EnviroEnergy – July 2019

A reminder of how it all started. A district heating scheme to be powered by burning coal (cleaner air in the city needed the coal to be burned in a controlled way) and district heating would be relatively cheap to install when St.Anns was being re-built. (A separate scheme for The Meadows was not to be so successful.)
It was soon converted to burning waste – 100 kilo tonnes is incinerated, (a further 80 kilo tonnes recycled) providing steam at 800 degrees and 30 barrs. 10MW of electricity is supplied to a local private wire network (59 GWh per year) and the condensed steam providing 141 GWh of heat to the district network of 95km of pipes at 85 and 100 degrees at 10 Barrs to 4,800 customers in St.Anns. An infra-red survey of the neighbourhoods from a drone found cracks in the pipes that lost 120 metres cubed of water every day, and repairs triggered have reduced the loss to 10 to 20 metres cubed. All this is heavily regulated.
More could be done to re-use material (e.g. more maintenance that simply replace, use less plastics in the first place, re-process wood and fibre), reduce the amount to be disposed (e.g. the recycling of food waste was lost cos of revenue cuts), extract more materials for re-use (e.g. gasification can extract a greater range of metals; bio-digestion to create gas for burning and compost for soil) but these technologies need new investment and subsidy (most sensibly from taxing the creation of waste). Extracting energy from waste still beats the burial of waste and there will be plenty fo waste to be incinerated for a long time into the future.
Profits for the last year of £487k was reported.


50th anniversary of Armstrong stepping on the moon

2009, and I was getting ready to run for Parliament, and yes I had standard Labour Party leaflets to hand out, but at the time of the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11 and the first landing of people on the moon, I wanted to say more.

And the conclusion applies today too. We need to save the planet for human habitation. Kennedy set a mission. We need the same scale of ambition now.  

Not saying the leaflet was a success. Am saying – I wanted to say it then and I want to say it now.

“This is not a drill” book launch

Five Leaves Bookshop arranged a launch of the “handbook” written by Extinction Rebellion.
The organisation has a very different feel to traditional political groupings.
Concentred most to compel people to realise there is a climate emergency through a range of actions including direct action.
Now famous for their blocking of transport, the road blockages in Nottingham were very brief.
I had expected such campaigns to generate some hostility, but the public have reacted by saying the climate is now one of their top priorities; something that might have been bolstered by documentaries on BBCtv showing the impact of plastic on the environment.
Having only 3 broad policies, but 10 principles, and a membership requirement that says you have to undergo non-violence training.
Three speakers from London had been organised for the meeting but two were on a train from London that was stopped by a landslide / bank collapse at Corby, triggered by the long spells of rain. (Turns out part of Arnold town centre was flooded too.)

As a veteran of working for progress through party politics, when called to speak, there seemed little point in saying that Extinction Rebellion are wrong, and acknowledging the change in public opinion, more relevant to say to work together where we can in our concern to get faster and more significant action on climate change.
Indeed, Cllr. Sally Longford, our new Deputy Leader, has worked with XR in getting a zero-carbon Nottingham policy adopted at the January full council.

I circulated a 2-pager on the council’s outlook (“cities are good for us”), our recent achievements, a 2006 plan showing how green policies need to be embedded in the planning of the council and our manifesto commitments.
In my speech, I emphasised the radical history of the city council, often led by Fabian & Co-op minded Labour members, had led to opposition to inner-city motorways, realised the bus needed help and introduced bus lanes, tried radical change with zone and collar (which was re-introduced in a different way in 2000), introduced free bus passes for older people and the less mobile, introduced the tram and alone in the northern hemisphere introduced workplace parking levy so that commuters to the larger companies (that can provide alternatives) pay for new facilities and extra services, rather than residents.

Joint Strategic Planning and Transport cttee – June 2019

Road map for the proposed HS2 East Midlands station

The joint cttee. between the City and County Councils reviewed the plans for an economic development around the railway station.
I suggested 2 undertakings –
– a review of all the heavy rail improvements we should be seeking in Notts. & Derbyshire;
– exploring the concept of the new developments being constructed with green architectural technologies.

I also expressed pessimism about the Waste Plan – there’s no national framework to boost food digestion and introduce re-use.
The Sinfin re-use facility in Derby has hit significant problems; de-gasification technology has not made progress, including at Blenheim Allotments in Nottingham.
Plainly the potential for incineration remains – better than burial – but one site along the MARR has already been stopped.

The progress of the Minerals plan was reviewed and I complained that the residents of Clifton saw the choice of Barton-in-Fabis as a new site for a sand and gravel pit was driven for narrower political reasons.

Pineapple leather and furniture

NTU degree show 2019.
The annual event is always worth a visit.

A seat made out of processed pineapple heads, and a “vegan” pineapple later cushion (filled with coconut fibre)

One student heard about pineapple leather and then found out that the heads of pineapples, and the skin, can be processed into blocks from which furniture can be made. Or maybe insulation panels.
Material from the nearby pineapple canning factory in Leicester, who otherwise have to pay to have it taken away.