First things first


Thursday, 18 November 2010

18 November 2010

The Friends of East Greenwich Pleasaunce and Transition Westcombe cordially invite you to the launch of the Pleasaunce Memorial Orchard at 1:15 on December 5, 2010.

This new planting of fruit trees- apples, pears, and plums- will add to the diverse beauty and ecology of the Pleasaunce, while reflecting the park’s use as an orchard before it became the dignified burial ground and green haven we know today. It addresses many current issues, as well, as it will help with the problems of climate change, while supplying locally grown fruit and encouraging people to consider how to source food more sustainably. It will provide a community focus around harvesting and spring blossom, and can be included in local school children’s learning about healthy eating, biodiversity, food sourcing, and plant growth.

The launch of the orchard takes place as part of the Friends celebration of the holiday season, with carol singing from 1:30 to 4:00, the arrival of Santa at 2:00, and mulled wine. Refreshments are also available at the park café, Pistachios.

The Pleasaunce Memorial Orchard has been made possible by grants from Greenwich Pride, Capital Growth East London, and Awards for All, and with the support of the London Orchard Project and Greenwich Parks and Open Spaces Department.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Draft Constitution

The constitution will be discussed at our AGM, at 7pm on October 20th, Mycenae House, Mycenae Road, SE3 7SE

Constitution for Transition Westcombe
1. Our Group 3
1.1. The Group Transition Westcombe 3
1.2. Our Vision of a Low Carbon, Sustainable and Resilient Future 3
1.3. The Powers of Transition Westcombe 4
2. Our Members 5
2.1. Membership of Transition Westcombe 5
2.2. Benefits to TW Members 6
3. Our Organisation 6
3.1. The Co-ordinating Group 6
3.2. Specialist Groups 8
4. Our Meetings 8
4.1. Annual General Meetings 8
4.2. Special General Meetings 9
4.3. Co-ordinating Group Meetings 11
4.4. Specialist Group Meetings 11
5. Our Funds 12
51. TW Income 12
5.2. TW Payments 12
5.3. TW Accounts 13

1. Our Group
1.1. The Group Transition Westcombe
Our Constitution The name of the Unincorporated Association defined by this document is Transition Westcombe, which is abbreviated in this document to TW.
This document is the Constitution of Transition Westcombe.
This constitution has been adopted by the Initiating Committee of TW.
This Constitution can only be altered by a Resolution passed at an Annual General Meeting or Special General Meeting.
Notices of Annual General Meetings or Special General Meetings shall include details of any alterations proposed to this Constitution.
Members may submit proposals to change this Constitution to the Co-ordinating Group at any time. Proposals to change this Constitution shall be made in writing.
Our Identity Our identity includes the names Transition Westcombe and TW and the TW logo. The TW logo is the design shown on the cover of this Constitution.
The identity of Transition Westcombe (TW) is owned by TW and shall not be misrepresented by any individual, whether or not that person is a TW member.
The Co-ordinating Group may withhold use of the Name and Logo of TW where it considers that the Aims, Objectives and Interests of TW will not be upheld.
Our Location The area covered by TW shall be the area of Greenwich bounded by the A102, Shooters Hill Road, Maze Hill and Trafalgar / Woolwich Road, and its environs.
Our Aims • To raise awareness in Westcombe of the challenges of Peak Oil, Resource Depletion and Climate Change;
• To work with and support people and organisations in Westcombe to develop a low carbon, sustainable and resilient future for the community
Our Objectives • To create and to help implement an Energy Descent Action Plan for Westcombe – a 20 year plan to systematically reduce fossil fuel dependency;
• To create and support Specialist Groups that have Aims, Objectives and Interests which are consistent with those of TW.
• To do this without support for any one political party.

1.2. Our Vision of a Low Carbon, Sustainable and Resilient Future
Our Vision
A Low Carbon, Sustainable and Resilient Future for Westcombe This central tenet of our aims determines the following goals for TW:
Energy and Carbon Emissions Moving towards zero carbon emissions by transforming work, social, domestic and leisure activities. This may include a detailed audit for Westcombe and its environs to understand the immediate challenges and vulnerabilities to Peak Fossil Energy.
Waste Moving towards zero waste by reducing the use of resources, increasing re-use and recycling of materials, reducing pollution and landfill.
Transport Reorganising our transport systems towards zero carbon emissions by changing transport methods, needs and habits.
Materials Sourcing sustainable materials and making choices to reduce environmental impacts.
Food Encouraging local and sustainable food, including reducing food waste and choosing sources with the lowest environmental impacts.
Water Moving towards a sustainable water supply by reducing water use, and encouraging re-use of water.
Natural Habitats Encouraging natural habitats and wildlife through the conservation and restoration of biodiversity and minimising local environmental impacts.
Culture and history Maintaining our local identities through enhancing local cultures and by conserving valuable local historical artefacts and memories.
Equity and Fair Trade Encouraging equity and fair trade through making considered choices that improve global equity and reduce exploitation.
Social Organisation and Democracy Working with other community organisations and local government to implement our aims and objectives.
Education and Re-skilling for energy descent Understanding the skills base in Westcombe and anticipating the future skills needs of a community in Energy Descent, and engaging schools and young people in this process.
Business and Industry Understanding how business and industry in the Westcombe area will be affected by Peak Fossil Energy, anticipating changes and developing a thriving local economy.
Local Finance Local finance includes understanding how global finance will need to adapt or be succeeded by local financial models to support a community in Energy Descent.

1.3. The Powers of Transition Town Westcombe
Initiating phase
At the appropriate time, the TW Initiating Committee shall change to being comprised of Elected Representatives from the Specialist Groups. Until this Transformation, the Initiating Committee shall fulfil the functions of the Co-ordinating Group, but shall undertake actions and duties in a less formal way.
This Transformation of the Initiating Committee shall occur once:
• Sufficient specialist groups are established within TW;
• Representatives have been elected from each of the specialist groups;
• The resolution to transform the Initiating Committee is accepted at an Annual General Meeting or a Special General Meeting.
Elected representatives from specialist groups shall on transformation become known as the Co-ordinating Group. The Specialist Groups shall arrange their own elections in order to provide these elected representatives.

Our Powers and duties The powers that the Co-ordinating Group and people reasonably acting on behalf of TW may carry out are:
• Recruiting, maintaining, recording and on resignation removing membership;
• Publishing and distributing information for the benefit of TW;
• Forming, supporting, and separating specialist groups within TW;
• Liaison and communication with individuals and organisations, including the media;
• Engaging in, supporting and promoting education and research relevant to the aims, objectives and interests of TW;
• Raising, spending, supervising and recovering TW funds;
• Organising events and activities within the aims, objectives and interests of TW;
• Hiring or arranging hire of venues for events and activities;
• Registering with appropriate authorities as required by statute and regulations;
• Joining umbrella groups and organisations for social and publicity purposes where these are consistent with the aims, objectives and interests of TW;
• Participating in other activities consistent with the aims and objectives in this constitution that are appropriate for an unincorporated association.
In particular, the Co-ordinating Group shall be responsible for:
• Holding and attending Co-ordinating Group and Annual and Special General Meetings;
• Informing TW Members of forthcoming Co-ordinating Group meetings;
• Issuing a record of decisions of Co-ordinating Group Meetings;
• Co-ordinating the activities of TW and its specialist groups;
• Events and activities within the aims, objectives, interests and powers of TW;
• Communicating with the TW membership;
• Administration of TW funds;
• Administration of the TW web presence;
• Arranging insurance for the interests of TW and TW members undertaking duties on behalf of TW;
• Complying with relevant statutes and regulations;
• Managing unforeseen issues until these can be considered and accepted by TW members at an Annual General Meeting or Special General Meeting.
Dissolution of TW can only occur as a result of a resolution at an Annual General Meeting or Special General Meeting.
The proposed date of dissolution in the resolution shall be arranged to give all TW Members 30 days notice of that date.
Before the date of dissolution, the Co-ordinating Group shall be responsible for ensuring that all monies and liabilities owed by TW have been resolved.
Any remaining TW Funds shall be divided between active projects and theme groups associated with TW or the Transition Network, as determined by the resolution.
2. Our Members
2.1. Membership of Transition Town Westcombe
Our Membership
TW Members TW shall recruit, register and on resignation remove TW Members in accordance with this Constitution.
Who is Eligible to be a Member All TW Members shall be over 16 years of age and agree to uphold this Constitution and who also live or work in or near Westcombe Park.
Applications and decisions about TW Membership shall make no reference to race, ethnic origin, nationality, wealth, property status, political belief, religion, gender, disability, age as an adult, or sexual preference.
Joining TW as a Member TW membership applications may be made electronically or on paper and shall include an agreement to this Constitution.
Valid TW membership applications shall be accepted and advised within 30 days.
TW Members Organising Events for TW TW Members are welcome to organise events and activities consistent with the aims, objectives, interests and powers of TW, in TW’s name with prior agreement of the Co-ordinating Group.
Voting at Annual and Special General Meetings Anyone who has been a TW member for more than 30 days may vote at an Annual General Meeting or a Special General Meeting.
All TW member votes shall be made in person at these meetings.
TW member votes may not be transferred between members.
Ceasing to be a TW Member Membership shall cease if a TW member:
• Has delivered an explicit, written resignation to an elected member;
• Is requested to resign and at least three-quarters of TW members vote to this effect at an Annual General Meeting or Special General Meeting. A member who has been asked to resign shall have the right to speak on the matter at the relevant meeting before the vote is put.
• Fails to pay outstanding monies due to TW after 30 days notice that TW membership may be withdrawn.

2.2. Benefits to TW Members
TW Accounts What You Agree
TW Benefits to Members TW may negotiate benefits for TW Members with local suppliers provided these are consistent with the aims, objectives, interests and powers of TW.
3. Our Organisation
3.1. The Co-ordinating Group
The Co-ordinating Group
Purpose of Co-ordinating Group The Co-ordinating Group has ultimate responsibility for the affairs of TW, ensuring it is solvent, well-run, and delivering the aims and objectives of TW in accordance with the interests and powers of TW.
The Co-ordinating Group shall be open and accountable to TW members about its Duties and interests. The Co-ordinating Group shall encourage involvement by TW Members in its activities.
Size of Co-ordinating Group The minimum size of the Co-ordinating Group shall be five elected members.
Where this minimum number of elected members cannot be maintained, a Special General Meeting shall be called and arranged.
There shall be no maximum number of elected members in the Co-ordinating Group.
Eligibility for the Co-ordinating Group The Co-ordinating Group shall consist of elected members.
Any eligible TW member is welcome to stand for election to become an elected member of the Co-ordinating Group.
A TW member is eligible to stand for election if he or she:
• Is a TW Member;
• Is not statutorily disqualified from acting as a member of the Co-ordinating Group
Elected Members Elections to appoint elected members on the Co-ordinating Group shall be carried out at each Annual General Meeting, or at a Special General Meeting if required because an elected member ceases to be an elected member.
Once these elections have been held, the Co-ordinating Group shall be closed to new entrants until the next Annual General Meeting or a Special General Meeting.
Treasurer and other roles One elected member shall be appointed to carry out the duties of Treasurer.
Elected members shall be appointed and maintained to carry out the duties of:
• Membership secretary, to administer TW membership;
• Communications officer, to manage communications on behalf of TW;
• And any other roles agreed as necessary.
These roles may be rotated among the elected members by agreement of the Co-ordinating Group

Ceasing to be an Elected Member An elected member shall cease to be an elected member if he or she:
• Ceases to be a TW member;
• Is absent from all valid CGMs over a period of 6 months;
• Is requested to resign as an elected member and at least three-quarters of TW members voting to this effect at a valid Special General Meeting;
• Is statutorily disqualified from acting as a member of the Co-ordinating Group.;
• Has delivered an explicit, written resignation copied to all elected members.
If there is a motion that an elected member be required to resign, he or she will have the right to speak on the matter at the relevant meeting before the vote is put.
Duties of the Co-ordinating Group All decisions and statements of the Co-ordinating Group shall be in accordance with the aims, objectives, interests and powers of TW.
Sharing Duties with TW Members TW members may be nominated by elected members in the Co-ordinating Group for specific duties on behalf of TW subject to the same provisions in this Constitution as the elected members.
Co-ordinating Group Interests All elected members shall declare any commercial or financial interest they hold, or benefit they may derive, which may be affected by the decisions of the Co-ordinating Group and therefore presents a conflict of interest.
The Co-ordinating Group shall decide how to overcome any conflicts of interest as they arise.
Details of a conflict of interest may be held within the Co-ordinating Group but the existence of a Conflict of Interest shall not be concealed from TW members.
Where a conflict of interest is likely to be prolonged or significant, all the elected members affected should offer to resign from the Co-ordinating Group.
Co-ordinating Group Benefits Policy Members of the Co-ordinating Group shall avoid gaining any private benefit from their position, whether financial or otherwise, except where this is agreed by the Co-ordinating Group as being completely consistent with the aims, objectives, interests and powers of TW.

3.2. Specialist Groups
Specialist Groups
Forming Specialist Groups Specialist Groups may be formed within TW in order to carry out specific activities.
No Specialist Groups within TW shall form without the consent of the Co-ordinating Group.
Consent shall involve presenting a written plan for how the Specialist Group will organise itself consistent with the aims, objectives and powers of TW.
The Powers of Specialist Groups The Powers of Specialist Groups shall be consistent with the aims, objectives and interests of TW.
Membership of Specialist Groups Specialist Groups within TW shall consist only of TW members.
Any TW member may join any Specialist Group.
TW Funds TW funds may be used to support the activities of Specialist Groups provided the Specialist Groups act within the powers of TW.
Specialist Groups shall return any surplus TW funds arising from their activities to the TW Treasurer.
Specialist Groups shall be accountable to the TW Treasurer for their expenditure of TW funds that have been awarded.
Specialist Group Funds Specialist Groups may raise their own funds for their own purposes and within their own powers.
Specialist Groups choosing to raise their own funds shall maintain their own accounts.

Accountability All Specialist Groups shall be accountable to the Co-ordinating Group for their activities,.
The Co-ordinating Group may give or withdraw its agreement for Specialist Groups to organise events and activities in the name of TW on a continuing basis.
Separating Specialist Groups from TW Any Specialist Group may request that the Co-ordinating Group arranges separation of the Specialist Group from TW in order to pursue different aims, objectives and interests from those of TW, or exercise different powers from those of TW.
Any Specialist Group within TW may be separated from TW by a vote of the Co-ordinating Group if the activities of the Specialist Group fall outside the aims, objectives, interests and powers of TW.
On separation, a Specialist Group shall assume its own identity and no longer associate with the name and logo of TW.
4. Our Meetings
4.1. Annual General Meetings
Annual General Meetings
Annual General Meetings The Annual General Meeting [AGM] of TW shall be held each year on a date proposed by the Co-ordinating Group and at a suitable time and venue.
Notice The Co-ordinating Group shall give at least 30 days notice of the AGM.
Notices shall be directly addressed to all TW Members and shall state the business proposed by the Co-ordinating Group and set out any resolutions to be proposed.
Validity AGMs shall only be valid when attended by at least one-twentieth of the number of TW members or ten TW members, whichever is the greater.
Report and Accounts The Co-ordinating Group shall present the annual report and the Treasurer shall present the TW accounts for the previous each AGM,
Procedures The Co-ordinating Group shall appoint a facilitator for the AGM and Member to keep a full record of the proceedings.
Decision-making All decisions at general meetings shall be made by consensus following the fullest possible discussion in which all members are entitled to speak freely. By consensus is meant a situation where those not in agreement agree not to maintain an objection. If consensus is not reached the matter shall be adjourned to the next meeting when another attempt at consensus will be tried, unless there is a deadline for the decision which makes this delay unacceptable, in which case a vote will be taken. If consensus is still not reached at the second meeting, a vote will be taken.
Voting Anyone who has been recorded as a TW Member for more than 30 days shall be entitled to vote.
Constitutional changes shall be accepted if at least two thirds of the TW Members present at an AGM vote in favour. Votes shall be recorded by a show of hands.
People attending who are not TW Members shall not be entitled to vote.
There shall be no casting votes and no TW member may exercise more than one vote for each resolution at AGMs.

Elections Elections for the Co-ordinating Group shall be conducted during an AGM after presentation of the annual report and TW accounts.
Renewal of the same elected members to the Co-ordinating Group may be undertaken collectively.
Each member of the Co-ordinating Group shall be elected by a majority of the members present voting in favour, in two rounds if necessary with all but the leading two candidates eliminated after the first round.
Treasurer The appointment of the Treasurer shall be made from among the elected members during an AGM.
Signatures for Bank Accounts The appointment of signatories to any TW bank accounts shall be made from among the elected members during an AGM.

4.2. Special General Meetings
Special General Meetings What You Agree
Special General Meetings Any collection of at least ten TW members may request a Special General Meeting [SGM]. SGMs shall also be arranged by the Co-ordinating Group as soon as there are insufficient elected members in the Co-ordinating Group.
SGMs shall be arranged for a suitable time and venue by the Co-ordinating Group within 40 days of a valid request by TW Members.
Notice The notice period for SGMs shall be as for AGMs.
Validity Validity for SGMs shall be as for AGMs.
Procedures The SGM shall appoint a Chairperson and a member to keep a full record of the proceedings at a Special General Meeting.
Voting Anyone who has been recorded as a TW Member for more than 30 days shall be entitled to vote.
Resolutions shall be accepted if a two-thirds majority of the TW members present at a SGM vote in favour. Votes shall be recorded by a show of hands.
People attending who are not TW members shall not be entitled to Vote.
There shall be no casting votes and no TW member may exercise more than one vote for each resolution at SGMs.
Elections Elections for the Co-ordinating Group may be conducted during an SGM if required because an elected member ceases to be an elected member.
Any member of the Co-ordinating Group subject to election shall be elected by a majority of the members present voting in favour.
Treasurer Appointment of a new Treasurer may be made from among the elected members during an SGM if required where the previous Treasurer ceases to be an elected member.
Signatures for Bank Accounts The appointment of signatories to any TW bank accounts may be made from among the elected members during an SGM.

4.3. Co-ordinating Group Meetings
Co-ordinating Group Meetings
Co-ordinating Group Meetings The Co-ordinating Group shall hold Co-ordinating Group Meetings [CGMs] at least 4 times per year at a suitable time and venue.
Notice The Co-ordinating Group shall give at least 14 days notice in advance to all elected members of a CGM, unless all elected members indicate their availability at shorter notice.
Notice of forthcoming CGM dates shall be given to TW members on the web forum. Venues shall be notified on request.
Validity CGMs shall only be valid when attended by at least half of the elected members and when valid notice has been given to all elected members.
Procedures Elected members shall take turns to act as the facilitator at CGMs, unless the elected members unanimously agree otherwise.
The facilitator shall prepare an agenda before any CGM.
The Co-ordinating Group shall appoint an elected member to prepare a record of decisions made at the CGM; this shall be lodged on the web forum and also be available on request by any TW member.
Co-ordinating Group Decisions Decisions at CGMs shall normally be made by agreement between the elected members present.
Where full agreement among elected members is not possible, the matter shall be revisited at a further CGM. If no consensus is achieved on revisiting the matter, a vote shall be taken among the elected members and this shall be considered the final decision on the matter.
Consensus among the Co-ordinating Group may also be obtained by expressing views in written messages circulated among all the elected members. Lack of response within a reasonable time may be considered as acceptance of a proposal for action.
Members attending Co-ordinating Group Meetings Any TW member may attend any CGM by prior arrangement with the facilitator. Requests to attend may be directed through any elected member.
The Co-ordinating Group may agree to invite particular TW members to regularly attend CGM.

4.4. Specialist Group Meetings
Specialist Group Meetings
Specialist Group Meetings Specialist Groups may hold Specialist Group Meetings as required at a suitable time and venue.
Notice Specialist Groups shall give reasonable notice of meetings to the Co-ordinating Group.
Attendance Any elected member shall be entitled to attend Specialist Group Meetings.

5. Our Funds
5.1. TW Income
TW Income
Not-for-Profit TW shall not trade for profit. Any surplus TW funds shall form a general reserve for the continuation and development of TW.
TW Funds TW may only raise funds from grants, donations, entrance fees, sale proceeds, bank interest, and membership fees.
Loans and Borrowing TW shall not enter into loans or borrowing to supplement TW funds.
Membership Fees Any membership fees shall be subject to agreement by an AGM.
TW may charge a fee when a member joins TW or renews membership of TW at the end of a membership period.
Membership fees for specialist groups shall be determined by the specialist groups.
Grants and Donations to TW TW may seek and accept grants where these support the aims, objectives, interests and powers of TW.
Grants or donations over £200 shall be notified to members with 30 days of receipt.
Financial Interests TW shall not hold any financial interest such as a financial stake, shares or an agreement to receive commissions from any other organisation.

5.2. TW Payments
TW Payments
Use of TW Funds Funds shall only be used by TW to carry out the aims, objectives and interests and powers of TW.
Awards to Specialist Groups and Others TW funds awarded to specialist groups and others shall be subject to prior approval by the Co-ordinating Group and assigned for specific purposes consistent with the aims, objectives and interests of TW.
Loans and Borrowing TW shall not provide loans or allow borrowing from TW Funds.
Expenses Reimbursement of all expenses shall be supervised by the Treasurer.
TW may only reimburse expenses that are reasonable and that unavoidably arose from duties agreed with the TW Co-ordinating Group..
Expenses shall only be considered reasonable where costs were actually incurred and where those costs are not disproportionate.
Elected members and TW members shall not be entitled to claim expenses for attending TW events, activities, or meetings, or for meetings of Specialist Groups within TW.
TW may fund the cost or part of the cost of relevant training where this has been agreed by the Co-ordinating Group.
Relevant training is limited to training courses exactly aligned to the aims, objectives and interests of TW and shall not include general training courses.
Payments Responsibility for all payments from TW funds shall rest with the Treasurer.
Where the Treasurer has given advice that insufficient TW funds exist to make payments attracted by decisions of the Co-ordinating Committee, the elected members shall be jointly and severally responsible for their decisions.

TW Payments

Assets As an unincorporated association, TW shall not acquire, store, or maintain assets.
Separation of Specialist Groups On separation of a Specialist Group, TW shall have the right to obtain reimbursement of any TW funds awarded to it by TW.
However reimbursement of awards of TW funds should only be demanded by TW in exceptional circumstances where the aims, objectives and interests of the Specialist Group are significantly different from those of TW.

5.3. TW Accounts
TW Accounts
TW Bank Accounts TW Funds may be held in a bank account in the sole and exclusive name of Transition Town Westcombe (TW). Responsibility for the operation of the bank account shall rest with the Treasurer with the assistance of the authorized signatories.
Preparation of TW Accounts The accumulation and expenditure of TW Funds shall be supervised by the Treasurer and recorded in the TW accounts. The Treasurer shall prepare the TW accounts and make these available for publication to TW members:
• At every AGM;
• At any time required by statute, regulations, auditing or external bodies;
• After any change of Treasurer;
• When requested to do so by the Co-ordinating Group.
Auditing of TW Accounts The TW accounts shall be audited as legitimately required by external bodies or requested by an AGM or SGM.
Specialist Group Accounts The TW Treasurer shall have the right to obtain accounts from Specialist Groups within TW where:
• Required by an AGM or SGM;
• At any time required by statute, regulations, auditing or external bodies;
• When requested to do so by the Co-ordinating Group.
Signatures A payee shall not be a signatory to the same payment.
Signatories to a payment shall not be related or live in the same household.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Waste and Recycling

Date for your diary:

Meeting on Waste & Recycling.

7.30pm, Wednesday October 20th, Mycenae House, SE3 7SE.

Peter Dalley, head of Greenwich Council’s Waste Services Department. Also local businesses & charities which repair and resell old goods. And international businesses that specify new goods which have a short life and are hard to repair.

Greenwich Town Centre Traffic

Transition Greenwich and Transition Lewisham
Greenwich Town Centre Traffic.
Tuesday 20th July 2010, St Alfege’s Church Hall

Greenwich, Lewisham and Bromley residents, businesses and traffic officers were invited to this meeting about traffic in Greenwich Town Centre. 35 local residents and businesses attended. Statements were received from Len Duvall GLA member for Greenwich & Lewisham, and from James Cleverly GLA member for Bexley & Bromley. No reply was received from Nick Raynsford M.P., or from Greenwich Councillors. Exploratory conversations were had before the meeting with officers concerned with traffic in Greenwich, Lewisham and Bromley, and they sent apologies. Comments were received from Greenwich Hospital and the Greenwich Foundation, as well as the Greenwich Society’s official objections to the scheme.
The background to the meeting is the long-standing question of how to improve the traffic situation in Greenwich Town Centre, in light of Greenwich Council’s current consultation on its pedestrianisation proposals. The London Mayor’s Guidance on the Local Implementation Plans, which Boroughs have to submit by December 2010, specifies that local Boroughs should work together to reduce transport’s contribution to climate change, and to integrate it with wider economic, social and .environmental objectives at a local level.
Working as a plenary group and in smaller groups, the meeting agreed a statement:
“Local residents and businesses oppose Greenwich Council’s proposals for a new gyratory system. This is a flawed scheme which is not good in any aspect for Greenwich Town Centre.”

· The narrow advantage to two pedestrianised streets is far outweighed by the wider disadvantages to West Greenwich, to those living inside the proposed gyratory system and to the shops on the streets that are not pedestrianised. The shops in Nelson Road and Greenwich Church Street would die economically as a result of pedestrianising the two streets in Greenwich which have few shops on them – King William Walk and College Approach.

· There would be disruption to many of the bus routes through Greenwich, with longer journeys, longer waits and longer walks because of the loss of the bus stand in King William Walk, which is the natural dropping-off point for the town centre.

· A new long gyratory system would be against the national trend, and Transport for London is trying to reduce them. Traffic, including buses, would have to travel much further, increasing the tendency to speed, and adding pollution.

· More drivers would rat-run through residential streets with the proposed scheme.

· The new scheme would divide the 500 homes and school inside the proposed gyratory from those outside, splitting the community. There would be long detours for drivers living inside or visiting inside the proposed gyratory system.

· Cyclists are against the scheme due to Increased traffic speeds (therefore risk of injury) and the lack of a contraflow cycle lane on the gyratory roads.

· There appears to be no allowance for the extra vehicular traffic generated by the proposed 100-bed hotel in Greenwich Market.

· Instead of a scheme which (contrary to the Council’s policy of promoting the more sustainable modes of transport) worsens conditions for both buses and cyclists, we believe the most effective way of easing traffic problems in the town Centre is through a general reduction in traffic. We therefore urge LBG to explore with neighbouring boroughs ways to reduce overall traffic by 10%.

Proposals for a 10% Traffic Reduction
The meeting also explored how Greenwich Council and Transport for London could bring about a 10% traffic reduction through Greenwich Town Centre, using part of the £3.5 million saved by not doing the pedestrianisation.
It is well known that congestion is responsible for not just air and noise pollution, but also for extra delivery costs especially for small businesses.
The disadvantages of congestion charging are that it is expensive and causes traffic distortions outside the chosen zone. But several low-cost proposals seem technically feasible in the current financial climate of austerity. They also avoid a proliferation of ‘Big Brother’ vehicle recognition cameras recording car movements.
· The first proposal is for two electronic toll-gates, one on Romney Road (by the University of Greenwich) and the second on the A2 (near the General Wolfe Road intersection). These would allow local vehicles to pass without charge, and charge only those whose vehicles are registered outside L.B. Greenwich.
· The second proposal is for through vehicles to be required to display London Travel Cards, with a fine for those found to be without a valid one.

Proposals for Greenwich Town Centre with 10% traffic reduction:

· L.B. Greenwich should instate comprehensive cycle lanes in the existing road layout of Greenwich Town Centre, with other pro-cyclist measures as detailed by the London Mayor's Guidance to Boroughs. There should be block paving on road surfaces to slow traffic.
· L.B. Greenwich should investigate Sunday pedestrianisation of Greenwich Town Centre. Street parking should be made available on Sunday for market traders who have to arrive by vehicle.
· L.B. Greenwich should investigate instituting a short and reliable circular local shuttle bus service between Greenwich Town Centre, Lewisham, Blackheath, Charlton, East Greenwich and back to Greenwich Town Centre.
· L.B. Greenwich should promote lower car usage by all three sectors, with surveys to identify unnecessary car trips such as the school run and education to get people to slightly modify their travel habits.
· L.B. Greenwich should discuss with Greenwich Hospital how to ensure that market stalls and shop leases are given to a balanced range of useful providers of goods and services for all the local community, as well as to specialist personal traders with novel, unusual or unique products. This will involve differentiating between rental levels to bring in desirable tenants who cannot afford the ‘market’ rent. The sum total goods and services of Greenwich shops and markets should make most day-to-day items available for local people so they need to travel less for essential shopping, while also having a changing range of new products to attract visitors.

Taking forward the proposals for a 10% traffic reduction.

This Transition Greenwich & Transition Lewisham report will be sent to all who attended or wanted to attend the meeting, and further comments will be invited. The technical aspects of the 10% traffic reduction proposals will also be taken forward with traffic officers in Greenwich, Lewisham and Bromley. Please keep sending in your further comments and information, and these will be included in further updates on progress.

It is important that you email your own views to Greenwich Council’s consultation, which is open until August 1st.
By email:
Or by post:
Jeff Horsman, Directorate of Regeneration Enterprise & Skills, Town Hall, Wellington Street, London SE18 6PW
Please forward this email to friends.


Supermarkets Meeting
Wednesday July 21st, Mycenae House.

This community meeting with local supermarkets was to discuss how to promote healthy, locally sourced organic food, as well as about minimizing food waste, packaging and the use of plastics. We invited all the local supermarkets such as Asda, Co-op, Costcutter, Iceland, Lidl, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Poundland, Tesco and Waitrose, as well as talking to the smaller local convenience stores.

The meeting was attended by managers from Asda (Charlton), from the Co-op Supermarket (Greenwich) and Marks & Spencer (Charlton Standard). There was also Mike McNally from Fareshare, and Claire Pritchard from Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency.

The supermarkets managers described various ways in which they were trying to avoid handing out free plastic bags, to reduce plastics & packaging and improve recycling. They said that educating the public is fundamental to progress on eating healthy food and using re-usable shopping bags.

Mike McNally of Fareshare described how the logistics and efficiency required to collect surplus food from supermarkets inside strict time limits. He also described their experience in the legal aspects of public liability, food safety training and health & safety training.

Claire Pritchard of Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency described their educational and training work around healthy food, especially with children and schools, and with disadvantaged groups in food poverty. GCDA are also active promoting local food growing, and running stalls selling locally grown organic food. There are also healthy volunteer networks in Greenwich & Lewisham, linked to the NHS.

The supermarkets present all agreed to take forward the following local initiatives in Greenwich:

1. To be part of International Plastic Bag Free Day on September 11th this year, which is supported by the Marine Conservation Society.
• The supermarkets will display educational publicity posters and material about how plastic bags kill marine life for two weeks before the event. Images are available from the Marine Conservation Society. They can also promote the event through their advertising and in-store promotions.
• On the day, the supermarkets can hand out free hemp UK-sourced bags-for-life with a message. Hemp is a useful crop with many product applications, and was once widely grown in the U.K.. It is easy to grow, and does not require either pesticides or lots of water.
• Apart from this day, supermarkets will always ask customers if they want a plastic bag rather than just give them one, and keep plastic bags out of sight at the till. There could be a message on the bags.

2. To have in-store promotion of healthy eating menus by the Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency.
• This need not involve hot food
• Insurance is already dealt with, and risk assessments done
• These demonstrations do not involve criticism of other foods

3. To employ Fareshare to take away food at its sell-by date, and to distribute it to local Greenwich & Lewisham groups who are in food poverty.

4. Reducing packaging
• Have in-store bins at the door for customers to discard unnecessary packaging before leaving the store.
• Brown paper bags rather than polythene bags for fruit & veg
• Use more refills
• Ask suppliers to reduce packaging

Marine Conservation Society
Each household in the UK uses around 300 plastic bags every year. In 2008, our volunteers found 8,174 plastic bags in just one Beachwatch weekend. During the 2008 International Coastal Clean-up, which took place in over 100 countries worldwide, nearly 1.4 million plastic bags were found!
Even when we dispose of them correctly, plastic bags are often blown out of bins and landfill sites and end up littering our land and oceans. They never degrade and will remain part of the landscape forever. In the sea, plastic bags look very similar to jellyfish and many birds and marine animals, such as whales and turtles, accidentally eat them. This can cause a blockage in the digestive system and lead to death by starvation.
MCS has made an information pack .pdf about going Plastic Bag Free.
Or you can contact MCS on 01989 561597 / email to receive the information by post.

P.O. Box 396, Brighton, BN1 1SX. 0845 22 44 367
Hemp uses the sun's energy more efficiently than virtually any other planat. Originating from Asia, it has been cultivated by mankind for more than 6000 years and until the late 16th century was our planet's largest agricultural crop and most important industry. Almost every part of the plant was used to provide the overall majority of our fibre, fabric, lighting oil, paper and medicinal needs, as well as being a primary source of essential food oil and protein for humans and animals. Hemp flourishes without the use of pesticides or herbicides, does not need bleaching and recycles very well.

FareShare has been operating since 2004 and today has 12 locations around the UK. Established in 1994 as a project within the homelessness charity Crisis, FareShare aims to help vulnerable groups, whether they are homeless, elderly, children, or other groups in food poverty within our communities.
• Providing quality food - surplus ‘fit for purpose’ product from the food and drink industry - to organisations working with disadvantaged people in the community
• Providing training and education around the essential life skills of safe food preparation and nutrition, and warehouse employability training through FareShare’s Eat Well Live Well programme
• Promoting the message that ‘No Good Food Should Be Wasted

Greenwich Cooperative Development Agency

The Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency (GCDA) exists to develop social and cooperative enterprises. It has been contracted by the London Development Agency to provide free training to increase the levels of healthy and sustainable food provided by public sector caterers.

Transition Greenwich contact is Edward Hill 07890 013379
Transition Lewisham contact is Fran Rogers

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Transition Greenwich and Traffic Meeting about Greenwich Town Centre

Transition Westcombe and other Transition Towns in Greenwich are joining together to organize meetings about issues which affect a wide area, and are forming a network called Transition Greenwich.

The first meeting of Transition Greenwich will discuss how best to balance the various transport, business, residential and visitor requirements of Greenwich Town Centre in terms of traffic management. Greenwich Council has produced its own draft proposals on which they are currently consulting.

The meeting will be from 8pm to 10pm on Tuesday 20th July, in St Alfege’s Church Hall, behind St Alfege’s in Greenwich.

Anyone from Greenwich and Lewisham is welcome, including community groups, businesses and council officers. Please come and share and compare your insights and ideas for a long-term strategy for traffic management in Greenwich Town Centre.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

London Permaculture Festival 22 August

There is a lot of crossover between transition and permaculture interests, so this might tickle your fancy:

London Permaculture Festival
inspiring & connecting London- Sunday 22nd August

This summer London will have its very own Permaculture festival.

The festival aims to bring together all groups directly or indirectly related to Permaculture and Transition in & around London to share news, information & skills: connecting together green-minded people in the city, for the first time.

The London Permaculture Festival aims to inspire and inform. Packed throughout the day with back to back engaging workshops, inspiring films, interactive practical demonstrations, expert talks, and relaxed networking. Helping Londoners to engage with their local activist projects, community gardens & Transition Town groups throughout the city.

The beautiful Arts & Crafts building of Cecil Sharp House near Camden Town, home of the London folk scene, will host this non-profit grassroots event organized solely by volunteers- aiming to unite green London and create a positive critical mass of awareness around DIY culture, reshaping & reconnecting our capital city in this time of resurgence.

Expect workshops, talks and interactive demonstrations on…

Guerilla Gardening action
Edible landscaping for small gardens
The Dark Mountain Project
The ins & outs of Forest gardening
Video link-up with Patrick Whitefield
Non-Violent Communication intro (NVC)
Reclaim the Fields with OrganicLea
Hands on bike surgery
Notebook making with John-Paul Flinthoff
Permaculture Design intro
Maddy Harland on 'The Work that Reconnects'
Activist video making
Tips for low impact living

Also on the menu…

Dr Bike surgery
organic herbs & seeds (seed swap)?
networking with world café/open space
inspiring films throughout the day
garden with family and children’s area, face painting?
eco book stall, Permaculture Magazine
local food, music & bar till late.

Full details of the programme still to be confirmed.

11am – 11pm £4/£3 conc
(children & under 18s free :)

Cecil Sharp House
2 Regents Park Road
London NW1 7AY

Tube Camden Town
train Camden Road
A disability accessible venue

If you're interested in helping to create this event, as there is still much to be done, contact us on

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Rehearsing the Future

Here's a message from the Greenwich and Docklands Festival 2010:

This year the festival's theme is ‘Earth’ and our events are based on the ideas of the earth, discovering new areas and mans effect on the earth.

‘3rd Ring Out – Rehearsing the Future’ is an event presented by Metis Arts, which uses live performance, video simulation and interactive computer systems to show how our environmental decisions may affect the Greenwich skyline.

This is a rehearsal for the worst case scenarios of climate change, and gives audiences the chance to become active participants in a performance which explores how we might collectively imagine our future.

The performances take place in Greenwich Park, from Thursday 24th June – Sunday 4th July at various times. It is a completely free event, but due to restricted capacity tickets must be booked through Greenwich Theatre Box Office.

For further details on the event and its timings please visit or call Greenwich Theatre on 020 8858 7755.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Dates for your diary

Dates for you diary:

• Transition 'Big Lunch' picnic in Greenwich Park near the tennis courts. Sunday July 18th from 1pm to 6pm. Please bring locally produced organic food (‘local’ means Kent too). This is a 'sit on the ground on a blanket' event, with no chairs allowed.
Everyone welcome, especially others from London-wide Transition Towns.
Donations suggested £1.00 each to cover the charge for an organised picnic in Greenwich Park.

• Supermarkets Meeting. Greenwich & Lewisham Transition Towns at Mycenae House, Mycenae Road, SE3 to discuss food & sustainability issues with local supermarkets and food stores, on Wednesday July 21st at 7.30pm.
We want them to have a local agreement about:
1. International Plastic Bag Free Day - September 11th 2010
2. Fareshare distribution of food that is past its 'sell-by' date
3. Demonstration cooking in supermarkets of healthy eating by Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency.

• Every 3rd Wednesday of month, 6.30pm to 8pm. Informal meeting in the bar of Mycenae House, Mycenae Rd, SE3 7SE

Text for discussion on population and consumption

“Tackling rising human population and consumption”
19th May 2010 : Transition Westcombe & Transition Ashburnham Triangle joint meeting

What is an ethical approach of equality and fairness in sharing out limited global land and resources? Today, it would take the resources of 1.4 Earths to renewably produce all the resources we consume, and to absorb the carbon dioxide emissions we create, and by 2030 we will require the resources of two Earths, if population goes on increasing. These figures are based on the Ecological Footprint of the Global Footprint Network, which has emerged as the fairest and best way of sharing out limited resources internationally. It relates population levels and per capita consumption, to the land productivity of each country, using United Nations statistics.

For instance, figures show that in 1970 there were still significant world ecological reserves. But since then world population has almost doubled, from 3.7 billion to 6.9 billion, and there has been a linked rise in human land requirements for cities, forest land, cropland, grazing land and fishing grounds, and land to absorb carbon. The increase in human population has been a bigger factor than rising consumption of resources alone in our global 40% overshoot.

The Ecological Footprint of the U.K. is roughly double what nature can regenerate from the productivity of the land. This is average for Europe. To arrive at a sustainable position we either need to halve our resource use or halve our population, or do some of each.

Halving our resource use would be difficult, and to achieve it will take time and money from government, business and the community. It involves the long term rebuilding of much of our infrastructure – energy, transportation, housing, agriculture, water and forestry. But none of this will have the desired effect if human population rises as well.

Jane Goodall, the English scientist who researched relations between humans and chimpanzees, said in March this year that it is human population growth that underlies just about every single one of the problems that we've inflicted on the planet. She is a patron of the Optimum Population Trust, a British charity which campaigns for population stabilisation and a gradual decrease both globally and in Britain. It argues for improved provision of family planning and sex education; better education and rights for women; and advocates that couples voluntarily "stop at two". She believes a cornerstone in any drive to stabilise population growth must be the improvement in the quality of life of the poorest.
In 2006, 7 out of 10 people said that Britain is already overcrowded, yet by mid-2007, our numbers were still increasing, passing 61 million. Officially projected to rise by a record 0.7% a year to reach 71 million by 2031, our population could be 100 million before the end of this century. UK population grew by 434,700 in 2007 alone, an increase equivalent to a city larger than Cardiff. In that year we recorded a net inward migration of 237,000 (more immigrants than emigrants), and a natural increase of 197,700 (more births than deaths). In 2005 the U.K.’s population density makes it more densely populated than China, and the third most densely populated in the EU 15 after the Netherlands (393) and Belgium (341). The environmental impacts of this growth are already clear - in both the development pressures on our own land and natural resources and the impacts of UK consumption on other parts of the world. Surveys across the whole European Union in 2004 report that women’s ideal number of children is at least two and that total fertility will soon return above replacement level there of 2.1 births per woman.
In the last 40 years the world’s population has doubled from 3.5 billion to over 6.8 billion, matching the rise in greenhouse gas emissions during that time. According to the United Nations, the global population could be as high as 11 billion in 2050 or as low as 8 billion, but this lower figure will only happen if the right programs are put in place now. At least 200 million of the poorest women around the world would like to delay or end childbearing but have no access to contraception.

Many countries that have lowered their birth rates, such as South Korea, have eradicated or greatly reduced poverty because there is the money for the government and parents to invest in education and health. An educated, healthy population can change the trajectory of a country in a single generation. The potential economic as well as ecological benefits of reducing population should be explored in more depth.

With the exception of a few oil-rich states, no country has risen from poverty while still maintaining high average fertility. The UN Millennium Development Goals for 2015 called for poverty reduction, equity, universal primary education, and combating disease, but they have been made impossible to achieve because of population growth. In much of the world, rising population is bringing increased poverty and hunger. The way to combat this trend is for women everywhere to be rapidly empowered with civil, political, and legal rights, with opportunities in education and employment and with a full range of reproductive health services.

The UK’s previous Chief Scientific adviser Sir David King stated that it is self-evident that the massive growth in the human population through the 20th Century has had more impact on biodiversity than any other single factor. It is the ultimate driving force behind all deforestation, destruction of ecosystems and much human conflict, both in developed countries which demand the resources and in developing nations where people are fighting for survival.

During the 1970s and 1980s, national family planning programmes everywhere were voluntary and extremely popular, having a very positive health and economic impact on women who are otherwise compelled to bear many children for lack of contraceptive options. Then China and parts of India instigated controversial programmes associated with coercion. Old memories were revived of some very unpleasant episodes in human history, and population reduction became a taboo subject. Since then, family planning programmes have stalled for lack of money and lack of political will.

Although rising population may seem difficult to address, ultimately the best way to confront it is simple: trust women and make sure they are empowered and educated. The ability of women to control their own fertility is absolutely fundamental to their empowerment and equality. Women who have access to family planning and who are able to work and be mothers generally have the number of children they desire. This number tends to hover around replacement level.

Lack of access to contraception may be due to price, but there may also be medical practices that are not based on scientific evidence, religious opposition, cultural practices such as child marriage or desire for large families, and unnecessary laws and regulations. There is much misinformation about contraception: that it is dangerous, will cause infertility, that condoms do not work, that they do not prevent sexually transmitted diseases, or that they give less sexual satisfaction. Education programs are needed to raise awareness around many issues, including maternal health, child marriage and early child birth, high fertility rates and poverty, and how they relate to family planning and reproductive choices.

Many experts agree that world population growth of 50% by 2050 poses serious threats to human health, socioeconomic development, and the environment. There is a proposal by Bolivia to create a UN Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth which would work like the UN Declaration of Human Rights. We need this Mother Earth perspective so that we consider the impact of extra population not only on the poorest people on earth, but also on all the other species and ecosystems that live there too.

The Ecological Footprint is a fair and equal way of rationing limited planet space and resources between countries. We still have time to reduce our ecological footprint by investing in sustainable infrastructure and setting our population onto a downward trajectory. The global problem of how to reduce population ought to be addressed in countries like the UK first, because we have the resources and knowledge to get it right. The question is, exactly how do we get it right?

Global Footprint Network.
Optimum Population Trust.
Population Connection.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Tweet tweet

You can now follow us on Twitter by clicking here. Please do follow us and encourage others to do so too.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010


Thanks very much to the News Shopper, who have featured our fruit-harvesting project this week, provisionally called Harvest Hands.

Click here to learn more about it.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Grow your own - but where?

The allotment shortage has not abated, and in fact the shortfall in plots has worsened dramatically in the last year, according to the Telegraph, which writes:

"The grow-your-own trend, which was boosted by the recession and fears about the rising price of food, has shown no signs of calming down.

"The survey of over 150,000 council plots in England found 91,500 people waiting for an allotment – up from 76,330 last June.

"The figures indicated there are around 60 people waiting for every 100 plots, up from around 50 people last year and just four people in 1996.

"The severe shortage, in parts of the country, has meant that some gardeners are facing waits of up to 40 years. The average time is over three years.

People in Westcombe Park who have tried to get an allotment will know this problem well - and will have found that not only are the local waiting lists 10 years long, they are now closed to new names so you cannot join them at all.

Transition Westcombe has tried to come up with a constructive solution: matching would-be growers with other people willing to lend a patch of their garden - perhaps in return for a share of the harvest. Visit Patch Match for more information or to sign up.

We particularly need people to sign up and offer a patch of their land to those on our own waiting list.

If you've considered doing so but have hesitated over what kind of person might show up to share your garden, here are a selection of things that our would-be growers have said about why they are so keen to take part:

"I have always loved growing things (although I am far from being an expert!) and had a vegetable patch in my old house. I now rent and have only a very tiny shared front garden. I would really like to feel close to the earth again and grow things and also to feel closer to the community here."

"Having grown up in the countryside we always grew veg when I was young. I really miss this living in London and would love the opportunity to start growing my own veg again."

"I would like to Patch Match because I am an extremely keen cook but have never had the opportunity to grow my own produce due to lack of space. I noticed the allotments as soon as I arrived at our new flat, but the waiting list was full."

"I hope to grow all of the basics and I'll be happy to share the crop, it's the process I'm most interested in."

"We have no car and cycle everywhere, so carrying large loads of groceries from Sainsbury's is not ideal, we wish to grow our own food, to sustain ourselves, our future family and hopefully inspire our community to live sustainably."

"I am originally from rural Gloucestershire where growing your own veg was part of everyday life, it's something i miss very much and would like to start doing again. I am on various waiting lists for allotments but fear i may never reach the top of any of them!"

"I do not have a garden of my own - just a tiny backyard, and little growing experience. I would love to have the opportunity to grow some organic food crops - perhaps even share the skills of the lender."

"I like to think I'm green-fingered, live on a limited budget, love spending time outdoors and doing physical work, and am a committed environmentalist. At the moment I have a couple of window boxes above a busy road - and am told that the waiting lists for local allotments stretches to over three years!"

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Hustings Meeting and Environment Law


There will be a large parliamentary 'hustings' meeting for people from Greenwich and Blackheath, from 7.30 to 9.30pm on Monday 26th April, in the Blackheath Halls (Lee Road, Blackheath end).

Apart from influencing candidates, this is great opportunity to raise awareness locally of the true extent of the environmental crisis, so do try to be there early if you can, talk to people and invite them to our next public meeting. It will be on May 19th at 7.30pm in Mycenae House, and will be discussing setting limits to and starting to voluntarily reduce the UK human population and consumption.

We have also been asked to start lists of people interested in forming neighbouring Transition Towns, such as in Blackheath Village and Lee. Anyone interested in being part of an initiating group for a neighbouring Transition Town can email us on transitionwestcombe@googlemail.blogspot, and we will help in getting the first meeting to happen.

These are the laws we need our national government to adopt:
The U.K. National Planning Framework needs to embody the aims of the Climate Change Act, the EU Biodiversity Directive and the Marine Act, which are all already UK law.

The U.K. should adopt the new United Nations Resolution of the Rights of Mother Earth

The U.K. should back the creation of a new crime of 'Ecocide' to be enforced by the United Nations International Criminal Court. 'Ecocide' is the crime of destroying the Planet’s natural ecosystems.

Here is a report about Debbie Tripley and Polly Higgins, the lawyers who are fighting for proper legal protection of the environment:

Haldane Society Meeting 22nd April 2010 College of Law, London

Debbie Tripley and Polly Higgins

These two inspirational British environmental lawyers are working on the environmental problems from the bottom up and from the top down.

Debbie Tripley is working on environmental problems bottom-up through the local planning system in the UK. She is Chief Executive of the Environmental Law Foundation, which advises low income individuals and groups who are fighting planning decisions which allow environmentally damaging development. They are working to have the objectives of the UK Climate Change Act (UCC), the UK Marine Act and the EU Biodiversity Directive made part of the National Planning Framework. It is the CCA which has a UK commitment to cutting CO2 to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. She thinks our environmental law needs to be more radical. The phrase ‘sustainable development’ is actually a curse because in practice economic interest always outweighs environmental and social interest. Cost should not be a barrier to justice as it is at present, the community should be properly consulted at an early stage, and the legal principle of a duty of care needs to be extended to the environment.

Polly Higgins is working on the problems top-down by coming up with globally effective legal mechanisms to control big business. She says that the present environmental laws are not fit for purpose. The latest UN figures show that just on its own world deforestation by business amounted to a staggering $2.8 trillion in 2008 and to a sickening $4 trillion in 2009. She was involved in the recently adopted United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth which governments can sign up to. She has now proposed a new crime of Ecocide to be enforced by the UN’s International Criminal Court (ICC). Ecocide would be the crime of destroying any part of the Planet’s natural ecosystems, and would impose a duty of care on individual directors of companies. She compares the insane and evil greed behind destruction of the planet’s ecosystems with the Slave Trade. The Slave Trade was stopped almost overnight by a new law, and within a year all the 300 companies involved in the Slave Trade had changed to other ways of making money, helped by subsidies from government. A good law has this power to shift behaviour and attitudes overnight. But time is now very short.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Trees, please!

Today we are putting out a call to owners of fruit trees in and around Westcombe Park: will you sign up to have volunteers come in and harvest your trees?

This new project aims to make use of the vast amount of fruit that goes unused in back gardens and other parcels of land.

Tree owners would get the first share of the fruit, with the rest distributed through the community – for example to Sure Start centres, nursing homes, schools, the Westcombe Society's squad of jam-makers or individuals – while the bruised pickings can be turned into delicious juice.

Plenty would be left on the trees for the birds and on the ground for the good of the soil.

But why do this? Well...

About 95 per cent of fruit in Britain is imported, including 71 per cent of our apples, with some coming 12,000 miles from New Zealand. They, and even the British apples we buy, are often grown using intensive methods and then transported a long way to and from distribution and packaging centres.

In the meantime our gardens have trees groaning with fruit that we don’t use, so harvesting it for local use makes perfect sense. Similar projects elsewhere have even identified as many as 50 varieties of apples in a small area, so imagine what we might uncover on our own doorsteps.

If you have a tree you would like to see harvested in or near Westcombe Park, email and tell us your name, address, phone number and the type of fruit you have.

If you would like to get involved in helping with the harvest project in other ways, there are lots of jobs to be done, and every little helps. Just email the same address.

For more on Transition Westcombe, visit

Friday, 2 April 2010

April Progress Report

Transition Westcombe and Transition Ashburnham Joint Meeting


Voluntarily stabilizing and reducing
population and consumption in the U.K.

Wednesday May 19th 2010, 7.30pm
Mycenae House, Mycenae Road, SE3 7SE

This Greenwich meeting of residents as well as local faith and non-faith groups will be exploring acceptable ways of voluntarily stabilizing and reducing population and consumption, in small table discussions. Komathi Kolandai has researched the viewpoints of the major religions, which all advocate simpler lifestyles without excessive consumption, and also all stress the quality of family life rather than the quantity of children. For his full text, go to:

In the Global Footprint Network’s 2003 report scientists stated that the global human ecological footprint exceeded the carrying capacity of the earth by some 25%, and that this figure was rising by 8% per year. The ecological footprint is calculated by multiplying the human population of each country by their annual per capita consumption. The key factors behind the need to voluntarily reduce population and consumption in the UK and worldwide are climate change, loss of biodiversity and the global environmental crisis of the oceans, soils and water tables, as a result of human energy and resource requirements.

Consumption reduction. In the U.K. it has been estimated that we could reduce our consumption by 30% by putting in place energy saving measures and living more simply. This could be achieved through resource conservation, needs-based consumption, waste reduction and by using alternative resources. But even if we achieve that target then we would still need to reduce our population in order to get closer to the U.K.’s ecological carrying capacity.

Population reduction. The Optimum Population Trust recommends that the U.K. population of 61 million should be allowed to voluntarily stabilise and decrease by not less than 0.25% a year to an environmentally sustainable level. It could do this by bringing immigration into numerical balance with emigration, by making greater efforts to reduce teenage pregnancies, and by encouraging couples to "Stop at Two" children.

Population issues are often seen in terms of human rights, and some may still feel the right to have more than 2 children is an absolute freedom. But the United Nations General Assembly has recently adopted a Bolivian resolution for a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, which will set human rights against human responsibilities not to destroy earth’s ecology and climate for many other species, as well as for future generations of humans. With the acceptance of earth rights, legal systems could take account of the rights of the natural world – for example, mountains, forests, oceans, rivers and animals. The Declaration could follow the same course as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which was not legally binding when first proclaimed but seven decades later, the UDHR has been incorporated into the laws of many countries, and is the basis for the International Criminal Court.

Despite well-publicized media coverage of some mistakes, the scientific community is still convinced of the fundamental accuracy of the conclusions of the 2007 International Panel on Climate Change which reported 95% certainty of human-caused climate change. The U.K.’s Royal Society supported this view by publishing ‘Preventing dangerous climate change’ in 2009, which underlined the need for us to start making changes now to avoid the worst future scenarios. There is still no internationally binding agreement on climate change, which makes it more important, as a nation, to start voluntarily stabilizing and reducing our population and consumption from their current levels towards a U.K. sized ecological footprint.


Patch Match, our free garden-sharing service, has a number of enthusiastic gardeners looking for a space to grow vegetables. Do you or someone you know have a large garden or some other space you cannot fully use but which you would be glad to see cultivated for zero-miles food, in return for a share of the harvest?

Transition Westcombe have got the backing of our MP Nick Raynsford for Barbara Morris’ ‘Greener Streets’ proposal. We have also presented it to committee members of the Westcombe Society, and they will be at a future exploratory meeting with the relevant Council officers.

Friday, 26 February 2010

Climate Change and Human Change

February 2010

There have been unambiguous warnings about the consequences of climate change during our lifetime from world climate scientists, the Royal Society, and Government Chief Scientific Advisers. But public opinion in the U.K. remains largely unconcerned about the danger and sceptical whether the problem is even human-caused. Meanwhile the government’s environmental policies have barely altered. Why?

Many of us stop paying attention to climate change when we realize there is no easy solution, and none without worldwide co-operation. The tendency for the self-interest of individual countries to deplete and destroy shared limited resources (atmosphere, oceans and land), despite this being in no-one's long-term interest, requires a globally monitored agreement. This could be based on the amount of energy used / carbon produced per person in the world.

The scale of the change required to deal with climate change means it can only be brought about by governments. They can alter the framework of rewards and constraints to motivate us to change our behaviour, either indirectly such as through individual carbon rationing, or directly such as by taxing cars more heavily and subsidizing energy saving in homes . But politicians in democratic countries risk being voted out if they go against public opinion. There is also political resistance to effective action from the fossil fuel industry and the economic growth lobby.

Climate change directly questions our culture’s dominant belief in perpetual economic growth, and convincing alternative economic models are still little developed. At present we define ourselves around our high-carbon consumption habits, especially loving our cars and flights and material goods. A more services-led economy that promotes personal growth and increases self-identity through closeness to other people and to nature would have health benefits for family and community life.

Dick Beckhard's equation states that any change will only happen when individual dissatisfaction with the status quo, plus the clarity of vision and perceived benefits, plus the availability of practical first steps, add up to a sum greater than the psychological and financial costs of changing. There is a natural tendency for the status quo to persist because that is the easy option, particularly if there are many difficulties to overcome.

We think we can ignore climate change because it will affect us at best in the future and we are too busy with solving the day-to-day family and work problems of the present. The danger is perceived as long term, is invisible and is caused by all of us, whereas our human risk response mechanism (fight or flight) is triggered by visible, immediate and personal threats.

We are not receiving the clear scientific message that we must act now. Repeated and accurate information about the threat and the solutions is essential for a change of public opinion about climate change. As individuals we use a denial strategy of trying to know as little as possible about reality. Few have read even a summary of the pivotal 2007 report. Instead, scepticism has grown because of a media distortion of the real scientific consensus about climate change, due to ‘balanced’ reporting which exaggerates small doubts about the evidence.

Denial of climate change may take the form of unlikely fatalistic optimism, for instance that ‘the government will deal with it’, ‘technology will solve it’, or ‘it is in the hands of God’. Humans have been growing up psychologically for a long time, for most of it feeling like children in relationship to the Earth and Universe, whose sublime nature we experience fully only on rare occasions. At some level we still believe that our ‘parents’ will again be there to look after us, provide for us and love us, whatever we do. The warnings about climate change are based on long-term scientific data comparing rising global temperatures with the levels of gases such as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Human intelligence will have found this out in vain if human wisdom cannot quickly bring about responsible action by spreading accurate information to change public opinion.


Energy / planning subgroup. Meeting with Councillor Alex Grant and planning officers to discuss the regulations which disallow solar panels on front roof slopes in conservation areas. The main outcome is that you are advised to take any such energy saving planning applications directly to the planning meeting of councillors (via your ward councillor) rather applying to the planning officers (and then appealing when refused). We will be looking in more detail at how some councils are more flexible about energy saving measures.

Third Wednesday of the month. Wednesday 17th March. Informal meeting of Transition Westcombe from 6.30 – 8pm at Mycenae House bar

Comments and suggestions to

Monday, 22 February 2010

Cottoning on

Caterina and Cathy have been out and about doing their bit to cut plastic bag use and brighten up the Royal Standard with a bit of home-made chic.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Bee there or be square

Another Deptford Deli event, not too far from Westcombe Park, which might appeal, see below. [Greenwich Community College will also run a course in March and again in June.]

Urban Bee Keeping - 11th February 2009
6pm for 6.15pm start

Deptford Deli - 4 Tanner's Hill, Deptford, SE8

£2.50 including tea / coffee and slice of cake

Numbers are limited so entry is on a first come first served basis.

Julian Kingston - keeps bees on the creek in Deptford that produce wonderful honey. Tonight's talk looks at the practicalities of keeping bees in the urban environment.

The talk will cover the following:

How to start - space needed, equipment needed, what time it takes, approx. costs etc

Things to know - dangers / temperature issues

Benefits - to bees (apparently urban bees are flourishing) to us - health cost & sustainability.

So if you've ever fancied keeping bees but thought you don't have the time, space or experience come along and hear what it really entails.

Monday, 1 February 2010

How green is your avatar?

This talk - see below - on Thursday 4 February is not far outside Westcombe Park, at the lovely Deptford Deli, and may be of interest to the transition-minded.

It sounds like the speaker, Paul Mobbs, is going to touch on the hidden energy costs of our high-tech IT - something that even many transition folk don't give much thought to.

Even we like to imagine a future of ever-greater online connectivity, and can convince ourselves that our laptop habit is reasonably energy-efficient and sustainable.

But the peaking of the rare metals which make up their essential components, and the huge consumption of the giant server farms which keep this system ticking over, might prove us wrong on that score. John Michael Greer, among peak oil writers, has written on this.

Here's the blurb:

Have you ever wondered about an avatar’s carbon footprint or considered just how ‘green’ is e-mail?

Paul Mobbs’s talk draws our attention to the consumption of resources not always
obvious as we tap away on our laptops or do our weekly wash.

Knowledge is power and this weeks TASTY! Talk offers food for thought. Hope to see you there.

'Limits to Technology' -- The Ecological Boundaries of the Information Age"
Paul Mobbs

When: 4th Feb. 2010 6pm for 6 15pm start
Where: Deptford Deli 4 Tanner's Hill SE8
Getting there: DLR - Deptford Bridge, Mainline Deptford Station / Buses: 47, 53 & 177
Cost: £2.50 including coffee / tea and slice of cake

Numbers are limited so entry is on a first come first served basis

"From the latest high-tech. gadget to the latest in ecologically cool energy sources, modern society relies on a whole range of metals and minerals to create the specialised electrical goods that we increasingly rely upon. The difficulty with the modern high-tech. age is that, like the operation of the human system as a whole, it is limited by certain natural limits that must ultimately constrain our utilisation of these resources.

"Just like the more general boundaries that were identified in the “Limits to Growth” study nearly forty years ago, the rapid growth in the ways we use these technologies is is driving consumption of resources at a level that cannot be sustained in the longer-term. That's not to say that we won't have “technology” in the future, but it raises questions about its applications, price, availability, and thus the role that technology will play in our everyday lives."

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Food, inc.

An upcoming film that those interested in food issues may want to see - and it'll be on at Greenwich Picturehouse on Monday 15 February.

As with The Age of Stupid, this is a small-budget, independent film whose chances of success and of getting more big-screen time depends on a successful first week, so do try to see it then and spread the word.

Here's the official blurb:

Friday 12 February 2010 sees the UK cinema release of a compelling new Oscar-tipped documentary film, 'Food, Inc'.

As one of the highest grossing independent films of 2009 in the US, 'Food, Inc.' is the eagerly awaited film lifts the veil on the food industry. This eye opening documentary reveals how supermarkets have worked with governments to keep food costs artificially low, to the detriment of our health, animal welfare and the livelihood's of farmers - revealing surprising - and often shocking truths about what we eat and how it's produced.

Food, Inc is more than just 'food for thought'; it's an opportunity for activism and essential viewing for any health-conscious citizen. You'll never look at dinner in the same way again!

The Soil Association is proud to be the official charity partner of Food, Inc. providing the solutions to the issues raised in the film. It hits our cinema screens on Friday 12 February, with a special day of one-off nationwide cinema screenings on Monday 15 February – this will possibly be the only chance to see this important film in some parts of the country, but please read below to see how you may be able to help!

The first week of the release is make or break for any movie. The cinema chains look at the number of tickets sold and then decide either to book the film in more cinemas, or to dump it in the bin.

Films such as An Inconvenient Truth and The Age of Stupid started very small, but then went on to have wide nationwide releases on the back of a strong start in cinemas. So if we can pack out the first weekend and the initial nationwide screenings, then the film will gather a momentum of its own, allowing the greatest number of people the opportunity to see the film.

In doing this the more people that can see the issues for themselves the more awareness will be raised about why organic principles and organic farming practices are so crucial for a sustainable future.

Please will you help?

What you can do:

1. Email - Please forward this email to everyone you know and encourage them to go and watch the film, ask if they can forward on to their contacts too

2. Trailer - watch the trailer and get a taste of things to come!

3. Watch the film - Look at the list of participating cinemas - Click on a cinema to go through to the booking page where you can buy your tickets now

4. Volunteer - Fancy a free ticket to a screening of Food, Inc. near you? If you're able to spend a few minutes of your time after the film handing out Soil Association membership leaflets after the film we'll pay for your ticket. Get a friend to help you and we'll give them a free ticket to the film too! Contact Lisa for more details

5. Promotion - Download the poster and stick up in your school/office/window or let us know if you want to buy the massive cinema poster and do the same

6. Social networks - Join the Soil Association on Facebook and Twitter - and follow the progress of this film. Add the screening you are going to as an event in Facebook and invite all your friends to join you

7. Support the 'Hungry for Change' campaign - Inspired by the release of the film, support our work by joining Soil Association today

8. Shout! - Announce the nearest screening to you at campaign meetings/school assemblies/business shindigs or just invest in a loud hailer.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Greener Streets proposal by TW's Barbara Morris

Greener Streets – a proposal for a new approach to street design
in an urban transition area (shortened text*)
Barbara Morris
January 2010

The streets where we live and work form the landscape and the soundscape of our lives. Many town and city dwellers rarely leave this urban landscape, and it’s nature and quality has a profound effect on people’s physical and mental health, and on people’s lifestyle choices. Yet the principles on which most residential streets are designed and managed are still mainly concerned with providing mains services, traffic space and pavements while keeping down the maintenance costs. The result can be streetscapes with poor social space and environmental quality. A new approach to the design of residential streets in towns and cities would now be timely, to see how these everyday, ubiquitous spaces could be re-tuned to match our 21st century needs – both to minimise global warming and to accommodate growing numbers of people happily, safely and healthily in an urban landscape.

Reducing the area covered in paving, concrete and tarmac, and replacing it with areas of soil planted with grass, shrubs and trees will help to minimise the effects of climate change. It can do this by increasing moisture levels in the soil and air during hot, dry periods; by reducing rainwater run-off flowing into storm drains in times of heavy rainfall; and by increasing carbon retention in the soil. A greener street environment can promote bio-diversity, by providing more natural habitats for insects and birds. It also provides a more pleasant environment for its human inhabitants, offering shade on hot days, shelter on windy days, and natural colour and variety all year round.

Greener streets encourages a wider range of people to walk more and can contribute to making the streets an effective social space, where people of all ages mix and meet. The additional surveillance makes people feel safer, for instance on dark evenings. With slower traffic speeds, and more surveillance from passing pedestrians, play spaces for children might even be included in the street layout. This would help to meet the current need for more opportunities for children and teenagers to get out more and take more exercise.

Five step to greener streets
As a starting point, and at a local scale within a Transition Area, the following five steps towards greener streets might be considered:
1. Reinstate roadside verges, or equivalent green spaces, and plant more street trees and shrubs
2. Reinstate garden spaces around houses and flats: and around shops
Encourage residents and landlords to reduce or remove hard-standing (put in place for parking) from garden areas in front of houses, around blocks of flats and around garage courts, and to reinstate topsoil and plants. Replacement surfaces include gravel, grid-blocks, and paved wheel tracks with soft surfaces between. Landlords and local businesses might also be encouraged to create new green spaces in garage and parking areas around flats and shops. And whenever a parking area needs resurfacing, a porous surface might be installed, replacing impervious tarmac or concrete.
3. Permit more on-street parking and reduce speed limit to 20 mph
Reduce the speed limit to 20 mph in all residential streets and return to the normal, non- controlled parking zone conditions, where residents may park in the street across the dropped curbs leading to their own access; also increase the marked parking bays to include all safe parking areas, regardless of length, and reduce where safe the long sight-lines specified for cross-overs (not road junctions). Increasing the area of on-street parking will tend to reduce road width for through traffic. If parking areas are marked out with a change of road surface (perhaps a porous surface), this may convey to road users that these streets are designed to accommodate pedestrians on an equal footing with motor traffic, which can encourage drivers to drive more slowly and more carefully.
4. Redesign the street layout, rather than the current ‘one-design fits all’ approach.
In the longer term, redesign the street layout with more space for greenery, and more space for people to walk and play. Perhaps single lane traffic with passing places instead of the current two lanes: or two-lane traffic with narrower lanes plus passing places for wider vehicles. Some echelon parking could be introduced along the wider streets, interspersed with planting and seats. Street layouts tailored to specific streets might be considered, while still providing space for all the essential services. Where surfaces are needed for walking, cycling or parking, replace the traditional hard, impervious surfaces (tarmac, paving, concrete) with appropriate porous surfaces which would allow rainwater to stay in the local area, rather than being carried away via storm drains. Where appropriate, storm drains could be laid with porous pipework to provide underground irrigation for street trees and reduce run-off surges.
Creating and maintaining a greener street environment needs a significant investment in time, skills, materials, equipment and labour. In the Transition Westcombe Area, some residents may be willing to take on some of this commitment. Where further resources are needed, and in the long term, a greener street environment has the virtue of providing training and employment opportunities in a range of skills Creating a better environment for walking promotes social networking and social inclusion, by making the local area more accessible to more people on foot – a free and healthy way to make local journeys.
5. Explore the future possibilities for designing in energy-saving and energy-creating elements about keeping up-to-date with new technologies as soon as they become practical, such as easier access to mains services or solar cells in street furniture;

The Westcombe Park area
Some of these five steps might combine well with Transition Westcombe’s plans to identify under-used outdoor space suitable for new planting, with the involvement of residents in the planting, care and maintenance of these new green areas in the streets. The Transition Westcombe is a particular place with some local needs and a great deal of local potential. This project proposes to tap local resources, and find local solutions to meet specific situations. The area has a stable, socially-mixed and age-mixed community, with a low turnover compared to some areas of London. There is a mix of low-density housing, mainly built between 1860 and 1940, now often divided into flats: plus numerous blocks of flats built from about 1950 onwards. Development continues in the area, with individual houses and blocks of flats still being built as infill or redevelopment. The area would benefit from new green spaces to counteract the environmental effects of continuing development.
Several streets in the area have wide roadways, with comparatively low levels of traffic. This may offer scope for a reassignment of street-space. Many streets in the area are sought out by walkers and cyclists, as safe and pleasant routes for local journeys. Situated on a north-facing hillside, many streets have good views across the Thames to north London and beyond. From the top of the hillside down to the spring-line, the ground is made up of sandy and pebbly soils. This offers a cost-effective, natural porous surface suitable for walking, playing and parking cars, which also supports green ground-over plants. On this soil, even car parking areas can support ground-cover plants. Below the spring line, the soil is clay, which will support a wider range of trees and shrubs.

What to aim for ?
It has been suggested that “a 10% increase in the green cover in London would offset the enhanced heat-island effect for the next 100 years” . This seems the least we should aim for, and it suggests a minimum, short-term aim of a ten per cent increase within, say, ten years across London as a whole. In a Transition area, a valid short-term aim might be 10 per cent by 2015, with a view to a 20 per cent increase in green cover by 2020. To this could be added any gains made by changing other areas from hard to porous surfaces (without green cover).
*For the full text of the proposal, please email