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.
Left: Creating the new Rain Garden at Portslade village green (thanks to Gary Grant; photo by Rich Howorth).
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...|
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...|
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...
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 email@example.com
You can also like the Phoenix Rising Youth Facebook page at:
|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...|
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.
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.
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...
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...|
SMART PHONE PAYMENT PILOT STARTING WITH SEVERAL LEWES BUSINESSES IN FEBRUARY 2016.
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).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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
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...
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.
£1.248 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...
|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.
The Low Carbon Trust crowdfunding campaign, Save Earthship Brighton! is continuing to fund-raise for the vital upgrade to the energy and water systems. The crowdfunding campaign now ends on Friday 11th December.
After 10 years of hosting permaculture courses, eco-education events, and receiving thousands of visitors, Earthship Brighton’s water & power systems are in need of a vital upgrade. More...
The share offer aims to raise £640,000, which will be invested in a 5MW solar array at Merston Farm in Chichester, is eligible for Enterprise Investment Tax (EIS) tax relief and aims to pay investors 7% interest/annum. The directors of Meadow Blue Community Energy include Chris Rowland (a director of OVESCO Ltd CIC) and Nick Rouse (a director of OVESCO Ltd CIC & OVESCO Limited CBS) as well as Julie Salmon, Dave Barton and Steve Webb.
IMPORTANT: due to recent changes to the Enterprise Investment Tax (EIS) tax relief announced on the 26th October, investors cheques must clear by the 23rd November and BACS payments by 24th November. For more information about how and when to invest go to the Ethex website
This is almost certainly the last chance to benefit from a share offer in a community energy project using EIS.
Chris Rowland – Director OVESCO Ltd CIC & Meadow Blue Community Energy.
Fireworks and Plots ... and Plans
Lewes District Council have sent out their ideas for development of some of their sites, including Ham Lane, Christie Road and others – see leaflet. Do these represent the transition we want for Lewes?
There’s an alternative – Lewes Neighbourhood Plan could set the planning requirements for any site in the Neighbourhood Area, including these sites - in effect becoming part of the ‘rule book’ against which these proposals will be assessed. Lewes & Ouse Valley eco-nomics’ focus remains with the Neighbourhood Plan and valuing the ecological and social benefits of potential development sites that usually get ignored … Now's the time to get involved.
The Lewes Development Debate on 15 September, hosted by community developer Lewes Phoenix Rising, attracted a packed house. A full film of the event will be available soon. A petition has been set up to urge Lewes District Council to reconsider redevelopment plans for the Phoenix/North Street site. More on the debate from Sussex Express here...