News June 2019

Plastics & Energy
The next meeting for both our plastics and energy projects will be on Tues June 18th at the Old Booking Hall on Haltwhistle Station. We'll start with plastics at 7pm and will go onto energy at 8pm. You are welcome to come to both meetings or just attend for the one that interests you. We'll try and stick to the timings!

  • Tim Coombe from Sustainable Brampton attended our meeting in May and we agreed to work together on a 'Plastics free along the Wall' project. Tim is going to register the project with the national Refill Scheme which will then supply us with stickers so we can visit cafes and other businesses and ask them to sign up to be a refill station. If you could help with this but won't be attending the meeting please let me know.
  • Our June meeting will concentrate on another aspect of plastic packaging - finding out which Haltwhistle businesses use plastic packaging and which favour alternatives. Could you help with designing a survey?
  • Haltwhistle Partnership is looking into the feasability of a zero waste shop in Haltwhistle along the lines of Another Weigh ( in Penrith. Here's a link to a Guardian article about similar enterprises across the country:
    If you are interested in this initiative please contact Julie:
  • Greenhead school is collecting crisp packets for recycling and to raise much needed funds for the school. Please take your empties along.

N.B. Next plastics project meeting is at 7pm on Tues 18th as above (not 7.30pm as previously advertised)


  • After the first meeting in April Julie purchased an 'individual appliance energy monitor'. You plug an appliance into this and you can check what energy the appliance consumes when in use and when it's in a stand-by mode. And you might be surprised at how much power is consumed by all those chargers and hubs that are permanently on stand-by! Julie has now lent this monitor to another of our members but if you'd like to borrow it for a week or two to check things in your house please get in touch.
  • The meeting in May discussed two ideas; organising an energy and cost saving event for the public in Haltwhistle, and the potential for initiating a community energy project. We all went away with some research to do and will report back on 18th June when we'll discuss how to take either or both of these initiatives forward.

Verge Walks

Northumberland has signs like this on a few verges in the National Park near Greenhaugh and in the AONB near Allendale. As a result of the floral diversity we have identified on our survey walks Lesley has been asked to suggest verges around here which deserve the same protection.

Our verge walks with Lesley Silvera this year are scheduled for the evenings of 16th July and 13th August. Further details next month.

Petition Northumberland County Council to declare a
climate emergency

Select:Opens in a new windowview current epetitions. This petition closes on June 26th.

Sustainable farming
As a farmer myself I've been following the debate about the contribution of farm animals to climate change with great interest and it was in a spirit of enquiry that I attended the Ethical Farming conference at Cream O' Galloway near Gatehouse of Fleet a couple of weeks ago. The hosts, David and Wilma Finlay, are pioneering and evidently social media savvy farmers who launched a crowd funding appeal to raise money for a cheese-making plant as a development of their ethical - so called because they allow the calves to remain with their dams until weaning - dairy. The crowd funding appeal exceeded the target and the conference was an add-on putting the extra money to good use.

It was a great day and I came away convinced that the right sort of farming is part of the solution. Producing our food, including meat, need not be a net contributor to climate change and the ethical description refers to much more than just doing the right thing by the cows and calves; staff, the wider community and biodiversity are considered too.

Most of the presentations were videoed and are available on the conference website:

I'd particularly recommend the Texan couple, Emry and Deborah who gave an entertaining and inspiring talk (Session 1) about how they transformed their relationship(!) and a dustbowl ranch to a verdant and productive holding following regenerative agriculture principals first espoused by Allan Savory. Emry now moves several thousand cattle as one herd on to a new paddock (mind the 'paddock' is a bit larger that one might imagine given that this is an 18,000 acre ranch!) two or three times a day mimicking the movement of wild bison across a prairie.

Another 5-star presentation was given by Dr Zoë Harcombe (Session 3) who demolished current dietary advice which warns against consumption of red meat and saturated fats. The bête noir according to Zoe is processed food, a view that went down well with the audience of farmers - and carried extra clout as Zoe admitted to being a vegetarian when she started her research and anticipated findings which would validate her decision not to eat meat but based on the evidence concluded that meat is a valid part of a healthy diet and is no longer vegetarian. And stick to three meals a day she said, you're not a cow but if you constantly graze you could end up the size of one!. An hour into the video of this session there's a great few minutes from Mary Clear, who regained the stage for vegetarians and the grasp-the-nettle tactics employed by the gardeners, mo(o)vers and shakers of Incredible Edibles in Todmorden.

Get in touch
Any questions, comments or contributions to this monthly e-newsletter?
Please contact 016977 47359

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


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