News January 2016

V.E.G. Visit Edible Gardens
Planning meeting to discuss ideas for this new project during 2016. The idea for this project came from Penrith Action for Community Transition, where it is in its third year.
You can find out about their activities here:

Meet at Jo's house above the old Bell's General Store, 7 Fair Hill, Haltwhistle, NE49 9EE. 7.30pm on Wed. 20th Jan. All welcome.

Verges and Pollinators
In the summer of last year STS member Jo Aris took Cllr. Jeanette Kendrew on a tour of Haltwhistle's verges and pointed out areas where the current management appeared unnecessarily zealous, decapitating plants which would have been a resource for pollinators, resulting in boring, albeit tidy, patches of grass. So we were delighted to read in the Christmas Day edition of the Hexham Courant that Jeanette has taken up our cause. Haltwhistle Town Council, the paper reported, is looking at its Grounds Maintenance strategy with a view to identifying areas where it might be appropriate to change management, by reducing mowing, to benefit wildlife and biodiversity.
Meanwhile we continue to press Northumberland to discuss their strategy for rural road verges, and the A69, with us but the Highways department suffered badly in the December floods with depots in both Hexham and Low Prudhoe being affected. My contact in the Highways department said that, in the face of the total loss of all grounds management machinery, she would find it difficult to talk about the details of management strategy in the immediate aftermath of the floods.

Greenhead's Green Christmas
The Green Christmas Craft Fair, run by STS in conjunction with Hadrian's Wall Farmers' Market, was an all round success with visitors purchasing original gifts, stallholders happy with their takings, and a boost to STS funds from the sale of raffle tickets (a big thank you to stallholders for donating raffle prizes from their stalls). The Farmers' Market in Greenhead will continue on the second Sunday of every month (10th Jan, 14th Feb etc.) throughout the year thanks to a heap of volunteers who have stepped forward to keep this friendly village market running.

Tynedale Green Party
Tim Burdon, the chair of the Tynedale Green Party, has extended an invitation to all members of South Tyne Sustainability to their open meeting in Bardon Mill Village Hall at 2pm on Saturday 9th Jan.
Tim will allow us time to introduce about STS and talk about our 2016 projects after the Party's business has been completed

Campaign for Soil

The Soil Association's new Soil Campaign aims to increase the organic matter in soil by 20% in just 20 years. To launch the campaign and to spread the word about the importance of soil - the source of 95% of our food - the Soil Association made a short film, with Aardman Animations, highlighting the role of organic/sustainable farming and shopping choices.

Community Action Northumberland run an oil buying group that negotiates great deals on kerosene, LPG, and bottled LPG using the purchasing power of its members. For details and to join see:

CAN is also recruiting volunteer community energy agents who will receive free training with the aim of enabling them to help vulnerable people in their locality to
  o  stay warm and well in their homes over winter.
  o  get advice on energy bills.
  o  improve energy efficiency in the home including making more efficient use of household appliances.
Community energy agents will also help to distribute 6,000 energy monitors, offered free of charge by British Gas. The monitors display electricity usage in real time which will help people keep track of their usage, encouraging more efficient energy consumption.
If you are interested in learning more about becoming a community energy agent and would like sign-up for the training please contact Christine Nicholls on 01289 304141 or

Hexham Debate: Climate change: what's the hurry?
With Chris Kilsby, professor of Hydrology and Climate Change at Newcastle University.
Saturday 30th January 11.00am - 12.30pm,
St Mary's Centre, St Mary's RC Church, Hencotes, Hexham NE46 2EB.

The Hexham Debates, an initiative of the Hexham Quaker Meeting and Northumbrians for Peace, are not adversarial, but take inspiration from the Putney Debates of 1647, when members of Cromwell's New Model Army discussed what sort of country should be established in the wake of the Civil War. The 21st century debates seek to carry on the tradition of active, radical debate essential for ensuring freedom and justice for all. The intention is to demonstrate ways in which a government's power depends for its legitimacy on the consent of its citizens and, perhaps, to reveal how far we have moved away from that ideal. The speaker will talk for the first 45 minutes then an equal time is allowed for questions and discussion.
Free admission, retiring collection.

Debt or Democracy: Public Money
for Sustainability and Social Justice.

By Mary Mellor 2015: Pluto Books

Mary really made an impression on me when I heard her speak at a Sustainable Brampton meeting a couple of years ago. In plain English she explodes the myths behind modern money and questions the basic tenets of conventional economics. This new book challenges the neoliberal obsession with public debt and deficit, arguing that a much more serious problem is the privatised creation of money through bank debt that leads to boom and bust. Far from being a burden on the taxpayer, Mary Mellor argues that public money and public expenditure is necessary for economic wellbeing. Arguing that money is a public resource that should be under democratic control, Debt or Democracy directly challenges conventional economic thinking and presents a radical alternative for a socially just and ecologically sustainable provisioning. To buy the book see:
For videos of Mary Mellor's 'Understanding Money' lectures see

South Tyne Sustainability aims to reduce the impact of the community of Haltwhistle and surrounding villages on our environment. This will help individuals, families and our community save money and resources and ensure a more sustainable future for us all.

To join STS contact Sue Seymour, 016977 47359