Transition News

Paying with your smartphone can be fun and rewarding!

The Lewes Pound Group has launched a new smartphone payment trial with positive business and social benefits up for grabs…

15 of our great, independent Lewes businesses have already started the pioneering journey to change the way we keep money working harder for a more sustainable and fairer local economy; and the number of businesses taking an interest is growing.
They are now accepting smartphone payments via Droplet Rewards, a new “Zero Touch” way to pay conveniently and to collect rewards at your favorite local businesses ….. AND with a few other benefits…

Find out which businesses accept Droplet Rewards by trying out the app….

Everyone with an i-Phone or Android smartphone or tablet and a UK bank account is invited to claim their free £5 introductory reward... More

1 Jan 1970.

Are solar panels still worthwhile?

The government has recently cut the payments they make to those that install solar panels and a frequently asked question is whether they are still worthwhile from a purely financial point of view.

  A typical domestic solar system is rated at 4 kilowatt (kW). This will consist of about 16 panels and occupy about 26 square metres of roof space. The Lewes district is a particularly favourable area for solar panels. On a good site, facing between south east and south west,  angled up at normal pitched roof angles and, importantly, with little or no shading, such a system will generate about 4400 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year. This is about equal to the average annual consumption of electricity of local domestic premises.

This does not mean that you would not need to buy any electricity. Read more here...

1 Jan 1970.

Global average temperatures

You may have read about the recent extraordinary global average temperatures. To give you an idea of how extraordinary these are, the average so far for this year is shown below, superimposed on the famous hockey stick curve, the original Mann, Bradley and Hughes curve from 1999 and the more recent one from the Pages24 consortium from 2013 together with recent instrumental readings.


At the recent Paris summit there was pressure to set the target limit to 1.5°C above the pre-industrial level as 2°C would in the long term mean massive flooding in low lying countries. It was only one month, but March 2016 was 1.5°C above the pre-industrial level.  Other indications show that things are changing fast. The area of arctic sea ice is well below the area for this time of year seen in the 37 years that we have had satellite images and almost certainly for long before this. The level of carbon dioxide is not only the highest it has been for over 800,000 years, it has shown by far the largest year on year increase in the 58 years we have accurate measurements.

1 Jan 1970.

The rise of the rain garden

Later this year, TTL will be looking to explore ways in which we can all work together to mitigate the risk of flood in our town, whether from rivers or surface water. Inspiration could come from the Brighton & Lewes Downs Biosphere Project, which has just completed a pilot project to create the first ever 'Rain Garden' in the Biosphere area, with two schemes to be established in parks in Portslade.


A rain garden is simply a low-lying area of ground containing plants tolerant of wetter conditions, which is designed to receive and retain rainfall from surface water run-off from hard surfaces, thereby allowing the water to slowly drain away over time.

In Brighton and Hove, a feasibility study identified Victoria Recreation Ground and Locks Hill park (Portslade village green) as potential sites to help reduce flood risk in Beaconsfield Road and Portslade village.  Read more here...

Left: Creating the new Rain Garden at Portslade village green (thanks to Gary Grant; photo by Rich Howorth).

1 Jan 1970.

Rob Hopkins on Brexit

With the EU referendum a month away, what would leaving the EU potentially mean for the Transition movement? Transition founder Rob Hopkins presented his personal thoughts in March

See the original article and reader comments here...

  With the Transition movement now being active in over 50 countries, it feels like a good time to pause and reflect on how that is working, what it looks like, and the many wonderful things, and the challenges, that arise from that.  To kick off our theme, I want to offer some reflections on the forthcoming EU referendum here in the UK.  During this theme, we will look at this from a variety of perspectives, both within the UK and outside.  I want to start with some of my own reflections, and how the current debates, and the issues they raise, impact on me. More...
1 Jan 1970.

Natural Flood Management in the River Ouse catchment – Sussex Flow Initiative

Sandra Manning-Jones

As the project officer for the Sussex Flow Initiative (SFI) I was very pleased to meet with members of TTL recently to discuss ways that Natural Flood Management (NFM) can help reduce flooding across the Ouse catchment and help with flood resilience for Lewes town. SFI is hosted by the Sussex Wildlife Trust in partnership with the Woodland Trust and the Environment Agency – a partnership that started in 2012 with the Trees on the River Uck (TrUck) pilot project.

  NFM is an approach to flood mitigation that’s been researched, developed and implemented relatively recently and which works alongside man made flood defences (rather than replacing them), harnessing natural processes to slow and store more water upstream to reduce the peak of flooding downstream. Natural additions such as floodplain woodland, across slope hedgerows and shelter belts or leaky dams have all been shown to help to slow the flow of water, making the landscape better able to cope with heavy rainfall and reducing the power and magnitude of flooding. With over 50 different NFM techniques to choose from, these natural enhancements can be tailored to fit a given site, providing a range of further benefits for wildlife, water quality and river health.  Read more here...
1 Jan 1970.

What is work worth?

When the Lewes for a Living Wage group planned their round table discussion 'What is work worth?' for March 16th, they did not realise that it would fall on the same day as the Government's Budget. The outrage caused by the attempt to deprive disabled people of benefits to provide tax cuts for the better off was already hitting the headlines when we met that evening at the Elephant and Castle.

   Despite appearances, there is poverty in Lewes; many people attending the food banks are in work and cases of scurvy and rickets have been reported.

It is important to distinguish between the national living wage announced by the government, which is £7.20 per hour from April 1st, for over 25s, and the Living Wage calculated for the Living Wage Foundation, which is £8.25 outside London and applies to all employees over 18. This is based on a more realistic estimation of what people have to earn to sustain life for themselves and their families in a civilised society. More...

1 Jan 1970.

All wired up in Lewes

A house-owner in Lewes has become one of the first in this area to use state-of-the-art lithium battery technology to store energy from solar PV panels.  Jill Goulder, owner of an Eco House featured annually in the Lewes Eco Open Houses weekend, has installed a lithium battery storage system linked to her solar PV panels.  These recharge during sunlight hours and provide power in the evenings – very useful for households who use most of their electricity outside sunlight hours. The system switches seamlessly between battery and mains supply as needed; a good system will cover a household’s normal needs, though of course major appliances such as washing-machines and vacuum cleaners drain the batteries rapidly and will need mains top-up.  More...


Jill with her solar panel and lithium storage battery installations.       

© Jill Goulder 2016

1 Jan 1970.

Saving Lewes' youth venues

Following approval by the South Downs National Park for the redevelopment of North Street and the Phoenix Estate in Lewes to build 416 homes, three much-loved youth venues are looking for new homes.

The indoor Skatehouse, Dance Academy and Starfish Music are used by hundreds of young people every week from Lewes and surrounding towns and villages. Supported by highly-trained staff, youngsters can learn new skills, make new friends, work on their own projects and always have a safe and welcoming place to go. Now all three face eviction.

Phoenix Rising Youth - exploring relocation

  Phoenix Rising Youth has been set up to help the three community interest companies (CICs) find new premises. Relocation is most urgent for Skatehouse, which will lose its premises this May (Dance Academy and Starfish Music are located in phase 2 of the North Street development and so have a little more time).Short term and long-term ideas are being explored to keep the three venues in Lewes, including a crowdfunding initiative to finance Skatehouse's relocation, refurbishment and rental of temporary premises until a permanent affordable location can be found. But ideas for available long-term premises - whether for Skatehouse, Dance Academy or Starfish - are always welcome.

Can you help?
If you have ideas for relocating any of these venues or would like to join the Phoenix Rising Youth mailing list to be kept informed of developments, please email Juliet Oxborrow on

You can also like the Phoenix Rising Youth Facebook page at:

1 Jan 1970.

River Corridor Strategy for Neighbourhood Plan


  The River Ouse could be a focus of community life in Lewes, with riverside pedestrian/cycle routes linking shops and homes with the countryside to north and south. The Neighbourhood Plan is developing a River Corridor Strategy that could improve access to the river for walking and leisure, and link important wildlife habitats through the urban area. People could enjoy riverside pubs and cafes, something Lewes lacks at present. Wetland habitats to the north and south could be linked by green/blue corridors along the river. MORE...
1 Jan 1970.

Pension fund campaign spreads

Groups in East Sussex have taken up the petition started by KIIGS to ask East Sussex County Council's pension fund to divest from fossil fuels. Hastings Borough Council leader Peter Chowney has tabled the divestment motion for the Full Council meeting of Hastings Borough Council on 13 April. Fossil Free Hastings has also published a list of members of the pension fund which includes Lewes Town Council and Ringmer Community College.

1 Jan 1970.

Tree Planting & Land Management in Lewes

TTL propose to reduce the risk of local flooding by an extensive programme of tree planting and land management in the Ouse catchment. This may take quite some time, what with the size of the catchment (several hundred square kilometres), the number of agencies involved, and the difficulties of negotiating with a multitude of landowners. However, some excellent work has already been done by the Sussex Flow Initiative, which is an alliance between Sussex Wildlife Trust, the Environment Agency, and the Woodland Trust. We will do what we can to support their work; initially, by organising a public meeting at which we can tell people what is going on, and give them the chance to get involved.

We don't intend to do much tree planting over the next few months, for various reasons. It is best done with bare-rooted specimens, and these are usually planted in the autumn, when there is less need for watering.  A great deal of research also needs to be done into what goes where: the idea is to reduce the rate of flow from high ground to river, but it is quite possible to slow storm water in a tributary to the extent that it hits the main river when the latter is in full spate. This is not recommended.

However, there are many other reasons for planting trees. They reduce atmospheric pollution, they sequester carbon, they enhance biodiversity, and, of course, they are quite beautiful. The image (left) shows the Meadow Minders, a team of conservation volunteers on the Lewes Railway Land, planting a belt of scrub beside the Heart of Reeds. This replaces a tangle of overgrown buddleia, and is intended to dissuade people from walking their dogs on a section of bank that is used by basking slow worms and grass snakes: it is made up of blackthorn and whitethorn, spindle, dog rose, guelder rose  and wayfaring tree. Just out of shot to the left is the viewing mound, on the south face of which another team are planting wild flowers. 
The Meadow Minders meet at the end of Railway Lane, by the Linklater Pavilion, at 1.30 p.m. on the first Sunday of every month. Anyone who would like to turn up and help out would be very welcome.
1 Jan 1970.

NEF Weekly Economic Podcast: The End of Growth?

Developed economies around the globe have been experiencing a slowdown in economic growth in recent decades.

  Can our economies keep growing? And if not, what next?

NEF economist Olivier Vardakoulias joins Kirsty to discuss...
1 Jan 1970.

The Refugee Problem

Dirk Campbell January 2016

  On Saturday January 9th Sacha and I went to the refugee camp in Dunkirk. We took warm clothes, blankets, gumboots and tents. They are mostly Iraqi Kurds, families living in unbelievable squalor - deep mud, freezing temperatures, flimsy tents, no heating or hot water. A few wood burning braziers. Not much choice for them: flight or death at the hands of Daesh. They have been ignored ever since they arrived; they want to come to Britain but Britain, it seems, doesn't want to know. Read more here...


1 Jan 1970.

Lewes Pound Latest News



This serves as one of the important stepping stones to learn about and test the provisional insights from our recent survey and will help us to achieve a grounded and confident design and investment case for an Electronic Lewes Pound with a potential launch in 2017 (when the main underlying new ESCU banking platform is expected to be up and running).

The smartphone payment pilot will be in £ sterling but is a ready secure solution that is expected to help local businesses and residents immediately. It is a unique opportunity for everyone living, visiting and or working to try it out and enjoy a new secure, fun, super-fast and rewarding way of supporting and paying at some of your favourite Lewes businesses.

Who can take part? Everyone with a smartphone can take part (iPhone or and Android based internet connected phone)..

Are you an independent business owner or work for one in Lewes or Lewes District? We’d love to hear from you if want to take part in the pilot!
Do you want to give it a go? Why not let us know your favourite Lewes Independent businesses? Just send an email to or call/message Ferrie on 07482626411 for more info and get your free £5 credit for you to spend in the participating Lewes businesses! The initial list of participating businesses will be announced early February.

1 Jan 1970.

Lewes & Ouse Valley eco-nomics update

...That's L&OVe


Floods in the news in York and Cumbria... Here in the Ouse Catchment there is natural flood management stuff going on NOW and you can help.

There's also lots more to do to get the Ecosystem Approach benefitting the Lewes Neighbourhood Plan.

Read more on the latest L&OVe update

1 Jan 1970.

New Year, new rates

East Sussex Credit Union (ESCU) is offering some loans at lower interest rates until 16th March. Details are:

 7% AER for loans from £7,500  to £15,000  (7.23% APR)
 8.5% AER for loans from £5000 to £7499.  (8.84% APR)
 Both rates require an AN1 or strong guarantor for each loan. More here...



ESCU keeps our money local and is our nearest thing to a community bank. Don't forget Young Savers accounts pay 2% interest, and check out the bus ticket loans


1 Jan 1970.

Celebrating the success of the Lewes Pound

Town Hall reception celebrates the success of the Lewes Pound

On 30th November 2015 the Mayor of Lewes, Susan Murray, held a reception at the town hall to celebrate the success of the Lewes Pound so far and to update stakeholders on progress with a feasibility study into an electronic version of the Lewes Pound.

  Present were directors of the Lewes Pound CIC (including of course the mayor herself); businesses that accept the Lewes Pound, including Harveys and Cheese Please; staff from Knill James who very kindly do our accounts for free, representatives from Smith & Ouzman who print our beautiful notes; other town councillors and Julie from reception at the town hall, which is an issuing point; Ferrie our researcher; and other supporters.

Smith and Ouzman very kindly presented the Mayor with a framed set of our current notes.

It was a most enjoyable evening with people taking the opportunity to share their experiences of the Lewes Pound and very interested in future prospects too. Food was provided by local producer Annabel's Kitchen. Annabel sells her goodies in The Friday market every week and is of course very happy to accept Lewes pounds in payment, as are something like 100 businesses in Lewes.

1 Jan 1970.

Sussex residents embrace local energy

£1.248 million is raised for a community solar project near Chichester, double the original target.


1st December 2015 – Almost half the investors in Meadow Blue Community Energy’s community-owned solar farm in Merston near Chichester came from within 35 miles of the project.  The share offer was one of 15 launched across the country in the month following the announcement of the Treasury’s removal of Enterprise Investment Scheme tax relief on community energy projects, and raised the largest amount.

Chris Rowland Chairman of Meadow Blue Community Energy says, "We are delighted that there was an overwhelming response to our community share offer...  Read more here...

1 Jan 1970.

Brighton bus ticket deal for credit union members

  Members of East Sussex Credit Union can have £50 reduction on the cost of buying an annual key card bus pass on Brighton buses. Loans are also available and offer considerable savings compared with monthly tickets. More details here

You can join the CU online or by post, at CU Help Points or at the CU office in Brighton. There is a one-off admin cost of £5 to join. You need a Brighton Buses key card to get the ticket. The offer applies to anywhere in East Sussex and Brighton served by Brighton & Hove Buses and includes Tunbridge Wells as well as Lewes, Seaford and Newhaven.

1 Jan 1970.
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