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Plastic Bags

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Plastic bags is the charge reasonable?

I have always used my own bags for shopping as far as I can remember. Why? Because my bags are larger, and safer than supermarket free bags. I still need bags sometimes because I forget to bring them from my car, usually I just buy another bag (a big bag) from the supermarket for about 40p .

On reflection, the checkout worker asks if I need help packing, they are told to ask the customer.I don't think that such help would be useful to me as I have my own bags (the big supermarket ones) and the bottleneck is time spent adding shopping to the belt, rather than packing it. On reflection, I think that the quickest way to get through the checkout is to place shopping back in the trolley and pack the shopping into bags when you get to the car, which  is where the shopping is going anyway. The problem might be alert security staff, who might think you have not paid for items in  the shopping trolley..

I do reuse any carrier bags that I get free, or those that I might have to pay 5p for for my  home rubbish, which consists mainly of plastic bags as I compost everything to the delight of foxes, rats and badgers.

5p a bag? Fine by me. I have never asked for a new Recycle for Life bag as I am likely to use the bag for all manner of uses in addition to shopping. The charge is also going to be used for charitable purposes anyway so why object to such a paltry charge?

What really upsets me is those that object which is due to their laziness, memory lapse, or stupidity in forgetting their bags are now objecting to paying 5p for a bag that was previously free. A bag that has been engineered to carry safely a litre or more of whiskey in safety (not that I would risk it). They can still use the 5p bag for their next shopping anyway.

What is particularly annoying is that these people who are too stupid (or forgetful?) to remember to bring their own bags are making other shoppers wait longer than they need to; and then they complain about the cost. The cost to whom? Them? No, they do not realise that apart from the cost to the retailer to provide the bags (which must add to the cost of shopping anyway, if not directly, is the actual cost to the environment.

Food packaging costs and bags for shopping cost the supermarkets and ultimately the shopper. Why should those that take their own bags subsidise those that can't be bothered to provide their own bags?

I tend to shop on-line, its cheaper and quicker.

Take my advice, shop on-line, its cheaper and quicker.
Posted on 05 Oct 2015 by Geoff Edwards

Westwood Neighbourhood Plan

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Westwood is further development necessary

 

Westwood village in Wiltshire is located along two unclassified roads. There is a railway station located in the hamlet of Avonclif which is situated beside the river Avon and the Kennet and Avon canal. The hamlet of Iford is situated beside the river Frome.

The village of Westwood has developed from times when agricultural work was labour intensive and people worked in the cloth industry and in the stone mine. Many bungalows were built to accommodate workers at the underground Royal Enfield factory which had been relocated during the Second World War. These buildings were replaced by houses after the war (late 1960s), even though there was little work in the village. Private estates flanked the council development in 1978.

Further development has taken  place but the majority of people have had to seek work in the larger towns and cities. Development has depended on the motor vehicle. Westwood is a dormitory village. The existing development if it involves building more houses is not sustainable. The only development that Westwood needs is what is missing from a sustainable village. What is missing? Nothing, lets list what it has and needs:

·         the village has a shop which is also a post office

·         at least one public house

·         a church

·         a nursery school

·         a primary school

·         a park

·         a playing field

·         a social club/hall

 

What is missing?

·         The village could have some more green space for children to play.

·         A doctors surgery

·         The Social Club is not exactly a village hall, although the extension of the Parish Room meets that need.

·         There is little local work, so it could be argued that there is a need for places for people to work or for people to leave to live closer to a place of employment.

Instead what Westwood is faced with is an enlargement of the housing stock. Why? There is no need for building houses here. It is not sustainable to provide housing in a place where there is no work. There is a need for local people to live in the village affordable housing? Except would local people be selected?

Assuming that we will be able to afford to own and run a car we could also assume that it is reasonable to commute to work, provided this is not too far. But how long will it be possible to depend on the motor car? Fuel is derived from fossil sources and is finite.  Even non fossil sources eg. Uranium is a limited supply

Wiltshire County Council (and other local authorities) were under a directive of the previous Labour government to find land for building houses and the government directed that the housing land should be found throughout the country. Quotas would be set. The present Conservative government have clarified this issue. “In contrast to the previous administration that imposed undemocratic and arbitrary targets, the Government has made clear that local councils, in conjunction with local communities, should plan to meet their objectively assessed needs, not more.”  http://www.lettertothepm.co.uk/house-building.htm

Westwood, surely has little need for more development. Imagine what it would like if we didn’t have cars to get about.

 

Geoff Edwards  22nd Sept 201

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on 22 Sep 2015 by Geoff Edwards

Cutting road freight

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Port of Bristol Deep Sea Container Port benefits to Wiltshire

This is what Wiltshire County Council has commented on the Port of Bristol's deep sea container port project:

" In March 2010, the DfT gave consent for the construction of Bristol's Deep Sea Container Terminal (BDSCT) at Avonmouth Docks in Bristol. The terminal is one of the country's fastest growing ports and will further develop as Bristol Port plans to expand its facilities with a new deep sea container terminal. The terminal is designed to service not only today’s largest container vessels, but also future generations of ultra large container ships when they enter service. As part of this process, a full Traffic Impact Assessment was required to be undertaken. The overall conclusion of this assessment is that at worst, the local (Avonmouth) area would be subject to minor increases in traffic associated with the operation of the BDSCT. Wiltshire Council will continue to monitor traffic associated with this development within the county, however it is anticipated that the operation of this facility and any transfer of shipments from Southampton will not adversely affect traffic volume within Wiltshire." Wiltshire Local Transport Plan: Freight Strategy (PDF)

Freight traffic volume in Wiltshire

The following quote from the important planning document mentioned above whilst suggesting that traffic volume in Wiltshire will not be adversely affected, does not state that there will be a reduction of freight traffic.

  "however it is anticipated that the operation of this facility and any transfer of shipments from Southampton will not adversely affect traffic volume within Wiltshire." Ibid.

So who wrote that? did they mean that existing hauliers will not see a loss of business? Surely not. Are they so ignorant that they are unable to read the extensive documentation provided by the Port of Bristol? No, I don't think so, and why place this evaluation under "Waterborne Transport" in a land locked county? The port of bristol could handle over 900,000 TEU containers a year. (TEU twenty foot equivalent unit) The ships are colossal. the new port will be able to acommodate ships with a draught of 16 metres.

Unless I am mistaken, the Deep Sea Container Terminal when it becomes operational will REDUCE TRAFFIC ON THE A36 AND ALL OTHER ROADS FROM THE SOUTH COAST! The ships which can transport hundreds of containers up to 44 feet in length are part of sustainable development. Ideally a ship could rely on sail and it is possible to have computer controlled metal sails.!  But even burning oil one of these ships can transport goods very cheaply compared to a lorry.  A lorry can only transport one container, typically 14 tons.

container ship

  The load that can be carried by road is equivalent to a Dinky Toy compared to a ship but enough to create misery for those who live near the A36 and other roads that link to the south coast ports. The existing freight traffic from the south coast ports to Bridstol and other areas north will tend to disappear when the Deep Sea Container Terminal facility is operational at Bristol, because it will be cheaper.

A comment on the Deep Sea Container Terminal under construction at the Port of Bristol as mentioned in Wiltshire's Freight Strategy

I have amended the article written by Wiltshire County Council alterations are highlighted in yellow:

" In March 2010, the DfT gave consent for the construction of Bristol's Deep Sea Container Terminal (BDSCT) at Avonmouth Docks in Bristol. The terminal is one of the country's fastest growing ports and will further develop as Bristol Port plans to expand its facilities with a new deep sea container terminal. The terminal is designed to service not only today’s largest container vessels, but also future generations of ultra large container ships when they enter service. As part of this process, a full Traffic Impact Assessment was required to be undertaken. The overall conclusion of this assessment is that at worst, the local (Avonmouth) area would be subject to minor increases in traffic associated with the operation of the BDSCT. Wiltshire Council will continue to monitor traffic associated with this development within the county. However, it is anticipated that the operation of this facility and any transfer of shipments from Southampton and other south coast ports to the Port of Bristol will significantly reduce traffic volume within Wiltshire (and other counties) by reducing present road freight traffic from the south coast ports to Bristol and beyond." Wiltshire Freight Strategy

Link to Bristol Port Company

[article still being revised]


 

Posted on 11 Apr 2014 by Geoff Edwards

Ash tree dieback

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Ash trees in danger: Chalara dieback of ash - chalara fraxinea

According to the Forestry Commission's map of the incidence of the fungal infection the infection is heading west.
The link below includes a video of how to identify the disease and also information about the threat that our trees face.
The ash tree is, in the this part of the west country, the most likely tree to germinate in our garden, it is almost a weed, it would be a great shame to lose them. We also have a danger to our Horse Chestnut trees and oaks. What has gone wrong? Mention is made of global warming but are we to believe this as a factor? 

http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/infd-8udm6s

Posted on 09 Nov 2012 by Geoff Edwards

Cooking Crockpot VS oven

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Which method of cooking is greener and cheaper?

Is it cheaper to cook using a crockpot which is a slow cooker rather than use an oven? Yes, I found this article when I Googled "how many Kilowatts  needed to oven cook a chicken" economic cooking the maths

I have a Crockpot and I am intending to buy a cast iron Dutch oven cooking pot as well which I will use in my garden and also in my electric oven and when camping. For outside use my fuel will be wood there is always plenty of twigs that I can burn as well, so my fuel will cost nothing.

Posted on 17 Oct 2011 by Geoff Edwards

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