Category Archives: Environment

For the good of all the Community


I hope that you are all coping with our English Summer, I know I have been colder some days and nights lately than in Winter, oh and the rain and we still don’t have enough water to go around.

I entered the scary world of North Dorset Planning Committee and it was a real eye opener.

How we are going to marry the needs of the many to those of well meaning small groups ? I just do not know ! Whilst respecting everyone’s right to have their say, at some stage there has to be a notion “For the good of all the Community”

North Dorset’s approach to Sustainability and our targets for renewable energy leave us languishing far behind other Counties in Britiain who are doing more than their fair share.

Its time we in Dorset stood up and opened our eyes to the responsibility we all share and the need for greater emphasis on renewable energy.

To do this we need groups, communities to work with planners, project installers, funders so that together they can create their own local sustainable projects that all add towards the collective good of our Countries commitments.

The time is now, get involved take a look at Dorset Energized, support your local Stur Valley Energy Group but above all do something.

Please pass this message onto anyone you know, light up our County and make us top of the UK league not bottom.

On another point if anyone knows of a chill display unit that they don’t want or use Gold Hill Organics would love to hear from them. They have a project to turn more of their wonderful Veggies and sales into ready to use servings.

You can get their contact number and address by going to our Food Map,they would be really pleased to hear from you,

Best Wishes, Vince


Masters Quarry Wind Turbine Application

Please find below some paragraphs addressing the Councillor’s concerns, perhaps it will be of use. Happy to send on more, maybe for the Dorset Energise website, if that is of interest?

Kind regards


Migrating birds

The wind industry is a relatively young industry that has learned enormous amounts in the last 2 decades where development can and cannot take place. The industry has learned from early mistakes and largely improved its development practice; best practice guidelines now incorporate guidance on how to protect wildlife, for example having ecological designated areas where development cannot take place and the mapping of migration routes to stay well away from. Close cooperation with consultees such as Natural England, the RSPB and Scottish Natural Heritage ensures responsible development.

Ruth Davis head of Climate Change Policy at the RSPB, said: “The need for renewable energy could not be more urgent. Left unchecked, climate change threatens many species with extinction. Yet, that sense of urgency is not translating into action on the ground to harness the abundant wind energy around us.

“The solutions are largely common sense. We need a clear lead from government on where wind farms should be built and clear guidance for local councils on how to deal with applications. We must reduce the many needless delays that beset wind farm developments.

“This report shows that if we get it right, the UK can produce huge amounts of clean energy without time-consuming conflicts and harm to our wildlife. Get it wrong and people may reject wind power. That would be disastrous.”

David Baldock, Director of the IEEP, said: “The development of renewable energy in Britain has to accelerate greatly if new binding targets are to be met. This means that the planning system must facilitate a step change in the construction of wind power. The best experience elsewhere shows that this is possible. Damage to birds and other wildlife can be minimised by a strong or proactive approach – guiding turbines to the right sites. Good planning can facilitate development appropriate for the long term”


The Department of Energy and Climate Change feels that security of supply comes from a having mix of technologies. Having a mix means that if there is a problem in one part of the system, we have a better chance of keeping the lights on, and doing so affordably. This mix will include cleaner fossil fuels as well as nuclear and renewables.

Wind farms offer a flexible, modular system that if implemented as a diversified resource with effective geographic spread can offer a reliable source of low-carbon energy, forming a core part of a mixed renewables portfolio

in combination with a reduced platform of responsive conventional capacity.

The increasing installed capacity of wind power across the UK poses a considerable technical challenge to ensure the balance of demand and supply is maintained at all times across the grid. However, while availability of wind is to some extent uncertain for any one area, coping with large swings in supply and demand is a problem transmission operators have been familiar with for some time. And while the requirement on existing plant to provide some extra

reserve capacity causes some concern, it is clear that national installed wind capacity can form an aggregated ‘balancing region’ whereby its perceived unreliability due to site-specific variability has been overestimated.

Viability of onshore wind

Onshore wind is the most cost effective of all renewable energy sources to date. At the moment generating electricity from renewable technologies is more costly than generating it from fossil fuels. If we are to meet our target of producing 15% of our energy from renewables by 2020 then appropriate support must be provided now to these technologies to ensure that they become viable and cost effective in the longer term. The Department of Energy and Climate Change says on economics of onshore wind: “We recognise that the costs of renewable technologies must come down – and they are. The gap between onshore wind costs and combined cycle gas turbine costs has halved in the last five years. We are therefore proposing a reduction in the level of support to onshore wind to reflect that their renewable technologies must become cost competitive with other low carbon sources in the longer term. Recent energy bill increases have been driven by rising wholesale energy costs, mainly the price of imported natural gas, which makes up around half of household energy bills. Figures published Ofgem, the electricity regulator, shows that the impact of the Renewable Obligation for large scale onshore wind in 2011 was £6.00 per household.”

World Environment Days 2012

How people around Sturminster are saving money and energy

ENERGIZE STUR VALLEY is a ground level community group which wants to help you reduce your energy use, save money and reduce your carbon footprint for all the residents of Sturminster Newton and the surrounding villages from Child Okeford to Marhull, Hazelbury and Glanvilles Wooton who want to keep a lid on our rising energy use and the bills it generates.

FREE Insulation grants

We spoke to Tim Evans of the group who said “In these tight financial times I could not believe people had not made the simple call it takes to get a grant for their home to be insulated. One FREE call to the independent Dorset Energy Advice Centre (0800 975 0166) was all it took to understand which grants are available and what you can do to insulate your home and start saving money on heating bills.

With costs of energy forecast to more than double in the next 2 years you would have to be mad not to pick up the phone and claim the money.”

Appeal for Energy Champions

If like us you want to help your street, village, school or church community do something practical to reduce your dependence on energy then Energize Stur Valley wants to hear from you.  We hold a monthly meeting where we make sure we get things done rather than just talk about it.  Sturquest and Sturminster TTN websites magazine and  we hope local parish magazines are interested in carrying our suggestions.

Generating income after FITS from renewable energy

Sara and Andrew Cross at Goldhill Organic Farm have just installed solar PV panels on their new cafe at the Organic Farm in Child Okeford.  “We could not believe it started working even with the recent mid winter sun heavily clouded over and we expect it to generate close to £1500 per year.”  Local providers tell us that even though the government has reviewed the subsidy payments, people investing in the new year will see the costs drop by aroud a quarter so contrary to the news the returns on your money are still liklely to be better than sticking it in the bank.

For an electronic copy of the Free Advice flyers, to join us and make a difference we would love to hear from you or for some real world advice on the steps you can take please email

Fortuitous events favour our garden birds

Fear not because the likely answer to the lack of garden birds at tables and feeders is a happy one. Most of our common native bird species have had a good year with a bountiful hot spring, a summer without extremes and an autumn of incredible abundance. With the weather yet to show any sign of prolonged cold most birds will be at large in the wider landscape whilst hedgerow fruits and plant seeds still abound. Many garden birds use our offerings not by choice but out of necessity for close contact with human habitation has a number of risks to consider including cats, cars, regular human disturbance and often intense competition at garden feeding sites. At home we are starting to see Blue tits, Sparrows and Great tits on the nuts, but in no great numbers, whilst at work in the wild nooks of Dorset I am seeing some impressive flocks of the smaller wild birds feasting on this years Autumnal bounty while the weather permits.

I hope this puts your mind at rest. When the cold comes in and the winter hungry gap makes itself felt all of our bird table offerings will be a life line for many and reward us with the joy of watching wildlife from the window.


Is Fracking Environmentally Friendly? Article from The Guardian

Is shale gas the future for the UK?

Shale gas has dominated the news in the past few days as on Wednesday a company (Cuadrilla Resources) announced they have discovered a potential reserve of 200 trillion cubic feet of gas in shale rock under Lancashire. This is more than 10 times the known north sea gas reserves. To extract this gas a shaft is drilled deep into the rock and a high pressure mixture of liquid chemicals is pumped down to break up the rock, a process known as fracking.

In America shale gas exploration and extraction is well established and there has been fierce opposition over environmental concerns. The gas and chemicals used to fracture the rock have the potential to pollute groundwater. Shale gas is energy intensive to extract although natural gas itself is considered a better alternative than other fossil fuels for use in power stations.

There are concerns that over regulation of shale gas exploration and the possible impact of the scale of extraction.

This article presents a balanced argument over the environmental impacts.


Top 5 Eco-Friendly Careers

If you are in the process of job hunting or just a bit restless in your current career, would you consider a green career? How about green car manufacturing, renewable energy installation, climatology, hydrology or forestry?

For more information or (like me) to find out what on earth a hydrologist does go here.

Have you moved house during the time you have been using imeasure?

If you have data from your current home and a previous address in imeasure you can now separate these and get energy analysis for both, comparing your old and new usage.

Assuming you have both new and old meters set up under the same building; Go to the Buildings tab and click Add new building. Enter the details of your old home as best you can (Local weather station is important here!)

Once set up, go the “Meters” tab. To move a meter from one building to another in your account simple click ‘edit’ for that meter and then select the correct building from the drop down box. Don’t forget to click update!

Return to the “Buildings” tab and click on either of the buildings to view results.


And finally…

Giraffes, butterflies, a whale and an elephant, amongst others, and certainly not together. If stunning photography is your thing check this out.

Used Veg Oil as Fuel (features John Hillman)