News February 2019

Shall we continue? Well, yes we will!
Two issues, both of which had a domestic and a community aspect, were suggested at the crunch meeting in January and this persuaded everyone present to keep STS rolling along. Firstly there's the pressing issue of ubiquitious plastic and the second idea was to take another look at energy use and generation.
Furthermore STS has an easy to operate bank account with the Cumberland Building Society in Haltwhistle and this was felt to be an asset in itself. Any new initiatives in South Tynedale that fall within the broad church of sustainability could potentially come under our umbrella and save a new informal group the hassle of opening and operating their own bank account.

The domestic aspect:
There is an evident lack of clarity about what can and what can't be put in the black wheelie bins for recycling.
A search of Northumberland's website produced the following information:
  • Yes - Plastic bottles, including drinks, shampoo and detergent bottles (please ensure they are washed and squashed but you can now leave the tops on)
  • No - Plastics which aren't bottles e.g. bags, carrier bags, cling film, plant pots, yoghurt pots, food trays, margarine cartons, bubble wrap

N.B. Tetrapacs, along with glass bottles, can be taken for recycling to the Household Waste Recovery Centre on Avenue St Meen in Haltwhistle. Full details and opening times:

A community project:
Julie Gibbon has toured the recycling plant at Sleekburn and was dismayed by the evident inefficiencies of the system and the exporting of raw waste for recycling. Could we recycle plastic locally right here in Tynedale???
Precious Plastics have produced full instructions, complete with tutorial videos, for building machines to recycle plastics into a range of useful and decoarive items.
Their website also includes a map with links to projects that have taken the idea forward, maybe we could start with a fact finding visit to an existing project.
There's Still Life in Glasgow and Open Source Arts in Leeds. Lancaster University students have the requisite machines but they seem to be homeless just now . We plan to have a meeting to discuss how we might take this idea forward in March (details next month), in the meantime do canvass anyone you know who might be interested in such a project.

The domestic aspect:
Cutting electricity use in beneficial from both an environmental and individual point of view. But it can be difficult to work out where all those kilowatt hours are going. Many energy supply companies and local NGOs have freely available energy monitors - get in touch with me if you want one of these and I may be able to put you in touch with a supplying project. These monitors display, in real time, your total electricity consumption. As you switch on a toaster or an elecctric kettle the dial will leap up into the orange or even red high consumption section. By switching things off and then on again, one at a time, it is possible to see the background consumption of individual appliances but it's not easy to isolate an individual appliance, a charger or example, which draws a small but constant amount of energy - even when it is not charging anything. There are products on the market which measure the consumption of individual appliances.
The Energenie Saving Power Meter is one such example. Would it be an idea for STS to purchase several of these meters which could be loaned to anyone who would like to check the running costs of individual appliances? In the meantime I'd recommend turning those chargers off when not in use!

A community project:
The January Cafe Scientifique at Bardon Mill heard all about Brampton and Beyond Energy (BABE) and their plan to build an anaerobic digester to generate energy from grass cut on Carlisle Airfield. The talk was evidently inspiring and we're wondering what potential there might be for a community energy project - not a digester but using wind, water, solar or geothermal energy - in South Tynedale. We've asked a couple of friends who know about this sort of thing to give us some pointers... but do get in touch if you've any ideas or would like to be involved in a community energy project.

Green Christmas Fair in Greenhead
The Green Christmas Fair, back in the Hotel after exile to the Youth Hostel in 2017, was a success with a great range of quality local crafts for sale. No one left empty handed and many people must have been delighted with original gifts on Christmas Day. The raffle with prizes donated by the stallholders raised £143 which was given to the new Gilsland Village Nature Group. To find out more about this group or to get involved contact Lauren Harrison
  • The Farmers' Market in Greenhead continues in the Village Hall on the second Sunday of every month.
    The next market is on 10th Feb, 10am to 1.30pm.
  • Hexham Farmers' market is on the second and forth Saturdays, 9th and 24th of Feb in the Market Place.
  • Brampton Farmers' Market, run by Sustainable Brampton, is on the forth Saturday of every month, in Feb that's Sat 24th.

Road Verges
We will be continuing our work on road verges in the local area - raising awareness, surveying walks and lobbying those responsible for verge management - this year. Any questions relating to this project please contact Lesley Silvera:

A recent news bulletin from Plantlife reported "Eleven local authorities are interested in working with us to implement our road verge management guidelines. This year we will be having more conversations with councils to encourage the further uptake of wildlife-friendly verge management. Our new road verge management guidelines coming out in the Spring will help with this by providing detailed technical guidance on best practice. Our campaign will continue to work towards an extensive transformation of the way verges are managed."

South Tynedale Wildlife Group
All talks start at 7.30pm, in the Comrades Club in Haltwhistle. £3 on the door, all welcome.
February 12th
Heinz Traut of Northumberland Wildlife Trust: "Red Squirrels"
March 12th
Kevin O'Hara of Vincent Wildlife Trust: "The Pine Marten in North East England"
April 9th
Steve Wrightson, local photographer: "Wildlife Pictures"

Hexham Debates
Carrying on a tradition of active radical debate essential for ensuring freedom and justice for all. Organised by Northumbrians for Peace and Hexham Quakers these debates take place on Saturdays from 11.00am to 12.30pm, with tea and coffee to follow, at The St Mary's Centre, St Mary's R C Church, Hencotes, Hexham, NE46 2EB
See the program for this year at:

Let's Get Together program for February & March 2019
Booking and Further Information: / 07981 101651
Booking is advised for all activities however, except for those stated, you can take your chance and turn up on the day.

Regular Events
South Tyndale Photography Group, 7-9pm, 2nd Monday monthly, £2 at Featherstone Village Hall.

Book Club, 3-4.30 pm, 2nd Tuesday monthly at Cairns Hall, Knarsdale, £2. Call 07981 101651 or email to get our book list.

Local History Group, 7-9 pm fortnightly, 3rd Tuesday monthly, £3 at Featherstone Village Hall.

Ukulele Group, Monday 27th February, 7-9 pm, CairnsHall, Knarsdale, £5. Email:

Workshops and Classes
Chair Yoga, Tuesdays, 11-12, £25 per 6 week course or £5 per session at The Old Booking Office, Haltwhistle Station
Tel: 07773 163833.

Hatha Yoga, Wednesdays 5.30-7pm, starts 6th Feb for 4 weeks, £20 per 4 week course or £6 per session, Herdley Bank School, Coanwood. Tel: 07773 163833

Brain Body Workout, Fridays 10.30-12.30 inc. tea & biscuits, £35 for 6 weeks or £7 per session at Cairns Hall, Knarsdale
Tel: 07981 101651

Family First Aid, Sunday 3rd February, Bardon Mill Village Hall. Kids class (7+) - 10-11am, £5; Parents/carers class 11.30-1.30 pm £15 per person, £25 per couple. Tickets at

Tea Dance, Thursday 21st February, 2-4pm, Greenhead Village Hall, £2.

Kids Drama class with Hannah Lucy Stage School, Wednesdays from 6th March, 3.30-5pm at the Hillside Centre, Haltwhistle, £2 per session. From age 5+.
Tel: 07983 470534 or Email: for more info.

Coming soon - Adult dance classes- modern jazz, tap and ballet. Call for info.

Contributions to this newsletter are welcome - from articles on sustainability issues to notices about local projects or events which benefit our communities and/or the wider environment.

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