growing food in a changing climate: a forest garden view

The impacts of climate change are becoming ever clearer and more damaging as the years go by. One of the most significant impacts is on the way we grow food. As climate scientists predicted, UK winters are becoming warmer and wetter, and last winter was no exception, resulting in significant crop losses for UK farmers. It also resulted in greater difficulties for local growers in the Eastbourne area, such as smallholders, allotment holders, community gardens, etc, especially as intense rainfall events led to flooding issues on many growing spaces, followed by weeks of very sodden ground that made any work very challenging. The need for growers to adapt to a rapidly changing climate is becoming ever more acute.

in response, the Eastbourne Eco Action Network has begun a collaboration with the Eastbourne Food Partnership, supported by the Blue Heart project, to survey the ways in which local growers are responding to the challenges of growing food despite the impacts of climate change and investigate how such growers can be better supported in their climate adaptation efforts.

One such local growing project is the Pevensey & Westham Community Forest Garden, which has been running for the last 8 years, planting many fruit and nut trees and bushes on land that had fallen out of active management for many years, becoming an unkempt and overgrown scrub and woodland in the process. The volunteers that run the forest garden report that they have not experienced any significant drop in fruit and nut production even during intense heatwaves or periods of intense rainfall, primarily because:

  • the site is very well-drained, being in the Pevensey Levels where the extensive network of deep and wide drainage channels is carefully monitored to ensure water levels in the channels are kept at stable levels with no flooding onto adjacent land (the Langney Sewer runs alongside the forest garden but has never flooded onto it).
  • the site is protected by shading from an extensive tree canopy that keeps the forest garden cool enough during heatwaves, reduces water evaporation from the soil and ground cover, and protects young plants against strong winds during winter storms.
community orchard site next to Pevensey Castle

The forest garden volunteers point out that, by contrast, a community orchard they have been developing in the last few years on an exposed site next to Pevensey Castle, a short distance away from the forest garden, did suffer a big drop in fruit production in 2022 during the intense summer heatwave that resulted in the UK reaching a temperature of 40 degrees C for the first time ever. The relative lack of tree cover for the orchard, compared to the forest garden, meant that the young fruit trees did not have enough shade, putting them under great stress.

rainwater butts at side of forest garden tool shed

However, the main issue for the forest garden is the lack of any mains water on site, which means that in intense heatwaves and periods of prolonged drought there is no supply of water readily available for any watering needs. This has necessitated the volunteers setting up many water butts and rainwater cisterns on site to capture and store as much rainwater as possible. Rainwater conservation is sure to become ever more important for all growers and gardeners as time goes by, especially as fresh water is generally becoming an ever more scare, and more costly, resource in the water-stressed south-east of England.

Forest gardening is therefore one way in which food growing can be adapted to changing climate conditions. But other local food growing enterprises and communities will be visited over the course of the next few months to discover how they try and  cope with the challenges of climate change and what kinds of help they may need to cope better.

Commenting on Wealden Local Plan

Introduction

Whether you live in Wealden or on the borders of Eastbourne, Lewes or Rother additional housing growth, in the Wealden area, will affect you. So you should comment on the Draft Local Plan.

“Wealden District Council is preparing a new Local Plan. [it] will be the key planning document for Wealden District. Once adopted, the Local Plan will form part of the Development Plan for the District, replacing all existing local plan policies and will be used to assess and make decisions on planning applications.” There will be 16,000 new houses of which around 8,000 have already been planned for .

It is a challenge to go through all the background documentation. The consultation itself is over 200 pages. So this blog has had to be selective. To begin with here are the top 8 areas in terms of new housing

Most of this will be in South Wealden and especially on the borders of Eastbourne. From this table you can see that much of the local area is already ‘confirmed’. In Willingdon for example all the space is already committed apart from some ‘windfall’. So you may feel it is too late. This is not the case. Within the plan are some policies that have some merit and these should be supported.

Here are some links you will need . The Wealden Local Plan itself including a short video . Then the Consultation Portal – Where you create an account and add comments

Background

The lack of a local plan has made Wealden vulnerable to developers who were likely to win, if they appealed, when their planning submission was rejected. With a plan the council has more control of where housing can go. Without a plan the growth of housing could be higher. If there is a proposed housing development ,that you do not agree with, then you can highlight this in your submission, ideally linking it to the relevant policy.

One of the key concerns is the transport infrastructure. Before reading the rest of the blog you may wish to read this blog, on how over optimistic future predictions , are used by councils and developers to the detriment of residents.

Discussions with relevant district officers, councillors and directors suggest there may be residents who do not support a greener and more active travel agenda . Therefore it is important to support these policies and schemes.

Below are a number of the key chapters in the consultation that are worth commenting on. :-

Chapter 3 is Vision and Objectives

Suggest you strongly support “Sustainable and active travel’ but make points as to how this is not being addressed.

There has been no evidence of any increase in public transport, wheeling, cycling and walking. Many County, District and Borough plans refer to a planned shift away from cars . This has never been delivered. In fact East Sussex CC has not achieved any change in the mix of transport and total vehicle trips have simply increased

Suggest the need for high level plans across multiple sites. There are many examples where each site has its own access road and no attempt made to have public or active travel routes through these developments . For example at Horsebridge there is an area with over 5 different adjacent estates with no co-ordination of the access across them. A house that you want to visit, maybe only a few hundred meters away, but the car may need to exit one estate and then enter another one. On top of this the connections to the Cuckoo Trail, tell cyclists to dismount and push over 200m on sandy narrow tracks to get to the estates. Discriminatory especially to those who use mobility scooters, elderly or with heavy e-bikes

There needs to be a clear strategy to deal with the effect of all this housing growth on the current residents, where the existing streets might have more ‘permeability’ and could then be used as ‘rat runs’.

Plus stress more emphasis needed on actively supporting greater biodiversity, perhaps in adjacent areas, to counteract the consequences of this extra urban housing. Perhaps though Section 106 agreements.

There does not seem to be enough on encouraging reaching net zero through the design of housing in terms of their location and the wider community. This would strongly support higher insulation, solar panels, EV charging and heat pumps

Chapter 4 – Spatial Strategy

Suggest you strongly support “4.18 The benefits of a 20-minute neighbourhood concept are extensive, providing health, social, environmental and economic benefits to people and communities. Additionally, the concept would seek to tackle many of the issues that we need to address through our plan such as reducing carbon emissions, helping people to become more active, reducing mental health issues and loneliness, improving our town and village centres, making our settlements great places to live as well as improving access to affordable healthy food.

Support the statement in “4.26 East Sussex County Council’s Local Transport Plan 4 Consultation(12) supports the 20-minute neighbourhood or the ‘complete, compact and connected neighbourhood’ approach by providing a shift towards supporting healthy lifestyles by walking, wheeling or cycling and more active travel, as well as through the design of public places and healthy places through integrated neighbourhoods.

So from the above, mention your support for higher density dwellings in the centres which should have access to a mix of leisure, shopping and business all nearby and accessible by bus or active travel. You could also add support for 20 mph and school streets

Support – “Policy SS9: Health, Wellbeing and Quality of Life”that creates improved connectivity and supports healthier and more active lifestyles

Chapter 5 – ‘Climate Change’

Generally strongly support

CC1 Net Zero Development Standards – New Build. Support Policy but would prefer a clearer steer around residential standards of insulation, solar, batteries and heat pumps. There are no examples locally which could be seen as evidence of the ideal higher standards

CC4 Carbon sequestration, Support Policy but make the point, large areas of land are being urbanised and it is unlikely that sequestration could be achieved in or around the new housing estates

Policy CC5: Renewable and Low Carbon Energy. Agree with the principle of “Support will be given to community led energy schemes where evidence of community support can be demonstrated”

Policy CC6 Water Efficiency . Support the principles though make the point it is partly the cumulative effect of all these new houses which will determine how both water and waste (Southern and South East Water) cope. Some of the pumping stations, pipes and sewage works are already under strain

Policy CC7 Managing Flood Risk. Support the principle though areas such as between Polegate and Willingdon have always been susceptible to flooding. Concreting over will add to the problem across all the low lying estates. Make reference to the work the Environment Agency are undertaking around flooding and rising sea level.

Policy CC8 Sustainable Drainage. Support the principle such as in CC7 but perhaps question whether previous experience shows if this been dealt with in the past

Chapter 9 Infrastructure

Policy INF1 Infrastructure provision, delivery, and funding. “The provision of infrastructure facilities such as those relating to healthcare and education should be provided” Stress there needs to be guarantees of them being built and that you have concerns based on recent sites that the delivery of schools and health centres may not happen. This is due to the higher build costs and the funds that health and education may have. Plus a need to adhere to DfT’s “Guidance on Land Use/Transport Interaction Models”

Policy INF2 Sustainable transport and active travel– Support this policy. However the local housing developments simply fail on the criteria listed. No attempt appears to have new been made to create viable routes through multiple estates . Routes identified in the LCWIP, that are supposed to be on these sites ,have not been taken into consideration. Good examples would be alongside the railway from Hampden Park to Polegate (such as routes 312 and 225). Recent experience shows that proposed bus and cycle lanes are very vulnerable to being dropped through pressure from those who do not support them. They must be installed.

Policy INF5 Safeguarding of Infrastructure– Support the concept but as already mentioned there are many potential active travel routes in LCWIP that have been ignored through planning.

Policy INF8 Open space, sports and recreation provision– Suggest make the point – There are large areas of open land that have been lost and this cannot be rectified by a few small parks

Chapter 10 Design

Policy DE1 Achieving well-designed and high-quality places. Support the aim however challenge most of the new developments. These are car centric, low traffic neighbourhoods that do not allow through traffic. Most of the current developments have similar housing and add very few community buildings. The road layouts are meandering and do not support more direct routes for active travel . They also do not support bus routes and this will mean when funding runs out residents without a car will struggle. Perhaps building housing for elderly people should be closer to amenities and bus routes on main roads. In ‘Manual for Streets’ it explains the consequences of building ‘car-centric’ estates that make active travel within the estate and to other destinations problematic

Closing comments.

Please read any other chapters and additional documents, if you want to look into this plan in more detail. You have until Friday 10th May 2024 to submit your comments

Local Transport Plan 4– Guidance Notes

Introduction

Note- Following comments and feedback new sections have been added, at the end, in indigo – 28/01/24

If you are looking to comment on the East Sussex Local Transport Plan (LTP4), you may find this blog helpful. Hopefully it provides some general guidance. Please remember a short blog cannot address all the issues.

Overall the consultation asks you to score a number of nebulous and intangible statements. For most it is hard to disagree with them. You are asked to provide an overall score on categories that are open to interpretation. These might be  for example – strongly agree, agree …..disagree.

However the questions may cover areas where your response might be more nuanced.

As background you may find this blog on the shortcomings of the consultation process of some relevance.

Governance and Reporting

Most project methodologies such as Prince2 have monitoring, interim targets, reports and exception reporting. Most of these are found in the Council’s Carbon Plan .

Section 9. Governance “ Provide oversight of the delivery of the action plan .. Annual reporting to Cabinet and full County on progress “

For transport an equivalent could be modal share. (The split between cars, walking, cycling ,bus and rail). This could be either around private transport (70%) or perhaps for active travel (walking, wheeling, cycling and buses) (20%). Other metrics such as the share of EVs or carbon footprints are perhaps down to national policy.

There were predicted modal share changes, in LTP3,  but there appears to be no review undertaken. It is also normal for plans and projects to have a ‘lesson learnt’ process at the end. So for LTP4 , following the approach elsewhere , there should be:-

•  5 year interim targets. With perhaps one or two clear definable metrics.
•  Review every 2 years
• Description of the new projects for the following 2 years.

This is described in Theme A Section 4.3 “potentially suitable KPIs [ Key Performance Indicators] …. We will establish appropriate governance to oversee the development, delivery and benefits realisation arising from schemes and policies included in this strategy.”

Action – Request that the governance, reporting and targets are more clearly stated

Modal Shares

In the plan there are a number of scenarios provided. All of them are compared to a 2050 ‘Business as Usual’ scenario . This one below is one of the more ‘optimistic’ of them. All have, to some extent, fewer cars trips and more active travel

You may want to consider, as stated in LTP4, that cycle journeys are recently down. Bus journeys are still not at pre-pandemic levels and the plans for bus lanes have been severely scaled back. There has never been any evidence, of a long term reduction, in the modal share and total trips for cars. This is excluding systemic changes resulting from Covid.

The blog on the dangers of unverifiable modelling may be of interest

Action. Ask for more information how the ‘numbers’ behind the scenarios can be validated

Change of Approach by the Council

Campaigners have seen no evidence, of a change in mindset, as suggested by the LTP4 vision. This month the local bus lane plans have been severely reduced, 20 mph schemes are not considered for wide areas, cycle schemes remain very low, but a priority around cars and large road schemes remains in place

Here is an example from Transport Scotland for a clear direction to reduce national car kilometres by 20%.

The route map does not aim to eliminate all car use. We recognise that would not be realistic or fair, especially for journeys undertaken by disabled people or in rural areas where sustainable travel options may not always be available or practical. Rather, the route map encourages all of us to reduce our over reliance on cars wherever possible and identifies four key behaviours that we want everyone in Scotland to consider each time we plan a journey:

• make use of sustainable online options to reduce your need to travel;
• choose local destinations to reduce the distance you travel;
• switch to walking, wheeling, cycling or public transport where possible;
• combine a trip or share a journey to reduce the number of individual car trips you make, if the car remains the only feasible option.

Action – Ask how the council officers and councillors intend to change their approach to transport to support the scenarios they outline in the Plan.

Pollution and Decarbonisation

There are those who think that the issue of carbon can be addressed by a shift to Electric Vehicles (EVs).  Instead of the LTP’s ‘People and Places’ the alternative of ‘Avoid Shift Improve’ is much more focussed on active travel, de-carbonisation and alternatives to the private car, even if electric.

For parking perhaps propose charges based on either CO2 or else around the size of the vehicle. You may also wish to comment on the extra journeys generated through the proposed large road schemes, such as the ‘duelled’ A27.

One aspiration, featured in this and the previous LTP, was linking ‘Land Use Planning’ and Transport. There is very little evidence for recent housing developments that this is being take seriously.

Action – If you want to encourage less polluting vehicles then ask how they will be encouraged ( E-bikes, e-scooters, and smaller greener cars)

Action – Ask for ESCC to be more positive in planning applications in supporting active travel and buses in the large car-centric housing developments especially in South Wealden.

Cycling and Walking

The Plan has many references to more walking, wheeling and cycling. However consider from data provided by ESCC, only £165k has been spent, on cycle infrastructure in the last 4 years.

Contrast this with 6.61 “Reviewing and delivering the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan – which includes a robust pipeline of deliverable active travel schemes for networks and places – ensuring a balance of schemes to support walking, wheeling and cycling.

Whatever is written in the LCWIP and in the Council’s budget book, the actual spend on cycling is negligible. The plan ’admits’ that those cycling once a month, in the county, have dropped, in 5 years, from 15% to 10% and is now well below the England average

In terms of walking there has been progress . However  schemes that might help active travel such as 20 mph, Low Traffic Neighbourhoods , modal filters and School Streets require a change in approach from officers and councillors.

Action 1) Ask for evidence of investment, not from the Budget Book, but of actual schemes they will build.

Action 2) In the Health Impact Assessment how the general health of the population will be prioritised . This is around reducing obesity, lack of exercise and multiple chronic conditions

Scenarios

The problem of predicting future levels of traffic, is that even with no interventions, the  so called ‘Business as Usual’ (BAU) in 2050, is different to now. Here is an example from Transport for South East ( TfSE). This is

from their BAU of 2050.  Then the various others scenarios are on top of this. In other words how much the trip balance will change, from BAU, with various interventions. (Note the icon with a cycle is for walking as well)

So the BAU is likely to be similar for East Sussex.  Here are various scenarios from LTP4. Unless one of them is chosen then there is no effective track on progress. This may suit the Council as no real accountability exists. Plus  the option of having 5 year reviews is then less valid. 

Targets

Once an agreed scenario, as above, is agreed there has to be a clear plan to get there. This is called ‘backcasting’ and is the opposite of forecasting. (How do we get there v what might happen). In the image below it shows how it should be broken down into smaller time periods. Perhaps every 5 years.

So in LTP4 there are many schemes and policies but there is no guidance, for readers, as to what would deliver the most change. During the initial workshops there were requests, to provide details as to how the algorithms generated the various scenarios . Otherwise it is a ‘black box’ with outputs that the public have to take on trust. Change would partly be achieved  by the schemes and projects listed in LTP4. (Of course some change will also be through National Government). Otherwise you may mention, in your consultation reply,   certain schemes that sound good to you, but actually  deliver less, in terms of overall change,  than another good alternative. 

The targets could include :-

  • modal shares
  • pollution NOx PMx
  • road traffic incidents
  • children specific  – such as trips to school
  • transport poverty of each council , (that shows Eastbourne to be nearly the worst in the South of England.)

Ideally ones that are already recorded and for which there are comparisons across the UK. 

Cars

If the most important consideration is reducing carbon then moving from the ‘Internal Combustion’ to Electric Vehicles will do this. Especially within the county where the manufacture and disposal is elsewhere as is most of the  electricity production. 

However cars are getting bigger and heavier each year. ( 0.5 cm wider p.a) . They no longer fit in car parking places.  Brakes and tyres create PM2.5 pollution. When in the road they make passing harder and this increases congestion and road damage. Smaller, lighter cars need to be encouraged. Currently an EV charged at home is cheap per mile and this may encourage even more road miles.  If you think road charging might reduce congestion look at this reportAs mentioned earlier ‘Avoid Shift Improve’ would encourage alternatives such as more micro-mobility. 

Paul Humphreys EEAN -Transport Group

Gatwick Airport Expansion Plans

Speech at Eastbourne Borough Full Council Meeting

Background:

Gatwick airport have requested Eastbourne Council’s support for their plans to expand the airport capacity from 46 to 80 million passengers a year. Eastbourne’s Scrutiny Committee met with representative of Gatwick Airport to question them over their plans.

The Recommendation of the Scrutiny Committee to the Full Council was as follows:

1. Makes any support for Gatwick Airport’s Northern Runway Project conditional on Gatwick Airport’s production and pursuit of a credible plan, in partnership with its Scope 3 stakeholders, to work towards carbon neutrality across its Scope 3 emissions by 2030.

2. Calls on any Government to mandate a faster transition to low-carbon aircraft fuels, and to provide meaningful support to the fuel industry, airlines, manufacturers and other aviation industry stakeholders to achieve this.

Speech by David Everson: Chair EEAN Transport Group to the Full Council

The Scrutiny Committee propose you let the airlines and Gatwick airport  work towards carbon neutrality by 2030 and that you encourage government to support a faster transition to sustainable flying.

On the Gatwick Website it states that the UK Sustainable Aviation Industry has a road map for net zero by 2050 not 2030!

The government’s own official advisor, the Climate Change Commission, has stated ‘that the 6th Carbon Budget set for the government will be breached if net airport expansion is not significantly constrained.’

What is special about the 6th Carbon Budget? It covers the period 2033 -2037. Why will the Carbon budget be breached? Because for the first time the UK will have to start to include all the CO2e emitted by international flights leaving the UK.

The Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, this month, published the UK’s Greenhouse gases emissions. It showed that the UK produced 427 million tonnes of CO2e, of this the airline industry was responsible for about 2% of the emissions due primarily to domestic flights.

It is important to note these figures do not include any international aviation emissions for flights leaving the UK. If they were, it would add another 37M tonnes of CO2e to the total, this would bring the total figure for aviation to a staggering 10% of all the UK’s annual emissions.

So the CCC are saying to the Government do not allow airports to expand if you want to meet your Carbon budget.

What about improvements to make the aviation industry more sustainable

Sustainable fuel for example.. – At the World Economic Forum in Davos January this year, the corporate signatories of ‘Clean Skies for Tomorrow’ pledged to…… ‘achieve sustainable aviation fuel blend of 10% in global jet fuel supply by 2030. … That means by 2030 – 90% of aviation fuel will still be  fossil fuels!

The International Energy Authority (IEA) commented in Sept 2022 – ‘renewable synthetic Kerosene is relatively far from commercialisation’

What about improved Aircraft Design

The International Energy Authority (IEA) in Sept 22 talks about better aircraft designs reducing GHG emissions but state… ‘New aircraft are more efficient – but this has been insufficient to keep up with growth demand’.

What about Economics

I think the expansion of Gatwick airport will harm Eastbourne’s economy by allowing more Brits to travel abroad rather than staying in the UK to holiday.

Summary

I ask you to publicly and strongly reject Gatwick’s request to support their expansion. To do otherwise would make your declaration of Carbon Neutral 2030 a sham!

The Aviation Industry is not sustainable and will not be for at least a quarter of a century.

David Everson: Chair EEAN Transport Group to the Full Council

 

 

Are you ready for the big E10 Petrol change?

During this summer of 2021, a more eco-friendly fuel will be introduced to UK roads – and it’s a big deal.

During this summer of 2021, a more eco-friendly fuel will be introduced to UK roads – and it’s a big deal.

The standard petrol grade in the UK, currently E5, will change up to E10. It might not sound important to you now, but the E10 switch is a crucial step towards saving our planet. The new change comes after the UK Government took action to achieve net-zero emissions by banning the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2030.

What is E10 Petrol?

What makes E10 petrol different? Well, to put it simply, E10 petrol contains up to 10% ethanol mixed into the normal petrol. Ethanol is a type of alcohol – the very same that adds flavour to your small glass of beer – and is produced by fermenting plant matter. The current petrol, E5 contains 5% ethanol. The remaining 95% is regular petrol. This is why we call it E5 Petrol!

Why introduce E10 Petrol?

At this point, you may think – so what? However, switching to E10 Petrol is actually a very good idea indeed.

The extra ethanol added to the petrol is a renewable biofuel and so will help us reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels in our car engines. It is possible to run cars entirely on pure ethanol – Brazil was one of the first countries to mass-produce ethanol biofuels, in fact.

The Government hopes that by introducing E10, CO2 emissions will be reduced by up to 750,000 tonnes per year. That’s the same as removing 350,000 cars from our roads!

Will your car be compatible?

You might be worrying about whether or not your own car will be able to run on E10 petrol. Don’t fret! Most petrol vehicles on the road today are fully compatible with E10 petrol.

However, if you own a vehicle or motorcycle which was made before 2011 you will need to check if your vehicle will run on E10. You can find out by visiting the Government’s website.

If your car or motorcycle is not compatible with E10, then E5 will still be available in the ‘super’ grade, which will remain in some filling stations.

Is E10 really that eco-friendly?

There are, unfortunately, some disadvantages. The introduction of E10 will have little effect on air quality issues and drivers may find that their fuel consumption goes up very slightly.

These changes do not apply to diesel fuel. In fact, diesel vehicles currently use B7, which indicates that the fuel contains 7% biodiesel, from renewable sources.

In the end, the very best way to reduce your carbon emissions from transport is to walk, cycle, use public transport or have an electric car that is charged using renewable energy.

David Everson

EEAN Transport Group

Photo credit: Pexel, Pixabay

Electric Vehicle Charging

Currently, most of us are used to buying fuel in litres and we understand range and miles per gallon (mpg). Mainly it is about making sure we do not put the wrong fuel in and finding a petrol station for a top-up. So what are the differences with an EV?

Following the 2030 ban of new sales of diesel and petrol cars would you consider moving over to an electric vehicle (EV)?

Currently, most of us are used to buying fuel in litres and we understand range and miles per gallon (mpg). Mainly it is about making sure we do not put the wrong fuel in and finding a petrol station for a top-up. So what are the differences with an EV?

Research shows that there is a range anxiety with EVs and a lack of knowledge about how to charge them. This blog does not go into too much detail. It is just to get over the basics.

Factors to consider

EV charging comes in both AC (typically lower power and slower) and DC (typically higher power and faster). Plus there are a variety of different cable standards. 

EV cable standards

You also have to consider the following:

  • How large is the car battery? This is vehicle specific and will tend to be larger in bigger cars;
  • How long will it take to charge? This is determined by the charging technology and the design features of the car;
  • Can I just charge at home? This depends on how long the trips are and so may require charging en route. Plus do you have off-road parking?

Perhaps the guideline to remember is the power in kW of the charge point and is directly equivalent to the range added (in miles) per 20 minutes of charging. So as an example using a 7kW point, 1 hour will add around 21 miles (7×3)  range to the battery. Likewise using 50kW would add 150 miles range in an hour. However, the average range will be extended by up to 20% by passengers/load, regenerative braking, and economical driving.

Charge Points

There is a number of different types of the charge points, and here are some from the Eastbourne area:

Now lets us look at this typical EV that has these ratings 22kW AC and 50kW DC.

  • 3pin socket at home probably only transfers 3.7kW. Though the car could accept 22kW
  • Standard chargepoint at home has an AC of 7kW even though rated at 22kW
  • Fast charger – triple phase AC 22kW
  • Rapid Charge – DC 50kW

Questions to Ask

Q1 Can all EVs accept all AC powers? – Typically Battery EVs charge at 7 kW AC whilst currently most Hybrid EVs with smaller batteries are limited to 3.7 kW AC.

Q2 Can all EVs accept all  DC powers? – The maximum charging power will depend on the vehicle’s battery management system.  Need to check the car specification.

Q3 Do all EVs have AC and DC charging?  – All EVs have an onboard charger and should be able to convert power from AC. However, some older model cut corners and did not provide  DC charging. 

Q4 What happens if the vehicle charging limit is lower than the ChargePoint power? – The charging power will be reduced as required.

Q5 Will I always get the charging power advertised? – No, sometimes it will be less, especially where all the points are in use.

Finally, where are these charge points? Possibly the best resource is ZapMap. It provides locations and types of chargers. Tells you which payment network you would need to be on. Because there are different connectors between the EU/UK and Japan, it is worth looking at a car you might be interested in and refer to the specifications of the charge points and cables you can use. 

There are other maps, provided by other organisations, but they work in a similar way. For each site, there is a review and the current information if it is in use.

Charge point review

In conclusion, with a bit of research, there is no need for anxiety. The EVs are becoming increasingly popular, and therefore using them is becoming considerably easier.

Paul Humphreys

EEAN Transport Group

Photo credit: Getty Images

What about e-scooters?

The sale of E-scooters is gradually increasing and over the summer it is possible that their popularity will increase even more. There are extensive trials of rental E-scooters taking place across England to assess their suitability for use in towns and cities. The E-scooter is classified as a PLEV, Personal Light Electric Vehicle, a type of motor vehicle.

There are some issues that need to be considered when thinking about the use of E-scooters.

Some rules about E–Scooters

  • E-scooters can be hired in one of the 30 or so permitted towns or cities in England such as Tees Valley, Liverpool, Nottingham and Slough. The number of towns permitting their use is gradually increasing.
  • The E-scooter must have an MOT and be road taxed, the rental company arrange this.
  • To drive an E-scooter you need to have a provisional driving licence as a minimum and be 18 years old.
  • In trial areas they can only be used on the roads (not motorway) and on cycle lanes.
  • They cannot be used on the pavement
  • Privately owned E-scooters (those not hired) cannot be used on the road or the pavement and can only be used on private land with the land owner’s permission.

Safety

  • The E-scooter has a speed limit of 15.5 mph.
  • Only one person may use the hired E-scooter
  • The rider does not need to wear a crash helmet, although they are recommended.
  • In Newcastle, their use has been stopped between 11 p.m and 5 a.m. because of a number of drink driving offences associated with them.
  • There have been concerns where riders have been riding on the pavement where the young, those with poor mobility, eyesight or hearing can be at risk of injury.

Pros

  • As they use electric motors, their use in town centres should improve air quality.
  • Their use could reduce congestion in town centres if people use them instead of cars.
  • Their use could reduce noise pollution in town centres.
  • Their use could reduce CO2 emissions and so help tackle climate change if the energy used for charging is renewable.
  • By allocating road space to scooters and bicycles this could make town centres a more pleasant environment for people to use.
  • If scooter hire is available at transport hubs, such as railway/bus stations, then this may encourage travellers to leave their cars at home and use e-scooters for the last miles to their destination.

Cons

  • At the end of a journey, the scooter is often just left on the pavement causing an obstruction.
  • The rental company that collect the scooters after use often use fossil fuel vehicles, which can cause air pollution and CO2 emissions.
  • The life of a scooter is quite short, 1 to 2 years, which means many have to be repeatedly made and recycled. This process creates CO2.
  • The electricity used to charge them may well not be produced by renewable supplies so their use can contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.
  • People may prefer to use e-scooters to walking, cycling and using public transport.
  • The E-scooter could have a detrimental effect on taxi use.

David Everson

EEAN Transport Group

Photo credit: Dirk Vorderstraße

One Small Step Toward Big Change

By now we are all versed in the evils of single-use plastic products and their impact on the environment, yet not enough is being done to tackle this issue. Like many, I am disheartened when I walk into a supermarket and see shelves lined with plastic packaging. It’s a big problem, which is why it might seem counterintuitive when I ask you to turn your attention to one small segment of this big problem: packaging of citrus fruits in polypropylene mesh bags. 

Hear me out.

Polypropylene mesh bags are harmful for the environment and for wildlife. Polypropylene is a plastic that has a high rate of degradation when exposed to UV light, leading to the release of dangerous microplastics in our land and oceans. Additionally, prior to and during degradation, these bags are hazardous to wildlife which can become tangled and trapped in their mesh. They also often contain one or more mouldy fruits, leading to both customer dissatisfaction and to increased food waste.

The practice of packaging citrus fruits is completely unnecessary. Citrus fruits have a sturdy rind that makes them ideal for selling and storing loose. There would be no need for a supermarket to invest in more expensive biodegradable packaging as a replacement for the mesh bags, as the fruits could instead be sold individually.   

I am therefore campaigning Morrisons Supermarkets to stop packaging their citrus fruits in polypropylene mesh bags and to sell them loose instead.

While this might seem like a small goal, Morrisons is the fourth largest supermarket chain in the UK with 494 stores in the country. Imagine the impact if 494 stores ceased using these bags to package their lemons, limes, and oranges, and instead sold them loose – it adds up.

Many people have asked why this campaign does not target all supermarkets and all of their produce packaging. I believe that by targeting one supermarket and one unsustainable practice, we are more likely to affect change than asking for a sweeping change across the entire industry. Once we have achieved this one small change, we can use it to leverage Morrisons and other supermarkets to further improve their sustainable practices.

I hope that you will consider joining me by signing the petition and sharing it with your friends, family, and networks in the UK. Together we can achieve this change for the planet and all her creatures.

Amber Erwin

Northampton

A message from the guest blogger:

This campaign started two weeks ago when I was doing the shopping at my local Morrisons in Northampton. My usual frustration at seeing the amount of plastic packaging tipped into action when I reflected on how unnecessary it is to package citrus fruits. I went home and began developing a plan of action, starting with this petition.

Although I don’t live in Eastbourne, I am so inspired by the strides made toward carbon neutrality and the community effort that has gone into bringing about change. I believe that it’s exactly the type of effort needed to make this campaign a success. I hope that everyone will spend the 2 minutes it takes to sign and share!

Are Consultations Blocking Progress?

I think everyone is aware that traffic levels appear higher than last year and with all the new housing this will only get worse. At the same time, Eastbourne is committed to a shift towards more walking, cycling and bus journeys. So why is this change not happening?

ESCC Hailsham to Eastbourne Sustainability Corridor

It has been increasingly apparent that consultations and public engagement can result in no change at all.  You may think they are the best example of the democratic decision on the local matters but let us look at the evidence. There are more car users than any other group and many of them will want what they already have. The share of car trips has gone up by 40% since 1981 whilst bus and cycle trips have more than halved.

One of the key reasons that progress is not being made is that even with Covid-19, there is built-in inertia. The car-centric view is simply entrenched across all of East Sussex. So out of all the county’s funded Covid-19 schemes only 2 pedestrian schemes were built. Locally in Eastbourne, everything was eventually dropped “following public consultation”.

Eastbourne Draft Local Plan

There are probably four ways that consultations can be used to reinforce the status quo:

1) Only some key stakeholders are consulted

2) The questions are adapted to fit the agenda

3) The comments are simply counted as for and against.

4) Weightings are used to prioritise certain groups

The Government has said that they want to double cycling numbers by 2025, link future transport funding to current performance and set higher design standards. So for routes, away from the roads, such as Horsey Sewer or Shinewater it is possible to build reasonable shared paths. However, because space is limited in town, and cycling is marginal, either the routes are removed – such as around Terminus Road – or designed to make the least change to the road layout. Currently, there is no cycle route in Eastbourne town centre of sufficient quality to appear on either Google maps or Cyclestreets.

The same issue is true for buses. One of the reasons that there is no local Quality Bus Partnership, which would mean better and greener buses, might be that the road network would need to be re-allocated in favour of buses. That would once again face some resistance through a consultation process. There are indeed some bus lanes being added on the route from Polegate to Eastbourne but they are short and may not make enough difference to get the bus companies to invest.

With the County Council elections coming up,  now is the time to question the candidates. Do not ask if they are in favour of cycling or bus lanes, as nearly everyone says yes. Instead, ask about a specific route that you want and where there are consequences and hard choices to be made.

Paul Humphreys

Bespoke & Cycle East Sussex

Photo: Eastbourne Bespoke cycling group 

Eastbourne Businesses – What Can You Do?

The two biggest uses of carbon are buildings and transport. Energy used in buildings emits 63% of the carbon used in our town. Buildings use energy for electricity for powering lights, computers etc and for heating. Gas heating is in a large percentage of buildings for hot water and heating.

The two biggest uses of carbon are buildings and transport.  

Energy used in buildings emits 63% of the carbon used in our town.  Buildings use energy for electricity for powering lights, computers etc and for heating.  Gas heating is in a large percentage of buildings for hot water and heating.  Gas is a major emitter of carbon in Eastbourne.  By looking at how you use these it is possible to cut energy use.  Your business will be cutting its energy bill and saving money.

In rush hour and other busy times of the day Eastbourne has many traffic jams.  Not only do these waste time, emit a large amount of carbon but stationary cars with engines running emit dangerous compounds which cause air pollution.  Air pollution is a problem in Eastbourne and it causes many people health problems, and premature deaths.  It is in everyone’s interests that traffic pollution is tackled. 

There are three things you can do as a business.

Switch energy supplier

Switch your energy supply to one which provides 100% renewable energy to the national grid.  The price of producing renewable energy has come down considerably in the last few years.  There are some really good deals around at the moment.

Click here to compare companies for renewable electricity contracts for business.

Get an energy audit on your building

Get an energy audit on your building. You can order one for free from East Sussex County Council. There is also a limited amount of money available in the form of a grant to help you reduce your energy costs.  This is available on a first-come-first-served basis.

You can then start to make a plan of how to cut your carbon footprint at your workplace building.  Get some quotes and make a plan. Actions may be something small and inexpensive like replacing all your electric bulbs to LEDs to something which requires more capital such as insulating your building.

Remote Working

Recent recent research by the Herman Miller Insight Group indicates that when asked about where employees want to work:

  • 5% want to be back in the office;
  • 19% love working from home;
  • 53% want to work from home and their normal workplace.

Since the COVID crisis, we have already had many people working from home.  This isn’t practical for all of the time but allowing staff to work at home for some of the time allows staff to achieve a better work/life balance and less stress.  Less people commuting also has environmental impacts. Working flexibly where possible reduces the CO2 emissions from commuting. We recognise this needs an intelligent approach, and to ensure the well being of staff. Read the Home Working Guidance developed by the University of Bristol.

Using Active Transport

For journeys travelling to and from the workplace with a distance of 5 km or less than active transport should be encouraged. Walking or cycling to work not only has great health benefits for the person but fewer cars on the road mean fewer traffic jams for everyone and this in term improves air quality and everyone in Eastbourne benefits.

Take a look at the government’s bike to work scheme.

Or have a look at the Green Commute Initiative which allows for the cost of more expensive e-bikes.

There have been a lot of new ways of transport developed in recent years as alternatives to car transport.  

Learn more about the e-bikes

Here is some really useful information about ebikes

Electric cargo bikes for business

Electric scooters

We are working towards a carbon neutral Eastbourne by 2030.

Miles Berkley

Executive Director, EEAN

Rachel Norris

Workplace Group, EEAN