News November 2020


Recycling project with Berry Global
Moving of the goal posts!

We had a second meeting with the manager of the Berry Global factory in Plenmeller and took along a sample of the used plastic bottles we'd collected from friends and a local cafe. Some of our collection failed the grade - the containers do have to be clean, no deposits of coagulated milk remaining around the milk bottle necks, and labels must be removed. It is essential that the plastic is HDPE, which is regularly written underneath the triangle with the '2' in it. So the parameters have been tightened but Berry Global confirmed their commitment to the project, a willingness to sponsor publicity material and provide us with products for the community made from recycled plastics equivalent to the weight of plastic we collect. Our intention to properly launch the project early in 2021 remains and in the meantime please start saving clean, label-free no. 2 HDPE. And do get in touch if you have storage problems.

Livvy Drake, one of the founders of City to Sea - the campaigning group behind the Refill project, ran a webinar 'Navigating plastics and disposables' in October. It's a really useful, if depressing, background to the issues, and smokescreens - around disposables, bio-plastics, compostable, recyclable and recycled plastic. We need to shift the responsibility to deal with the whole lifecycle of all packaging from the end user back to the producer. Refill and reuse is definitely the way to go. You can catch up with Livvy Drake's recorded presentation here:
There's a second presentation in the series, 'Understanding recycling and waste realities' on Nov 17th
To join:

Green Christmas Craft Fair - sadly this will not be held this year due to the difficulties and uncertainties created by the pandemic. The Farmers' market at Greenhead village hall will be as usual on Sunday Dec 13th.
Do check out your favourite craftspeople online as many have created online shops and can arrange for deliveries. Your custom will certainly be appreciated as independent artisans have seen countless sales opportunities evaporate under Covid restrictions.
There are various online groups committed to supporting local, independent traders and artisans at Christmas like the facebook group: *NORTHUMBERLAND* Let's support local businesses this Christmas!

I'll have fresh beef available for delivery on Nov 21st - call or email for details.

All things trees

Fourstones and Newbrough Climate Action Group have teamed up with Stephen Ford who is planting a woodland on Haydon Fell near Settlingstones. There will be opportunities to be out planting trees with him and his current volunteers from November through to March. The site is a newly planted semi-natural mixed species woodland replacing clear-fell Lodge Pole pine forest. The project is aiming to maximise biodiversity, carbon sequestration and water retention.
Fourstones and Newgrough Climate Action Group have plans for a family tree planting day on Sat 28th Nov, National Tree Charter Day.
The group has been successful in getting 405 mixed species trees from the Woodland Trust which will arrive in March 2021.
If you are interested in helping out please contact Laura Waugh

Friends of the Earth are holding a Nation Tree Summit on 1st December 2020.
This free online event features a full day of talks and panel discussions with insights from leaders, experts, community groups and government. Hear from Forestry Minister Zac Goldsmith on DEFRA's England Tree Strategy; the Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change Lord Deben on the importance of trees to meet the UK's net zero target; Chief Executive of the Woodland Trust Darren Moorcroft on meeting tree targets and cutting carbon and Rewilding Britain's Rebecca Wrigley on natural regeneration, plus many more.

Tynedale Transformed launched with a festival of ideas in early October. I joined one of the events, a sustainability panel, to talk about STS. It was a great opportunity to network and share ideas and encouraging to hear about other local initiatives.
Tynedale Transformed is working on a continuing program:

"To start with, we want to run a 'Second Sunday' every month around a theme. The Second Sunday would feature events, workshops, virtual content and a panel discussion to round it off.
Would you like to be involved? This may be as a speaker, or you may know someone who could make a contribution, or there may be a video we can show that fits in, or you may want a virtual workshop on any aspect of this large subject. Or any other ideas to contribute."

To get involved contact Penny Grennan

GO Local Food is expanding!
GO Local Food is now operating from two sites; in Ovington at The Nursery (Halls of Heddon) and a new site in Matfen, where an additional 2.5 acres has been licensed to us by Sir Hugh Blackett, Matfen Estates. It's a great development as the two sites will complement each other allowing the project to grow a greater quantity and diversity of produce. At Vicarage Corner, Matfen there'll be a more mechanised approach to growing - large plots and beds for potatoes, onions, garlic and brassicas. The fields at Ovington with five polytunnels will specialise in salad crops, winter leaves, our no-dig trial area, and smaller areas for other seasonal crops.
Alongside this the Members' Marketplace - local produce, refills of household and bodycare products - helps members avoid using plastic. From time to time fruit or olive oil direct from farmers in warmer climes is also available. GoLocal is also developing links with The Corbridge Larder.
The next task is to find new members - if you would like to reserve a place for 2021, now is the time to add your name to the list - email and/or check project out at

Brampton Cafe Sci event
Thu 26 Nov Mac Macartney talking on 'A Line in the Sand'

This last event of 2020 will be a facilitated discussion based on an 18 minute TED Talk by Tim 'Mac' Macartney entitled 'A Line in the Sand'. Mac is an inspirational speaker about leadership and nature. He deftly intertwines themes rarely associated with each other - the quest for meaning and purpose, organisational leadership, nature, identity and the role of ordinary people in shaping a future fit for generations to come.
Tim has selected this talk as he is sure it will stimulate a wide range of opinions and therefore discussion. Participants will first watch the video, and after a short break Tim will lead a discussion for about 30 mins.
Contact: for zoom link

A hedgehog opts to take the stairs. Photograph: Stephen Powles
A village in Oxfordshire is really looking out for hedgehogs see this heartwarming story from the Guardian:

In other news:

Cumbrian Coal mine

Local campaigners have in recent years led successful campaigns against proposed mining developments in County Durham and on the Northumberland Coast but now Cumbria County Council have given the go ahead to a coal mining development on the west coast. Sign this petition calling on Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local government, to call-in the decision and refuse the mine permission to start - focus on a green recovery instead.

Local Energy Bill
is a not-for-profit organisation campaigning for the UK to rapidly transition to 100% clean energy and for this to benefit local economies. The campaign is within sight of success with the Local Energy Bill making its way through parliament, your support is needed. Please sign up to the campaign here:

Food and Farming - protect our standards
The Food, Farming and Countrytside Commision have a great website unpicking the arguments around post Brexit trade deals
Trade Unwrapped talks to trade experts, policy makers and the British public to understand what issues really matter. How much do we or should we care about standards, fairness, and about protecting British interests? And what are the connections between trade and climate, nature, jobs, and health?

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