2G3S Summer Nature Walks

We are grateful to John O’Boyle, who is again leading a series of nature walks for 2G3S this summer.  John is a great guide – informative and very happy to answer questions and follow the interests of the group.  His quiet enthusiasm for the natural world is infectious.

We started with a walk round Dernford Reservoir on Saturday 26 June.  There were nine of us, plus dog!

John reports:

We were treated to the distinctive call of a cuckoo and the uplifting song of larks as they ascended from the grassland around the lake.  Terns were busy squabbling on the island where they seem to be nesting and showing off with their acrobatic flight and vertical dives into the water.  A Great Crested Grebe was seen diving down into the water and then passing small fish to her two chicks with their distinctive striped heads.
Dazzling blue damselflies hovered above the water and a pair of large Emperor Dragonflies zigzagged near the bank.  There were several Meadow Brown butterflies fluttering about and small chafer bugs sunning themselves on the vegetation.
June is the month for grasses to flower and we contrasted the distinctive shapes of several species.  There were abundant meadow plants of many colours ranging from white to purple.
It will be interesting to see how the meadow develops over the year – will a sensitive grass cut and collect regime maintain the diversity of the ground flora or will the land be left to scrub over? We are fortunate to have on our doorstep such a special area of natural abundance.
Coming up:
24 July at Stapleford Chalk Pit – further details here
21 August in Little Shelford
September in Sawston

Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill: please sign open letter

 

Despite positive words, our government is still not taking the climate emergency seriously enough.

The UK Youth Climate Coalition have written an open letter to our MP, Anthony Browne, asking him to support the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill currently going through Parliament.

2G3S member Katie Williams has drafted the letter and is urging us all to sign it.  The 2G3S meeting on 7 June were happy to endorse her request and commend the letter to you.

You can access the letter hereIf you click at the top of the letter you can enter your name and sign the letter.  If you are going to sign, I think it would be helpful if you did it sooner rather than later!

Thank you.

Linda Whitebread

 

 

East West Rail consultation: 2G3S response

 

A small group of 2G3S members got together to draft a response to the consultation on the East West Rail proposals.  The draft was discussed at our planning meeting on 7 June and the final version submitted by the deadline of 9 June 2021.

While we welcomed the proposals for a rail link, the response did not endorse a particular route, but emphasised key 2G3S principles such as sustainability, the need to reduce emissions and protect biodiversity, and the promotion of non-motorised transport options.

‘(We hope the rail link will)……create opportunities for developing sustainable transport options through improved rights of way for pedestrians and cyclists, and by limiting motor vehicle traffic through small villages. We have some concerns regarding the local and global environmental impact of the project and look to EWR for assurance that sustainability has been given the necessary consideration.’

The response emphasised the need for the line to be electrified from the outset.

In addition ‘the development must also … create a better environment with trees to mitigate noise and visual effects, with open space and routes for cycling and walking to compensate for disturbances to both the environment, and local people both during the construction, and afterwards.’

The response also considered the emissions which would be created during construction and commented on customer experience / railway operations and infrastructure.  See here for the response in full.

Thanks to Dave Mohamad and others for their work on this.

Talk: How to pay for better bus services

On 10 May 2021 Edward Leigh from Smarter Cambridge Transport gave us a talk  and answered questions via Zoom.  Just a few summary points here; it is well worth reading the fuller notes linked below.

He began the talk by outlining why we need better bus services:

  1. They provide affordable mobility for people who cannot drive, or do not have access to a car
  2. They make car-free living viable for more people
  3. They reduce congestion: one bus travelling at 20mph can replace 1km of car traffic (as car space includes the safe distance between each car)
  4. Modern Euro VI buses emit less air pollution than a typical diesel car
  5. Buses emit less CO2 per passenger-mile than cars.

He concluded by summarising his main points:

  1. The carbon budget for road transport requires large and rapid reductions in vehicle-mileage
  2. Vehicle electrification alone is not sufficient
  3. A National Road User Charge (NRUC) can:
  • Replace fuel taxes
  • Raise additional funding for sustainable transport
  • Incentivise modal shift and efficient use of vehicles
  1. Deliberative democracy has a crucial role in smoothing the way to introduce an NRUC.

For a full report of the meeting, including details of the Q and A which followed,  see here (thanks to Claire for these excellent and comprehensive notes)

To see the slides Edward used, go here

Many thanks to Edward for an interesting and important talk.

Zero Carbon Communities Grant

The Zero Carbon Communities Grant Scheme, run by South Cambridgeshire District Council,  supports communities in South Cambridgeshire to take action on climate change at a very local level.  Last year 2G3S supported successful applications from Great Shelford and from Sawston, where we are working  in partnership with the parish council to plant trees and wild flowers.

 For more details see the website here

Applications this year are invited for projects under the three themes:

  1. Community buildings
  2. Tree Planting/Nature
  3. Other projects which reduce carbon emissions

The deadline for applications to be received by the Council is 5pm on Friday 30 July 2021.

 

You can read about the local projects they have already funded through the Zero Carbon Communities Grant scheme.

Please also note the workshop on ‘How to make a successful Zero Carbon Communities grant application’ on June 7 2021 at 7pm.

The Council are also pleased to announce that they are partnering with Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT) to provide Free Energy Surveys for community buildings within South Cambridgeshire.

If you are would like a review of the energy usage at your Community Building and advice on how to improve its energy efficiency, you can apply for a Free Energy Survey

Local elections May 6 2021

2G3S decided to put some questions on green issues to the candidates for the Sawston and Shelford County Council division and for Mayor of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.

 

You can see the responses we received in our newsletter extra here.  Spoiler alert: we received responses from all of the county council candidates we were able to contact (all bar one) and none of the mayoral candidates.

 

Please remember to vote on May 6th.

Computer recycling – take by Friday 16 April

A message from Mike Nettleton in Great Shelford:

We’ve arranged for unwanted computer hardware (PCs, laptops, printers, monitors, etc.) to be collected for recycling on 16 April.  This will be the last collection for a few months. We can also now take mobile phones again. Recycling is done by Recycle-Computers (http://recycle-computers.co.uk/), based in Watford. They refurbish PCs, monitors, printers, etc. and then give the hardware to schools, charities, etc. which don’t need/can’t afford new equipment. Anything which can’t be used is WEEE recycled. They have been recycling in the area since the early 2000s, initially as a result of an initiative by the former vicar of Great Shelford, Mike Goater.  Please dig out any computer hardware that you no longer need and/or is broken and either drop it round to me or give me a ring. In March we filled a Transit van with old hardware. No photos this time – we were all totally knackered from loading it!

Just as a reminder – we also recycle printer cartridges and mobile phones. Where they have economic value, they are recycled through Recycle4Charity, who then make a contribution to Tommy’s (the premature birth charity): http://www.tommys.org Where the cartridges have no economic value, they are recycled through the manufacturers own recycling scheme. Again, please just drop any old cartridges round.

Since the start of the year we’ve had a major push (with the Great Shelford Parochial Charities and COVID support group) to provide laptops to children for home schooling. We’ve had over 110 laptops donated; over 20 of those have been usable and have been donated to local schools and individual children. Those which are too old, broken or whatever will be properly recycled, so nothing goes to landfill. Every machine (whether usable or not) has been wiped and those which are usable have been upgraded to the latest version of Windows and had office and video/music software installed at no cost to the schools or individual children.

Thanks to everyone for your support with this.

 Mike Nettleton
E
T 01223 721366
M 07905 356468
F 0870 161 9450
W www.eagleanalysis.co.uk

From 2G3S: if anyone feels they could help with collecting or storing items, please get in touch with us at greengroupssss