Category Archives: Sustainability

Community Energy Update – Open Homes Training – Volunteer Training – Launch of Community Energy Fund

Dear Community Sustainable Energy Group member,

Just a brief note concerning some free training, apologies for the short notice.

There is some free training and limited mentoring support for setting up an open homes project, with sessions being held in Exeter and Poole. More information

Dorset Community Energy; a new renewable energy co-operative which Dorset County Council, Wessex Community Assets and a range of partners will be setting up in March/April 2013, with financial support from the Big Lottery Communities Living Sustainably project.

An information evening for community groups on the new co-operative is being held – to book and more information please follow the link below……

There is also some free training on the 5th February on managing volunteers for those involved in Voluntary Organisations.

@Also Energize Stur Valley are organising a conference on RE on the 16th Feb. More information @


Chair, Community Sustainable Energy Group


Strawbale Construction Course

A reminder that strawbale building expert Paul Wells is running a one-day course in strawbale construction in Bridport on Saturday September 15th. Open to all, the course is offered free to residents living with the Bridport locality, £100 otherwise. It runs from 9.15 to 4.30 and it is advisable to wear old clothes and if possible bring some old gardening/work gloves if you have them. Places are limited – call Kingston Maurward College on 01305 215215 for more information or click this link:


You are invited to RIO+20: Tuesday 19th June 2012 Bristol Zoo, Clifton Pavilions SWEN plenary 10.00am – 4.00pm.

In the week where global leaders are meeting to renew international commitment to Rio principles, the South West Environment Network (SWEN) invites decision-makers in the South West, in local government, civil society, & those involved in economic, community and spatial planning, to reconnect with sustainable development.

Come to the ‘SWEN RIO+20 Plenary’ and hear from and talk to leaders in sustainable development and green growth. Discuss solutions in the SW.

Panel members and speakers include:

Leslie Watson, Director for Sustainability South West
Molly Scott Cato, Green economist & Professor of Strategy and Sustainability, Roehampton University
Paul Morling, Senior Economist RSPB, Bedfordshire
Guy Watson, Riverford Organic Farms
Sam Whatmore, Forest Fuels
Darren Hall, Bristol Green Capital Partnership

Protecting and enhancing the natural environment must be the cornerstone of an economic recovery programme for a region like the south west, one that trades beyond all, on the quality of its environment. We seek to blend the interests and resources of business, community and the third sector by making the case for sustainable economic activities and more diverse models for business investment.

To book your place at the RIO+20 Plenary and for a full programme visit SWEN Registration is £50 (includes lunch, refreshments and free entry to the Zoo). If you prefer to contact us directly please email Jo Traill Thomson or telephone 01840 770942.


9.30 – 10.00 Coffee & registration

10.00 Welcome & introductions, Mark Robins Senior Policy Officer RSPB SW

10.05 Leslie Watson, Director of Sustainability South West: 20 years on – the science and ‘the art’ of Leadership for Sustainability

10.35 Molly Scott Cato, Green economist, & Professor of Strategy and Sustainability, Roehampton University: There is no Wealth but Life: Regenerating our Local Economies.

11.05 Paul Morling, Senior Economist RSPB, The next paradigm: sustainable development & the framework for decision making

11.35 Questions to Speakers

11.50 Short break

12.00 Café Style discussions generating 3 questions from each table for the Panel

12.30 Lunch & networking

13.15 Panel discussion addressing key questions

14.00 Solutions in the SW:

Guy Watson (Riverford Organic Farms),
Sam Whatmore (Forest Fuels),
Darren Hall (Bristol Green Capital Partnership).

15.00 Panel discussion

15.45 – 16.00 Closing comments, Tea and depart

To book your place and for a full programme visit the SWEN website Registration is £50. If you prefer to contact us directly please email Jo Traill Thomson or telephone 01840 770942.

SATURDAY 28th APRIL – Transition / green groups networking event

Hi All,

This is a preliminary notice about an event we are planning for 28 April, so that you can circulate the date for your members to put in their diaries!

On Saturday 28 April we will have a networking event and general gathering for transition groups and other green groups from around Dorset, to be held in Bridport at St Mary’s Church Hall. This is adjacent to the Bridport Community Orchard and a short talk and tour of the orchard will be included (and a picnic if the weather suits!). The main purpose of the full day event will be for groups to network and share experiences, and to think about future possible collaborations and mutual support if, as seems likely, the current funding for support through da21 ends at the end of May. So it could be a very important event for the future of transition and other green groups in Dorset, and it’s important that as many as possible attend to discuss ideas and options. The event will be free and we plan to have a professional facilitator to help make the event as productive as possible, as well as an enjoyable get-together.

The programme is still fluid at this stage, so do please let us know if you have any particular ideas about what to include. Further details and booking information will be circulated later.

Best wishes,

Susan Anders
Sustainability Officer
GreenAssist Project
01305 213721
PO Box 5789

Sunday 4th March, 10am – 2pm, Potato Day at Blandford Museum

Please help – Sustainable Communities under threat!

Dear Sturminster Newton Transition Town

Please help stop government’s plans to take your powers away!

The Sustainable Communities Act is a radical new law that allows you to take action to help your community. People across the country have used the Act to make government take a whole range of actions, from helping to save local post offices and shops to promoting renewable energy. You can find out more about the Act here:

But now the Act is under serious threat. The radical new powers it gives you to protect your community risk being taken away.

PLEASE WRITE TO YOUR MP TODAY. Details further below.

Government must put down regulations shortly governing how the Act will work in future, and has set out its plans for these regulations in aconsultation.

If the plans go ahead as set out in the consultation, the Act will be severely weakened. You would lose the involvement rights the Act gives you to protect your community. More information about the government’s plans is available here:

The Sustainable Communities Act has set up the only legal mechanism where we can demand government action to reverse this decline and protect our communities. It is needed more than ever: We have already lost a third of our post offices, thousands of independent shops and every day we lose ten more pubs. And now we are facing severe cuts to local services and a looming recession.

Please help by doing the following:

1.    Please write to, or email, your MP.  Suggested points to make are below. Please personalise your message. You can find out who your MP is and their contact details here:

2.    Please ask others to do the same and forward this email on to anyone who may help – the more letters MPs receive the better!

Points to make in your letter/email to your MP:

§  Say you are very concerned that the pending Sustainable Communities Act regulations will weaken the Act, when they need to strengthen it.

§  Say the regulations need to include three things:

1. A duty on Local Authorities to try to reach agreement with local people on what proposals to put forward under the Act – because this duty is fundamental to the ‘bottom-up’ philosophy and process that the Act has set up,

2. A time limit on dealing with proposals local people make – because in the first round people had to wait over 18 months to receive a response and if there are delays like this again people will be frustrated and simply lose interest; and

3. The right for town and parish councils to be able to submit proposals under the Act – because all councils should be able to get involved directly and this was explicitly intended by the Sustainable Communities Act Amendment Act 2010.

§  Ask your MP to please write to Communities Minister, Greg Clark, urging him to ensure the three things above are included in the pending regulations.

Thank you very much for your efforts and best wishes for the New Year.

Steve Shaw
Local Works National Co-ordinator

P.S. – Please note government is planning to put these plans in place very soon, so we must act now to convince them to include your powers to protect your community in regulations.

P.P.S. – IMPORTANT: Please send copies of any replies you receive to me or Local Works, c/o Unlock Democracy, 6 Cynthia St, London N1 9JF. Thank you.

Message from the TTSN Food Group

Buy organic

The Soil Association believes that our current energy-intensive
consumption habits are unsustainable, in the face of depleting energy,
oil and water supplies and the UK’s commitment to cut our climate
change emissions 80% by 2050. There is no magic bullet to tackle the
challenges that face us, but the buying decisions we make every day
are a simple but powerful form of direct action.

There are lots of things that you can do as an individual or as part
of a community, to help to reduce part of the environmental impact of
your food and to support your local food economy. Shopping at farmers’
markets, buying direct from producers via box schemes or joining a
community supported agriculture scheme for example are all great ways
of driving change through your buying decisions.

While many of us associate organic with food, there is also a growing
market in organic textiles and health and beauty products. Because
organic describes the underlying system of agricultural production
buying organic products helps to support the climate-friendly farming
that is going to be so important as we face up to the environmental
challenges of the 21st century.

You can find information in this section on finding a local box scheme
or farmers market and discover more about organic textiles and health
and beauty products. And for those of us who worry about the extra
cost of buying organic we’ve got a guide to buying organic on a budget
or setting up an organic buying group to help you save money.

Organic on a budget
Buy from farmers
Health and beauty
Product awards

For more information