We are now official!

This morning the PinT email account received an email from Mike Thomas, the new Transition Initiative Support Coordinator to let us know that Peterborough in Transition is now an “official” transition initiative! The email is quite long and has lots of helpful information in it. For example, if we ever want to become a more formal group, we may find it helpful to look at the resources directory on the Transition Website: we might be able to find the constitutions adopted by other initiatives.  Similarly if we want to start new projects (Energy or Transport for example) we may find it helpful to look in the projects database: we may be able to learn from what others have done, or maybe even get in touch to arrange a visit! Mike also suggests that we list our events on the Transition Network site.

I’ve also mentioned several times recently that it would be good to get more people blogging more frequently on our website. Did you know that articles from our site now also appear on our initiative profile on the Transition Network site? Mike has taken a look at our site, and especially liked our wild food map.

We’re still mullers

Have you ever visited the main Transition Network website?  Peterborough in Transition has its own page on the site. If you visit our page there you will see near the top of the page, that our status is “Muller”, whereas our nearest rivals in Stamford are an “Official” transition initiative, as is Kings Cliffe.  One of the prerequisites for Peterborough in Transition to become an official Transition initiative is for us to have four people who are registered on the site as “core team” members. So, have you thought about registering as a user?

Registering is fairly straight forward, and is similar to creating a profile on facebook or Project Dirt. Here for example is my profile.

Once we have done that we can think about the next step, which involves filling in a “Criteria Response Form”, and either satisfying the various criteria (there are 16 of them), or at least coming up with good reasons why we think some of them don’t apply to us. This is likely to be quite a lengthy process, but, let’s hope, a helpful one.

Other things we can think about doing:

  • Posting events like our ceilidh as a Transition event. The instructions for doing that are here.
  • Creating content on the site. For example, we might want to create a project for the food shop at the Green Backyard.

Hydrocarbon development by Parliamentary Constituency

In September parliament issued a briefing paper on shale gas and fracking. At the end of the paper there is a list, by constituency, of all the places where Petroleum Exploration and Development Licences (PEDL) had been granted by DECC (Department of Energy and Climate Change) as of Aug 2013. Although Peterborough is not on the list, many nearby places are (including Stamford). The following brief extract from the briefing may help you to understand the significance of a PEDL.

Oil and gas extraction starts with an exploration phase, which may include performing seismic surveys. A test bore may be drilled, to explore what is really underground and how rich the deposits are at different depths and formations. Only then might a company seek to move on to a phase of extraction or ‘development’.

DECC outlines the onshore licensing system on its oil and gas website.
These existing licenses, now that unconventional hydrocarbons are more attractive, may be re-examined for their potential. This will often be in terms of seismic surveys initially, but then possibly moving on to test drilling, where drills may be continued, through where conventional reservoirs are expected to be, to see if shale beds also have potential.
DECC advises that there is no a firm distinction between exploration for shale gas and exploration for other targets. Some companies who are drilling mainly for conventional oil and gas have decided to drill deeper than they otherwise might have, in order to see whether there is prospective shale in their licensed areas (coring is all that is envisaged in these cases and no fracking is involved).

Here then, with duplicates removed, is the list of constituencies where PEDLs have been granted:

Aberavon, Airdrie and Shotts, Altrincham and Sale, West Alyn and Deeside, Amber Valley, Arundel and South Downs, Ashfield, Barnsley Central, Barnsley East, Basingstoke, Bassetlaw, Beaconsfield, Beckenham, Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, Beverley and Holderness, Bexhill and Battle, Birkenhead, Blackpool North and Cleveleys, Blackpool South, Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, Bolsover, Bolton West, Bootle, Bournemouth East, Bournemouth West, Brecon and Radnorshire, Bridgend, Brigg and Goole, Bristol East, Bristol North West, Bristol South, Bromley and Chislehurst, Broxtowe, Burton, Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, Canterbury, Cardiff West, Carlisle, Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, Carshalton and Wallington, Charnwood, Chesterfield, Chichester, Chorley, Christchurch, City of Chester, Cleethorpes, Clwyd South, Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill, Congleton, Crawley, Crewe and Nantwich, Croydon Central, Croydon North, Croydon South, Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East, Cynon Valley, Dartford, Delyn, Don Valley, Doncaster Central, Doncaster North, Dover, Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale, Dunfermline and West Fife, East Dunbartonshire, East Surrey, East Yorkshire, Eddisbury, Ellesmere Port and Neston, Elmet and Rothwell, Epsom and Ewell, Erewash, Falkirk, Fareham, Folkestone and Hythe, Fylde, Gainsborough, Garston and Halewood, Gedling, Glasgow North East, Glenrothes, Gower, Grantham and Great Grimsby, Stamford, Haltemprice and Howden, Halton, Havant, Hemsworth, Horsham, Isle of Wight, Kingston and Surbiton, Kingston upon Hull East, Kingston upon Hull North, Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle, Kingswood, Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, Knowsley, Lancaster and Fleetwood, Leigh, Lewes, Lewisham West and Penge, Lichfield, Lincoln, Linlithgow and East Falkirk , Liverpool Wavertree, Llanelli, Loughborough, Louth and Horncastle, Macclesfield, Maidenhead, Makerfield, Mansfield, Meon Valley, Mid Derbyshire, Mid Dorset and North Poole, Mid Sussex, Middlesbrough, Middlesborough South and East Cleveland, Mitcham and Morden, Mole Valley, Monmouth, Morley and Outwood, Motherwell and Wishaw, Neath, New Forest West, Newark, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Newport East, Newport West, Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford, North Dorset, North East Derbyshire, North East Fife, North East Hampshire, North East Somerset, North Shropshire, North Somerset, North West Hampshire, Nottingham East, Nottingham North, Nottingham South, Ochil and South Perthshire, Ogmore, Old Bexley and Sidcup, Orpington, Penrith and The Border, Pontypridd, Poole, Portsmouth North, Preston, Redcar, Reigate, Rhondda, Ribble Valley, Richmond (Yorks), Richmond Park, Romsey and Southampton North, Rother Valley, Runnymede and Weybridge, Rushcliffe, Rutland and Melton, Salford and Eccles, Scarborough and Whitby, Scunthorpe, Sefton Central, Selby and Ainsty, Sevenoaks, Sherwood, Sleaford and North Hykeham, Slough, Somerton and Frome, South Dorset, South Ribble, South Staffordshire, South Thanet, South West Surrey, Southport, St Helens, Stafford, Staffordshire Moorlands, Stirling, Stockton North, Stoke-on-Trent, Stone, Streatham, Stretford and Urmston, Sutton and Cheam, Swansea East, West Tamworth, Tatton, Telford, The Wrekin, Thirsk and Malton, Tonbridge and Malling, Tunbridge Wells, Vale of Glamorgan, Warrington North, Warrington South, Wealden, Weaver Vale, Wells, Wentworth and Dearne, West Dorset, West Lancashire, Weston-Super-Mare, Wigan, Wimbledon, Winchester, Windsor, Wirral South, Wirral West, Worsley and Eccles South, Wrexham, Wyre and Preston North, Wythenshawe and Sale East, York Central, York Outer

An evening with Rob Hopkins – the Power of Just Doing Stuff talk at Swaffham

Last Thursday we made our way across to the Green Britain Centre at Swaffham to an event organized by East Anglian transition groups, in particular Downham & Villages in Transition and West Norfolk Permaculture  – this was part of the Transition Thursday series of talks being given by Rob Hopkins, co founder of the Transition Network.Transition Thursday Swaffham

The evening was well attended , with some 70 or so transitioners from groups around Norfolk and interested members of the public (including organic gardening celebrity Bob Flowerdew) and the Transition Free Press.  The Green Britain Centre kindly laid on some scrummy organic snacks and drinks.

The event kicked off with introductions from Ben Margolis of West Norfolk Permaculture in familiar transition style,  followed by some brief upates from some of the local transition groups including Kings Lynn and Downham & Villages.  Most of the Norfolk groups have been running for a couple of years longer than us at PiNT,  but as with Peterborough’s Green Back Yard many groups were similarly based around local community growing projects of various types. These have gone from strength to strength, particularly in the case of Transition Norwich which has a particularly vibrant scene in the surrounding area.  Due to the large mostly rural area of Norfolk, attendees came from quite a wide area, from us   in the west  to the North Norfolk coast ,  east to Norwich and further south. The organizers had printed out a massive map of the area to put our names on to see where we were all from, which made interesting viewing by the end of the event!East Anglia Transition Map Our neighbours at Transition Kings Lynn have spent most of their time and energy recently in fighting the massive Cory Energy From Waste Incinerator that was due to have been built at Saddlebrow, near the large Palm Paper Factory. However due to some hard campaigning work engaging successfully with the local community, this scheme has now been overturned, the council have seen sense (and several councillors replaced at the last election) and a new recycling scheme and waste disposal program is to be introduced that will see the majority of waste being properly recycled in a rather more environmentally friendly way (they are hoping for something like a 90% recycling rate that puts most other schemes to shame!)  Of course that just leaves the similar PREL site nearby at Sutton Bridge to contend with but shows what can be achieved.

Rob Hopkins at Swaffham

Rob Hopkins then gave his talk on the Power of Just Doing Stuff  – how local action can change the world, which followed  the theme of his new book. This was an interesting and empowering couple of hours  about how it is possible to create a new kind of resilient, economic future , creating employment and wealth and wellbeing in local communities.  It was about the positive changes that the transition movement has begun to achieve around the world through communities who decide to take a different approach to how they live and work instead of the current “business as usual” model.

The transition movement has spread rapidly around the world, from the UK to North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australasia – with many different initiatives in response to the particular local situations. Interestingly, transition in those countries of the global south is evolving in  a somewhat different  way  to that we are familiar with in the UK. It is based on the same principles, but with more emphasis on social justice , education and food security for local communities, challenging  the status quo and development by growth strategies pushed  NGO’s and big government – alternative development if you like.

For the UK, Rob covered the trials and tribulations of various transition related projects from its Totnes roots to  Transition Tooting’s ultimately successful struggles with the local council bureaucrats  and excellent community energy projects in Brixton,  along with the various local currency schemes (complete with examples  of both Bristol and Brixton pound notes – now highly sought after by international coin collectors!) . He went on to look at initiatives in various countries around the world including Portugal, Brazill and Australia.

One of the main thrusts  in the UK is the REconomy project – which basically  means getting the cash back into the local economy creating more resilient communities, local business and jobs to the benefit of  the local community. Whereas the situation at the moment in most places is that the majority of the money spent locally is just siphoned off to swell the profits of some anonymous corporation elsewhere with little real wealth retained locally.

For example, the majority of money spent in the UK  on groceries –  an astounding 97% – is split between just 8 large suppliers (ie Tesco, Asda, Sainsburys, Morrison etc) .   A growing number of  small projects are starting to counteract this, from  local food co-operatives, bakers and greengrocers to small brewers and community energy companies. These are all individually small projects, locally owned and run, but taken together,  they are empowering communities and starting to make a real difference,Power of Doing Stuff

Rob ended the evening with a brief Q&A session followed by him signing copies of his new book. I now have a copy of this but can certainly recommend it to anyone interested in where transition is going today. It is a relatively small paperback (compared to the Transition Companion), some 160 pages  and is now available to buy online from www.greenbooks.co.uk and elsewhere – or if you can get over to one, one of the Transition Thurday events ( the next one “locally” is on 18 July , organized by Transition Horncastle, Lincolnshire.)

You can see a short video of the Swaffham event on youtube that Rob has just posted!


Birch tapping with the brew club!

Peterborough in Transition’s brand new brew club has kicked off in Birch tapping style. On Friday we went to a secret location to give the ancient art of Birch tapping a go. In the UK, you can tap both Birch and Lime trees for their sap which can be used for a variety of brewing uses, being a base for both beers and wine.

It’s an ancient technique; birch sap can makes a delicious tea or nourishing soft-drink. Boiled down to make a sweet syrup it can be used as a flavouring agent in sauces and marinades for meat, fish or in baking as an alternative to other sweeteners. In many countries, Birch syrup is used as an herbal medicine with antiseptic, anti-parasitic and anti-inflammatory properties.

As the cold weather extended right into the spring the sap was rising slightly later than usual, meaning that we would harvest it in mid-April. If you want more information there are a variety of guides on the web including this one: http://naturalpathways.wordpress.com/2010/03/08/how-to-tap-a-birch-tree/.

The brew club is really informal but if you would like to get involved then just email transitionpeterborough at gmail dot com. The next brew on the list is Dandelion champagne, followed by Japanese Knotweed beer…brewing can be a legitimate conservation activity after all!

On another drinking note, everyone is invited to come along to the monthly Green Drinks held at the Ostrich Inn. Details can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/#!/events/535295789862084/.