News

Free course will reduce costs and help the planet

In partnership with the IW Rural Community Council the Footprint Trust are offering local charities, churches, voluntary organisations and social enterprises the opportunity of attending a free half day training Eco-Wise course, aimed at reducing their costs.

“Information will be made available so that staff and volunteers will gain the skills to cut costs and reduce environmental damage.”
Said Ray Harrington-Vail, the Footprint Trust’s Environmental Auditor, who will be leading the training.

Following on from the Eco-Wise event the Footprint Trust will then arrange a free visit to workplaces to give individual guidance on energy saving, water efficiency and recycling. They will also give people the skills to develop an environment policy, which could improve an organisation’s ability to bid for funding or to tender to deliver services.

The same free training event will be run twice on the following dates in Newport.

Thursday 6th December 9.30am – 12 Noon

Tuesday 11th December 1.30pm – 4pm

Please email ray@footprint-trust.co.uk

Or Tel 01983 82-22-82 and leave a message…stating your preference.

The training is funded by the ChangeUp programme of Capacitybuilders. The Home Office launched ChangeUp in 2003, with the aim of strengthening the third sector by 2014. Capacitybuilders is a non-departmental public body (NDPB). They exist to help create a more effective third sector.

ENDS

Pond Warden’s have good year,….

IW Pond Wardens heard at their recent AGM that thanks to support from South Wight Housing Association, Southern Water and the Environment Agency, the Footprint Trust had been able to run two training courses for the group during the year. This in turn led to new recruits for Treefields Pond on Binstead Road, one of the few surviving ponds in the Ryde area.
Wardens are also now in place for the public ponds in Carisbrooke and Newport. One of them is the Medieval Carisbrooke Mill Pond, at the rear of the Eight Bells pub, which is owned by Southern Water. The other ponds in the area are the former farm pond in Hilton Road, the ancient Priory Pond and the recently restored one at Town Gate, Newport, near Sainsbury’s.
Twelve people were trained at each event, giving a total of twenty-four new Pond Wardens, who were welcomed at the AGM.
Wardens heard that in partnership with the Footprint Trust, successful family pond events had been held at the IW Council’s Fort Victoria Country Park and SWHA Treefields Pond. The Wardens expressed their gratitude for funding from the AONB project and Leader+ to the Footprint Trust for making these events possible. The group and the Footprint Trust are working with South Wight Housing Association in continuing the work with the community at Treefields Pond at Ryde.
A talk was given by Suzie Mundell of the Island 2000 Trust’s Newport Rivers project. She explained the processes of naturalisation that is occurring along the Medina and its tributaries, including the recent work at the Carisbrooke Mill Pond.
Suzie Mundell and Ray Harrington-Vail, of the Footprint Trust, highlighted the damage being done to Island pond ecology by the illegal introduction of Common Carp and goldfish.
As for the future of the scheme…
“A waiting list is being compiled for those wishing to train in the future and funding is being sought to run a training course within the next 18 months..”
Said Ray Harrington-Vail.

ENDS

Mousemats give eco-message…

Thanks to funding from EU Leader+ and the IW AONB Sustainable Development Fund the Island’s Footprint Trust is giving away free eco-mousemats to all local schools, libraries and help centres. The mousemats are an alternative to leaflets, which the Trust say are often not read and discarded. The eco-mousemats are made from recycled car tyres. Thus energy, water and waste have been reduced in their manufacture compared to conventional ones.

Ray Harrington-Vail of the Footprint Trust said,

“These mats can sit by school and public computers and give details of useful websites on, water, energy, waste, food-miles and transport issues. The aim of the mousemats it to help reduce the carbon footprint of the Island. If people follow some of the guidance given they can make a real impact on the planet and on their wallets…”

“These compliment the work we are currently carrying out in many Island schools. Pupils and teachers are working together to reduce waste and seeking to make their establishments Eco-Schools.” He added.

Further details of the Trust’s work can be found at www.footprint-trust.co.uk

Climate meeting given something to chew over…

Dozens of people came to the recent Climate Change meeting in Newport to hear speakers talk on the subject of ‘Local Food – Miles Better.’

Ruth Illman from Godshill Organics spoke of the challenges of predicting the correct amount to grow and getting the market price right. She pointed out that people were a little more prepared for local organic food but not always enough to merit the risk of expanding the amount of crops grown and then them not being sold. She highlighted the fact that locally and UK grown organic fruit and vegetables had very low carbon inputs, as no artificial oil-based chemicals are applied to the crops.
She also stressed that buying local produce is a boost to the local economy and jobs.

Paul Heathcote from Afton Park and Chinashop Rare breeds spoke of his commitment to producing traditional tasty varieties of apples along with locally produced beef from rare breeds of cattle. He spoke of the need to find more local producers to help meet demand and to provide a greater variety. However, he pointed out that a high proportion of his customers were tourists rather than local people. The shop at Afton Park is now stocking a wide range of local produce including heritage varieties of potatoes.

Andrew Willard of God’s Providence House restaurant in Newport spoke of his personal mission to support other Isle of Wight businesses. His company buys locally whenever he can, and not only food. On his menu is Isle of Wight meat from Hamiltons and local honey, along with in-season vegetables. When he can’t buy local he purchases from Island rather than mainland wholesalers and shops. He is a keen supporter of the Farmers’ and Producers markets, and can be seen every Friday in the Market in Newport stocking up with local fayre.

The meeting was delighted to welcome green entrepreneurs Jackie Phillips and Rachel Foy from the The Real Island Food Company who are extending availability of local produce by offering a weekly delivery service of a broad selection of local foods at very competitive prices. They have a wide-ranging customer base, including busy mums with families, people with disabilities and elderly people without transport.

The final speaker was local diary farmer Mrs Judi Griffin, representing the County Land and Business Association. She highlighted the CLA’s and NFU’s support for local food and urged people to support the “Just Ask” campaign, where shoppers are encouraged to ask if produce is local.

The IW Action on Climate Change group held the open evening to look at local and regional food and its impact on the local environment. Some ninety five per cent of fruit is imported into the UK along with around fifty per cent of vegetables*. On the positive side there is a growing demand for local food with farmers’ and producers’ markets springing up all over the country.

The cost of food miles to the UK, including time lost from congestion, road wear and tear, ill health from pollution and noise, and road crashes, is £9 billion a year. The average distance we drive to shop for food each year in the UK is 898 miles, compared with 747 in 1992.*

Speaking for the Footprint Trust, who sponsored the meeting , Ray Harrington-Vail said,

“This educational initiative is seeking to inform the public and businesses about the challenges of climate change. It aims to give a positive message as to what can be done in our daily actions to reduce our impact on the planet. We support the NFU campaign for local food.”

“We were delighted at the recent commitment from the IW Council announcing that it is committing itself to cutting carbon by 4% per annum and that it is working with Carbon Trust to achieve this saving. We hope to be working with the new leader of the Council, Cllr David Pugh, in looking for ways to help the public and businesses also achieve similar reductions.”

On Saturday 2nd February the IW Action on Climate Change will be hosting another public event focusing on the subject of Peak Oil.
For more information about the group please visit

www.thewightcounts.org.uk

www.footprint-trust.co.uk

ENDS

* Source: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 2005

www.realislandfood.co.uk

www.aftonpark.co.uk

www.godshillorganics.com

www.briddlesfordlodgefarm.co.uk

www.countrysideonline.co.uk

www.cla.org.uk

Save Water despite rain

No Flaming June ….but still save water Trust urges…..

The hottest April on record and one of the driest on the Isle of Wight since records began. This was followed by the wettest May for decades. The late May bank holiday saw St Catherine’s Point with the most rain overnight in the UK, with 52mm (2.05in) of rain over a 12-hour period between 6pm on Sunday to 6am on the Monday.
June faired little better, with little sunshine and was the wettest June the UK had seen since detailed records began. The Met Office confirmed that 134.5mm (5.3in) of rain fell across the four countries. The average June rainfall in the UK is 72.6mm (3in). A new record was also set for England, with 140.2mm (5.5in) of rain. England has suffered its wettest July on record. Some 129mm (5.07in) of rain fell up to 29 July, beating the previous record of 126.5mm (4.98in) set in 1936. Areas of England and Wales have been devastated by flooding. The total cost to the insurance industry could be as much a £3 billion.
The impact of climate change on wildlife in Britain will be negative too. If the world takes strong action to curb greenhouse gas emissions, we should be able to limit climate change to less than a 2°C average temperature rise. Nevertheless, a two degree rise will still have a marked impact on the UK’s diverse ecosystems.

Hawthorn has been a symbol of May since ancient times but this year it was flowering in early April. Flowers such as snowdrops are blooming earlier in the spring, oaks are leafing earlier and butterflies such as holly blues are appearing earlier. The evidence of Climate Change is all around us and further afield, at the polar Ice caps and on coral reefs due to warmer seas.

In 2005 water shortages in the south of England took their toll on breeding wading birds. Numbers of breeding redshanks, lapwings and snipewaders dropped by up to 80% at five RSPB nature reserves in Sussex and Kent as there is simply not enough water available to maintain their wetland habitats.

Wetland birds such as redshank will find their habitats threatened by climate change. Saltmarshes will become inundated by the sea while moors and wet grasslands will dry up during hot summers.

The last few weeks news has been full of stories of severe flooding. It might seem strange therefore that local charity the Footprint Trust and Waterwise are still calling on people to save water.

‘The overall trend will be more erratic weather. The south east will be drier overall and there will be water shortages. We need to work with nature rather than against it…’ said Ray Harrington-Vail of the Footprint Trust.

‘Many builders and local authorities have ignored expert advice against building on flood planes….that with Climate Change is reaping disasters..’ he continued.

‘Saving water helps the environment by reducing carbon emissions – 3% of all emissions in the UK are from the water industry. Water is very heavy and needs vast amounts of energy to move around..” Said Ray.

The Footprint Trust’s Waterworks project will be visiting events on the Island this summer giving away Southern Water Save-A-Flush bags and information on saving water.

The Footprint Trust recently praised the IW Council on one of its green initiatives. – ‘One Million Blooms’ which is creating drought-tolerant landscaping in our parks and open spaces. This investment will radically reduce water usage and the associated costs. Many of the plants being chosen also benefit birds, butterflies and bats.

‘Gardeners wanting inspiration on what to plant should visit Ventnor Botanic Gardens, the largest drought–tolerant garden in the south of England.’ Said Mr Harrington-Vail

Look out for the Footprint Trust’s Saving Water leaflet …in local libraries and help centres. You can also view it on the Footprint Trust website.

Get involved
You and your family, school, church or business can get involved in the Waterworks project. Become a Water-Watcher by looking for ways in which to save water.

· Design posters for your washroom or toilets
· Place Southern Water ‘Save-a-Flush’ bags in large cisterns
· Create a drought-tolerant garden
· Report leaking taps and pipes

The Footprint Trust can visit Isle of Wight schools, churches and community buildings and give you ideas on water saving.

For more details please email info@footprint-trust.co.uk

The WaterWorks initiative is supported by The IW AONB Sustainable Development Fund, along with the IWEP EU Leader+ programme and Southern Water.

Water Facts…

A hot dripping tap could waste around £70 a year in water and energy costs

Today we use 50% more water than 25 years ago…around 160 litres per person every day

Radio Solent features Footprint Trust

Tune into BBC Radio Solent this Sunday 2 September 2007 on 91.6 or 103.8 FM at noon and listen to the Good Life programme. Georgina Windsor will be chatting to Ray Harrington-Vail of the Footprint Trust about the tree planting ‘carbon neatral’ scams.

Ray will be highlighting what people can really do to help the planet.

ENDS

Trust Makes Big Steps

Footprint Trust takes steps to save the planet

Isle of Wight charity the Footprint Trust, which started its work in 2003, estimates that it has now reached just over 13% of Islanders with its eco-message. This has been achieved through its attendance at events such as the Chale and County Shows, its work in schools and local communities. Its work in local schools has interacted with around 10,000 pupils and it has also carried out environmental audits in some 60 community buildings linked to energy and water saving measures. The charity’s fundamental aim is to reduce the ‘ecological footprint’ of the Isle of Wight, currently at around twice our ‘earthshare.’

The Trust also assisted hundreds of Island businesses to be more efficient in their use of resources and the Trust’s website www.footprint-trust.co.uk is visited by over 36,000 people a year. They have given away over 4,000 low energy light bulbs, mostly to people on low income. The use of these bulbs alone will save over 550,000 Kw hours of electricity each year, and this represents a saving in financial terms of around £56,000 pa, and in carbon terms around 250 tonnes pa.

In water saving they helped to reduce consumption by around 14 million litres pa through distributing around 3,600 Southern Water save-a-flush bags. Neither figures take into account of other savings that charities and households may have made though turning off appliances or fitting cavity wall insulation, following guidance given from the Trust.

The Trust’s work has been funded through the European Union’s Leader+ initiative, the IW AONB Sustainable Development Fund, the National Lottery and commercial sponsorship.

Speaking for the Trust, its Company Secretary Colin Withers said,

“Our GreenLife and Waterworks projects have been raising awareness of energy and water saving issues. We are a very small charity which was set up to reduce the ecological footprint of the Isle of Wight and I believe that we are making good progress.”

“It is good to see the issue of Climate Change beginning to be taken seriously across the world, and the local ‘Action on Climate Change’ initiative, which we support, has already made some important steps leading to the IW Council signing up to the Nottingham Declaration and committing itself to reducing carbon emissions by 4% pa.”

Ray Harrington-Vail, the charity’s General Manager added…

“The current adverts on the TV encouraging us all to reduce our carbon footprint are imaginative and will assist in changing hearts and minds. Unfortunately people and businesses are also being led astray by dubious ‘off-setting’ schemes including tree planting, which will have virtually no impact in reducing carbon emissions.”

“In the immediate future we will continue to work with other local charities and the IW Council to look at fuel poverty and climate change. Inefficient use of energy wastes resources and money and in addition harms the planet, thus we wish to tackle these issues together.”

“We also wish to work with Parish and Town Councils in the rural areas, looking at ways that they can help their communities to become low carbon, and we hope to increase our work with young people aged 16 to 24 – engaging them in environmental projects”

ENDS

Green IW Budget praised

Footprint Trust praises Council’s ‘Green Budget’

Local environmental charity the Footprint Trust has praised the greener aspects of the Council’s budget.

Speaking for the Trust, Ray Harrington-Vail said,

“The Council should be congratulated on its promotion of bus use. The dramatic increase in young people using the buses, thanks to the 50p flat fare, is to be particularly welcomed.”

“The Council’s investment in cycle routes shows a clear vision for the future and will encourage more people to cycle.”

“The £30.5m to rebuild Cowes High School as a zero-carbon centre of learning is to be welcomed. This new complex will be water and energy efficient and will act as a beacon for other new-builds in the country. We welcome the Council’s commitment to sustainable schools.”

We are pleased that the Council has listened to our comments about rewarding motorists who drive ‘greener’ cars.

“We welcome the aim to explore the use of renewable energy for Council buildings and the desire for the Island to move towards becoming more self-sufficient.”

The Trust has recently commented on the Council’s One Island consultation and has expressed concern that issues such as wildlife and countryside were not being fully addressed. It also supported the Wind Farm application near Wellow, pointing out that there were no other sustainable options available in the short-term.

‘Issues such as dog muck and graffiti are an annoyance but they will not destroy the planet. Climate Change and failing to protect rare habitats could. We need to insist that all new buildings are built to a high environmental standard – the proposed Cowes Learning Centre is a fantastic step in the right direction.”

“The Footprint Trust is more than happy to give praise were it is due, we are delighted to be able to work with the Council on many worthwhile projects.”

ENDS

Ray Harrington-Vail

01983 822282

IW Council’s Budget

Click to access budget_speach_2007-08.pdf

Local Food – Miles Better Meeting

“Local Food – Miles Better!” Says Climate Change group

The IW Action on Climate Change group is to hold an open evening to look at local and regional food and its impact on the local environment. Some ninety five per cent of fruit is imported into the UK along with around fifty per cent of vegetables*. On a positive side there is a growing demand for local food with farmers’ and producers’ markets springing up all over the country.

Food miles increased by 15 per cent in the ten years to 2002, leading to a 12 per cent increase in carbon emissions from food transport. The cost of food miles to the UK, including time lost from congestion, road wear and tear, ill health from pollution and noise, and road crashes, is £9 billion a year. The average distance we drive to shop for food each year in the UK is 898 miles, compared with 747 in 1992.*

Speakers will look at issues such as ‘food miles’ and the local economy as well as addressing issues such as pollution and climate change. The date for the event is Thursday 27th September 2007 at 7pm at Newport’s Riverside Centre. The main speaker will be Mr Paul Heathcote of Afton Park Nursery, renowned for their Apple Days and Chinashop Rare Breeds.

The meeting will also welcome Christopher Wakeley as the new organiser of the Action on Climate Change group. The meeting will be chaired by Ray Harrington-Vail of the Footprint Trust, who is sponsoring the meeting, as part of their commitment to reducing the ‘ecological footprint’ of the Island.

Speaking for the Footprint Trust, Ray said,

“This educational initiative is seeking to inform the public and businesses about the challenges of climate change. It aims to give a positive message as to what can be done in our daily actions to reduce our impact on the planet. We support the NFU campaign for local food.”

“We were delighted at the recent commitment from the IW Council announcing that it is committing itself to cutting carbon by 4% per annum and that it is working with Carbon Trust to achieve this saving. We hope to be working with Council in looking for ways to help the public and businesses also achieve similar reductions.”

For more information about the group please visit

www.thewightcounts.org.uk

www.footprint-trust.co.uk

ENDS

* Source: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 2005

Can planting trees save the planet?

Can planting trees save the planet?

Carbon offsetting has become one of the buzz phases of the last year. It appeals to individuals and businesses that wish to carry on their current lifestyles and practices and buy a bit of green credibility.

But can planting trees really help negate are extravagant planet-damaging ways? The only people who really seem to think this can help are those who are selling the trees.
Planting trees to neutralise carbon emissions has become a big business: £60m worth of trees have been bought in 2007 up from £20m in 2005. By 2010 the market is expected to reach £300m.

Trees, carrots and any vegetation does absorb carbon during its growing process but this will soon be released when the plant dies is eaten or burnt. Most trees do not live to a majestic old age, the majority succumb to disease or predation in their early years.

Most of the trees being planted will only live a few years. To do any good they would have to grow very quickly and then be felled and then sunk into the deep ocean. Alternatively they could be stored where they could not rot such as used as a building material.

Not destroying tropical forests would also make sense from an ecological and climate change point of view. But planting trees to offset carbon emissions could contribute to global warming if they are planted outside the tropics, scientists believe. Forests in the mid and high latitudes could make their parts of the world more than 3C warmer than would have occurred if the trees did not exist.

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the USA, has shown that only tropical rainforests are beneficial in helping slow global warming. The problem is that while the carbon dioxide forests use for photosynthesis indirectly helps cool the Earth by reducing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, forests also trap heat from the sunlight they absorb. We must also protect moorlands from destruction as these do take-up and store carbon.

The whole idea of planting trees to soak-up carbon is based on a misunderstanding of the carbon cycle and the ability of trees to store enough carbon to make any real effect. The internationally renown Botanist and landscape historian Dr Oliver Rackham, has likened tree planting offsetting schemes to drinking water to stop rising sea levels!

There is increasing criticism from climate scientists of the benefits of forestry schemes to offset carbon emissions. Kevin Anderson, a scientist with the UK’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, warned recently that offsetting was a dangerous delaying technique that helped people “sleep well at night when we shouldn’t sleep well at night”.

If you are feeling guilty about all that carbon your putting into the environment it might be better to support a charity, which is helping to develop renewable energy in developing countries. Practical Action funds ‘appropriate’ or ‘intermediate technology’ for example, by developing efficient low cost cooking stoves which work from local biomass green fuels. They also support other options such as micro-hydro plants, small scale wind generators and solar lanterns. They state on their website ‘Our climate is changing and it’s the world’s poorest people who are hardest hit by devastating droughts, floods and other extreme weather events. This is a massive injustice – climate change is caused by the world’s richest countries.’ www.practicalaction.org

If people wish to really do something to reduce their over-use of fossil fuels they need to change the way they operate. Walk more – fly less… would be a good strap-line. But not likely to make much money for the various off-setting schemes.

Alternatives

Ways to cut carbon include:
· Replacing CO2-producing energy with human energy technologies … a project in India has replaced diesel pumps with people-operated pumps for irrigation.
· Introducing energy-saving light bulbs, which use 80% less electricity on average, reducing energy consumption and therefore the amount of pollution by power stations. Inefficient coal power stations in Kazakhstan create three times as much CO2 when producing electricity as UK counterparts. Because electricity is so cheap, many schools and homes use cheaper, but inefficient, traditional bulbs instead.
· Efficient stove projects. In Mexico more efficient stoves have been introduced because they are cheaper and burn less fuel. They also make the kitchen safer as they produce less smoke, and cut CO2 by 1.5 tonnes a year, a home.
· Renewable energy projects, such as wind farms in India.

Here are a number of sites that give more information. The Footprint Trust is not responsible for their content….

www.newint.org/issues/2006/07/01/

www.sinkswatch.org

www.fern.org

www.resourcesnotwaste.org

www.climatecare.org

Information from a number of resources including, New Scientist magazine, The Resource Recovery Forum and The Guardian.

The Footprint Trust – Ray Harrington-Vail June 2007