Thursday, 21 February 2019

A Bank of the South West > Tony Greenham in Sidmouth to present SW Mutual bank > Tuesday 12th March

The District Council have been very supportive of a new venture:
Futures Forum: District Council supporting the formation of South West Mutual bank

This follows on from presentations of the SW Mutual in the area:
Futures Forum: The Bank of the South West > Tony Greenham's presentation from the RSA in Exeter
Futures Forum: A Bank of the South West > to serve the everyday financial needs of ordinary people, local community groups, and small and medium sized companies >> Tony Greenham in Exeter: Thursday 26th October

And the Director of SW Mutual is coming to Sidmouth next month: 





We have seen several banks close their high street branches here in Sidmouth and East Devon over the past year – and there is real concern that this will have an impact on both business and residential communities.
South West Mutual bank are a West-Country based start-up hoping to fill the gap. If their application for regulatory approval to provide a range of banking services is successful, local branches could begin to be established as soon as 2020, providing current, savings and loan accounts to customers who as members will participate in the ownership of the bank.
South West Mutual bank hopes to open in Devon.
Last year, Tony Greenham, Director of SW Mutual, presented plans for setting up the bank to East Devon District Council, who have now pledged to invest £50,000 to support the start-up.
Tony has also spoken at public meetings in Devon, including Ottery St Mary which now has no high street bank at all.
Peter Murphy who led the Economic Resilience Theme for the Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan had this to say: “Our surveys of residential and business groups showed strong support for the encouragement of measures which would contribute to a self-sufficient and self-sustaining economy.
We see all around us the signs of a vibrant local economy and maintaining access to modern banking facilities is fundamental not only for local business but also for our residents. It is essential we continue to plan to fill the gap left by current bank closures and provide for further retrenchment in the future”
Sidmouth will be hosting a public meeting and focus group in early March.
At the invitation of the Futures Forum of the Vision Group for Sidmouth, Tony Greenham will be presenting the South West Mutual vision at a public meeting on Tuesday 12th March at 7pm, at the Leigh Browne Room of the Dissenters’ Hall, opposite the Hospital in Sidmouth.
Christine Allison, a founding member of South West Mutual, said the meeting would provide information on the Bank’s current thinking around design and operation, and would present an opportunity for attendees to share their thoughts.
The objective would be to begin to build a head of steam with Sidmouth people and town council, and a lobby for SWM to open a branch in Sidmouth. The bank will need a minimum number of people to sign up and will need help with finding premises.
The meeting will be open to all members of the public: entry is free and questions are welcome.
For further information contact:   www.visionforsidmouth.org/contact
Peter Murphy, Vision Group for Sidmouth: 0755 222 4802

Public meeting called to consider the SW Mutual bank for Sidmouth - Vision Group for Sidmouth

"What would a zero carbon city look like?" > Transition Exeter: talk and discussion: Friday 1st March

There are big plans for Exeter as reported in the news section of the VGS website these last weeks:
Liveable Exeter “highlights the property crisis while trying to solve transport challenges”
Exeter Transport Strategy > consultation now open
Exeter: portrait of a city published: “educated, sustainable, unaffordable”
A better connected, more ‘liveable’ Exeter
Exeter Vision 2020: ‘sustainable development’?
East Exeter gets a £1.3m cycle bridge

Transition Exeter looks at these - in the context of a 'zero-carbon city': 

What would a zero carbon city look like?

In this newsletter we're excited to let you know about next Friday's talk with Natalie Bennett on 'What would a zero carbon city look like?'  And just in time for when our Green Councillor Chris Musgrave brings a Climate Emergency Motion to Exeter City Council.  Devon County Council faces a similar motion on Feb 21st - still time to write to your councillor. DCC is also consulting on its new Transport Plan, a crucial influence on our city -  use the link at the the bottom to have your say.  Details of this and more below.

Look out for next Friday's talk and discussion, co-hosted with University of Exeter's Global Systems Institute

What would a Zero Carbon City Look Like 
with Natalie Bennett
Friday 1st March 6 pm 

University of Exeter, Henderson Lecture Theatre, XFi Building

Natalie attended the COP24 Climate talks in Poland last December and discusses what cities can do and are doing to move to zero carbon solutions for homes, travel and more
Further details https://www.facebook.com/events/393721694694818/?active_tab=about

Devon Transport Plan Consultation
Devon County Council is asking people what they would like to see Exeter's future transport system look like. In the last few years Exeter has grown fast, and the distance commuters travel has also increased. But we can't fit more cars on to our existing road network, air pollution is above safe levels on many of the main roads and the provision for sustainable transport is patchy. On the postive side, there are signs that people's travel habits are beginning to change, and the proposed new strategy aims to build on that. 
The Transition Exeter Transport Group have been discussing the draft strategy and we think there are lots of encouraging points - a shift to people-centred design, a focus on active and sustainable travel, a high quality cycle network, more frequent bus servies between Exeter and nearby towns, a simpler, integrated ticketing system and others. But the document doesn't go into much detail and it completely misses out climate change and any mention of the needs to cut carbon emissions!
It's important that the council hear what we would like Exeter's streets to be like in future - please take a look at the proposal and send in your views. You can find the consultation here 
There is an online survey to send your response - it's simple to complete and only takes a few minutes. You don't need to be an Exeter resident to respond - everyone who travels in Exeter for any reason should make sure  their voice is heard. You've got until 28 February to respond.
Alternatively, you can send your comments by post or email to the following
Post: Transport Planning, AB2 Lucombe House, County Hall, Exeter, EX2 4QD
Email: transportplanning@devon.gov.uk

@TTExeter  01647 24789
Copyright © 2017 Transition Exeter, All rights reserved.

What would a zero carbon city look like?
Transition Exeter
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Climate emergency > County Council to vote Thursday 21st February

The District Council will not be considering a debate on the urgency of climate change:
Futures Forum: District Council rejects considering motion "to recognise that Climate Change and Global Warming are the key issues of our time, to acknowledge the strong concerns of young people and for the council to commit to introducing a policy of carbon measurement and reduction"

As pointed out by the East Devon Watch blog:
Exeter and Devon County Council debate climate change – EDDC CEO refuses to allow debate | East Devon Watch

However, the County Council will be taking this on - tomorrow:
Futures Forum: Climate emergency: Devon to go carbon neutral by 2050

As will Exeter City Council - all in the context of our young people reminding us of the importance of it all:
Futures Forum: School Strike for Climate Action UK > Friday 15th February > happening in Devon
Futures Forum: School Strike for Climate Action UK > Friday 15th February > reports from Devon

Transition Exeter reports: 

Climate Emergency Motions

Green Councillor Chris Musgrave is bringing a motion to Exeter City Council on Tuesday February 26th calling on it to
  1. Declare a ‘Climate Emergency’;
  2. Pledge to make the city of Exeter carbon neutral by 2030 or sooner, taking into account both production and consumption emissions;
  3. Call on Westminster to provide the powers and resources to make the 2030 target possible;
  4. Continue to work with partners across the city and region, including Devon County Council, to deliver this new goal through all relevant strategies and plans;
To support the motion letters to city councillors would be very welcome; and supporters plan to gather outside the Guildhall before the motion is heard, at 5 pm on 26th February.

Devon County Council will also discuss a similar motion on Thursday February 21st.  

Our Facebook page shows the {minority of} councillors who have pledged to support the motion. https://www.facebook.com/transition.exeter/ .  Cabinet has recommended changing the motion to aim for 2050.  This is not much of an emergency!  Please to your county councillor asking them to support the motion with the original target date for being carbon neutral of 2030.  They will not be able to do this with their present budget and powers but the motion would be a strong call to Westminster to make realistic action possible!
Find your county councillor here  
Hundreds of school and college students cut classes and gathered at Devon County Council on Friday 15th February for what could become a monthly Climate Strike; demanding emergency action on climate change. Strikes took place in dozens of UK towns from Ullapool to Falmouth and across the world.

The fight for the future is on! 


Wednesday, 20 February 2019

District Council's £20m investment fund: motion to debate the issue rejected

The District Council will not allow debate on several motions at its next full meeting:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: District Council rejects motion "for the ongoing costs to be published to show confidence that this project will breakeven"
Futures Forum: District Council rejects considering motion "to recognise that Climate Change and Global Warming are the key issues of our time, to acknowledge the strong concerns of young people and for the council to commit to introducing a policy of carbon measurement and reduction"

Another area which it does not seem keen to debate is its heavy borrowing:
Futures Forum: District Council's £20m investment fund: "Property investment brings with it the potential for significant risk if things go wrong."

As picked up by the East Devon Watch blog:


20 FEB 2019

East Devon District Council is controversially set to borrow £200 million to purchase property. The Council Cabinet agreed its Commercial Investment Framework, which would allow it to do so, on 6 February.

However many EDDC councillors have great concerns about this strategy. As a result, a Notice of Motion (NoM) was tabled by Councillor Roger Giles (Independent – Ottery Town) to be debated at the EDDC full council meeting on 27 February. The NoM was submitted in time, and was supported by more than the required number of other councillors.

However the EDDC Chief Executive Mark Williams struck the NoM off the agenda, on the grounds that the matter had already been discussed at the Cabinet meeting on 6 February.

“The EDDC Cabinet consists of just 10 councillors, and is Conservative controlled” said Roger Giles.

“The investment strategy would massively increase the council`s indebtedness, and is inherently risky. I therefore considered it essential that the whole council should be able to have a full-scale debate, and vote on the strategy.”

“However the Chief Executive has intervened to ban my NoM from being included on the agenda paper. By doing so I believe he has damaged our democratic processes – an action which is deeply regrettable.”


Brexit: and Totnes' independent MP

The MP for Totnes has been very outspoken:
Futures Forum: Brexit: and Totnes' MP calling for a peoples' vote

She has become 'Devon't most influential MP': 

How family GP Sarah Wollaston became Devon's most influential MP

She has become an outspoken opponent of her own party leadership when the party line goes against the best interests of her constituents.

Guy Henderson Chief Reporter5 DEC 2017

From the moment she was chosen as the Conservative candidate for the Totnes constituency, Dr Sarah Wollaston was on course to become Devon's most influential MP. In a little over seven years she has become an outspoken opponent of her own party leadership when the party line goes against what she believes are the best interests of her constituents.Her selection for the Totnes constituency was the first of its kind. She was the first person to be selected through a postal open primary, in which voters of all parties were invited to have their say on the candidacy.

How family GP Sarah Wollaston became Devon's most influential MP - Devon Live

The idea of an 'open primary' was controversial at the time - some ten years ago:
Open primaries are an open invitation for political mischief - Telegraph
Sarah Wollaston: GP, mother and Conservative Parliamentary candidate - Telegraph
GP becomes Tory candidate in first 'open primary' election - Telegraph

And yet the Telegraph liked the idea of an 'independent' Tory:
Here's to Sarah Wollaston: the Tory tweeter who cannot be silenced - Telegraph

Here is Dr Wollaston writing in the Telegraph five years ago: 

Why open primaries make for better MPs

Open primaries get the public involved in politics - and produce better MPs, says Dr Sarah Wollaston

Voters tend to prefer candidates with a connection both to real life and their local area Photo: PA

By Dr Sarah Wollaston, MP for Totnes
15 Oct 2014

Parliament still doesn't look or sound much like modern Britain. We have a long way to go, not only to balance gender and ethnic minority representation but also the background of our MPs. To put it bluntly, we need more parliamentarians who haven't spent a lifetime trying to get there.

The problem for those who come from outside the Westminster bubble is getting selected to fight winnable seats when the selection system tends to favour the default option of former insiders. Truly open postal primaries hand the decision making to an entire constituency and, far from discriminating against those without a track record, voters tend to prefer candidates with a connection both to real life and their local area.

Open primaries make an even greater difference in seats which rarely change political allegiance; where currently a tiny selection committee in effect dictates the MP who will represent the wider electorate, sometimes for decades to come. In marginals, they focus the mind of Parties, not on their favoured sons and daughters, but on putting forward a choice of individuals who are most likely to appeal to the widest electorate.

I had never been to a political meeting before applying to become an MP but had spent 24 years in clinical medicine as well as teaching. It was the decision of the Totnes Conservative Association to take a chance on shortlisting me for the first fully open postal primary in 2009 despite my lack of political experience.

Every registered voter received a postal ballot including a leaflet from each of the three candidates and a return paid envelope and a public hustings was held for those who wanted to come to grill us in person.

One neighbouring MP called on his Party's supporters to sabotage the primary by voting for the person he judged would be least likely to win; it backfired as this undemocratic intervention was resented and the turnout was higher than expected at 25%.

Did it make any difference? Even now, four and a half years on, people who didn't vote for me at the general election remind me that they supported me at the Primary. They're glad to have had a say in the type of Tory who represents them in Parliament.

For my Association, far from losing control of the process, they were able to shortlist not one but three candidates, any of whom they would have been happy to support but confident that the eventual winner of the primary would also be more likely to command local support. Several people told me that, having supporting me in the primary, they wanted to do so again on the day.

As for myself, being elected twice, I have always felt an extra responsibility to be everyone's MP; perhaps in part why I am less tribal in my approach to politics and followed a scrutiny role within Parliament, now as Chair of the Health Select Committee.

This week, voters across Rochester and Strood will receive their own open postal primary ballot papers. Both candidates have strong local connections as well as local government experience; Anna Firth is a former barrister and Kelly Tolhurst runs a marine surveying business.

I hope UKIP do not set out to undermine this democratic fully open primary, if they did it would be a direct challenge to their first elected MP, Douglas Carswell, who has long championed their cause.

I hope that all Parties will look at how full open primaries can be made cheaper and more accessible but that will depend on voters in Rochester and Strood demonstrating their appetite for democratic reform.

Why open primaries make for better MPs - Telegraph

The point being that such a process means that a candidate and MP is less beholden to the local party association and its members - and more to their constituents:
Futures Forum: Brexit: and two-thirds of Conservative Party members opting for "no-deal rather than a bad deal"

Which is why she's been under threat of deselection:
Threats to deselect Totnes MP Sarah Wollaston – the PRSD

The former Prime Minister talked yesterday about 'entryism':
Sir John Major: Extreme fringes are manipulating the Tories and Labour - Telegraph

Which has been a concern voiced by others for some time:
Tory Remainers warn party is being infiltrated by 'purple Momentum' | Daily Mail Online
Tory grassroots deny 'Blukip' infiltration as MP defectors accuse 'tyrannical associations' of falling victim to 'Purple Momentum' - Telegraph

When it came to Brexit, Dr Wollaston was originally a Leaver - but changed her mind:
EU referendum: Respected Tory MP Sarah Wollaston quits Leave campaign over 'false' NHS claims | The Independent

And now she's left the party:
Live updates as Sarah Wollaston quits Conservatives to join Independents Group - Devon Live 

Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston writes to Totnes constituents to explain Independents Group switch

20 February 2019 

Sarah Wollaston MP and her letter to the Prime Minister. Credit: PA

Sarah Wollaston has quit the Conservatives to join the newly-formed Independents Group.

The Totnes MP, the first to have been elected via an open postal primary, announced her decision to leave the Tories along with Heidi Allen and Anna Soubry on Wednesday morning.

The trio have opted to join the Independents Group, which was formed earlier this week after seven MPs defected from the Labour Party.

In a letter to her constituents, Dr Wollaston said she could no longer remain a member of a party, “whose leadership has become so driven by the demands” of others.

“I do not share their right-wing values or those of the UKIP supporters who have been urged to join the Conservative Party via aggressive and well-funded social media campaigns in order to deselect moderate MPs,” she wrote.

The final straw has been the Government’s mishandling of Brexit. Despite the PM losing her majority, no meaningful attempt was made to reach out to heal the divisions left by the referendum or to seek a cross party, or national consensus, on the way forward.

The Totnes Conservative Association Chair said he was "saddened" by Dr Wollaston's departure.

The 57-year-old, who was elected in November 2017, went on to blame Brexit for “squandering the energy of Government”.

She also said the uncertainty surrounding Theresa May’s ongoing negotiations with the EU, and the prospect of a no-deal Brexit, was partly responsible for some companies opting to leave the UK - like Honda, Jaguar Land Rover and Nissan.

11:44 - 20 Feb 2019

Dr Wollaston’s letter to constituents, in full, below:

With regret, I have decided to resign the Conservative Party whip. I am passionate about this constituency and proud to have been the first Conservative parliamentary candidate to be selected via a full open postal primary. This gave every registered voter in the Totnes constituency, regardless of party affiliation, the opportunity to decide which Conservative candidate they would prefer. From the outset, I have made the case for a centrist, moderate and outward looking approach to our politics. I assure you that I will continue to take that approach but will now do so as an independent MP. I will carry on working constructively with the many hard-working Conservative councillors across this constituency, for whom I have the greatest respect. My decision is no reflection on them.

However, at a national level the Conservative Party appears to have abandoned attempts to modernise or to broaden its appeal and has instead become less tolerant and more inward-looking. I can no longer remain a member of a party whose leadership has become so driven by the demands of the ERG and the DUP. I do not share their right wing values or those of the UKIP supporters who have been urged to join the Conservative Party via aggressive and well-funded social media campaigns in order to deselect moderate MPs.

The final straw has been the Government’s mishandling of Brexit. Despite the PM losing her majority, no meaningful attempt was made to reach out to heal the divisions left by the referendum or to seek a cross Party, or national consensus, on the way forward. The 48% who voted to remain are marginalised and alienated and many Leave voters have also been left exasperated by the PM’s Deal. The trade-offs and compromises in the Withdrawal Agreement and Future Framework mean that the Deal is a long way from the unrealistic promises made during the referendum campaign.

Brexit has consumed and squandered the energy of Government, Parliament and our political parties. That together with a shift to the right by the Conservatives has undermined efforts to tackle the ‘burning injustices’ that the PM pledged to address on entering Downing Street.

We have reached a precarious moment in our national life. Nothing has divided us like Brexit and we now face the serious prospect of crashing out of the EU in less than 40 days’ time with No Deal and no transition. This would not be a ‘clean Brexit’ as some have chosen to represent it. The serious real-world consequences would harm people not only in this constituency but across the whole of the UK and beyond. We are already seeing clear evidence of the consequences for people working in companies like Honda, Jaguar Land Rover, Nissan, Dyson, Fly BMI, Panasonic and for sectors like the pharmaceutical industry following the relocation of expertise and jobs with the European Medicines Agency. It is also starting to hit local businesses.

The truth is that No Deal Brexit would deal a body blow to our economy, putting jobs and livelihoods at risk as well as crushing the opportunity to reverse austerity. Having looked at the evidence of the damage it would inflict, I cannot support a No Deal Brexit and I wholly reject the PM’s false binary choice between that grim option and her own deeply flawed Deal. I have for many weeks said that I would resign the whip if No Deal became the stated policy of the Government but also that I would do so if running down the clock amounted to the same.

I believe that everyone deserves the right to examine and weigh up the pros and cons of the Deal and to have the final say in a referendum. This would offer the opportunity to confirm Brexit and proceed rapidly with implementation or to remain. Without that valid consent, I believe there will be decades of acrimony about the consequences.

The Labour Party has also changed beyond repair. It is now permanently in the grip of the hard left and tainted by its failure to root out anti-Semitism, these are some of the reasons why several of its MPs have already decided that they too must resign the whip. I will be sitting alongside them in a new centre grouping of independent MPs who share a common set of values, The Independent Group. We agree with the millions of people who feel that neither main political party represents them and that there needs to be a new offer at the heart of our politics.

I know that being an MP is an enormous privilege and I remain hugely grateful to everyone who has supported me. I know some will now call for me to stand in a by election but neither this nor a general election would answer the fundamental question that is dividing us… for that we need a referendum on the final Brexit deal. I will be listening carefully to views about The Independent Group and how this could develop in the future. I remain absolutely committed to this constituency.

Last updated Wed 20 Feb 2019

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Axewood Co-operative log bank helps ease fuel poverty

The latest Countryfile episode on BBC One took us to Devon: 

Matt Baker and Margherita Taylor are in a very snowy Devon.  

Margherita meets the people from the Axewood Co-operative, a group who chop down wood and give it away. Margherita meets some of the beneficiaries of this log bank and finds out how this initiative is helping ease fuel poverty locally. 

BBC iPlayer - Countryfile - Devon

The log bank was set up in June last year:
Launch of the East Devon Log Bank

And it was formally launched by County Cllr Claire Wright:
East Devon winter fuel log bank launches to help people struggling to afford heating bills - Claire Wright

The Guardian also followed the story at the time: 

Devon 'log bank' set up to help those struggling with fuel poverty

Foresters cooperative forging links with food banks and charities to reach those in need

Steven Morris

Sun 10 Jun 2018
According to the latest government figures, 11% of households in urban areas of England are fuel poor. The figure rises to 14% for rural areas. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

A band of volunteer foresters working from a base tucked away in a steep West Country valley is pioneering a “log bank” scheme designed to help struggling families and individuals out of fuel poverty.

Inspired by the food bank system that has become a feature of austerity Britain, the idea is that people in Devon who are unable to afford to heat their homes will be supplied with free logs for open fires and burners.

For the last eight years members of the Axewoods Co-operative – the name is a play on the River Axe as well as the cutting tool – have managed woodland in east Devon without pay in exchange for the firewood produced as they work.

The scheme has been so successful that they found they were getting more wood than they were able to use themselves and decided to launch the log bank. East Devon district council has provided the group with a plot of land at its Knapp Copse nature reserve to season the wood and store equipment.

Axewoods is now forging links with food banks, charities and advice centres to find people who would benefit from a supply of logs.

Its chairman, Alan Dyer, said members hoped their scheme, which they believe to be the first of its kind, could help hundreds of people heat and power their homes.

“It’s not aimed at people who might turn up in their Range Rover, load up and say: ‘Thanks very much for the free logs,’” Dyer said. “Fuel poverty is a real problem in rural areas. In the south-west where wages are low and costs are high ordinary people are struggling to keep themselves warm. If they have access to a log burner or open fire, the wood we provide could make all the difference.”

FacebookTwitterPinterest Knapp copse nature reserve in Devon where the Axelwoods Co-operative operates. Photograph: East Devon district council

Fuel poverty is defined as a household living on a low income in a home that cannot be kept warm at reasonable cost without bringing residual income below the poverty threshold.

According to the latest government figures 11% of households in urban areas of England are fuel poor. In rural villages, hamlets and isolated dwellings the figure rises to 14%. In 2015 – the most recent year for which figures are available - the average fuel poverty gap for fuel poor households in rural villages, hamlets and isolated dwellings was £726.

Research by National Energy Action and the Campaign to Protect Rural England shows that rural areas are five years behind urban areas in terms of energy efficiency of homes and that people were paying almost 55% more to fuel their home as a result.

Axewoods is very much a product of austerity Britain. Ten years ago it became clear that many landowners, both private and public sector, were not prepared to spend money on managing woodland because bringing in commercial contractors was so expensive.

In east Devon people with an interest in sylvan areas and forestry work formed the cooperative and offered to manage woodlands in exchange for logs for their own use.

“The landowners have their woods managed and we get exercise and free wood,” said Dyer. “We have retired people, youngsters, unemployed, business people, coastguards come along. It’s an eclectic mix, which is half the fun.”

A new member flagged up that he had come across people burning rubbish in stoves – and often damaging them – because they could not afford good quality wood. The cooperative decided to try to find a way of getting its surfeit of logs to such people.

The environment secretary Michael Gove’s calls for curbs on wood burners and coal fires to reduce emissions are dismissed by Dyer as a “stupid soundbite”. He agreed people burning logs could be a problem in London, but not in the places such as Devon.

Nathan Robinson, a local authority nature reserves ranger who works with the cooperative, said: “In many rural areas of the district, wood fuel provides one of only a few viable options for how to heat your home. A project such as this which aims to supply firewood from sustainably managed sources to those in need is surely a good thing. It’s a win-win as I see it. Warm homes, well managed woods.”

Claire Wright, the Devon county councillor for Otter Valley, called the log bank a fantastic project. She said: “Some people genuinely do have to make a choice between eating and heating their house. I know not everyone has a log burner or open fire but for those who do then this service could be a bit of a lifeline.”

Devon 'log bank' set up to help those struggling with fuel poverty | Society | The Guardian

Sidmouth Plastic Warriors > finding a 1985 Marathon bar wrapper on the beach > "Time to think about degradable packaging and take this recycling lark seriously."

Plastic bottles are ending up on our beaches by the ton:
Futures Forum: Plastic pollution: consultation on new drink bottle Deposit Return Scheme > limiting the scheme to smaller plastic bottles would exclude millions of larger ones found on UK beaches

As are cigarette butts - which are actually made of plastic:
Futures Forum: Plastic pollution: make big tobacco responsible for their cigarette butt pollution

The local media have taken up the story of a sweet wrapper found by the Sidmouth Plastic Warriors - from Devon Live:
Woman finds chocolate bar wrapper from the 1980s on Devon beach - Devon Live

And from the Herald: 

34 year old Marathon wrapper found in Sidmouth sparks calls for packaging changes

PUBLISHED: 17:53 18 February 2019
Sidmouth Plastic Warrior member Rachel Perram found a 34 year old wrapper on Sidmouth beach. Picture: Rachel Perram
Sidmouth Plastic Warrior member Rachel Perram found a 34 year old wrapper on Sidmouth beach. Picture: Rachel Perram

The discovery of a chocolate wrapper on Sidmouth beach from the 1980s has renewed calls for companies to think about the environment.

The best before date of the bar was dated 22-06-85. Picture: Rachel PerramThe best before date of the bar was dated 22-06-85. Picture: Rachel Perram
Sidmouth Plastic Warriors’ Rachel Perram was picking up rubbish on Valentine’s Day when she discovered the Marathon bar packaging.
On the reverse the wrapper showed a best before date of June 22 1985 – nearly 34 years ago.
Rachel took to Twitter to call on owners Mars to think about using plastic packaging of its products.
She said: “The humble Marathon bar - the snack that keeps on giving. Who knew? Found on Sidmouth beach today. [February 14] Time to think about degradable packaging and take this recycling lark seriously.”
Last year, the Herald reported on an old Smith’s crisps packet, dating back to the 1970s, that was found intact in a hedge.
Rachel said: “You can still read all the writing and the best before date. It’s really surprising. I pick up rubbish off the beach a couple of times a week. When I was a youngster their [Mars] packaging was wax paper and then they changed to plastic, the question is why hasn’t this gone full circle?”
As part of the group’s work, members contact companies via social media asking them to think about plastic-free alternatives, but says they struggle to get responses.
Rachel said: “It is lucky if we get a response from companies, they say our company takes ‘environmental issues’ seriously but that is just a cut and paste response. They [companies] do not want to speak to anybody and are pretty reluctant to do anything unless their competitors do it.
“Along with climate change, there is a connection between the two. These are the things that are slowly taking our planet. One thing goes hand in hand with the other.
“My concerns are that not only did we make mistakes in the past, but that there seems little inclination from the corporate world to change - unless forced to by legislation.”
Sidmouth received plastic free status last year from Surfers Against Sewage for its work to combat single-use plastic.
Sidmouth Plastic Warriors’ next beach clean will be held on Saturday (February 23), from 2pm to 3pm.
34 year old Marathon wrapper found in Sidmouth sparks calls for packaging changes | Latest Sidmouth and Ottery News - Sidmouth Herald

Sidmouth Plastic Warriors > beach clean Saturday 23rd February

This coming weekend sees the next beach clean - at the western beach - with a message from the Plastic Warriors: 

Next Beach Clean

The next beach clean is now scheduled for February 23rd, meeting at the
Marine pub on the front at 2pm, and meeting back there at 3pm (do stay
for a drink if possible as they are being so hospitable to us!)

Looking forward to seeing lots of lovely Warriors out on the beach. We
ran out of litter pickers last time so if you do have your own, please
bring it along!

Please forward the poster to anyone you think may be interested, and
maybe even print it out if you have a noticeboard or somewhere that gets

Thank you

Denise x

Denise Bickley
Sidmouth Plastic Warriors
Petition: currently stands at 7545 http://chn.ge/2BJItXK

Sidmouth Plastic Warriors – Doing everything in our power to get Sidmouth single-use-plastic-free