Gandalf goes to Preston New Road

Last Thursday, three Herefordians travelled up to the ”desolate north” and put themselves, along with 200 others from all over the country, on the front of the fracking line at Preston New Road in Lancashire. This is where energy company Cuadrilla are trying to erect the first drill to frack for unconventional gas and oil in the U.K. for 7 years.

The last attempt, 1.5 miles down the road towards Blackpool, ended in failure when it produced an earthquake. David Straker, John Perkins and Rick Guest spent the night at neighbouring Maple Farm, before showing early morning solidarity at the fracking site with local people including councillors, grandparents, shopkeepers and farmers.

In 2016, Lancashire county council’s decision not to allow Cuadrilla to frack was overturned by the communities minister, Sajid Javid. Rick Guest (aka Gandalf), who walked from Hereford to London last year in protest at the government’s decision to allow fracking in the Wye Valley AONB at Symonds Yat said, “We were there because fracking is a national issue affecting us all. It is totally unnecessary, risks damaging precious water supplies and devastating the local environment. It also produces a fossil fuel which we all know will contribute to the runaway climate change we are experiencing. As for drilling so close to a known earthquake zone, it’s unbelievable. No wonder the locals are up in arms. I wonder if Jesse Norman or Bill Wiggin would welcome a fracking rig next door to them! What happens here is vitally important to the future of fracking in the UK. All eyes are on Preston Road. We will be back!”

The photo is with William Hawk, a member of the Lakota tribe who protested at Standing Rock in the Dakota heartland over the oil pipeline.

Tomorrow is The Day! Getting Active…

Last month Herefordshire Green Network supported the showing of the film ‘Tomorrow’ at the Courtyard. Around 100 people attended, and the film showing was followed by a lively discussion about how local people can get more involved in local energy saving projects and activities.

On Wednesday evening this week the Herefordshire Green Network are hosting a follow up to this discussion. Join HGN member organisation New Leaf and hear about how to get involved with projects that are currently part of their local portfolio.

The evening will include a session on idea generation and skill sharing with an invitation to everyone to take part.

New Leaf Sustainable Development are a not-for-profit co-operative who have been active in Herefordshire since 2010 on a range of awareness raising and energy saving projects. The New Leaf approach to community engagement is upbeat and inclusive, and frequently employs a combination of arts and technology in a holistic approach to mindset change.

The HGN Gathering is on the 19th July, 7.30pm at De Koffie Pot, Left Bank, Hereford and is open to everyone.

Or join us early at 6pm for an hour of singing simple and inspiring songs with the Turnastone Peace Choir.

Both events are free of charge.

More information on our Whats On pages.



Saving Herefordshire Council Farms

Herefordshire is a diverse agricultural county – hops, yoghurt, beef, apples, cheese, chickens, strawberries, pork, asparagus, lamb – you name it, we grow it. And council-owned farms are the only means by which ordinary people have a hope of getting a foot on the farming ladder.

However the livelihoods and homes of almost 50 tenant farmers and their families are immediately at stake, as well as the future farming careers of generations to come.

Local political party Its Our County are making a legal challenge to Herefordshire Council over the sale of their farms estate.

For more information about this action, click here.

Alternative Enterprises in Agriculture

F M Green is a second generation family run diversified rural business in Herefordshire whose significant activities include; growing potatoes, cereals and chicken, plus amongst many other strings; they are also the local Pub landlord !

Approximately 7 years ago they sought to develop alternative enterprises as an adjunct to the main farming business in order to generate additional revenues, reduce their carbon footprint and reduce the reliance on bought in energy. The commitment has been great in coming years with specialist and dedicated team members and hugely significant financial investment.

These efforts were rewarded in 2016 when they were awarded ‘ The most Carbon Neutral Farm’ at the “Energy Now” National event in Telford.

The focus of the visit will be on the use of biomass boilers for heating and drying, solar PV and the anaerobic digestion plant that produces electricity by digesting waste and crops with the waste heat being used for drying a variety of materials. Plus an understanding of how technology and technical evolution plays a huge role in improving farm efficiency and contribution to the bottom line.

FM Green has a an incredible story to tell and this is a rare opportunity to hear it direct from the family itself.

Date: Thursday 20th  July 2017
Time: 4.30pm, for 5pm prompt start – 6.30pm prompt finish with option to relax at Red Lion afterwards
Venue: FM Green, Ditton Farm, St Owen’s Cross, Herefordshire, HR2 8II
Theme: Renewable technologies and business efficiency in the agricultural sector

This Business Futures Forum event is open to ALL business owners and team members, you do not have to be a BFF member to attend.

To reserve your place please book via Eventbrite using this link:

Herefordshire Wildlife Trust – Ross Branch Walk

Coming up on Saturday, 15th July the Ross branch are running a guided walk with Roger Beck on the Doward, taking in White Rocks, Miners Rest and Woodside nature reserves.

Meet at 10 am at the Forestry Comission car park SO548157 just past the Doward camp site.  Easy walking, but bring stout shoes/boots.  No dogs please.

More information here.

Water quality in Herefordshire 

… is an increasing concern for many. The EA has a useful mapping based water quality data resource. From this link

You can zoom in to particular sections of river/stream and get the latest EA detail on pollution and other factors – when fully drilled down it is very detailed.

Thanks to Herefordshire Tree Forum for this link. To read to H.Tree Forum’s own newsletter, click here. 

The Pomona Solar Electric Tractor!

Gordon Coppock shared an image last week of Pomona Solar just after he had finished mowing at Stoke Edith with the electric tractor. In future the group coordinating this community owned solar array may be looking for people who would like to scythe and remove the hay from the centre sections of the array site. The site was originally planted up with a seed mix and some of the growth is deliberately being left uncut to encourage diversity of habitats.

Marcher Apple Visit to Frank P Mathews

Frank P Matthews in Tenbury is the UK’s largest fruit tree nursery – and well worth the trip. The Marcher Apple Network (MAN) has a few places remaining for anyone interested to join their next organised visit on Wednesday 6th September. For more details visit our Whats On pages.

Energy Efficiency Upgrades for Village Halls

Community First’s Village Hall Network is developing proposals for a small conference and some building surveys to show how village halls can improve their energy efficiency ­making their halls more comfortable and cutting energy bills.

Community First’s village hall advisor, Richard Timney: “In recent years many halls have taken action to insulate their buildings, cut out draughts and install solar panels ­ but some have much further to go than others. This is an area of village hall spending that can attract grants ­ we want to show the value of making halls more energy efficient and help halls develop a suitable funding strategy.”

To sign up contact

Mass Extinction…

A topic of conversation around many a Herefordshire dinner table over the past few days no doubt …

Earth’s sixth mass extinction event is under way.

.. and a couple of days later an article giving us all a hefty shove on how to reduce our energy consumption. Questioning the value of recycling and low energy light bulbs it’s time to ditch the car …

Want to fight Climate Change…


Both articles are from The Guardian’s Environment Editor, Damian Carrington.

Thanks to Mo and Gareth for the links.




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