Powering Down…

Discussing the controversy raging in the US about the practicality of a 100% renewable energy system as mooted by Mark Jacobson, Richard Heinberg concludes

“But power down – the pathway about which it is seemingly not permissible for serious people to speak, is what we should all be talking about. That’s because it is the most realistic way to get to a sustainable, happy future.”

Thanks to Rob Palgrove for pointing this out. More details here.

Reclaim the Power

Reclaim The Power, along with Frack Free Lancashire are organising a months’ resistance to the fracking operation about to begin at Preston New Road, Lancashire with special events planned for Fridays.

If anyone is interested in finding out more about these Friday events please contact Rick Guest (aka Gandalf) of Herefordshire’s group ‘Don’t Frack the Shire’ – or look at the Reclaim the Power website.

Can we feed 9 billion people sustainably?

Join Richard Priestley for an inspiring evening of talks, slides and discussions as we chew over questions like ‘Why do some people go hungry?’ ‘What are the environmental impacts of different farming systems?’ ‘Would it help if we all went vegetarian or vegan?’ ‘Is permaculture the answer?’

With Food & Farming as the focus, this session with cover farming approaches from permaculture to hydroponics, and pasture fed to vegan farming systems. Richard will demonstrate a number of very different approaches to farming that are nevertheless exemplars of great but diverse ways to feed humanity.

Wednesday 12th July, 7.30pm, De Koffie Pot, Left Bank, Hereford, HR4 9DG.

This is part of the Politics, Environment & Ethics series on Wednesday evenings at De Koffie Pot. All events are free and open to everyone.

More details from Richard’s website here.

And more details on all of our events can be found on the HGN Calendar, here.

Making Tomorrow Today

Our next HGN Gathering is an opportunity to find out about hands-on opportunities to involve yourself in some local feel-good energy saving action. 
New Leaf Sustainable Development will be sharing information about their current projects and inviting skill sharing and up-beat idea development from us all as we look forward to local events and other varied ecologically focused activities based in and around Herefordshire over the coming months.
New Leaf is a local not for profit cooperative that has been working in Herefordshire since 2010. They are well known for their involvement in a number of significant projects, including the annual h.Energy festival and the Re-Energizing Herefordshire Charter.
Grab a drink, bring a friend, come and share your ideas and get involved.
Wednesday 19th July, De Koffie Pot, Left Bank, Hereford HR4 9DG.

Europe’s Real-Time Electricity Emissions

This open source project visualises the emissions of electricity generation across Europe along with the potential for renewable energy.

By playing around with the tool available on the website you can discover how wind and solar power have already become a significant part of the energy mix in most European countries.

More details here.

This is showing the great improvements being acheived in the carbon footprint of the electricity we use. Just a few years ago in the UK the average was over 500gCO2eq/kWh.
Note that the values used to reflect the carbon footprint of electricity generated by Nuclear power are still not agreed worldwide, and the figures used on this of only 12g may be too low.
For further info contact Gordon Coppock at gordon.coppock@physics.org

Richard Priestley’s blog

For those of you who haven’t yet looked in on Richard’s blogs they seek to show how humanity could have a radically better future based on the twin principles of ecological sustainability and social justice: www.richardpriestley.co.uk

On his website there is a MailChimp sign-up form. If you sign-up and you’ll get each new blog direct to your in-box.

For those of you on Twitter, Richard would love a few more followers, @richard_global_

And while you are there on Twitter you might like to follow the Herefordshire Green Network too: @HfdsGN


Tomorrow is Tomorrow!

Join Herefordshire Green Network for this inspiring, feel-good movie about the best ways to solve our ecological crisis.

Presented by our own David Gillam, and followed by a panel discussion with Christine Hope (Hopes of Longtown / Herefordshire Rural Hub) and Chris Evans (Applewood – the Golden Valley Permaculture Centre).

Wednesday 14th June, 6pm at The Courtyard, Hereford

More details here.

TOMORROW – film & discussion

An inspiring, feel-good movie about the best ways to solve our ecological crisis is showing at The Courtyard next Wednesday evening. The film lays out clearly and simply the work of pioneers who are reinventing agriculture, energy, the economy, democracy and education. Lively and bright, it investigates the solutions accessible to everyone, putting the power in the hands of the world’s citizens. By shedding light on the concrete initiatives that already work, we can see the emergence of what could be tomorrow’s world . . .

“required viewing for anyone wondering what they could do to pitch in and save the planet.” Hollywood Reporter

Winner of the Best Documentary Caesar (French BAFTA) 2016

David Gillam of the Herefordshire Green Network will introduce this Caesar-winning feel-good eco movie for those looking for real, actionable ideas to exact positive change.

Afterwards, grab a drink from the bar and join David and associates as they consider issues raised by the film. With Christine Hope (Hopes of Longtown / Herefordshire Rural Hub) and Chris Evans (Applewood – the Golden Valley Permaculture Centre).

To buy tickets click here: https://www.courtyard.org.uk/events/tomorrow-demain-pg/

Borderlands Blog

Nick Read who is known to many of you as the Director of The Brightspace Foundation (formerly Bulmer Foundation) is also an Associate Agricultural Chaplain in this Diocese. He has recently started to blog, predominantly on issues of faith and environment, and you can read his blog here: www.borderchaplain.org/blog 

Just Towing the Party Line

The full write up of our meeting with Bill Wiggins fyi – including Gordon’s vital statistics …


On Wednesday 10th May members of HGN steering group met with the current North Herefordshire MP – Conservative, Bill Wiggins.

Over the course of an hour’s discussion we raised our concerns about recent government activity on energy and local community related issues.

Kate Gathercole introduced Bill to the work of the Herefordshire Green Network, and then invited Bill to comment on a number of problems specific to our rural county. Discussions included transport, and the need for both policy and infrastructure to support local bus services, plus concerns about the loss of environmental protection with our exit from the EU. Bill suggested that the exit process and changes in laws would be slow to implement, but agreed that he should particularly look for policies that will be of relevance to rural communities in Herefordshire as these go through parliament.

Gordon Coppock then drew Bill’s attention to the failure of the Green Deal and the changes in uptake of retrofit options with the loss of ECO funding under the Conservative and Coalition governments. The office of statistics shows that housing in North Herefordshire is in the top 20 worst constituencies in the country for energy inefficient home stock. Bill suggested that ‘inefficiency’ figures in Herefordshire are high simply because so many local homes are off gas grid. However Gordon’s graph from the office of National Statistics clearly showed the curtailment of momentum in 2010 when the coalition government introduced the Green Deal process. The Government have since re-introduced ECO based insulation and energy saving project support (April 2017) but this is now energy provider specific, with capped funding that is complicated to obtain and only available to those on benefits rather than the wider community – who still need encouragement to adopt these measures.

Discussions went on to explore our dependence on future nuclear energy solutions – considering the costs, the uncertain carbon footprint (more than the 50g CO2e/kwh as recommended by the CCC), and the long build time. Bill suggested that these costs might be similar to concrete costs for tidal lagoons, but Gordon corrected his figures on the successful Swansea Bay Barrier, which all agreed was a good development. Bill then expressed his unhappiness with the aesthetics of wind power. But conceded that he would be happy to be challenged on this if we felt that the public mood on wind power has changed. Figures indicate that 73% of the UK population would now support onshore wind (see ‘Waves 8 – 13’ of DECC’s ‘Public Attitude Tracker’ surveys via the links below).

Gordon and Gareth Williams went on to demonstrate that the Conservative government have effectively reduced support for energy efficiency measures across a number of other areas, including renewable energy, energy regulation and community energy. The Governments own surveys indicate strong support for renewable energies (see the latest BEIS reports below), and strong support for community owned renewable projects. However their policies have included erratic and unplanned changes to FITS, removal of EIS and taxation of PV systems on schools – making further progress for community projects near to impossible. Bill commented that this looked like death from a thousand cuts. We commented that his own voting record had supported many of those cuts. When challenged in this way on his voting record Bill acknowledged that there are times when it is necessary to “tow the party line” wherever your own personal interest lies. He also commented that policies brought as part of the Budget will automatically get voted through by the party.

Towards the end of our conversations Bill commented that we should talk to his colleague Jesse Norman. He also expressed regret that the government seemed to be “missing some joined up sensible steps” with regard to their overall energy policy.

Catherine Jennings thanked Bill for his honesty in this meeting and he agreed to meet with us regularly in the future if he keeps his seat in North Herefordshire.


The latest BEIS public surveys on renewable energy mentioned are here.

If other members of Herefordshire Green Network would like to put forward thoughts for representation at future meetings with our MPs, please let us know.

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