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    Blewbury

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Apple Day photo gallery

Permaculture project

  Permaculture photo gallery

  Permaculture diagram

  Permaculture tree info

Battery recycling/recharging

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Newsletters

  1 - March 2010

  2 - September 2010

  3 - November 2010

  4 - April 2011

  5 - September 2011

  6 - January 2012

  7 - July 2012

  8 - January 2013

  9 - September 2013

10 - February 2014

11 - July 2014

Blewbury Collage

This page reports news relevant to Sustainable Blewbury: what's happening in the project and items of general interest.

February 2014

Sustainable Blewbury Newsletter – issue 11

Contents: (click here to read the newsletter)

April 2014

willow workshop

Willow workshop

Sustainable Blewbury has added another R to its RRR theme – Reskilling. A willow workshop was held at Hall Barn on 25th April, with a small group making willow garden structures. This event will be repeated, and move on to basket-making, but next time with locally grown materials. There is more information here.

February 2014

Sustainable Blewbury Newsletter – issue 10

Click here (pdf)

Contents:

October 2013

Blewbury Garden Market and Garden Market ‘Extra’

The summer season of the Blewbury Garden Market was our best yet, with good and varied crops of fruit and vegetables as well as home-made bread, pastries, preserves and flowers. During the winter break we are again selling bread, pastries, free-range eggs and preserves at the Blewbury Post Office on Saturday mornings.

September 2013

Sustainable Blewbury Newsletter – issue 9

Click here (pdf).

Contents

willow shelter

February 2013

Living willow shelter on permaculture site

A group of people guided by visiting expert Lawrence Graham installed (in very cold weather) a living willow shelter on our permaculture project site (photo at right). This will grow to provide a very attractive, green amenity with a nice view of the downs.

New Transition Together groups started

Three new groups have now started on the programme. Two groups are based on where they live, and one group has a special interest in common – they all live in old houses, either timber framed, stone or brick. This is important for them because the materials and building methods used in older houses mean that they can’t use modern materials and methods to insulate their houses. A specialist in renovation of old houses is advising them on how they can improve the efficiency of their houses without changing their character.

January 2013

thermal image of house

Thermal imaging

The Blewbury Energy Initiative carried out its biggest ever programme of thermal imaging. A total of 53 houses in the village were imaged on cold evenings, and each one received a thorough report on what was good and what needed doing to improve energy efficiency. Some of the houses had been imaged in previous years and could compare images in order to see whether the measures installed had been effective. A typical image is shown at right.

Sustainable Blewbury Newsletter – issue 8

Click here (pdf).

Contents

December 2012

BGM extra bread and pastries

Blewbury Garden Market ‘Extra’ at the Post Office

During the winter break of the Blewbury Garden Market, we have started to sell home-made bread, pastries and preserves at the Blewbury Post Office on Saturday mornings from 9.30 am. The varied, freshly baked bread is being made by the enthusiastic Blewbury Bakers group.

October 2012

Lottery grant for Transition Together – Blewbury

Big Lottery logo

We applied for lottery funding from Awards for All ... and were successful! We officially launched TTog – Blewbury on 24 September, and this gives us enough funding to build on the success of our two pilot groups and keep the project running for the next 12 months. The generous grant will provide free workbooks for every household that joins the project, energy monitors, celebration events, and the support needed to make this project a success. A member of one of the pilot groups said: I’m really getting to know my neighbours. We share ideas at our meetings and are talking to each other more than we have for years. I wasn’t sure about joining the project, but now I’m enjoying it! I’m glad I joined.

September/October 2012

Blewbury Garden Market – grant for new tent and tables and successful season

RWE npower’s Didcot Power Stations have very kindly given us a grant to improve the Garden Market’s weekly produce stall (see photo below). We have used it to buy a sturdy new tent and tables to replace borrowed ones – the photos show them in use.

Despite this year’s unfavourable growing conditions, the Garden Market had by far its best season yet. Sales were boosted by honey and regular supplies of a variety of interesting home-baked breads from the newly formed Blewbury Bakers.

Grant from Didcot Power Station
Blewbury Garden Market  Blewbury Garden Market  Blewbury Garden Market

July 2012

Sustainable Blewbury Newsletter – issue 7

Click here (pdf).

Contents

herb planting

April–May 2012

Permaculture project – herbs and ground cover

Beginning in April, and continuing with a working party on 7 May, we planted a wide variety of perennial herbs and other ground cover plants in the cultivated areas, as well as making a start on the omnipresent task of weeding. See our permaculture page for more information.

April 2012

Our first Annual General Meeting

On 27 April we held our first AGM as an organisation independent of the Blewbury Village Society. It started with a very interesting talk by Dan Betterton of Cultivate. We formally approved our new constitution and elected the following officers: Chairman: Mike Edmunds, Secretary: Mike Marshall, Treasurer: John Ogden. Other members of the Core Group are: Ian Bacon, Eric Eisenhandler, Angela Hoy, Jo Lakeland, Hugh Osborn, Anita Rendel, Ange Barton and Richard Farrell. Our accounts will be audited by Jane Moreton.

January 2012

Transition Together – Blewbury

TTog logo

We have started an exciting new project based on the prize-winning Transition Streets Project. This originated in Totnes, Devon, and a survey of the households who took part in this project showed that they saved on average £570 a year on their energy bills, shopping, travel, etc., as well as saving carbon and helping the environment. We are beginning with two pilot groups, and after that we will be recruiting more Blewbury households to take advantage of this project.

[Update, June 2012] The first pilot group, in Bridus Mead, is up and running. The second, in Grahame Close, will start soon.

How does it work?

The programme is very flexible. Each group arranges a number of sessions when they will make their way through a workbook. A member of Sustainable Blewbury will come to the first session to explain the programme and start them on their way.

The workbook

Each household gets their own practical workbook, which helps them explore practical ways to cut their bills in five key areas: Energy, Water, Food, Waste and Transport. The workbook provides a great range of ideas and actions, each supported by lots of local information, hints and tips.

To find out more, or to register interest in starting or joining a group, call the project co-ordinator, Jo Lakeland, on 07466 708 030, or email Transition Together – Blewbury at ttog@sustainable-blewbury.org.uk.

Sustainable Blewbury Newsletter – issue 6

Click here (pdf).

Contents

Thermal imaging 2012

As in the past three years, the Blewbury Energy Initiative carried out a programme of thermal imaging. This time we borrowed the camera that was bought last year by the Vale of White Horse District Council on our advice. A record number of 37 houses and the new Recreation Ground Clubhouse were surveyed, some to assess what improvements to their insulation were needed and others to check the effect of work already done. Sample images are below.

thermal image   thermal image   thermal camera

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fruit planting

December 2011

Permaculture project – planting of fruit trees and bushes

On a cold, drizzly afternoon in December we planted a dozen fruit trees and an interesting variety of soft fruit bushes, followed by soup, cake, and mulled wine and apple juice. The area had already been mulched with cardboard and local horse manure. Herbs and ground-cover plants will be added in spring. See our permaculture page for more information.

October 2011

Feed-in tariff for solar photovoltaic (PV) systems

URGENT! On 31 October 2011 the Department of Energy and Climate Change announced proposals to cut the level of the Feed-in Tariff for new (not existing) solar photovoltaic systems by about half starting in April 2012. Systems installed and registered after 11 December 2011 (!) would get the lower rates. In addition, only buildings with an energy rating of at least C would be eligible. A consultation on these proposals is now in progress, closing on 23 December. However, there is a strong impression that the decisions are already made, and the manner in which this is being done is sudden and very disruptive. Contact a member of the Blewbury Energy Initiative if you want more information. Note added later: The High Court and then the Court of Appeal have ruled that the proposed date is illegal. The situation is very confused.

Apple Juicing

We used a borrowed apple crusher and a juice press to evaluate plans to purchase our own kit next year (photo). See our events page for more information.

apple juicing   apple juicing
Manure spreading

Permaculture Project

To prepare for planting fruit trees and bushes in December, we mulched the area with a layer of cardboard covered with horse manure kindly supplied by the neighbouring farm. See our permaculture page for more information.

September 2011

Sustainable Blewbury Newsletter – issue 5

Click here (pdf).

Contents

July 2011

Renewable Heat Premium Payments

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has announced grants, called Renewable Heat Premium Payments (RHPP), to run from from August 2011 to March 2012 (or sooner if the money runs out or the maximum of 25,000 grants is exceeded). These are for solar hot water panels (for all houses), and for ground-source heat pumps, air-source heat pumps and biomass boilers (for houses without mains gas heating).

Festival opening day

May 2011

Sustainable Blewbury Produce Stall

We resumed our weekly Produce Stall on 7th May. It ran through 15th October, from 10am to 12 noon at Blewbury Garage. Please see our food page for more information.

Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere

At the end of the month it was announced that global CO2 emissions during 2010 were a record 30.6 billion tonnes, a rise of 1.6 billion tonnes on 2009 despite the recession. Although roughly three-quarters of the increase came from developing countries, much of that was due to rich countries doing more of their manufacturing in poorer countries. This increase is close to so-called ‘business as usual’ projections, and is bad news if we are to keep the global average temperature rise below 2 °C. See our global warming page for basic information.

April 2011

Sustainable Blewbury Newsletter – issue 4

Click here (pdf).

Contents

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March 2011

Renewable Heat Incentive

The Department of Energy and Climate Change has finally published its response to the consultation on the proposed Renewable Heat Incentive to encourage solar hot water, heat pumps, and other sources of heating. This is starting up during 2011 for large-scale systems. For domestic users the full scheme won't start until October 2012, but an interim scheme called Renewable Heat Premium Payments will run in the second half of 2011 and early 2012.

thermal imaging

February–March 2011

Permaculture Project

We made a start on our permaculture pilot project by planting a hedge along the south and west sides of the plot. It is meant to act as a shelter belt, to produce some hedgerow fruits, and to serve as a habitat for wildlife. There is more information on our food page, as well as a new permaculture page and a photo gallery of the hedge planting.

January–February 2011

Thermal images, again

For the third year running, during a cold weekend in January thermal images were taken of about a dozen houses using a borrowed camera. A number of these were done as follow-ups, to evaluate improved insulation or secondary double-glazing added as a result of seeing earlier images.

Following on from this, we were asked by the Vale of White Horse District Council to advise them on a possible purchase of a thermal imaging camera, based on our experience. We borrowed and tested some demonstration models, and recommended a suitable model. This has now been purchased by the Council for use by local groups.

thermal imaging    Red Lion thermal    Thermal imaging

November 2010

Sustainable Blewbury Newsletter – issue 3

Click here (pdf).

Contents

Presentation at CAG workshop

An overview of our activities under food and farming was presented by Mike Edmunds at the CAG ‘Runaway Climate Change’ workshop, held in Oxford on 13 November.

Apple tasting

October 2010

Apple Day

On 16 October 2010 we held a very successful and well-attended Apple Day. See our events page for more details of the programme; there is also a gallery of Apple Day photographs showing many of the activities.

Orchards survey

In connection with Apple Day we carried out a survey of fruit trees in the village, concentrating on apples. A summary of the results, which found 57 varieties of apple in Blewbury, is given on a separate page.

September 2010

Sustainable Blewbury Newsletter – issue 2

Click here (pdf).

Contents

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Grahame Close PV panels

July 2010

Green Energy Initiative – group purchase of solar panels

The Blewbury Energy Initiative coordinated a group of orders from Blewbury and Upton to obtain a discount on solar photovoltaic panels. Under the new Feed-in Tariff these have become an good investment, as well as contributing to a low-carbon future. In addition, the planning situation has become easier. Quotations were obtained from local installation companies. A well-attended information meeting about solar panels and the possible arrangements was held on 5 July – it resulted in orders for a substantial number of new systems.

Note added in November: The offer was valid to the end of October. About a dozen new systems were installed (10 in Blewbury, 2 in Upton). This more than doubled the number of photovoltaic systems in Blewbury.

May 2010

Produce stall

Surplus Produce Stall

Our Saturday morning stall for selling surplus produce started up on 22 May and ran successfully through the summer to 25 September. We plan to do it again next year. See our food page for more information.

Community orchard

The Blewbury Village Gardens Association (otherwise known as Blewbury allotments) started a community orchard, planting apple and greengage trees.

Orchard survey

As part of our Apple Day celebration in October, we conducted a survey of apple orchards and other fruit trees in the village. There is more information on our orchards page.

Rubbish collection and recycling

There is more information about the new collection arrangements on our waste and recycling page, and full details on the Vale of White Horse website.

April 2010

Sustainable Blewbury plenary meeting

A plenary meeting of the project was held on 12 April. The minutes have been sent out by e-mail. If you expected a copy and have not received one (or would like to be put on the list) please contact Mike Marshall: mike m

March 2010

Sustainable Blewbury Newsletter – issue 1

Click here (pdf).

Contents

Recycling and rubbish bins

February 2010

Rubbish collection and recycling

The Vale of White Horse has announced a major change in rubbish and recycling collections starting on 4 October 2010. Each house will have a grey rubbish bin, a green recycling bin, and a smaller green bin for recycling food waste.

Battery recycling

On 1 February 2010 recycling used batteries became easier – you can now do it in many shops. For information on safe disposal, and why you should be using rechargeables wherever possible, see our batteries page.

January 2010

Solar thermal and photovoltaic panels

Feed-In Tariff

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has initiated a substantial programme of Feed-In Tariffs for small-scale electricity generation, starting in April 2010. This aims to encourage installation of renewable technologies: solar photovoltaic panels, small wind turbines, small-scale hydro, etc. by making them good investments as well as good for the environment. There is a summary of the scheme and tariffs on the Blewbury Energy Initiative website; the full document is available on the DECC website.

Renewable Heat Incentive

At the same time as the Feed-In Tariffs, DECC also proposed a Renewable Heat Incentive. This would help owners of solar hot water panels, ground and air source heat pumps, and various other renewable technologies. The plan is to finalise the proposals after a consultation that is now underway, and have it all running by April 2011. It looks like a big encouragement to install renewable heating systems. There is a summary of the scheme and proposed tariffs on the Blewbury Energy Initiative website; the full consultation document is available on the DECC website.

Thermal image

Thermal images

As a follow-up to last year's campaign of thermal imaging of houses in Blewbury, during the cold weather in late December and early January a thermal imaging camera was borrowed and used to image about 18 houses. The owners have been given the results so they can see and act on inadequate insulation and other possible problems.

December 2009

Boiler scrappage scheme

The scrappage scheme for inefficient old boilers, announced at the end of 2009, was run by the Energy Saving Trust. There were an estimated 4 million eligible boilers but only 125,000 grants, and they went quickly – by the end of March they were all gone and the scheme was closed.

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