onlineFOCUS – News and Stuff For Rochford District since 2003

 

Archive for Green Issues

Wallasea Wander

Paglesham -lookingouttoWallaseaIsland

 

From the RSPB website, a morning you might enjoy:

Wallasea Wander

Saturday 12 April

9:45am to 12pm

Price: Free, donations welcome.

Booking essential

Join our monthly walks to spot some of the amazing wildlife that makes Wallasea Island its home. Find out more about the development of this exciting new nature reserve.

Directions

Meet at: RSPB car park, Wallasea Island

 

Don’t forget that Wallasea Island ( in our district) is going  to become a pretty wonderful place:

Wallasea Island Wild Coast project is a landmark conservation and engineering scheme for the 21st century, on a scale never before attempted in the UK and the largest of its type in Europe.

The aim of this project is to combat the threats from climate change and coastal flooding by recreating the ancient wetland landscape of mudflats and saltmarsh, lagoons and pasture. It will also help to compensate for the loss of such tidal habitats elsewhere in England.

Once completed, this will provide a haven for a wonderful array of nationally and internationally important wildlife and an amazing place for the local community, and those from further afield, to come and enjoy.

Although the reserve is planned to be in development until around 2019, you’re welcome to come along and view the progress as each phase comes to life and the marshland naturally regenerates. The current sea wall access along the North (Defra) sea wall is a wonderful place to come to relax and enjoy, whether for walking, cycling, birdwatching, painting, photography or simply taking in the sea air.

Over the coming years, the scheme will create a varied wetland landscape with more than nine miles (15 km) of new and improved access routes, and eventually a range of visitor facilities.

Opening times

The sea wall footpath is open at all times.

Entrance charges

None – it’s free.

Information for dog owners

There are plans for a dog walking area on part of the island – please contact us for details.

 

Green Tea

360px-Tea_leaves_steeping_in_a_zhong_čaj_05

From the District Council website:


A Rochford District business is the latest lucky recipient of an EU funded grant to help them become ‘greener’ as part of the Low Carbon Business programme.
Squires coffee shop in Rayleigh is the latest District based business to benefit from a cash grant which they used towards a brand new heating and cooling system.
Squires were introduced to the Low Carbon Business Programme at a Rochford District Council business breakfast event and were able to assist them with the application for a European grant towards the new air heating system.
The coffee shop is expecting to reduce its electricity usage by 6,920kWh which will mean that they also reduce their carbon footprint by 3.63 tonnes. On top of this they are likely to reduce their overhead spend by over £700 every year….

The full article is here. There is a total of £40,000 available for businesses in the Rochford area

The LED Alternative

street-lights-1
Southend and Glasgow are two of the councils investing in modern LED lighting – instead of turning lights off.

The Echo reports about Southend:

New street lights will improve safety and save money

NEW multi-million pound low energy street lights in Southend will improve safety as well save taxpayers cash, council bosses say.

Southend Council plans to spend £2.65million replacing all street lights in the borough with LED bulbs, which should save almost two-thirds on energy bills.

But the brighter white light the bulbs produce will also improve the quality of images produced by CCTV and make it easier for drivers to spot potential hazards on roads at night.

Tory council leader Nigel Holdcroft, who announced the planned spending as part of the coming year’s budget earlier this week, also rejected turning off street lights to save cash, as the county council is doing elsewhere in Essex….

 

Meanwhile the Guardian reports today about Glasgow:

Glasgow gets green loan to install low-energy street lights

Glasgow will be markedly less orange in the near future, and its council will be millions of pounds better off, under plans from the government’s green fund. Street lights will be replaced with low-energy LEDs so that the familiar sodium glow gives way to bright white light.

As well as saving money, it will be a boon to skywatchers in the surrounding countryside, as LED lights provide more illumination on the ground and less to the clouds. Close to 100% of the light goes downward, unlike conventional street lights which send a third of their glow into the night sky, causing light pollution.

The project is the result of a new finance deal from the government-backed green investment bank. Under the deal, councils will receive the cash needed for the replacements upfront, to be paid back over time as the savings materialise.

 

 

You Can Help Buy And Protect Some Woodland In Thundersley…..

cottage
From the website of the Essex Wildlife Trust:

Urgent – Help us save Cottage Plantation: a fantastic woodland site. We have just 12 weeks to raise £44,000 towards the purchase of Cottage Plantation – a fantastic woodland site in Daws Heath. Cottage Plantation is in a complex of ancient woodlands and has many native species of trees. Essex Wildlife Trust aims to acquire this site and we are determined to raise the last £44,000 which, together with grants, will complete the purchase.

We need 1,760 people to donate £25 each to help us save this truly tranquil and important woodland.

The woodland is on the opposite side of the road to Essex Wildlife Trust’s Little Haven nature reserve and would form an important part of the Daws Heath & Belfairs Living Landscape. As you can see from the attached map, Cottage Plantation is surrounded by ancient woodlands and nature reserves and, through Essex Wildlife Trust acquiring the site, this area will be even more robust so that wildlife can flourish.

The woodland is truly beautiful and walking in it offers tranquillity and a chance to escape from it all. At present it is privately owned but Essex Wildlife Trust will make the area accessible for all to enjoy. Footpaths will be improved and the site will welcome visitors.

 

Find out more here.

“See You On The OUTSIDE”

Project Wild Thing is a film-led project – about getting people, especially children, outside, into nature.

If you want nature, wildness and free-range living for kids and adults to exist alongside an increasingly industrialised and technological society then join us and get involved in making that happen.
See you on the outside.

This little film explains it better and is worth watching. Sometimes you are tempted to laugh – or maybe wince :

Hat-tip: Liberal England

How You Can Help The Battle To Protect Our Ash Trees

From the District Council website:

Chalara dieback of ash

Posted on 08 November 2012 by admin

What is the threat to the ash population in the District and in the UK?

Cherry Orchard Country ParkChalara dieback of ash is a disease of ash trees caused by a fungus called Chalara fraxinea. The disease causes leaf loss in affected trees, and can lead to tree death.

The Forestry Commission state that it is potentially a very serious threat. Experience of the outbreak in Europe indicates that it kills young ash trees very quickly, while older trees tend to resist it for some time until prolonged exposure causes them to succumb as well.

There is no evidence of any risk to humans or animals from Chalara fraxinea.

Reporting suspected cases

The Council are carrying out inspections of trees that may be affected, particularly young trees in Cherry Orchard Jubilee Country Park, however, if you notice the disease on any trees on Council land or on any tree with a Tree Preservation Order please contact the Customer Services on 01702 318111.

Otherwise please click on the below link to the Forestry Commission website which has a video on how to recognise the disease and a contact number 08459 33 55 77 (open 8am – 6pm every day) to ring to report cases:

http://www.forestry.gov.uk/chalara


Further information

How you can stop the spread of Chalara fraxinea :

We do ask that if you are visiting an area of trees, please take some simple precautions:

  • do not remove any plant material (firewood, sticks, leaves or cuttings)
  • where possible, before leaving the area , clean soil, mud, leaves and other plant material from footwear, clothing, dogs, horses, the wheels and tyres of bicycles, baby buggies, carriages and other vehicles, and remove any leaves which are sticking to your car
  • before visiting other countryside sites, parks, garden centres and nurseries, thoroughly wash footwear, wheels and tyres in soapy water

 

There are ash trees in Hockley Woods, but thankfully there are plenty of other trees as well. There are also some ash in Kingley Wood.

First Ship To Wallasea Island On The 20th

The first shipload of earth from the London Crossrail project is due to arrive at Wallasea Island on August 20th.

It’s part of a very important conservation project.

Why is the earth needed? The RSPB website explains here:

The island is on average 2 metres below sealevel, having eroded over the years of intensive farm activity, so in order to restore the old marshland the landscape must be built up in carefully planned, natural levels gently sloping up to the new seawall bunds which will eventually provide extensive foot and cycle path access to many areas of the island.
Crossrail’s first ship will arrive on Monday August 20th, when the unloading facility – the pontoon which arrived at Easter and the 800 metre conveyor belt which has been under construction since last Autumn – will be tested and seen in action for the very first time.

Join In The Big Butterfly Count !

The Guardian explains things pretty well here:


If this summer’s 50 shades of grey are getting you down, imagine how miserable it is to be a winged insect. In what is shaping up to be the worst year on record for butterflies, Sir David Attenborough on Wednesday urged people to find a window of sunshine and join the biggest butterfly count in the world.
.
The wettest April for a century and the dampest June on record has left lepidopterists despairing about the fate of Britain’s 59 species, almost three quarters of which are in decline and one third are in danger of extinction.
.
Launching the third year of Butterfly Conservation’s Big Butterfly Count, the biggest citizen science project of its kind in the world, Attenborough said it was more important than ever to discover if butterflies are dodging the downpour. The count, in which people are asked to record online all the common species they spot in a 15-minute window in their garden or local park, will alert conservationists to the species most in danger so efforts can be better targeted to prevent their extinction.

You can find out more on the Big Butterfly Count website.

You simply download and print their identification chart and spend 15 minutes when its sunny noting what butterflies you see.

You could do this in a garden, or park or field, or one of our woods. You can then submit your findings, and they go onto an interactive map:

A couple of thoughts :

  • Our district doesn’t have any results yet on the map
  • This is a reminder of how important wildflower meadows are in places like Sweyne Park.
  • Bumps On the Roof Of Our Cars?

    Nissan with bumps on roof.

    If you drive on roads like the A13 you’ll find quite a few drivers are sticking to 50 mph and cruise control to save fuel.

    Here’s another idea (no guarantees that it works!)

    We found a new article on the Pacific Standard website that’s quiet intriguing.

    It’s about a Californian deep-sea diver and inventor who’s looked at the tiny bumps on whales. He reckons that if you put the same type of bumps on car roofs you improve the aerodynamics and save on fuel:

    The pods—spaced four inches apart and located 10 inches from the lip of the roof—reduced aerodynamic drag by 5 percent when a two-door VW Golf was driven at 65 miles per hour….

    The pods come in loud flashy colors. Some can be permanently glued to the roof. A more expensive model attaches via magnets. Prices currently range from $60 to $100, but those, Evans said, will come down to reflect how much a driver might save in a couple of months.
    Aside from the monetary relief, Evans said the pods offer drivers the opportunity do something about climate change.
    “People don’t want to be told what to do; they want to do it themselves.”

    The sellers of these bumps have a website here.

    Does anybody fancy being a pioneer? Should County Highways invest in a set and see if they work?

    A LOT of Solar Panels

    There’s a planning application in at the moment to install 109 solar panels on the roof of Philpot House in Rayleigh (the offfice building opposite Rayleigh Station). Officers are recommending approval:

    The building is at the bottom of a hill therefore it would be possible for the panels to be viewed from some of the properties located further up the hill, particularly no.’s 2 – 8 Mount Close whose first floor windows on the rear elevation look towards this building. It is also possible that some properties in Castle Drive and Crown Hill could see the roof area of this building but they would benefit from more of an angled view. As the properties in Mount Close already look onto the flat roof area of Philpot House it is not considered that the panels would provide a more detrimental outlook than the present view.
    _
    The agent has advised that the panels would be angled to the south (which does not correspond with the roof plan submitted which suggests that they would either be angled to the east or west). The agent has also advised that the panels should not reflect light to any great degree as they will be coated with a material to reduce reflection and by their nature are designed so that they absorb light. On this basis it is not considered that the panels would have a detrimental impact on local residents in terms of glare. However, it is considered necessary to impose a planning condition requiring a new plan to be supplied showing the precise positioning of the panels on the roof and their angle.

    By coincidence, there’s another application up for consideration this week involving solar energy. It’s at Church Hall Farm, Pagelsham ,for a grain store with solar panels on the roof.It’s also recommended for approval. You can find both applications here (154 kb)

    Beware Of Bogus People Trying To Sell You Insulation

    There’s a warning on the District Council website:


    Residents in the Rochford District are being warned to be on their guard after reports that a company has been cold-calling people in the area posing as council officials and trying to sell loft and cavity wall insulation.
    The Council has received reports that a company has been cold-calling residents on the telephone and saying they are from the Council’s grants department.
    The Council would like to make it clear that its officers would never, under any circumstances, cold call residents to try and sell them anything.

    We know that Cllr Jo Mcpherson, the Cabinet Member for Community Safety, is particularly concerned about this, and we are happy to repeat the warning on onlineFOCUS.

    As she says:

    “If residents receive a telephone call from anyone saying they are from the Council they can check their credentials very easily. You can take their name, the department they say they work for and ask to ring them back.
    Then telephone the switchboard on and ask to be put through to them or their department.”

    Now, That’s A Lot Of Solar Panels

    Council officers are recommending planning approval for a big array of solar panels at Oldbury Farm, Southend Road, Great Wakering.

    You can download the full report here (104kb) but here’s an extract:

    Location :
    Oldbury Farm Southend Road Great Wakering
    Proposal :
    Ground Works to Cut Away Section of Reservoir Bank and Installation of Ground Mounted 76m Long Array of Photovoltaic Panels.
    NOTES
    Planning permission is sought for the erection of a ground mounted array of solar panels on the side of an existing reservoir at the Oldbury Farm complex.
    The site is located on the outskirts of Great Wakering some 600m due West of the village edge and approximately the same distance from the built up edge of Southend which lies to the South. The site is immediately bordered by open agricultural fields. The site and area surrounding the site is flat and rural in character and appearance with the site immediately bounded by open agricultural fields with sporadic residential and farm complex developments in the wider surrounding area….
    _
    ….. Each photovoltaic panel would be approximately 1.62m by 0.99m with a depth of 46mm. The panels would be supported on a mounting frame at a lower height of 66cm and an upper height of 2.25m such that the solar panels would be supported at a 30 degree angle.

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    This is the official master document for planning policy in our district! To download it, click here click here. (2.5mb)

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    If you want information on a particular planning application, you can find it on the District Council website here.

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