News March 2019

STS is looking at two new initiatives in 2019 and everyone is welcome to the initial, informal meetings detailed below.

Could we upcycle plastics into useful and decorative objects using the Precious Plastics model available on the internet?
Could we, in collaboration with friends along the Tyne Valley, ensure that Hadrian's Wall visitors and any of us out for a walk or ride are easily able to refill water bottles? We could sign up cafes, shops & pubs to the national refill scheme.
Meeting to discuss these two ideas at 7.30pm on Tues March 19th at the Old Booking Hall, Haltwhistle Station.

Sustainable Brampton's Annual Meeting on 10th April at 7.30pm
In the Community Centre Cafe will provide an opportunity to find out more about environmental group Penrith Action for Community Transition's (PACT) successes in tackling the issue of single-use plastic. PACT has been greatly encouraged by the response from individuals, local shops, businesses and other organisations. They have also been lobbying businesses and politicians to make the urgent changes needed, running a local media campaign, carrying out litter picks, and collaborating with other environmental groups across Cumbria.

Following on from a recent Cafe Scientific meeting at Bardon Mill there is interest in looking at the potential for a community energy project. Guy Nicholson has offered to come to an initial meeting to discuss, in broad terms, the potential of generation, heat and renewables in South Tynedale. Northumberland Community Development Company have offered to lead this project if we decide to take it forward.
Meeting, to be confirmed as Guy often has to travel at short notice to 'fix things', at 7.30pm on Tues 26th March at the Old Booking Hall, Haltwhistle Station. I'll send out a reminder/confirmation message a few days before the meeting.

Waste food
I read a recent article in the Hexham Courant about a social enterprise, Pickle Palace, which uses food from supermarkets, that would otherwise end up in landfill, to make pickle and even complete meals often sold on a 'pay what you feel' basis. If anyone is interested in looking at doing something like this in this area, please get in touch with me.

Pine Martens
Kevin O'Hara of the Vincent Wildlife Trust will be talking about the Pine Marten in North East England at the South Tyne Wildlife Group meeting at 7.30pm on Tues 12th March in the Comrades Club, Haltwhistle. All welcome £3 on the door.
Following some reintroductions of pine martens the population in the Spadeadam area has been increasing and the Gilsland Village Nature Group are hoping to do some monitoring work with Kevin in the woods around the village. Anyone interested in getting involved please contact Lauren at or Malcolm at

Carlisle City Council to debate 'Climate Emergency' - no sign of Northumberland following suit??
A 'Climate Emergency' motion will be debated at the next City Council meeting on Tuesday 5th March at 6.45pm in the Civic Centre. This motion has been tabled by the leader of the Council, Colin Glover, and is the result of much collaborative work with many local organisations. It is hoped Carlisle city council will join the other 20 Councils across England who have already recognised the challenges presented by Climate Change and have passed similar motions to tackle it.
Supporters are welcome both outside the civic centre from 6pm onwards and in the public gallery for the debate.

Cumbrian residents in particular are invited to sign Sustainable Carlisle's petition:
On 29th March there is a national Climate Emergency Conference in Lancaster. Details are at
STS will pay the £15 ticket cost if anyone would like to go and report back to South Tyne Sustainability.

Cafe Scientifique at Bardon Mill Village Hall
Tuesday 5th March, 7.30pm
The solar system: an interactive tour with Emma Guerrero

Emma is a space enthusiast and regularly gives talks.
£5.00 includes refreshments. Tickets on the door or book:

For details of all the Cafe Scientifique talks at Bardon Mill see:

Community Garden
The community garden group in Haltwhistle are always on the look out for new recruits. The group meets every Wednesday morning at the garden behind the Post Office and work on many of the beds and planters around the town as well as in this garden. Libby would love to hear from anyone interested in joining the small band of volunteers - no experience required!

Gone Cuckoo - The compelling tale of a bird's journey by Joshua & Malcolm Green.
"An accomplished, engaging and beautifully constructed tour de force - with a message". Dave Pritchard, chair UK Arts & Environment Network.
Tynedale Horticultural Services at Minsteracres and Zigzag Days have arranged an afternoon performance of Gone Cuckoo at Minsteracres on March 22nd. If you would like to join us to see this acclaimed show there are some spare seats (no tickets, but donations would be appreciated), please get in touch with me.

Permaculture courses
Oceans of plastic, climate change, mass extinction, potential food shortages - what is going on? We live in challenging times and sometimes it is hard to make sense of it all and decide how best to respond. How about if we look closer at nature and try and design our lives to be more in tune with the natural world. There is a design system that does this very thing - Permaculture. It teaches you to incorporate systems from the natural world into your life and work.

Mark Shipperlee is involved in teaching on two Permaculture Design courses starting this month, and both still have a couple of places left. There is one in Durham based on 12 weekend days across the next three months, and also one in Coldstream which is done as a solid 6 day block in March and another one in early July.
This is the website link for the Coldstream one -

For information on the Durham course please email Wilf Richards at
starts Saturday 9th March!
Or feel free to contact Mark with any questions -

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