Category Archives: environment

Swifts at St George’s?

The Garden is very soggy at time of writing and little work has been done but moving Swiftly on….

At the last group meeting it was suggested that we explore the possibility of having Swift boxes put up on the church. The organisations to speak to were found to be The Blackwater Valley Countryside Trust and Tices Meadow Nature Reserve.

I met their representatives at the church for a site meeting. Firstly they gave me the background as to why Swifts need our help.

Swifts are in trouble. Their numbers are declining and have more than halved nationally since 1995. They nest in eaves and because old buildings are being demolished and the methods of new building their nesting sites are disappearing.  We are fortunate in our area as there is a fairly healthy population but they could still do with our help.

The eaves of St. Georges Church are ideal for creating a nesting site and because of the way they “stick out” from the wall we are able to provide an hotel rather than individual boxes which means more room for more lodgers!

The “hotel” will be fitted to the eaves of the west wall, from the southeast corner to the first buttress. It will be constructed with wood and screwed to the eaves with no drilling into the church wall. It will be virtually invisible to the casual observer. There is no cost to us as the people who make and install them are specialist volunteers who provide their expertise and materials.

Now, I expect that some of you might be thinking, “what about the mess?”. I am assured that Swifts do not deposit their guano down the walls of their nest sites but jettison it whilst in flight. Sou`westers anyone!!

The “hotel” will be installed by May this year before the Swifts return from migration. The conservationists will install, temporarily, some sound equipment which will broadcast recordings of the screeching call of Swifts. Hopefully this will encourage them to explore the site and take up residence.

We will be joining The Kilns in Badshot Lea and The Roman Catholic Cathedral in Aldershot who have also agreed to boxes or hotels on their buildings.

I hope they like us!

Bill Thomas

 

 

 

Prudence the Piggy went to HSBC

rudence the pig visited HSBC Bank in Farnham last Thursday to ask the bank to stop investing in fossil fuels and instead put its money into renewable energy.

Prudence bore the signatures of members of the churches of St George’s, St John’s and St Mark’s in the parish of Badshot Lea and Hale, and was presented to the bank by the Reverends Lesley and Alan Crawley, joint rectors in the parish, along with parishioners Helena and David Walker and Sorrell Price.

Lesley Crawley explained that the pig was a petition and was part of the Big Shift campaign by the charity Christian Aid to ask the banks to change where they invested their customers’ money and to put this money into renewable energy for the sake of the planet.

She told a representative of HSBC: “We want the bank to divest from fossil fuels and invest in something either neutral or good to help counter climate change.”

HSBC agreed to accept the petition and to send it to head office, where it will join others from around the UK.

Rev’d Crawley added: “Laura Mead, the regional co-ordinator at Christian Aid, contacted all the banks in Farnham to ask them to accept the Big Shift petition, but HSBC was the only one who would receive us.”

For more information on Christian Aid’s Big Shift campaign, visit www.christianaid.org.uk/campaigns

Stella Wiseman

Incredible Edible harvest

Residents of Hale have started harvesting the ‘Incredible Edible’ tubs. This project started in April when tubs of compost were placed at the Bungalow, near the War Memorial and in the grounds of St Mark’s Church – and residents were invited to plant them with herbs, fruit, and vegetables.

The Reverend Lesley Crawley, a priest at St Mark’s said, “We were a bit worried that that tubs would remain empty, but they soon filled up with green beans, marrows, tomatoes and courgettes. Every week, when I looked out of the window at St Mark’s, another plant had miraculously appeared – it has been just magical, and so exciting.”

John Ely, a local resident and part of the Incredible Edible team said, “Last week I saw a family passing the Bungalow planter as I was watering it. I invited them to help themselves to courgette. The young lad, Ryan, duly obliged! Mum said ‘It will go in our stir fry tonight’. Now that is what Incredible Edible is all about! I noticed the large marrow at the Hale Rec planter has gone. Hopefully taken by another hungry resident.”

Incredible Edible is a community project that aims to increase our awareness of food and where it comes from, bringing communities together and helping make a step towards a more sustainable world. It seems to be working in Hale.

Incredible Edible Tubs

You may have seen a strange tub or two appearing in Upper Hale. There are actually three – one at the Bungalow, one near the War Memorial and on in the grounds of St Mark’s. They have been filled with compost so that anyone, you perhaps, can plant them with herbs, fruit, vegetables… anything edible!

Incredible Edible is a community project that increases our awareness of food and where it comes from and makes a step towards a more sustainable world where all of us can be fed without a negative impact on our world. It started in 2008 in Todmorden and is spreading across the country and indeed the world, bring communities together and having a great deal of fun doing it!

The Reverend Lesley Crawley said, “If you spot the tubs then please plant in them – you don’t need permission! But find a way of labelling what you have planted and indicating to people how to tell when it will be ready to eat. Happy planting!”

You can find out more on the Incredible Edible website: http://incredibleediblenetwork.org.uk/

Incredible Edible Tubs

You may have seen a strange tub or two appearing in Upper Hale. There are actually three – one at the Bungalow, one near the War Memorial and on in the grounds of St Mark’s. They have been filled with compost so that anyone, you perhaps, can plant them with herbs, fruit, vegetables… anything edible!

Incredible Edible is a community project that increases our awareness of food and where it comes from and makes a step towards a more sustainable world where all of us can be fed without a negative impact on our world. It started in 2008 in Todmorden and is spreading across the country and indeed the world, bring communities together and having a great deal of fun doing it! You can read more here – http://incredibleediblenetwork.org.uk/

Anyway – back to the tubs – please plant in them – you don’t need permission! But find a way of labelling what you have planted and indicating to people how to tell when it will be ready to eat. Happy planting!

Lesley Crawley

Climate Change meeting with Jeremy Hunt

“You have chosen a week when I am about the most toxic man in the country.” So said Jeremy Hunt at the beginning of a meeting with a dozen of his constituents to discuss climate change.

The meeting, at St George’s Church, Badshot Lea, on April 29, was a postponement of one in March which Mr Hunt withdrew from, citing “unforeseen circumstances”. This time, despite stating that he was “toxic” and that he assumed that “none of the group had voted for me”, he and the constituents sought to find common ground.

Mr Hunt started by stating that the Conservative commitment to climate change policies is genuine, and that the future of the environment is something that Conservatives must think about, but that “economic growth holds the key”.

Local architect Chris Holmes introduced the main topics that the group was interested in talking to Mr Hunt about – flood prevention, particularly by planting trees on the Farnham floodplain; energy-efficient buildings; and alternative transport. Mr Hunt was particularly keen on the idea of cycling and said he wanted to press for more cycle lanes in Farnham.

He was, however, frustrated by the fact that different councils had responsibility for different aspects of planning, including transport planning. This is something he had come up against when he mooted the idea of pedestrianisation. “Our local democracy is totally flawed,” he said. “We should have a Farnham council with an elected mayor so we know where the buck stops. When I proposed the pedestrianisation of Farnham it was a complete nightmare as, for example, traffic comes under Surrey County Council, the East Street development under Waverley Borough Council, other things come under Farnham Town Council. In the end I called a referendum on pedestrianisation so that Surrey County Council could not ignore it if there were a ‘yes’ vote.”

This structure has an effect on planning too. The group was keen to look at ways that new homes planning could be co-ordinated taking in to account the need for more active travel and lower carbon emissions. The question was raised why new houses had to have gas fuelled heating and cooking rather than renewables or electric which could be converted to renewables later. Why, Mr Hunt was asked, are developers not forced to install solar panels on new houses?

Jo Musker-Sherwood, from the group Hope for the Future, asked why the government policy for zero-carbon new homes had been cancelled. She asked whether, in the light of this, the government was really committed to tackling climate change. This was something that Mr Hunt agreed he could raise with Amber Rudd, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.

On the subject of transport Mr Hunt said that agreed with Mark Potter of Protean Electric that “We need a paradigm shift so that we can look at other ways of providing transport.”

“I agree we need a paradigm shift,” he said and added: “I pay tribute to Ken Livingstone – and it is not a fashionable day to do that – because he brought in the congestion charge in London and put the money he made into improving bus travel. In London there are more frequent buses, more bus lanes, and in London there has been a paradigm shift.” He said that he wanted to encourage people to cycle because “every one person we can get to cycle is one out of a car or (in London) off the tube”.

He also listened with interest to an idea put forward by Clive Davidson from Haslemere who said that in Haslemere a group had been looking at how it would be possible to use the Hoppa buses to take people to and from the station. The Hoppa buses are on the road after the early-morning time when most cars are used and before the evening commuter period. They wanted to investigate whether the Hoppa could be used to pick up commuters from villages in the morning and take them back in the evening.

Asked what else he would do to address the concerns of the constituents there, Mr Hunt seemed to feel that flood risk had been dealt with as in Godalming a £3.4million scheme to put in flood defences had just been signed off. He also stalled on making any commitments in terms of active travel/alternatives to cars powered by fossil fuels as he said he believed that first Farnham needs to be pedestrianised and then the town could rethink its public transport. He said he believed in “small steps”, though some in the group begged to differ that this was a small step.

However, this is the beginning of a dialogue and, having agreed to let the group know what Amber Rudd said about zero-carbon emissions on new buildings, he said he would be happy to have further discussions after the summer break, perhaps in September.

Stella Wiseman

Meeting with Jeremy Hunt

“You have chosen a week when I am about the most toxic man in the country.” So said Jeremy Hunt at the beginning of a meeting with a dozen of his constituents to discuss climate change.

The meeting, at St George’s Church, Badshot Lea, on April 29, was a postponement of a public one in March which Mr Hunt withdrew from, citing “unforeseen circumstances”. He agreed to a new meeting with a strictly limited number of constituents and, despite stating that he was “toxic” and that he assumed that “none of the group had voted for me”, he and the constituents sought to find common ground.

There were three main topics of discussion: flood prevention, particularly by planting trees on the Farnham floodplain; energy-efficient buildings; and alternative transport. Mr Hunt was particularly keen on the idea of cycling and said he wanted to press for more cycle lanes in Farnham and agreed that there was a need for “a paradigm shift.”

He added: “I pay tribute to Ken Livingstone – and it is not a fashionable day to do that – because he brought in the congestion charge in London and put the money he made into improving bus travel. In London there are more frequent buses, more bus lanes, and in London there has been a paradigm shift.” He said that he wanted to encourage people to cycle because “every one person we can get to cycle is one out of a car or (in London) off the tube”. However, he would not yet make any commitment to campaigning for alternatives to cars powered by fossil fuels as he said he believed that first Farnham needs to be pedestrianised and then the town could rethink its public transport. He said he believed in “small steps”, though some in the group begged to differ that this was a small step.

On the subject of flood prevention, Mr Hunt said that in Godalming a £3.4million scheme to put in flood defences had just been signed off so he did not seem to feel the need to consider Farnham at the moment.

Mr Hunt did agree to talk to Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, on the subject of why the government policy for zero-carbon new homes had been cancelled. He also agreed that the meeting was the start of ongoing discussions with his consituents and said that he would be happy to meet them again after the summer break, perhaps in September.

Incredible Edible goes ahead in Hale

Incredible Edible is a food growing movement that started in Todmorden in west Yorkshire in 2007. People started growing food that was free for all to take and it transformed their community. A group of residents have decided that we should spread this magic to Hale and so look out for planters and free food!

John Ely, a local resident and member of Farnham in Bloom Community Group said, “We have been very fortunate that Farnham Town Council have offered us three planters to get going. We already have food growing that we can put into the planters thanks to the work of the Post 19 charity.”

Carol McFarlane, who runs the Hale Community Project, commented, “It feels like the village is growing in community spirit, more and more initiatives are bringing us together to work for the benefit of all. I am very excited about this project, I’m particularly hoping the young people of the village will get involved with planting and growing.”

The Reverend Lesley Crawley added, “There are a number of groups involved in this, Farnham in Bloom, Hale Community Project, The Bungalow, Transition Farnham, Farnham Local Food and St Mark’s Church. However, everybody and anybody can get involved. If you want to know more, just contact me.”