This Evening …

BEING A GREEN COUNCILLOR IN HEREFORDSHIRE: THE INSIDE STORY!
Herefordshire Green Party’s four busy and effective Green Party county councillors will talk about life on the council…
Come find out about how they are making Herefordshire Greener. The evening will include discussion about the local elections in May 2019 and getting more Green representation on the council.
Wednesday 28th Feb, 7.30pm – 9.30pm
The Left Bank Village, Bridge Street, Hereford, HR4 9DG

Politics, Ethics, Environment

Every Wednesday there is a discussion to be had at De Koffie Pot between 7.30 –- 9.00 pm.

Here is the lineup for March:

Wednesday March 7 : Talk Shop presented by Perry Walker :-

Health and Social Care local initiatives : following on from last months’ discussion at the national level what is happening locally? There are around 30 local initiatives – what are they? Do they join up? How can we make the most of them? What more can be done?

Wednesday March 14 : DKP Presentation :- 

Henry David Thoreau – Philosopher, transcendentalist, first environmentalist. Rugged individualist, critic of government and materialism. Lived self sufficiently in woods, Walden Pond, Concord, Massachusettes, 1850 for two years two months. Contrast to today’s megacities and destruction of our forests.

Wednesday March 21 : Herefordshire Green Network :-

“Personal, Planetary, Political” Join Pete Linnell who will be introducing ecological foot printing tools to help us understand what effect our lifestyle choices are having on the environment.

Wednesday March 28 : Hereford Green Party :-

What can a Green Councillor do for Herefordshire?

With three guest councillors.

 

With food and drinks available in the bar.

Big Green Drinks!

There is no HGN Gathering this month, but on the third Wednesday Herefordshire Green party are hosting a Big Green Drinks for everyone interested in the green agenda, whatever their political hue…

Join them on the 20th December at 7.30pm at De Koffie Pot for some festive conversations after a turbulent politics year…

Local Currency for Herefordshire?

 A few of us are devising an HGN Gathering considering the questions & opportunities of a local currency for the county:

Wednesday 15th November, HGN Gathering on Local Currency:  An evolution towards Contact .. vs becoming Contactless

Local money doesn’t leak through the holes ­ it bounces around inside the local economy and keeps money in local pockets. Money is energy ­ keeping that energy local keeps it supporting the local community, not swelling a banker’s coffers. Money is our transaction – a communication, and we want that communication to be real…

If you would like to be part of the team planning the way this event might evolve, please get in touch!

Questions we aim to consider over the course of the evening include:

  • How does a local currency work for individuals ­ and for local businesses?
  • What are the benefits?
  • What are the challenges?
  • Can we make a local currency electronicŠ ?
  • What would be our next steps towards making this happen?

 

We hope to have expert input from Bristol, Totnes and HerefordshireŠ.  Hear how others have made a local currency work – and help think about how it could work for us here.

And if you think you have anything to add to the evening – please let us know… Contact kate@hgnetwork.org

 

Wednesday 15th November, 7.30pm at De Koffie Pot.
Hosted by Herefordshire Green Network in collaboration with A Rule of Tum.

World Population – 7.5 billion & rising…

a photo of hiking boots

 

Join a presentation & discussion upstairs at De Koffie Pot next Wednesday evening.

World population is now 7.5 billion, and projected to rise to 8.6 billion by 2030, 9.8 billion by 2050 up to 11.2 billion in 2100!

What are the implications? What are your views? What can be done? Come and hear some details and statistics then listen to and/or join in the ensuing discussion

 

Wednesday 25th October, 7.30 – 9.30pm … and discussions may continue, DKP closes at 11pm!

Come early – drinks & food available at the bar downstairs.

 

This is a DKP hosted Discussion Evening, and one of the regular Politics, Ethics & Environment nights held on Wednesdays at DKP.

 

Herefordshire Council Bus Consultation 

The results of the consultation and the stalwart efforts of Rail & Bus for Herefordshire (RBfH) volunteers handing out leaflets on the proposed cuts to bus services took the Council by surprise. The response to the consultation was one of the biggest they had which served to emphasise the importance of buses in both the social and economic well being of this rural county. The result was a postponement of the cuts proposed for 2017. However, the sting is in the tail as it is still on record that the council will seek to progressively reduce the bus support budget to nil over three years.

What is equally as disturbing is that operators are beginning to prune their commercial services, albeit on a small scale at the moment. This is indicative of the dire straights that some operators are finding themselves in without support, and not necessarily financial support from the local authority.

The RBfH Buses Sub-group will continue its dialogue with and lobby Cabinet members of the council. They want to stress three points:

1. That the Council needs to be more upbeat and promote existing services as a value for money contribution to our economy and social life…the constant gloom about buses is damaging every day services

2. That the definition of secondary core services in the future needs to re-instate those which serve large settlements (see below)

3. That it needs to accept that Community Transport cannot make up for the loss of mainstream routes in some areas.

An interesting point, however, that Herefordshire council have gone out to tender on eight contracts due for renewal in September 2017. The contracts involved are those for the main Hereford-Kington service and services in eastern Herefordshire operated by Astons coaches and DRMBus. Further, the contracts for eastern Herefordshire are issued individually but also as a combined contract with the title of Ledbury Area Services. One presumes that the council are hoping such an area approach where contracts can be linked using the same bus will lead to discounted prices from operators. The results are still awaited so we will have to wait and see.

In the meantime RBfH urge you to write to the Portfolio Holder for Transport, Councillor Durkin at bdurkin@herefordshire.gov.uk, together with your local councillors to seek assurance that the network of routes to our main rural settlements are maintained in the future.

Places which have populations of approximately 700-1000 deserve a service. These are places such as Bosbury, Canon Pyon, Colwall, Cradley, Eardisland, Eardisley, Hoarwithy, Kingsland, Leintwardine, Pembridge, Peterchurch, Shobdon, Staunton-on-Wye, Tillington, and Wigmore. Their services all remain at risk!

 

(From Rail & Bus for Herefordshire Summer Newsletter 2017 – thanks Gareth for sharing)

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.

Creating Decent Jobs in an Era of A.I.

How do we create good work in the era of globalisaiton, Uber and artificial intelligence? The Citizen’s Economic Council wants suggestions on how to create good work. We’ll be identifying ideas to put to the council.

Join Perry Walker, Talk Shop TONIGHT, 7.30 – 9.30 at De Koffie Pot, Left Bank Hereford for the next in the regular series of Politics, Ethics and Environment Discussion Nights. More information here.

Monsanto Tribunal

Herefordshire Friends of the Earth has been sending support to the Monsanto Tribunal, and coordinator Melodie Winch forwarded this update for anyone else around Herefordshire who might like to know more about this important opportunity to end corporate impunity:

On April 18th the Judges in the Tribunal delivered a very powerful message to the world. Monsanto is violating basic human rights to food, health and a healthy environment and this could be considered as ecocide if this crime would be recognized in international law. The legal opinion is a strong message to corporations, governments and United Nations, but also to the consumers and producers in the world.

Now this process lies in our and your hands. The wider we can spread the message, the stronger the effect. No longer should crimes against humanity and nature go unpunished, no longer should the cost of pollution and destruction be neglected. Help us to spread the opinion in as many networks as possible: consumers, lawyers, government circles, companies etc.

Please help us spread the legal opinion:

  • Write about it in your newsletter and publications, with a link to the legal opinion (also available in French, Spanish, Dutch and German on the other versions of the website)
  • Repeat the message several times
  • Organise a presentation or discussion about the legal opinion
  • Write letters to legal or government organisations about this legal opinion
  • Send us your ideas to create attention for this important opinion

In case you are not able to help us directly in dissemination the legal opinion, you might be able to give us some financial support. This will enable us to spread the opinion in as many networks as possible to maximize the effect. Most of the work in the Monsanto Tribunal was done by volunteers including the judges, but we need some staff to help us do the office work. If we can afford it we will also look to help Monsanto victims in their court cases and help to start new cases. Additionally, we have started a new plan to calculate the true cost of Monsanto (and Bayer if the merger goes ahead) activity. So please donate, small or large donations are very welcome on:

Stichting Monsanto Tribunal (Foundation)
Triodos Bank, The Netherlands
IBAN: NL48TRIO0390954667
BIC/SWIFT: TRIONL2U

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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