Sustainable Blewbury is concerned with climate change and other environmental issues, including the depletion of natural resources. We believe that we must reduce our dependence on fossil fuels because of the increasing levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. We need to explore ways in which we as a village can adapt to a lower-carbon and more sustainable way of living, while maintaining a good quality of life.
SB places the highest priority on raising awareness of climate change and communicating urgently how it affects all our lives. Our Blewbury Energy Initiative website includes information on the scientific background to climate impacts, renewable energy and measures we can all take to help lower our own carbon footprints.
Our forthcoming events
Blewbury Garden Market: Saturday mornings from 9.30 – 11.30, Garage forecourt
We are now open (for our 6th year!) every Saturday morning from 9.30 – 11.30 until mid-October, once again with many thanks to Balan for his very generous hospitality. We sell an ever-changing range, both traditional and unusual. Please bring surplus seedlings, produce, bread, cakes and preserves for sale at 9.15. This year looks like being a good one for fruit. Our food page explains how it works, and has full information for producers. Coordinated by Angela Hoy:
Apple juicing sessions
We’re expecting a good apple harvest this year, and will be running our annual sessions to make delicious apple juice from the many trees in the village. Please see our events page for full details.
- Sun 30th Aug, 2–4pm: The Manor Stable
- Sun 13th Sept, 2–4pm: Orchard Dene
- Sun 27th Sept, 2–4pm: The Manor Stable
- Sun 11th Oct, 2–4pm: Blewbury School
- Sun 25th Oct, 12–3pm: The Red Lion (Apple Day)
- Sun 8th Nov, 11–1pm: The Manor Stable
A Family Event: Explore your Churchyard: Saturday 19 September, 9.30 am to 1.00 pm, admission free
This is a joint event run by St. Michaels and Sustainable Blewbury. You and your children can explore the natural environment around St. Michaels. What sort of plants and animals will you find? Expert help will be on hand to assist with identification, and warm drinks and lunch will be provided (donations for the lunch will be welcome). There will be a short family-friendly service before lunch. You can arrive at any time!
For that Saturday only the Blewbury Garden Market will be at St. Michaels from 9.30 to 11.30 am, so you will have the opportunity of buying fresh produce (or selling your own surplus).
Oxfordshire County Council cuts – two consulatations – URGENT
Oxfordshire County Council is currently running two public consultations: on bus services and on household waste recycling centres. Both could have serious effects, including reduction or even elimination of our bus services.
Buses and Dial-a-Ride
The Supported Transport consultation on bus and Dial-a-Ride subsidies runs until 14 September. The Council says it needs to save more than £6 million per year on supported transport services. There are two options. One involves withdrawing all subsidies to bus services, the other making £2.6 million of cuts but trying to keep services, prioritising those used by the disabled or elderly. They also propose to end direct funding for Dial-a-Ride. Details of the proposals, and how to respond to the consultation, may be found here.
Complete withdrawal or a drastic reduction in our bus service is alarming – particularly for users dependent on buses for shopping, surgery trips, etc. From that perspective, the second option would clearly be preferable, though it’s not certain how deep the cuts would go. Both the 94 and 95 buses are listed as being at ‘medium’ risk.
Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs)
The consultation on proposed changes to HWRCs in Oxfordshire runs until 5 October. The Council says it needs to save £350k in savings from its waste management budget. They propose to reduce the number of HWRCs from seven to three or four, and to change the opening hours of the remaining sites. This is likely to be a very unpopular proposal, especially coming from a council that claims to lead the country in recycling.
Their news page is good for finding out more, including which sites are likely to be retained. The consultation itself may be found here, which gives more information and how to respond to the consultation.
Climate (See our global warming page)
Depending on exactly how the data were analysed, 2014 was either the warmest year on record or tied with 2010 and 2005. The 15 warmest years have all been since 1998. 2015 may break the record again.
- The government’s Green
Deal was aimed to be its flagship policy for
improving the energy efficiency of homes, in order to reduce carbon emissions
and the use of fossil fuels. It has now terminated for
new applicants. Although the Green Deal was widely agreed to be misconceived
and take-up was very low, no
scheme to replace it has been promised.
- The government’s much-delayed Renewable Heat Incentive for domestic properties is still running. It covers solar thermal hot water, biomass boilers and stoves, and air-source and ground-source heat pumps. See our Energy Initiative’s domestic grants page for more information.
New on our websites
Mike Edmunds memorial exhibition
On 21 June 2015, on Blewbury’s Open Gardens day, we presented an exhibition showing Blewbury Village Society Environment Group and Sustainable Blewbury projects inspired by Mike’s ideas and leadership over 22 years. The posters we showed can be viewed and downloaded as a pdf file here.
A week later the Watery Lane footbridge, now called the Mike Edmunds footbridge, was rebuilt as Mike had wanted using timber. It's much more sympathetic to the surroundings. Oxfordshire County Council was asked to do this by Lydia Inglis and Mike. The photos show the transformation.
The level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere goes up and down during the year, peaking in the northern hemisphere spring. In 2013 carbon dioxide in the atmosphere briefly surpassed 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in millions of years. In 2014, April was the first full month ever recorded with CO2 levels above 400 ppm, May was even higher and the level remained above 400 ppm through June.
In 2015 it had already surpassed 400 ppm in February and rose to nearly 404 ppm in May. The figure at right shows the situation in the middle of June – note the significantly higher levels compared to 2014. It remained above 400 ppm through July.
On the Blewbury Energy Initiative website we have an explanation of what’s meant by our global carbon budget, how much of it is left, and why that means not burning all known resources of fossil fuels if we want to limit climate change.
Click on these links to find out:
Our activity is organised around five main themes: