponics is an efficient food production system that combines farming fish and vegetation in a symbiotic environment where water and nutrients are naturally recycled and reused, and food can be grown free of environmental pollutants. Read more...
It can be difficult to decide what to do with the crops still in the ground, as winter sets in. Generally speaking, your problem is not cold, but damp. Raised beds drain well, but ordinary beds - particularly on heavy soils - can cause problems. Lift and store, if in doubt, or just take things straight to the kitchen. Parsnips will be fine, of course, and will taste better if lightly frosted. Brussels sprouts should be harvested from the bottom up, and supported against the wind - while you are out there, the other brassicas can be earthed up, for the same reason.
Apple and pear trees are pruned at this time of year: anything dead, diseased, or damaged should go, and look out for crossing branches, which will rub together when blown about, leaving raw scars through which infection can enter. Try to leave a shape which allows air to circulate freely - this, also, reduces the risk of disease. Vines can be cut back quite hard; take cuttings while you are at it, to increase your stock, or pass on to others. Plums, peaches and cherries must, of course, be left to warmer weather.
The long summer has meant that the birds have plenty of food in gardens and hedgerows: they have had a good breeding season, though, and there are a lot of birds to feed. Remember that the greater the range of food you put out, the wider the range of bird species you can support through the cold weather. Provide water for drinking and grooming, and don't forget to clean your bird table and feeders every now and then.
|Lawns look a bit grim, don't they? Especially for those of us on clay. I'm afraid not much can be done at this time of year, so avoid walking on them if you can.|
|A few hundred years back, some quite serious wars were fought for control of the spice trade. At this time of year, one can see why.|
The crops available during an English winter are pretty bland, aren't they? And quite a lot of them taste of cabbage, which is not to everyone's taste. I wish I could suggest crops to plant now, which would enliven the coming months; however, though greenhouse heaters can provide warmth, you are still left with a shortage of daylight, which helps neither germination nor ripening. More...
Crowdfunding is the collective effort of individuals who bypass banks and pool their money to support the efforts of others. It could be a new business, a community enterprise or an arts project.
...For a social enterprise and for-profit business seeking to crowdfund a project or a new expansion, these are the steps common to most of the platforms I looked at... Read Gavin Barker's Blog on The Lewes Pound website.
There was a fantastic response to this year’s Lewes Eco Open Houses event with more than 900 house visits – approximately double the number for last year’s event – over two weekends. People were keen to know how they could implement similar measures in their own homes: 54% said they would definitely take similar action at home and a further 34% were open to the possibility of doing so.
|Highlights were the impressive new build at 106 Prince Edwards Rd and Ian McKay’s award winning home in Barons Down. A surprise favourite was the Cube, an experiment in compact living in Laughton, which received 60 visitors in a day, despite being 7 miles away.|
TTL Food group have become involved in the Lewes Railway Station Pots and Plants project.
This was originated by Mayor Councillor Ruth O’ Keeffe and is being organised by Mary Sautter. The pots and planters on the station had become neglected so Mary has approached various Lewes business to sponsor a planter. In exchange for £30 the business gets its name on a planter and Mary and her team plant and maintain it.
The TTL Food Group has adopted a stretch of the bed on platform 3 and is planting fruit, vegetables and herbs, which passengers will be able to help themselves to if they wish. The plan is to show that quite a lot of food can be grown in a small area and can look attractive as well.
Here we go: season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. You can always tell that autumn is coming, when people start quoting Keats.
After a fairly spectacular summer, it is perhaps now time to start putting the garden to bed. Just before that... October is a good time to plant onions and shallots, garlic, rhubarb and asparagus: seed potatoes planted now (if you can find them) should be ready by Christmas. Some broad beans will live happily through the winter, and produce an early crop next year, and many of the brassicas can be bought as young plants, so perhaps you can fill a few beds with cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli. Any ground you are not using can be manured and dug over, leaving large clods to be broken down by rain, frost, and the larger members of the family Oligochaeta, more commonly known as earthworms.
|Lewes District Council now have a food waste collection service, and this is obviously a Good Thing. However, as a gardener, why would you want all those wonderful nutrients taken off site? Far better to compost your kitchen waste, and return it to the soil.|
Perhaps best to avoid composting meat scraps and other cooked foods (this is what dogs are for) but teabags and coffee grounds, potato peelings and pea pods can go in a bin or a heap, together with judicious quantities of cardboard and torn-up newspaper. Of course your garden waste will go in too. The trick, if you are new to this, is to balance the green (which adds nitrogen) with the brown (carbon). Too much leaf, and it will go rather soggy, so go easy on the grass clippings. Too much twig, and you will slow the process of decomposition, since wood contains lignin (which breaks down very slowly).
Hedge clippings and the brash from a pollard present a challenge: where does the leafiness end, and the woodiness begin? If in doubt one can shred them - they make a handy mulch - or add them to an autumn bonfire. Wood ash is a useful source of potash, and can be added to the manure in para (2) above.
Since man cannot live by cabbages alone, perhaps you could stick a few spring bulbs in here and there? Daffodils at any time, but tulips best left for another month.
Jon Gunson, TTL.
Report identifies pioneers of positive investment in ten UK hotspots.
Lewes has been named alongside Brighton as one of the UK hotspots for a new type of ‘positive investor’ helping to revolutionise funding of social and environmental businesses. Positive Investing in the United Kingdom released today (15th October 2013) by Ethex, the first online exchange for positive investments, shows Lewesians are at the forefront of a move towards investments which offer a financial return while also doing good. More...
South East facing roof at Chailey School
Ovesco has now raised enough money to sign the contract and pay a deposit for a fifth project to install 187 solar PV panels on three roofs at Chailey School generating 49kW peak. They now need to raise all the capital to complete the project before the end of the school’s summer holiday.
Ovesco aims is to raise £75,000 and they are on their way to raising 50% of the money by August 16th in order to start on site, but they still have to raise the remainder by 31st August. They aim to offer the same terms as their original share issue i.e. an estimated 4% ROI after the second year and they will be applying for EIS tax relief.
For more information and application documents email firstname.lastname@example.org
I seem to spend half my time at work repatriating rather confused bush crickets. That will be late summer, then. The apples are ripening on the trees, and it is time to decide what to do with them. Take them to Octoberfeast to be pressed for juice, or leave them as winter food for the blackbirds, thrushes, redwings and fieldfares? If all else fails, I suppose you could just eat them.
If you have not actually got an apple tree, September is a very good time to plant one - the ground should be fairly warm and moist, which helps the roots develop and get a good strong grip. Read more...
Jon Gunson, TTL.
East Sussex Credit Union to offer free money management service for Lewes District residents
East Sussex Credit Union (ESCU) has confirmed introduction of a free budgeting and money management advice service for the hard-pressed residents of Lewes.
Read more: here's the ESCU press release...
Sophy Banks, one of the key developers of the Inner Transition approach and co-creator of the Transition Training, reflects on whether it's just as important to not do stuff.
Rob Hopkins asks Sopy Banks 'how would you describe Inner Transition? What's Inner Transition for you?'
'...We may learn to value local produce more and appreciate just how vital to our wellbeing such local producers are, given the increasing fragility of global food supply chains...'