Friday, 14 December 2012
Thursday, 8 November 2012
|photo from Redcar 2010 hustings|
Friends of the Earth are to hold a public hustings at Saint Barnabas church, Monday 26th Nov 7-8.30pm. Co-ordinator Rob Tucker said "This is democracy at work, voters should be able to speak, meet and question the candidates. We learnt a lot from hosting them in 2010 and were amazed at the turn-out. Saint Barnabas church can seat over 300 people and we hope to fill the hall".
Friends of the Earth successfully held Hustings for the 2010 elections in Middlesbrough, Redcar and Darlington and gave voters their only chance to see the candidates side by side and put their own questions to the panel. At the Middlesbrough hustings over 130 people attended and in Redcar the room overflowed with people standing in doorways and isles.
|Left to right. Simon Bowens (FoE), Stephen Pugh (TV unlimited), Gareth Lewis (Forewind), Jane Thomas (FoE), Ian Wright (MP), Kevin Rowan (TUC)|
Wednesday, 17 October 2012
I was a beautiful, crisp day and I used the Teesvalley Cycle path map, got a little lost, but enjoyed going round Hemlington lake with the fishermen and dog walkers, past the schools and through the Stainton Way underpass – into another world. Thornton is a tiny village, with quaint cottages and ancient churches, the smell of cow muck and honeysuckle your in the countryside! Turning right I cycled on into Maltby with its village hall, pub and expensive houses. Then back into hedged country lanes. I caught sight of them first over the hedgerows, quite small and had to zoom my camera in to photograph them. When I got onto the Seamer–Hilton road, which is also route 65, I cycled right through the turbines and the line of pylons that were already there.
At the time of writing Oct 2012 the turbines are built but not operational yet. Although one can be seen from Hilton village High street I did not find it intrusive.
5 farms would be situated down hill close to individual turbines in the 600-800m range, although it is likely that turbines locations will be changed. Not every farm has a dwelling and It looks like on cursory examination that these are not generally facing up hill and large farm buildings could also be in the way. I am confirming this with Banks
Rob visited several wildflower meadow sites and took Catherine Boyle from MEC and Michelle Johnston from Coast & Country housing along as well. Darlo council has over 3 years experience in planting meadows, and we saw several examples of different sites.
1 where there had been a survey in the 70’s with lots of wildflower varieties. This site was allowed to grow naturally without being cut every couple of weeks as normal. 50% of local varieties came up!
2. This site was sprayed off and then re-seeded with a grass/wildflower mix. The meadow was only cut once. Brown unsightly docks that came through were sprayed again. Sheep can be used to keep grass down. Farmers often used as contractors as grass has to be collected.
3. Beck area with houses close by. A large amenity area for playing football etc and a windy wildflower area, with a desire line by the beck. Got a lot of initial criticism but now neighbours very happy.
4. Area near nature reserve that extended the wildlife corridor. Areas for football, dog walking, had desire line paths and amenity stripes near roads so it looks cared for.
We really enjoyed the visit and learnt a lot!
Thursday, 21 June 2012
The activities are designed to help children learn about their living environment, how our food is grown, and the wonders of nature, by getting hands on with everything from worms to building bug hotels. There's also the chance to compete in the Veggie Games.
The Mr Bloom's Nursery The Get Set, Grow Tour will be at the locations below in July and August. Events will start at 10am and finish at 5pm. Entrance is free and everyone is welcome to take part in the activities, but to see Mr Bloom and the Veggies' live show, When Julian lost his Wiggle you will need to apply for free tickets.
Wednesday, 20 June 2012
Monday, 14 May 2012
Thursday, 29 March 2012
Bees are having a bad time at the moment with disease, pesticides and pollution causing colony collapse; there is lots of evidence to suggest that increasing forage (wild flowers, clover, hedging etc) and different sources makes bees more resistant to this. Over 97% of wild flower UK meadows have been lost.
Bees make £50m a year for the UK but if there were no bees to pollinate orchards, tomatoes, strawberries etc it would cost 1.8 BILLION a year to hand pollinate them as they have to do in some parts of China. "The way humanity manages or mismanages its nature-based assets, including pollinators, will in part define our collective future in the 21st century," said Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director in an article for the Independent. "The fact is that of the 100 crop species that provide 90 per cent of the world's food, over 70 are pollinated by bees. Human beings have fabricated the illusion that in the 21st century they have the technological prowess to be independent of nature. Bees underline the reality that we are more, not less, dependent on nature's services in a world of close to seven billion people.”
We hope to make a major feature of the RHS “Britain in Bloom” contest which this years theme is “Wild about Wildflowers” and to try and push its Environmental responsibility core area. Locally Stockton-on-tees has won BiB twice and so it is likely that we can make a real difference. Also Mbro, Redcar and Stockton FoE have good links with all three councils, so things like mowing later in season, planting bee friendly flowers and some set aside areas could be achievable. Nationally we hope for some legislation.
One of the more fun things we plan to do is have an educational aspect to the campaign in schools and so our youngsters showed us how to make some costumes. So it is quite likely that you may see Friends of the Earth stall at a garden centre or park.
After the conference we went along to Darlingtons Grow zone, at Lingfield point, where Darlington Friends of the Earth have built a glorious allotment.
If you can help us in any way please step forward, there are active groups in Mbro, Darlington and we hope to start ones in other area meeting places!
Friday, 2 March 2012
The Spencerbeck estate in Middlesbrough is getting an eco-makeover with new external cladding being installed from Ellerbeck way to Ainsworth Way. The insulation should save tenants £400-800 a year in lower fuel bills and for private homeowners add value to their house . “The house is 2-3 degrees warmer and there are no cold spots” a householder said, “the houses look brighter and cleaner as well”. The scheme is part of a deal with Coast & Country and an energy supplier which also includes topping up loft insulation and new gas boilers if needed.
Andy Cameron, project manager said “There are 52 people working on both the Spencerbeck and Bankfield sites mostly Middlesbrough & Redcar locals although some live further afield. We have had some delays due to cold weather affecting the adhesive, but we are cracking on. We hope to finish August/Sept this year”.
The 4 inch thick polystyrene like cladding is stuck to the wall and then secured by plastic screws encase of high winds. Several coats of render are then applied to a mesh and then finally a coloured waterproofing coat.
This re-investment in the area will mean new signage for the buildings and also improvements like the small parking walls tidied. Each home makeover is worth about £5-8000. “This will significantly reduce peoples fuel bills year on year and families carbon footprints BUT they need to turn down their thermostats and wear jumpers to adjust rather than opening windows and letting the heat out!” Rob Tucker of Friends of the Earth said.
There are no plans yet for the Overfields and Netherfields areas, which also have the same house type, but C&C and Erimus must be considering things.
Thursday, 1 March 2012
Middlesbrough and Redcar Friends of the Earth and National trust volunteers planted free trees from the Woodland Trust this Wednesday, leap day, to improve native woodland cover for wildlife at Ormesby Halls cherry walk.
Adam Cracknell, Gardener & Warden for the National Trust said “we get a great deal of wildlife here from squirrels and field mice, to tawny owls and foxes. A real variety of different birds as well”.Friends of the Earth co-ordinator, Rob Tucker said "Tree planting is a fantastic and fun way for us to do something lasting in our local area. We hope our trees will help attract even more wildlife and make a real difference to everyone who will see them. It's incredible to think that in just 5 years, our trees will be as tall as us!"
Hundreds of communities across the UK will celebrate with a public tree planting event, more are encouraged to follow this example by registering for a free tree pack for spring or autumn 2012 for their local area, as part of the Trust's Jubilee Woods Project.
Victoria Hodson from the Woodland Trust added: "We are delighted Friends of the Earth are using our free tree scheme to plant more trees at Ormesby Hall. Communities are growing their own fruits and food, creating shade and shelter, and providing new homes for wildlife as part of our Jubilee Woods Project to celebrate Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee, and we would love more communities to get involved."
Communities can take part by applying for a free pack at www.jubileewoods.org.uk/treepacks .