Transition News

Vote on the Lewes Neighbourhood Plan on 7th March!


Citizens of Lewes can vote in a referendum on the Lewes Neighbourhood Plan. The Plan sets the scene for development in Lewes up to 2033, including new housing and green spaces.

The Plan is the first in the country to use an ecosystem services approach as its guiding principle. It identifies small-scale sites for housing development, promotes affordable and low-cost housing and identifies green spaces and wildlife corridors. There’s a special focus on promoting enjoyment and use of the river Ouse as it flows through Lewes. more


The Silver Bean Car Club

The Silver Bean Car Club started in 2006 among a group of friends who wanted to reduce car use and share a car. We changed a few cars since then and now use Kia Saul 2012. It is an informal scheme and we are currently open to have another member or two to join and increase the car usage.

The Car Club is based on trust and the car is parked either in the Mountfield House private car park or in South Malling. We only use registered members, not 'one off' users.

Please get in touch for further details if you are interested in joining: Raphaella 07787726069



A stable climate

Most people who read TTL News already take the climate crisis seriously. But amid much other stuff occupying bandwidth, we need to see things that make it easier to take action and talk to others. These compelling videos express our predicament well: Curbing emissions with a new "carbon law" and Beyond the Anthropocene. We can keep a stable climate if we start now to junk all fossil fuel hardware

In this country, people are not waiting for government action: councils have been declaring a climate emergency: Scarborough, a Tory council, has committed to become carbon neutral by 2030. Bristol plans to become carbon neutral by 2030.

On 29th March there is to be a conference for local authorities about going for zero carbon by 2030. Our councillors and officials could go if we tell them about it/ask them.

A reminder of the priorities Christiana Figueres mentioned. These include talking to and voting for politicians who will do something about the risks we all face, as well as personal action on food, travel and investments.

Extinction Rebellion, which includes non-violent direct action, has an active local group: contact Mark Engineer.


Divestment progress

  Keep It In The Ground Lewes and Divest East Sussex have been very active in the last three years, and in the wider world the divestment movement is having a transforming effect. Some local activities have been: getting the Pension Committee to commit ‘to putting 11% of the Funds held in their passive investment portfolio into the UBS Climate Aware Fund’, which has reduced investments in fossil fuel companies and increased investments in renewable energy.

As at June 2017, the East Sussex Pension Fund was estimated to have at least £150m invested in fossil fuels.

Read more here...


Keep on Donating a Drink at the Depot

The Lewes Pounds features in a new book called BRITISH TRANSITION TOWN MONEY by Guy Singer, a very comprehensive overview of all British independent currencies, some no longer active. As with the other currencies featured there is a brief history plus information about and illustrations of all the notes issued so far. We at the Lewes Pound are particularly pleased with his opening comments on us:-

     “The Pound is actively involved in social initiatives; their latest, Donate-a-Drink, encourages customers at the Depot café to donate the cost of a coffee to the local food bank. The Depot will, in turn, donate the equivalent amount in Lewes Pounds so visitors to the food bank can have a treat. If one is looking for a model of a successful, sustained currency with truly noteworthy aims, Lewes has to be a place to examine.”

The Donate a Drink scheme started back in the autumn and (topped up by some of the Lewes Pound's own charitable funds) enabled us to give 80 envelopes of Lewes Pounds to users of the 3 Lewes food banks in the run-up to Christmas. They were very well received and initial feedback reports that some recipients used them to visit the Depot; others ate out at the Bus Club pizzeria or the John Harvey Tavern; one teenager was able to buy clothes at Oxfam; and others spent them in the Riverside or Bags of Books or were intending to spend them at the Flint Owl Bakery. That is quite a few local Lewes businesses benefitting from the scheme, to say nothing of the pleasure given to those able to enjoy a treat not normally within their budget.

And it doesn't stop there. The Donate a Drink scheme continues at the Depot – and we would like in due course to extend it to other local coffee shops. It is very easy. When you order a drink or a meal at the Depot ask to also Donate a Drink and an extra £3 will be added to your bill. It makes only a small difference to you but the smile on the faces of those receiving the money to spend on a treat is priceless. The money accumulates in a special fund at the Depot and will be handed over to the Lewes Pound in time for us to give out more envelopes before Easter. Please help. This is a small way to make a big difference to some of the less fortunate in our town.

NB You can ‘Donate-a-drink’ at the Depot in either sterling or Lewes Pounds.


Be a star in the Plastic Free Lewes Pledge Film



In 2019, Plastic Free Lewes will be inviting individuals, shops, businesses and other organisations in Lewes to sign up to the Plastic Free Lewes Pledge – a promise to cut down on single-use plastic, a big culprit behind global plastic pollution.

To inspire people to sign up to the pledge, which will be launched this spring, Plastic Free Lewes are making a film and they want you to be part of it. 

How you can get involved

Simply film a 7-10 second selfie video on your phone, stating ONE thing you’re doing to cut down on single-use plastic and send it to Plastic Free Lewes (below).

It could be that you’ve got yourself a reusable takeaway coffee cup. Or you’re taking your own containers when you go grocery shopping. Or you’ve lobbied your supermarket to use less plastic. Whatever you’re doing they want to hear about it and feature you in their film!


How to film your Pledge selfie: 

To help our film makers, please follow these simple steps when making your pledge selfie:

Step 1: Get the right conditions

- Film during the daytime

- Be outdoors or in good light (but not in direct sunlight)

- Keep away from loud background noise

Step 2: Know what you are going to say

- Rehearse your pledge out loud a few times
- Start with ‘I pledge to…”
- Keep it simple – just one action you pledge

Step 3: Frame yourself
- Hold your phone vertically / portrait style

- Put your face in the middle of the frame

- Look into the actual camera on your phone (not the screen)

- Check again you’re not in direct sunlight

Step 4: Pace yourself

- Press “RECORD” and wait a few seconds before talking

- Deliver your pledge starting “I pledge to…”

- Keep your pledge short, maximum 5 seconds

- Once you have said your pledge, wait a few seconds
- Then say: “Sign the Pledge!”

- Wait a few seconds then end “RECORD”

Click on the video below for an example pledge:

You can send your selfie video to Plastic Free Lewes in two ways:

Please send in your selfie, together with your name, by the end of February. If you’re finding it hard to record yourself – ask someone to film you. But do send one in! The more selfie videos we can get, the more powerful our film will be. If you have any questions or need help with filming, call the Plastic Free Lewes team on 07887 556 177.



Tingle's Way

Tingle’s Way is a self-guided trail with themed stories linking the town of Lewes with our natural surroundings. It's also a tribute to Colin Tingle who played a key role in heightening our awareness of how our lives are intertwined with all of life and living systems and especially how ecosystem services benefit our economy and society. He achieved this through workshops and guided Naturegain walks he led in person as part of L&OVe (Lewes and Ouse Valley Eco-nomics). Tingle’s Way is a natural progression from Colin’s work inspiring us and offering us the opportunity to strengthen our connections for a more sustainable future.  Here's the story...


Love it or lose it!

Although we’re all volunteers and we provide our own content for the TTL newsletter and website, they cost us money to produce each month. Getting grants for running costs is nigh on impossible these days so we rely on donations to help. We hope you enjoy and value it as the only independent non-political environmental newsletter in the local area. We are struggling a bit to make ends meet so please consider even a small monthly amount to help us continue, and if you already donate, possibly increase it a bit?

   Our bank details are:
Transition Town Lewes
Sort code 089299
Account number 65811030

And please reference with “DON” followed by your surname.
It would help if you could email Julia if you do decide to help us.

Thank you!


The four most effective things you can do

From Dirk Campbell

  OK, we’re combating plastic, we’re protesting on climate change and species extinction, we’re signing every online petition that comes into our email inbox and we’re donating to Greenpeace. But are you still wondering whether you’re doing enough personally? Feeling guilty about shopping in supermarkets, turning on the central heating or flying off on holiday? John Simpson, Radio 4’s world affairs editor, recently reported on an optimistic message from Christiana Figueres (left), UK-based Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. See how you check out with the four things she suggests you do personally. (Note she doesn’t mention abolishing Lewes Bonfire.) more

Today Programme, Radio 4, 7.41am Saturday November 3rd 2018 - read the transcript here...

See for her TED talk on optimism and the Paris Accord. 


Plastic Free Lewes – a year in review

Juliet Oxborrow and Sue Fleming, co-ordinators of Plastic Free Lewes, look back at its first year of plastic action and what’s happening in 2019.

When we first thought about setting up Plastic Free Lewes last autumn it was partly in response to people increasingly asking us if Transition Town Lewes (TTL) was doing anything about plastic pollution.

Given that TTL had spent a decade trying to encourage less dependence on fossil fuels, it only seemed logical that we addressed the other side of the petro-chemical coin: the rapid and downright terrifying increase both in disposable plastic production and a growing mountain of waste with which even the UK, with its sophisticated waste management infrastructure, was struggling to cope.

We launched Plastic Free Lewes with a screening of the powerful documentary ‘A Plastic Ocean’ at Depot Cinema in December 2017. Scheduled just a couple of weeks before Christmas, we were sceptical that anyone would want to turn out during the height of the festive season to watch a film documenting the pitiful plight of sealife unknowingly ingesting the world’s plastic detritus (and the disturbing knock-on effect that was potentially having on human food chains). Read more...


Rain garden planter

Amid the overall chaos of climate change, different communities will face individual threats. For Lewes, the main challenge may well be the traditional one: various forms of flooding. Floods caused by river and tide are perhaps best dealt with by local and national government, and work carried out since the 2000 event now protects most of the town (though for how long, is anybody's guess). Flash flooding, on the other hand, is a rather more local phenomenon - in an urban environment, it is usually caused by runoff from roofs and tarmac - and its risk may be minimised by local action. 
Amid the overall chaos of climate change, different communities will face individual threats. For Lewes, the main challenge may well be the traditional one: various forms of flooding. Floods caused by river and tide are perhaps best dealt with by local and national government, and work carried out since the 2000 event now protects most of the town ( though for how long, is anybody's guess ). Flash flooding, on the other hand, is a rather more local phenomenon - in an urban environment, it is usually caused by runoff from roofs and tarmac - and its risk may be minimised by local action. 
To illustrate this point, Transition Town Lewes have installed a rain garden planter at Trinity Church, Southover, with the cooperation of and financial support from the church authorities. This kind of planter slows down the flow of water from roof to sewer, giving the latter time to cope with a sudden downpour. As a bonus, the plant roots, compost and gravel filter out a certain amount of pollution, which would otherwise travel down the river to the sea, and then end up on your plate the next time you visit your local chippie. Read on...

How well do you know your milk?

In recent years there has been a movement away from consuming cow’s milk, and plant milks from nuts, seeds, grains and legumes have become increasingly popular.
In this video, nutritionist, author and environmental campaigner Daphne Lambert of Greencuisine Trust looks at some of the issues surrounding cows milk:

List of raw milk suppliers here...

Now take a look at this: The pros & cons of plant milks...


8 November 2018
Jill Goulder

In 2015 three of us in Lewes, all beginners in video-making, got together to make an eco video about magnetic-strip secondary glazing, which we published on YouTube under the name Eco Lewes. Amazingly it’s now had well over 60,000 hits, and a flourishing crop of comments and queries, so I thought I’d celebrate that by writing a short piece for TTL about how it all came about. Read it here...


Last chance to Donate a Drink for Christmas

If you have been meaning to donate a drink to a local food bank customer whilst visiting the Depot now is the time. The Lewes Pound will be collecting donations from the Depot and giving them out to food banks on 10th December so you have just a week to join in to ensure that they can enjoy a treat before Christmas... It's easily done and spreads a bit of festive cheer. When buying your drink tell the staff member serving you that you'd like to donate a drink to a food bank and pay for that in addition to your own. This money is set aside and converted into Lewes Pounds to be given out by the food banks. It is as simple as that.


Food banks are great at providing the basics of survival, but there is more to life than that and you can help the socially excluded to be able to enjoy the kind of things many of us take for granted. With this idea everyone can make a small contribution to the well-being of another Lewes resident.

The scheme is intended to run and run so you can keep on donating into the run-up to Christmas and on into 2019.

NB This project is supported by the Depot and the Lewes Pound, but you can Donate a Drink at the Depot in either sterling or Lewes Pounds.


The Truth About Plastic - what did we learn?


Plastic Free Lewes would like to say a huge thank you to the 150+ people who came to The Truth About Plastic on Wed 24 October at Lewes Town Hall - and to the evening's fantastic panellists: Prof Liz Hill of University of Sussex, Ed Sarasketa of Viridor, Cat Fletcher of Freegle and Ruth Anslow of HISBE Food - Brighton's rebel sustainable supermarket. Also big thanks to the wonderful stallholders with all their inspiring ideas and products to cut plastic out of day-to-day living including Railway Land Wildlife Trust, Wickle, Whale and Me, Refill Lewes, Refill Seaford & Newhaven, Surfers Against Sewage. Plus of course event partners Plastic Free Seaford and Plastic Free Eastbourne.

So on the same day that the EU announced wide-ranging measures to ban single-use plastic items by 2021 what did we learn? 


How can we act on the latest news on climate change?

By Ann Link, TTL.

Ideally, to keep within a 1.5 degree rise in global temperature, climate gas emissions should start to go down in the next year or two and be cut globally by 45% by 2030. Even this is not safe, as we are already seeing impacts at the present rise of one degree since pre-industrial times.

Christiana Figueres (ex-head of the IPCC) said on Radio 4 that her four actions are:


1. Reduce or eliminate meat consumption
2. Transport changes: more electric vehicles, shared vehicles and public transport
3. Be aware where savings are invested – for our local campaign see Divest East Sussex
4. Vote at all levels for political leaders who realise this is a shared responsibility and that we need action right now.

To that I would add: break the silence and talk to people about this. Even if you somehow don’t feel alarmed enough, it’s vital to make some changes and talk about them as George Monbiot says... Look at the Extinction Rebellion event in London on Saturday 17th November

The group 10:10 say: switch your energy supplier to a renewable provider (see illustration below)

Ovesco suggests looking at:

Our Power - they are working with a number of community energy groups
Good Energy
Coop Energy
Robin Hood 



OVESCO Sunny Solar Schools – Community Share Offer

The OVESCO team visited St John’s, Brighton (mid August), the second OVESCO Sunny Solar Schools project to be commissioned. The mounting systems are already in place and the installers were hard at work pulling out long lengths of cables to take up to the roof. All the PV modules are due to be in place by the end of the week, with the system being fully operational by the end of August. There are clear views across Brighton and out to sea towards the Rampion Wind Farm. With no shading on the roof, this will be an ideal site for solar energy.


St John’s, which is up on the hill behind the Royal Sussex County Hospital, makes a practical difference to the lives of the young people with learning difficulties. OVESCO will provide the school with electricity at a reduced cost as well as educational display panels.

The share offer is now up to £38,750 with more pledged but more still needed to get to our £140,000 target for all schools to be funded. If you would like more information or would like to invest in clean, renewable energy Through OVESCO Sunny Solar Schools please visit OVESCO.



Observations and Achievements

By Dirk Campbell of TTL

  It sometimes seems like there are more people observing Transition than actually doing it, reminding me of the joke that for every Kalahari Bushman there are five documentary makers following him around. Hardly a month goes by without a student emailing to ask if they can interview us for their dissertation. The most recent emailer refers, without specifying, to certain negative perceptions of Transition Towns, which set me wondering what the negative perceptions might be. That the public interest which filled Lewes Town Hall on several occasions has faded? That Transition's entire emphasis was on peak oil when climate change is the real threat? That Transition is just another form of middle class self-indulgence? That the media is obsessed with people changing their sex? (Different type of transition —ed).  Read more...

Cycling Strategy for Lewes: what do you think?

The strategy for Cycle Lewes has now been adopted but they would still welcome contact:


Banking for the Future

As awareness of how I live and relate to the ecosystems around me has grown over the years, I’ve made many changes: such as what I eat, how I travel and what I buy. I’ve also tried to invest my savings in socially responsible ways, but I’d done nothing about my current account until Triodos - a Dutch bank with a British presence - announced a new current account. I do believe they are the face of future sustainable banking. Read more by Julia Waterlow...

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