News May 2021

Plastic recycling - project meeting at the Manor House, 7.30pm on Thursday 10th June.

Last week Julie and I took our first load of empty and squashed plastic containers ready for recycling to the Berry factory in Plenmeller. Our dumpy bags yielded 43kg of clean, label-free, No. 2 HDPE plastic.

We're having a meeting to organise the launch of this initiative - which will see used plastic bottles collected in the town, reprocessed in the UK and goods made from recycled plastic returned to the community - in the back room of the Manor House in Haltwhistle at 7.30pm on Thursday 10th June. All ideas welcome - please come along to help us make this a widely supported and effective project.

Energy - Haltwhistle Partnership to form new group with Community Energy agenda

Haltwhistle Swimming and Leisure Centre's project looking primarily at the potential of mine water as a heat source, but including other energy sources, has now concluded. Although the mine water idea doesn't stack up under current economic conditions a potentially viable project extending the existing roof-mounted solar panels was identified.

Haltwhistle Partnership managed the RCEF feasibility study for the Leisure Centre and there is now enthusiasm to continue looking at the potential of local renewable energy projects to benefit the community. Members of the original steering group are meeting via zoom at 2.30pm on Monday 7th June to discuss the creation of a new group to look at a variety of local renewable energy projects. Please get in touch with me if you are interested in joining this group - especially (but not only) if you have relevant skills/experience/knowledge.

We are impressed by the success of Burneside Community Energy ( near Kendal in Cumbria and this organisation may be a model we could choose to emulate.

On the Verge 2021 - Our 7th season!!
Please join us for one or all of our short, slow moving verge
walks (1.5 mile there and back max) to identify and survey
wild flowers on or near road verges near Haltwhistle.

Tues 22nd June: Meet at Greenhead Church
7pm - We'll walk up the old road and if there is time, look at riverside
off Millenium Green. Grid ref: 661654

Tues 20th July: Meet on road verge leading to Vindolanda - park at top end.
7pm - We'll walk northwards to Brackies Burn where we found
lovely plants last year. Grid ref: 755663

Tues 17th August: Meet Bardon Mill by War Memorial
7pm - We'll cross the railway and river bridge and look at
some river gravel plants; this is a very short walk. Grid ref: 782646

Just turn up, no need to book. We'll be on paths and/or tarmac.
We aim to finish by 9pm. Any queries, please get in touch
with Lesley Silvera: 07933 326711.

Our program of verge walks grew out of a project inspired by Plantlife's campaign to recognise and protect verge habitats which are such a great 'corridor reserve' for plants and pollinators. There are a variety of ways, from simply signing a petition to conducting plant surveys, of getting involved with Plantlife's work:

Northumberland's Gear Change offers free Cycle Skills training for adults.

Northumberland County Council is offering cycle training with Jan Chisholm to support adults to in Northumberland communities to keep fit and healthy through cycling and to benefit the environment by reducing carbon emissions. The training includes:
   o   Balance
   o   Confidence training
   o   Bikeability and road safety
   o   Dr Bike free safety checks and minor repairs.

For more info see:

I hope to put together an extended course for a group of first time adult cyclists which will be based in Haltwhistle or Gilsland - please contact me for further details.

To Open Democracy in Hexham. Five councillors elected to the Town Council in May with one, Fay Hartland, chosen as deputy leader. The new councillors are first and foremost passionate about Hexham. And they will ensure that the Town Council is open, positive and free from the constraints of party politics. They aim to be inclusive, participatory and forward-looking.

To Ian and Maxine Wilson who've set up an eco-friendly holiday business, Hadrian Cycling Ltd, hiring e-cycles and guiding tours in the area.

To Ruth Murray for starting a plant swap in Haltwhistle.
STS gave Ruth a donation towards setting this up.

Net Zero
The race is on but justice - and ecology - demand a reduction, not a shift, in carbon emissions

A partnership of organisations in Cumbria have received funding for a joint project to make Cumbria the first Carbon Neutral County in the UK by 2037. Details of their early exciting initiatives - and job opportunities - are here:

A similar group of organisations, under the VONNE umbrella, made an unsuccessful bid for the same funding but have nonetheless set up an equally ambitious, if less well resourced, project. They have chosen the acronym NEECCo, standing for North East England Climate Coalition, and aim to make the North East the country's greenest region. Their program of events includes a public lecture on zoom at 4pm on Weds 9th June: 'A locally just net-zero transition in the UK: how to make it happen?'

Net Zero - a dangerous trap?

Some scientists are now convinced that the concept of net zero is a dangerous trap:
'The threats of climate change are the direct result of there being too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. So it follows that we must stop emitting more and even remove some of it.
This idea is central to the world's current plan to avoid catastrophe. In fact, there are many suggestions as to how to actually do this, from mass tree planting, to high tech direct air devices that suck out carbon dioxide from the air.
The current consensus is that if we deploy these and other so-called "carbon dioxide removal" techniques at the same time as reducing our burning of fossil fuels, we can more rapidly halt global warming. Hopefully around the middle of this century we will achieve "net zero". This is the point at which any residual emissions of greenhouse gases are balanced by technologies removing them from the atmosphere.
This is a great idea, in principle. Unfortunately, in practice it helps perpetuate a belief in technological salvation and diminishes the sense of urgency surrounding the need to curb emissions now.
We have arrived at the painful realisation that the idea of net zero has licensed a recklessly cavalier "burn now, pay later" approach which has seen carbon emissions continue to soar.'

Read the full article:

Protect our food standards
Sustain asks you to lobby against the proposed trade deal with Australia. If the Government signs this deal it will break a manifesto commitment to protect our food standards. In Australia, farmers are permitted to:

   o   Remove skin from live sheep (mulesing)
   o   Use battery cages and sow stalls
   o   Wash chicken with chlorine
   o   Use growth hormones
   o   Use pesticides banned in the UK
   o   Use many times the amount of antibiotics in farming as the UK does

Trade deals that permit cheap, low standard imports could destroy the livelihoods of thousands of farmers and change our rural landscape forever.

Sign RSPB's petition calling on the government to commit to halting nature's decline
Nature is in freefall, and the UK is no exception. Despite our ambition of being a world leader, we're one of the most nature depleted countries in the world and the current Environment Bill doesn't go far enough to address this.

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