Transition News

Finding the Bright Spots

Climate Talk


When four Lewes societies paraded figures of Donald Trump on Bonfire Night last month, his election to The White House had still seemed unlikely; unreal.  But in a matter of days the recently ratified UN Paris Agreement on Climate Change was looking vulnerable under a future President who had previously talked of "scrapping" it.  He has since declared he has “an open mind” on the deal, but could a single administration manage to sabotage a worldwide agreement that had taken decades to reach?  Read more here...

1 Jan 1970.

Help fund local solutions to global problems

Transition Town Lewes (TTL) is a voluntary organisation with many dedicated people offering their time, effort and knowledge to help make Lewes a thriving and sustainable community. As with any voluntary group, we do have regular costs to meet so that we can keep taking local action to address global problems like climate change and resource scarcity.

Invest in a sustainable future
Lewes can thrive with the collective energy and support of the people who live in and love this amazing town. Your donation will be used to support projects and ideas that can help assure sustainability - from renewable energy and green transport to local food-growing and new enterprise.

We produce a monthly email newsletter sent out to 1,000 people, maintain a website that acts as a hub of information, and put on numerous talks and events. With your help, we can do even more.

Give what you’re comfortable with, and know that your support makes all the difference.

1 Jan 1970.

Ovesco and Ringmer Community College launch solar energy share offer

Solar energy share offer...

    Parents and members of the local community in Ringmer are being invited to invest in new solar panels installed on Ringmer Community College’s roof. This is a joint initiative involving the school and Ouse Valley Energy Services Company (Ovesco). The College has strong eco-credentials, around 180 students are active eco-representatives and some have helped to plan and deliver the share offer. Ovesco has installed community-owned solar panels on the roofs of three other schools as well as on Harvey’s warehouse in Lewes. Read more - including information on share offer...

Eco Reps Enjoy Sun Powered Break Time at Ringmer College.

16 Nov 2016.

Join Keep It In the Ground Lewes

Keep It In the Ground Lewes is looking for more people to re-launch the group. There are now groups all over East Sussex asking the county council pension fund to divest, and hopeful signs from other pension funds. And 43 UK universities have pledged to dump investments in fossil fuels. More: The Guardian


There is still a great need to keep up the pressure on fossil fuels, so please contact Arnold Simanowitz on 01273 480011 or email if you can help.

Background information here...

1 Jan 1970.

One of the most important men who has ever lived...

One of the most important men who has ever lived has recently died. He is up there with Gandhi, Mandela, Churchill and Krishnamurti. Unlike them he was not widely acknowledged during his life, being so far ahead of the curve, but his ideas have been adopted by hundreds of thousands of people all over the world at all levels, from the rebuilding of Cuba’s economy to farming in drought-stricken Africa to spiritual ecology at Findhorn. He is Bill Mollison, inventor of Permaculture.


Most people involved in the Transition Towns initiative will know that it is based on Mollison’s ideas: do what works, don’t keep putting effort into what doesn’t work, use natural processes to model solutions, co-operate rather than control, value small successes, take the long term view of everything. Rob Hopkins’ Transition idea came from applying Permaculture principles as a community-level response to global resource depletion and life beyond cheap oil.

Read more here...

1 Jan 1970.

A light bulb moment...

Jon Gunson, TTL:

     I was sitting in the living room the other night when a bulb went. Took me a minute or so to work out what was going on, because modern bulbs last for ever, don't they? Well, near enough. Now in terms of embodied carbon, this is, of course, a jolly good thing. However, it has a downside, as you don't have to think about changing a light bulb for years on end, and by the time you do, you realise that you have been missing out on some very interesting developments. As a reader of this you are, I suppose, way ahead of me in this field. Just in case, though, here is a report from the front line...
1 Jan 1970.

Down the Drain: Help us create a Flash Flood Map of Lewes



A huge thank-you to everyone who came to our event, Down the Drain: What can we do to stop surface in Lewes getting worse?

We'll be carrying a full report in our December issue and thoughts on next steps. In the meantime, we're looking to keep building our Flash Flood Map of Lewes. If you're aware of any location in Lewes that floods after heavy rainfall - including places that have only just start to flood recently - let us know. Email

1 Jan 1970.

Lewes Eco Open Houses record-breaking attendance


The Eco Open house event finished on Sunday 23rd and most of the householders and volunteers gathered for a celebration at the Lewes arms that evening. Final attendance figures were gathered together and we were able to announce a record breaking attendance of over 1200 house visits! More than 50% up on the last event in 2014.

We all shared our experiences and it was great to hear that the majority of visitors came seeking information and shared expertise, to get their own eco house projects under way. Giving inspiration and confidence to others is definitely the way forward.

The new booking system also seemed to work well and helped regulate numbers and make householder presentations more manageable. Lots of ideas were shared to make the next event even better.

We would like to thank all the householders who took part for generously opening their homes and giving up so much free time to help others. Similarly we couldn’t have done it without the army of volunteers working at the houses and the team behind the event. Finally, we should acknowledge the very generous backing from the Big Lottery and the very useful grants from  Lewes Pound and Lewes Town Council. Neil Williams

For future reference, and for those who couldn’t make it, Neil has produced a leaflet going ideas on how to make your own home more energy efficient, with particular focus on high impact/low cost measures.

1 Jan 1970.

Move our pensions out of fossil fuels

Campaigners from around East Sussex have launched a new brochure and web tool to help members of the East Sussex Pension Fund (ESPF) lobby the County Council to reinvest the £172 million it currently has invested in the coal, oil and gas industries. See Fossil Free Hastings


Members of the East Sussex Pension Fund can use the new web tool to contact the chair of the East Sussex Pension Committee, Richard Stogdon, and urge the Committee to divest the Fund from fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas). A printed brochure with a tear-off slip addressed to the Committee chair, suitable for Pension Fund members to share with their colleagues, is also available free on request from Fossil Free Hastings, c/o Ore Place Farmhouse, TN34 2RA or

Read more here...

1 Jan 1970.

Cycling to solar in West Sussex

Jill Goulder visits an Ovesco project

An imaginative extra was added to the official opening on 4 September 2016 of a newly-built community-funded 5-megawatt solar farm at Merston east of Chichester. Directors of Meadow Blue Community Energy (a partnership including Ovesco in Lewes) offered to guide a group of attendees on a bike-trip to the farm from Chichester station. I and another Lewes resident Ann Link managed to dodge Rail Replacement Buses and join a dozen Chichester cyclists for the 4-mile ride to the farm. The proliferation of solar farms in that region is a revelation to those of us facing the opposition to them in the SDNP and Weald: with the Downs far to the north here the farms in the flatlands don't 'spoil the view'. Read more...

1 Jan 1970.

East Sussex Credit Union has moved to Hove Town Hall

East Sussex Credit Union has moved to Hove Town Hall.

  The new phone number is 0300 303 3188 and opening hours are increased: now 9.30am to 4pm on  weekdays.  More details here.. The Lewes help point is still 10am to 12 noon at Lewes District Council offices in Southover Road near to Lewes rail station.

The Credit Union is a not-for-profit savings and loans co-operative. Our new neighbours in Hove Town Hall include Citizen’s Advice and Money Advice Plus.

ESCU continues to grow and provide new services to members, many of whom join online. There is a saving for members of £60 on the cost of an annual bus pass to Brighton and there are bus ticket loans which cost less than paying for a monthly ticket. See More here...
1 Jan 1970.

Sacred Earth crowdfunding appeal


A community inspired initiative in the heart of Sussex

Sacred Earth - there is a great short film around their efforts here. They are inviting support from people to become members, as share holders of the community company. You can do this through their website or via (search sacred earth). This might boost their numbers, they have very little time left to ensure they hit their targets.

1 Jan 1970.

Wetwipes and fatbergs

... A personal rant by Julia Waterlow of TTL about the misuse of our sewerage system

Lewesians have first-hand experience of inappropriate materials shoved down our sewage pipes: the closure of Station Street in recent weeks was allegedly caused by bedsheets of all things blocking the underground pipework system.  Although that’s extreme, the day-to-day rubbish put down our foul water system, from toilets and sinks, is pretty gruesome if you’re beach-cleaning along our coasts.


As well as the yuk factor, wet-wipes are a risk to wildlife as creatures mistake them for food. The Marine Conservation Society’s Great British Beach Clean survey reported that the number of wet-wipes on UK beaches more than doubled between 2013 and 2014. ‘This rise in pollution of our oceans and beaches is mainly due to the fact that people want convenience and so many people treat their toilet like a bin’.  Wet-wipes, like nappies, sanitary towels and cotton-buds are designed not to disintegrate in water; even ‘flushable’ biodegradable ones take some time to decompose. The sewage treatment filters don’t always catch everything – though the water companies still ferry tons of waste from the sewage filters to landfill.  Read more...

1 Jan 1970.

Ovesco August Newsletter

Despite the challenges for renewable energy Ovesco has continued to progress with home grown energy for the Lewes District and beyond. Latest community energy news and events from Ovesco here...

Left: one half of the Wallands Primary School PV array.

1 Jan 1970.

Renewables turn tables on National Grid

Last week National Grid admitted its complete failure to predict the rapid advance of small-scale renewables. Four years ago it estimated that 0.5 gigawatts would be installed by 2021. Already, the total is 11GW, and an extra 13GW is now considered likely. That’s an under-estimate by a factor of nearly 50. Accordingly, National Grid has now slashed its forecast for the building of big block power stations by more than 50%. More...

And now eight new battery storage projects are to be built around the UK after winning contracts worth £66m to help National Grid keep power supplies stable as more wind and solar farms are built. EDF Energy, E.On and Vattenfall were among the successful companies chosen to build new lithium ion batteries with a combined capacity of 200 megawatts (MW), under a new scheme to help National Grid to balance supply and demand within seconds. More....

Thanks to the wonderful No2Nuclear Power for these items.

1 Jan 1970.

Pesticide-Free Lewes at the Lewes Societies Fair

   Pesticide-Free Lewes represented our campaign at the Lewes Societies Fair in Lewes Corn Exchange on the 3rd September. They had a very positive response from the public to their campaign. Many people shared upsetting or disturbing experiences with conventional pesticides (some employment experiences, some experiences from their neighbourhood) which shows that (contrary to industry publicity), many people are concerned by the harm pesticides can do. We've now collected over 1000 signatures so far.

Kate (from the pesticide - free Lewes Campaign team) managed to speak to Lewes MP Maria Caulfield, who attended the fair, about the campaign and the need to reduce agricultural pesticide use.

If you want to help the campaign, you can sign the petition or look out for one of the paper copies being circulated throughout Lewes District. If you'd like to get further involved in the campaign, contact
Take a look at the Brighton-based Pesticide Action Network UK

1 Jan 1970.

CAMPAIGN: Get the town buzzing with Wildflower Lewes

Wildflower Lewes is a campaign to get Lewes buzzing with bees, fluttering with butterflies and brimming with stunning wildflowers. It's being initiated by local councillors, wildlife groups and ecologists - and your help is needed too.


It's a well-cited fact that there has been a 97% decline in wildflower meadows since WWII, which has serious implications for bees, butterflies and other insects and wildlife.

Wildflower Lewes is asking people in Lewes to help identify possible patches of land in their neighbourhood that they would like to see become wildflower spaces, with the opportunity to get involved in creating and looking after them. Read more...

Photograph: Joanna Carter

1 Jan 1970.

World Student Environmental Network comes to Lewes

Transition Town Lewes was host to a field trip by the World Student Environmental Network (WSEN) in July as part of the WSEN 2016 Global Summit held jointly at the University of Sussex‎ and University of Keele.


WSEN is a global hub supporting creative student initiatives to help incorporate sustainability and environmental issues into higher education.

The WSEN Global Summit is the network's flagship event. Held in a different country every year, the week-long summit attracts over 100 students from universities across the world.

TTL hosted students for an afternoon at the Linklater Pavilion - Lewes's purpose-built centre for the study of environmental change. Delegates from countries including Israel, Kenya, Austria, Palestine and the USA learnt about the global evolution of the transition town movement and TTL initiatives such as community energy company Ovesco and the Lewes Pound.  Read more

1 Jan 1970.

Planet and pensions at risk

On Tuesday 12th July groups from all over the county presented a petition asking East Sussex County Council to divest its pension fund from fossil fuel funds. The petition was started by Keep It In the Ground Sussex, part of Transition Town Lewes. Fossil Free Hastings and Climate Forest Row organised the event, and have now set up an official petition on the ESCC website

  The KIIGS petition was received by Ruth O'Keeffe and will still receive attention from the council. Many people feel that not only should we not be investing in new fossil fuel extraction but it may not be good financially either.

The groups have also produced a leaflet for pension fund members, who include teachers, leisure centre workers and many other people employed locally as well as employees of the Town, District and County councils. This includes a card to send to those in charge of the fund. If you would like copies, contact Fossil Free Hastings
1 Jan 1970.

Spreading a positive message – from TTL to Ethiopia

We may think (and we’re often told) that many of the positive messages of transition are “…all very well for ‘professionals’ in Europe, but unreal for people living in the ‘real world’ …”. Well, here’s an example that confounds that way of thinking …the spreading enthusiasm for and popularity of ‘naturegain walks’.


People in the Southern Rift Valley in Ethiopia also experience naturegain and it was really lovely going for walks with groups of local people in various locations – from semi-natural woodland to intensive commercial cotton farms, from lake-side biodiversity to smallholder farming plots...


1 Jan 1970.
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