Investing in cycling nationally

The All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) held its latest inquiry into England’s first Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) earlier this week as Cycling UK’s #morethanmilk action scored a result with over 50 MPs writing a letter to The Times backing Cycling UK’s five key asks.

Government funding for cycling is set to fall to 72p per head (the equivalent of just two pints of milk) for residents in England outside of London by 2020/21, compared to funding of £86 per head for motorways and major roads (equivalent to a magnum of champagne per person!). Since the launch of #morethanmilk over 1,800 emails have been sent to MPs in England, asking them to support a joint letter to the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin MP. One of Cycling UK’s members wrote: “We used to ride on the left of the road. Now we ride on what’s left of the road.”

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Annual seed and plant swop stall

As part of our aim of encouraging local food production we are holding our annual plant swop stall at the Farmers market this year on

Saturday 14th May  9am – 2pm  


This year we are teaming up with the North Pennines AONB and featuring not only the usual edible plants but also those which are attractive to bees, moths, butterflies and other pollinators.

Gardeners – don’t throw away all those surplus tomato seedlings – swop them for another variety or try something completely different ! Please bring any spare veg, fruit or flower seedlings to the stall to swop. Trees and wildflowers also welcome –it’s surprising what turns up !

2016 is United Nations International Year of the Pulse.  We are particularly keen on having plants and seeds of these to swap and we will have seeds available.

If you have nothing to swop but want advice and plants to start growing your own – this is the place to come !

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Growers Question Time: Sun 3rd April

Growers Qtime 16

Please follow the link to see details of Gardeners Question Time event in Ovingham with 3 local experts.

Any problems ? They can answer them !!

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Cycling utopia?

Could Britain be brave enough to commit to a fundamental rethink of its transport policy? 
Drastically reduce pollution, road deaths, get people more active and healthy, reduce the burden on the NHS and make our island a more pleasant place to be?

Not too much to ask is it?

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Many household have now received notices about buying a ticket for your brown bins for garden waste from the council. But why not compost your own waste ? Not just garden waste but also raw vegetable and fruit waste from the kitchen – and feed your homegrown fruit and veg with the results !

This is the website to order home compost bins from the council. – ‘Dalek’ style bins, plus wormeries and accessories.

220l ‘Dalek’ bins start at 17.98 + delivery  Bins are made of recycled plastic. The website includes full instructions for easy composting.

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energy saving devices for the home

We all know that saving energy is good for the environment and our pockets.  Here are a few new gadgets I came across recently, I would be interested to see if anyone has tried them and how effective they are :

‘Green plugs‘ from   These are plugs designed to switch off automatically things left on standby too long and claim to save up to 41% of individual appliances consumption.

Hive active heating app and device from British gas.

This device controls heating and hot water temperature from an app on your phone or computor. Remote control is supposed to save up to 150 pounds / year for the average household.

Water saving at   The Grohe hand held rainshower adapts your shower by adding airbubbles to make it more efficient and can save water use by 40%

Free apps from an app store :

Loop energy saver app – this personal energy assistant monitors your energy use throughout the day.

Energy saver app – calculates the full statistics for your annual or daily consumption and gives tips on saving energy.

British gas app to compare your consumption with other similar houses in the neighbourhood.  Hopefully your house will be in the highest ‘smug mode’  !

Joulebug app – a game to teach children how to save energy

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Removing centre lines on roads

Just as happened recently at Corbridge, white lines are being removed from busy roads in various parts of the country as a measure to slow down motorists and make it more likely to expect to see cyclists in advisory cycle lanes (ACL)  i.e. a lane with a minimum width of 1.5 m with dashed white lines which vehicles can straddle when not occupied by cyclists. Highway officers say blank roads introduce a sense of uncertainty that encourages motorists to drive more cautiously especially when faced with oncoming traffic.
Listen to which is an extract from the a recent Today programme to hear Tracey Jessop, Assistant Director for Highways and Transportation at Norfolk County Council where the concept is being trialled. Edmund King, President of the AA then confuses the issue by talking about a cruise control feature optionally used by autonomous cars on motorways in the future which are satellite-directed and tries to link them to ACLs.
Lets hope this timely media coverage which supports the Corbridge change will helps educate Corbridge drivers.
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National Walking and Cycling Strategy

The Government published its mission statement for the forthcoming Cycling and Walking Strategy (CWIS) on the 17th December, the last day of Parliamentary business in 2015. However, CTC, the national cycling charity, believe there is a “yawning chasm” between the Department for Transport’s admirable aims and the funding available following the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.

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Rail franchise – policy on cycles

Here is a link to the DfT announcement of the intention to award contracts to Arriva Trains North and First Transpennine:

Neither this nor the related statements issued this morning mention improvements to provision for cycle users or continued consultation with them. The Secretariat is seeking further information, in particular on what promises may have been made in the Arriva bid concerning provision for cycle users or dialogue with them. Watch this space for more info when it becomes available.

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Buy local

Well done to everyone who supported Buy nothing Friday. Here’s an interesting article worth checking out:

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