Monday, 31 July 2017

Continuing to collect plastic, 'thereby making it easier for householders to recycle' - although the District Council 'cannot guarantee it will be recycled'

There has been criticism of the new rubbish-collection and recycling regimes in Devon:
Futures Forum: "Poor quality of waste collected" in Devon
Futures Forum: "Rubbish rubbish collection" in East Devon

A problem is that stuff is getting into recycled materials which shouldn't be - and so it ends up being rejected:
Futures Forum: Trying to improve the quality of recycled waste

The District Council admitted as such to the Herald:

Sidmouth and Ottery breaking news and sport - Sidmouth Herald

This piece appeared on-line earlier in the month:
Why black plastic can’t be recycled by EDDC - Honiton, Axminster and Seaton news - Midweek Herald

Here is the story as reported on the One Show earlier in the year:


On Monday (13 March), BBC’s The One Show highlighted the confusion surrounding black plastics recycling and what is being done about it, shedding some light on the current situation, and interviewing representatives of a partnership between plastic consultancy Nextek and Viridor that is aiming to address the problem.

Each year, over 1.3 billion black CPET trays are used in packaging in the UK and, despite being technically fully recyclable, it is not currently possible to effectively sort them from other materials at a materials recovery or plastic recycling facility and so the trays often get sent to landfill or incineration. The reason for this is that the main pigment used to colour black plastic, carbon black, is not detectable by the near-infrared (NIR) optical sorting equipment, because it does not allow the light to pass through.
Because of these ongoing problems with sorting black plastic, last week, WRAP released updated guidance calling on local authorities to add black plastics to their “not recycled” lists. The statement advised local councils to first check with their processor if black plastic can be included in household recycling and to update their guidelines if it cannot.
However, WRAP-funded trials in 2011 had developed a number of potential alternatives to carbon black, and one of them is being explored further through this partnership between Nextek and Viridor. With the WRAP funding, Nextek produced a new black pigment system, which means that materials can be identified by the NIR sorting equipment. Trials have now been initiated at Viridor’s £15-million specialist plastics facility in Medway, Kent, and the Co-operative Group is also taking part in the trial.
The new packaging would cost ‘less than a tenth of a penny’ per unit, though some have previously suggested that any price increase would make it unlikely to be picked up by retailers. Another potential problem that commentators have identified is that diverting black PET trays into the mixed-colour PET stream could damage the current end-market for this fraction.

‘The standoff is getting in the way of common sense’

Presenting the segment on The One Show, environmental journalist Lucy Siegle suggested: “Scientists have already come up with a new kind of black tray, which could be recycled, saving the taxpayer nearly £3 million a year in disposal costs, but no one is using it.” The segment suggests that “no one wants to go first”, with Siegle saying: “The standoff is getting in the way of common sense.”
Siegle then challenged Ian Ferguson from The Co-operative Group, which is monitoring the trials, to “take the plunge” and start using the new black plastic, saying that sorting facilities “would have to follow”.
Ferguson commented: “The Co-op’s got an ambition to make it easier to recycle all of our packaging and this would be a major step forward… We need all the other sorting facilities to adopt this technology before we start to put it into place on our brand. We can’t move before they tell us.”
Commenting on Viridor’s recycling trials with Nextek, Sarah Heald, Director of Corporate Affairs and Investor Relations at Viridor’s parent company Pennon, said: “Working with Nextek has allowed us to test the potential for a new UK technology to transform the global problem of supermarket black plastic packaging into a new recycling stream.
“We are committed to working with manufacturers, packaging designers and supermarkets to accelerate innovation – using less packaging, designing in recyclability then simplifying recycling systems so that everyone can do the right thing and put the right stuff in the right bin.”
Professor Edward Kosior of Nextek, expressing his hopes for the future of the technology, said: “Bringing together all the main parties for the first time, from us as technology innovator, to the Co-op as retailer, and Viridor as the recycler is momentous.
“I’m confident that together we have found a technology solution to end these trays filling up landfills. This is a technology that can work immediately in virtually all recycling facilities across UK, Europe and USA.”
This isn’t the only time Nextek has been involved in attempting to tackle the problem of sorting plastics. The company received funding from WRAP alongside several other partners in 2016 to identify new luminescent inks capable of increasing automated sorting efficiency when applied to plastic packaging labels. Also, in 2014, in conjunction with Sainsbury’s and Marks and Spencer, Nextek was involved with an in-market trial to test new CPET trays.

The One Show tackles black plastic confusion | Resource Magazine

Sid Valley Links & Otter Trail Group present Sidmouth to Feniton cycleway latest to Town Council > report

Earlier this month, proposals for links within and beyond the Sid Valley were presented to the Town Council:
Futures Forum: Sid Valley Links & Otter Trail Group present Sidmouth to Feniton cycleway latest to Town Council > Monday 3rd July

With a short piece from the minutes:

Sidmouth to Feniton Cycleway 

Claire Russell and Kirby James from the Otter Trail Group gave an update on the proposed Sidmouth to Feniton cycleway project. They outlined the work done to date by various groups in attempting to bring about the cycle route and acknowledged that a crossing over the A3052, either by bridge or light controlled would be a challenge to achieve and overcome. 

1) Claire Russell, Kirby James and Simon Stokes be thanked for their presentation. 
2) Cllr McKenzie-Edwards would be the Town Council’s representative on the Otter Trail Group. 
3) Sidmouth Town Council gives its backing to the continuation of the project and would assist where possible


And a longer piece in the Herald:

Plans to look at Sidmouth cycle path backed by town council

PUBLISHED: 17:55 29 July 2017

Beth Sharp

Plans to look at possible cycle routes from Feniton to Sidmouth seafront have been backed by the town council

Kirby James, from the Otter Trail Group, spoke to members this month on the importance of being ‘shovel ready’ if funding for the link becomes available.

He urged the council to learn from past lessons, where authorities in other counties had lost out and had been forced to give funding back while discussion took place about routes and planning permission was sought.

Mr James said: “Money can emerge from unexpected sources and, if you are ready to go, you are in a much better position.”

He added that £5,000 had been spent on a feasibility study on a route recommended by Sustrans - a national charity which promotes cycling and walking - for a route between Feniton and Sidmouth.

To build the whole cycle path, it would cost £1.4million and a further £1.5million if a bridge was put over the A3052 to directly connect Sidmouth to it.

Mr James added that the Otter Trail Group had already raised money and paid a civil engineer to take a detailed look at three of the seven sections of the route to see what work exactly needed doing.

He said the group had spoken with landowners north of the A3052 and was getting to the point where it was almost ready to ask contractors for estimates and seek planning permission, so,if money did emerge, it was ready to go.

Mr James urged councillors to back a move to look into possible routes down to Sidmouth’s seafront, so the town could be ready and would not miss out.

Speaking at the meeting, Councillor Stuart Hughes said that, last year, more than 500,000 trips were recorded on the Exe Estuary Trail and the Tarka Trail, which was one of the first cycle paths in Devon and has an estimated one million users per annum.

He added: “Imagine if we could attract people to come down by train and cycle into Sidmouth and use that trail - it would be amazing. If we could get that bridge across, too, the world would be our oyster. You could be looking at another half a million visitors coming to the town at least - it would be great.”

The next step now will be for Devon County Council officers to make contact with Sidmouth landowners to discuss their views.

Cllr Hughes said it could be anything up to eight years before the Sidmouth cycle path is made a reality.

Plans to look at Sidmouth cycle path backed by town council - Latest Sidmouth and Ottery News - Sidmouth Herald

Plans for Port Royal: anticipating a Regeneration Board >> Scoping Study consultation >> today, Monday 31st July last opportunity to have your say

The consultants looking into Port Royal have put together a survey:
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: anticipating a Regeneration Board >> Scoping Study consultation >> tomorrow, Mon 31st July last opportunity to have your say

And today at 5pm, it will come to a close, as the Sidmouth Drill Hall Rescue site reminds us:

Dear Friends,

This is your last call for the Scoping Exercise Consultation Survey. It closes at end of work tomorrow, Mon 31st July.

The links to it and to the 3Rs petition to consider the option Retain-Refurbish-Renew are on the latest blog post

If you complete the survey please feel free to ignore questions you don't like/use the boxes to tell them that it is a badly compiled survey, etc, etc, etc, ..... we have :-)

Although the Survey will close the petition remains open, and of course you can write to Sidmouth Town Councillors too to tell them that the Ham Charity land must be left alone. As Trustee it is their duty to follow the rules and protect it.

There are hints of a Grand Picnic happening on The Ham on 27th August to back the idea of 'making good' what we already have at Port Royal.

This is in addition to the guaranteed public meeting on 23rd August at All Saints Church Hall, 7.30pm start.

Put both dates in your diary and come along to ask questions and put your views.

Don't forget to keep checking the blog.
kind regards, Mary 

Blog - Sidmouth Drill Hall Rescue
Just over 24 hours until the survey closes!

Plans for Port Royal: anticipating a Regeneration Board >> Scoping Study consultation > 'Concern over questionnaire'

The consultants' brief was to consider the opportunities and constraints at the Port Royal site - and yet there have been consistent fears that their remit has in fact ranged far beyond this:
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: anticipating a Regeneration Board >>> ‘Scoping Report for the eastern end of Sidmouth’ to be presented to Cabinet >>> Wednesday 6th January
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: anticipating a Regeneration Board >>> Scoping Report and Project Brief >>> 26 questions

The proposals presented have only considered one set of ideas:
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: anticipating a Regeneration Board >> Scoping Study consultation >> proposals now available

And yet there are all sorts of other ideas to take on board:
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal > fresh ideas > "It's not the building so much as the location."
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: anticipating a Regeneration Board >> Scoping Study consultation > an overview of the maps and the options
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: an alternative view: a new campaign: an online petition
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal and the Eastern Town  >>> "We will get it right."

This is what the public reaction in the press has been so far - with the letters pages of the Herald saying it loud and clear:

Sidmouth and Ottery breaking news and sport - Sidmouth Herald

Climate change and carbon capture: turning air into fuel by extracting CO2

It seems that the US administration is not too keen on climate change:
Futures Forum: Climate change: the future of the Paris Agreement

With the head of the Environmental Protection Agency having been instrumental in the decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement:
Scott Pruitt Is Gutting the EPA, Serving Fossil-Fuel Industry - Rolling Stone

Although his UK counterpart would beg to differ:
Futures Forum: Climate change: “History teaches us that unless we prepare for these challenges we will be undone.”

If progress in cutting greenhouse gases is deathly slow, then we might have to fix things in other ways:
Futures Forum: Climate change: and geoengineering >>> "Climate Intervention Is Not a Replacement for Reducing Carbon Emissions"
Futures Forum: Climate change: Will Carbon Capture and Storage be the techno-fix to 'unlock' unburnable fossil fuels?

As said recently by one of the first scientists to warn of the dangers of climate change:
Carbon dioxide must be removed from the atmosphere to avoid extreme climate change, say scientists | The Independent

New developments seem to be too good to be true:

Crystal invented that can turn thin air into fuel and fight global warming

Solar-powered material can suck carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and turn it into a source of energy

A “spongy” crystal that can turn thin air into fuel by extracting carbon dioxide has been developed by scientists.
The researcher said the light-activated material was a “critical step” towards making a high-value fuel while at the same time reducing the amount of the greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.
It works by turning carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide, which can be turned into a useful source of energy.
There is increasing concern that the world will not be able to restrict global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius – the target set out in the Paris Agreement on climate change to avoid the more dangerous effects.
This has prompted scientists around the world to try to develop cost-effective ways of removing carbon from the atmosphere.
Professor Haimei Zheng, one of the researchers behind the new material, of the US Energy Department and the University of California, Berkeley, said: “The world right now is in need of innovative ways to create alternatives to fossil fuels, and to stem the levels of excessive carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. 
“Converting carbon dioxide to fuels using solar energy is a global research endeavour. 
“The spongy nickel-organic photocatalyst we demonstrated here is a critical step toward practical production of high-value multi-carbon fuels using solar energy.”
She said their technique produced almost 100 per cent pure carbon monoxide, with no other gases like hydrogen and methane detected. “That’s a big deal. In carbon dioxide reduction, you want to come away with one product, not a mix of different things. Complete suppression of the competing hydrogen evolution during a photocatalytic carbon-dioxide-to-carbon-monoxide conversion had not been achieved before our work.”
The nickel-organic photocatalyst used in the process is said to have similar properties to metal-organic frameworks, or MOFs, which have been hailed as potential wonder materials.

MOFs are a sophisticated blend of metal and carbon capable of soaking up poisonous gases, creating water from the driest of air, and storing the next generation of hydrogen fuel.
The research was described in a paper in the journal Science Advances.

Crystal invented that can turn thin air into fuel and fight global warming | The Independent

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Sidmouth Food Festival >>> Saturday 19th August

Last August saw the first Food Festival in Sidmouth:
Futures Forum: First Sidmouth Food Festival >>> Saturday 13th August

It's happening again this August - and here with the latest details:

Vision Group for Sidmouth - Food Festival
Vision Group for Sidmouth - Home

Working Together for the Future of East Devon > 2017 conference theme: "communities doing it for themselves" >>> Friday 29th September

The District Council has been organising a 'working together' conference every year at Kennaway House:
Futures Forum: District Council: Working Together event 2013
Futures Forum: Working Together event in East Devon: Friday 10th October ... reports on tackling isolation
Futures Forum: “Working Together for the Future of East Devon” > report
Futures Forum: Working together for health and wellbeing in East Devon >>> 7th October conference

This year's conference will be at the end of summer - on the theme of 'communities doing it for themselves':

Working Together for the future of East Devon 2017 conference to take place in Sidmouth

When this content has been created

24 July 2017

Council invites local voluntary and community organisations to attend free communities conference to discuss issues affecting future of East Devon

Voluntary organisations and community groups, as well as town and parish councils from across East Devon are being invited to book their places on East Devon District Council's free annual “Working Together for the Future of East Devon” 2017 conference, which is taking place on Friday 29 September from 9.30am to 2.30 pm at Knowle in Sidmouth.

The event aims to bring local agencies together to improve communications between the voluntary and statutory sectors. Voluntary organisations play a vital role in the quality of life in East Devon.

The theme for this year is communities doing it for themselves, with speakers covering a variety of topics. Attendees will acquire useful information about issues such as how to recruit and keep volunteers and how to keep an organisation or community service going. Speakers include local organisations such as the Devon Freewheelers, Broadclyst Community Farm and Action East Devon.  

Delegates will also have the opportunity to network with each other and forge valuable links with other East Devon groups.  

The conference is free, but people attending the conference are asked to bring with them items of non-perishable food, such as packets of dried food or tinned goods, which will be collected by a local foodbank and later handed out to needy families in the area.

Places are limited to one per organisation/group and must be booked in advance. To find out more or book your place please e-mail jbuckley@eastdevon.gov.uk or phone (01395) 517569 with your name and contact details and the name of the organisation you are representing before 15 September 2017.

Councillor Jill Elsonportfolio holder for Sustainable Homes and Communities at East Devon District Council, said:
This annual conference is extremely successful and enables many local voluntary organisations to meet each other. This gives them the opportunity to learn about the provision in East Devon and the chance to see whether they can work together with other organisations. It also shows them how they can help more people by passing on valuable experience or gaining knowledge.
Jill is a volunteer for several organisations and is therefore well aware of the need for voluntary organisations to become more professional. She also has first-hand experience as to how vital volunteers are for many residents within East Devon

24 July 2017 - Working Together for the future of East Devon 2017 conference to take place in Sidmouth - East Devon

Plans for Port Royal: anticipating a Regeneration Board >> Scoping Study consultation >> tomorrow, Mon 31st July last opportunity to have your say

The consultants at Port Royal have had a survey out on-line now for some weeks:
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: anticipating a Regeneration Board >> Scoping Study consultation >> proposals now available

It can be accessed here:
Port Royal Consultation Online July 2017

Together with a look at the proposals here:

And tomorrow, Monday 31st July at 5pm is the deadline to take part:

First look at plans for Sidmouth’s Port Royal - Latest Sidmouth and Ottery News - Sidmouth Herald

For some guidance, here is a totally objective look at how the new boat park would look like:

Ham Marquee with new boatpark - Sidmouth Drill Hall Rescue

With further comment from the SOS blog:
Sidmouth seafront: improved or defaced by councils’ Port Royal plans? NOW is the time to make your views known | Save Our Sidmouth
The Changing Face of Sidmouth..strong views on eastern town proposals. | Save Our Sidmouth

And more documentation from the Town Council:
Port Royal Regeneration - Sidmouth Town Council

And, finally, from the District Council's own pages:

Port Royal scoping project consultation still open for comments following successful Kennaway House events

When this content has been created

12 July 2017

Councils welcome constructive and helpful feedback from public who are pleased the project is not a fait accompli

Two open consultation events held recently at Kennaway House in Sidmouth as part of Sidmouth Town Council and East Devon District Council’s ongoing Port Royal consultation, were well attended by members of the local community. 

The events gave residents and businesses the opportunity to look at initial findings and exploratory ideas produced by the two councils’ consultants, Jillings-Heynes, which show how the Port Royal area in Sidmouth could look in the future. The consultation is part of the scoping study commissioned by Sidmouth TC and East Devon, which will be used to determine the feasibility of the regeneration of Port Royal. The consultants will take on board the public’s responses into their final report.

The consultant’s emerging findings and the consultation are an early step in the process of finding out what is achievable and viable for the renewal of Port Royal.  At this stage no detailed designs of lay outs, mix of uses or buildings have been drawn up.

The public of Sidmouth have responded enthusiastically.  Already nearly 100 responses have been received as a result of the consultation events, but both councils would like to encourage people to fill in the form either online or in paper format.

For a paper copy of the form, please contact jbuckley@eastdevon.gov.uk or telephone 01395 517569. The deadline is 31 July 2017, so there is still plenty of time to comment on the redevelopment proposals.

Next steps will involve looking at a more detailed planning and design exercise for the area, preceded by reports to both councils who will then discuss how the project can go forward.
The Port Royal reference group, chaired by Sidmouth Town Councillor Jeff Turner, recently met to discuss progress on the project and to receive an update from the project’s consultant Ed Heynes, who reported that the consultation events had been much appreciated by those attending and that a number of key points of interest to residents and businesses were already emerging. These were:

• People are pleased that nothing has yet been decided and that the councils have not leapt ahead with detailed plans or designs
• Importance of car parks, but equally these were dead space • Traffic in Sidmouth
• Comments on the allocated site and the potential height of buildings in relation to neighbouring buildings was highlighted
• Was it necessary for the lifeboat to be in that location – could it be moved to the western end of the Esplanade?
• Improved access to the sea for the lifeboat, clubs and water users
• The Esplanade – some positive comments were received about this being pedestrianised

Councillor Jeff Turner, Chairman of the Port Royal Reference Group, said:
Both the consultation events at Kennaway House were extremely well attended and written responses continue to come in from Sidmouth’s residents and businesses. People seem to welcome this early engagement and are pleased that we have not gone ahead and presented the project as a fait accompli. I would like to thank everyone who has responded so far – their comments have been both constructive and helpful, and the quality of their feedback is much appreciated.
12 July 2017 - Port Royal scoping project consultation still open for comments following successful Kennaway House events - East Devon

Plans for Port Royal > fresh ideas > "It's not the building so much as the location."

There are some very interesting ideas emerging about 'what to do with Port Royal':
Futures Forum: Port Royal Repurposed

Many of these are based on the actual grid and original purpose of the Eastern Town:
Futures Forum: Gerald Counter's Sidmouth: an insight into Eastern Town >>> revisited

And these are based on serious research and solid evidence:
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: anticipating a Regeneration Board >> Scoping Study consultation > an overview of the maps and the options

The latest proposals come from Graham Cooper - as outlined in the Herald:

Sidmouth and Ottery breaking news and sport - Sidmouth Herald

Here is his full press release, which gives more detail of his vision for the site:

I am of the view that you should not demolish the Drill Hall or any other heritage building in the conservation area unless a better idea is brought forward. 

There is currently no such proposal. 

My proposal is to add a further floor and balcony to the sailing club, with canopies extending over the boat yard and to the east of the Drill Hall linking it to the toilets. 

For flexibility, the new top floor would be open-plan with patio windows providing views at both ends. The roof is cantilevered over the front sheltering the balconies. The saw tooth profile is intended to unify the site offering further year-round shelter to the users and visitors. 

The maximum height as shown in the perspective would be below Trinity Court. 

I think the Drill Hall would make a great flexible event space, cafĂ© and bar, with a gallery in the basement shooting range. The top floor added to the sailing club would make a fabulous fish restaurant!

With further comment from Graham:

It's not the building so much as the location. 

It's like the Pompidou Centre in Paris which is popular because of the public space and access to the arts centre. 

Similarly without the traffic Port Royal could be become a significant magnet for attracting visitors to appreciate the specialness of the place and experience the community/heritage assets year round. 

Gentrification by building a block of flats will never achieve this.

See also:
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: anticipating a Regeneration Board >> Scoping Study consultation > Vision Group report 2012

How to get back in touch with nature

The UK is 'among the most nature-depleted countries in the world':
Futures Forum: We're losing touch with nature

Guardian correspondent Patrick Barkham suggests how we can reconnect with nature - and having a child around seems to help:

Butterfly on the steal

My five-year-old daughter has a butterfly net. “I’m fed up with boring old meadow browns,” she declared this morning. “I want to catch a fritillary.” Butterfly collecting is about as socially acceptable as smoking in a tube carriage while refusing to vacate your seat for a pregnant woman. It’s also illegal to catch rare species. So her net-work is closely monitored to ensure she releases everything unharmed and doesn’t wield her net beyond our garden. Bizarrely, a few oddballs still collect butterflies. Last week swallowtail caterpillars and their rare foodplant were stolen from Hickling Broad nature reserve, near us. My daughter has an alibi – school – but I hope the net closes in on the man (it’s always men) who hasn’t.

Watch out, beavers about

‘Beavers are herbivores that move through the water with the tranquility of cows grazing a meadow.’
 ‘Beavers are herbivores that move through the water with the tranquility of cows grazing a meadow.’ Photograph: Nick Upton/naturepl.com/PA

One hot new summer holiday activity is beaver-spotting. I joined families last week gathered at dusk by the river Otter, where beavers are thriving in a Devon Wildlife Trust trial to assess if they should be permanently returned to England. No one knows anything about beavers – “Do they eat fish?” everyone asks – and that’s fine, because they haven’t lived here for around 400 years.
Otters are on this river too, but they are no fun: you catch a fleeting glimpse of these elusive carnivores at best. By contrast, beavers are herbivores and move through the water with the tranquillity of cows grazing a meadow. Baby beavers (kits) paddle like aquatic guinea pigs.
There’s some concern over hordes of beaver-tourists but if I were a local business, I’d beaver about offering parking, postcards and cuddly representations of these adorable, easy-to-enjoy wild animals.

Here’s why every capitalist should connect with nature | Patrick Barkham | Opinion | The Guardian