Fracking Hell!!

The fracking application in Ryedale is crucial in the fight against Fracking.

The list below is the reasons why the Fracking industry is backing this application.

The site already has a conventional gas well.

A drilling rig was present on the site only 2 years ago.

ground water boreholes have already been drilled .

The pipework for removal of the gas is already on site.

Low population area.

Tory lead Unitary planning Authority.

The MP has given his blessing!!!. to fracking. (i wonder if Opperman has whipped him).

The North Yorks Park to the north have already given permission for a conventional gas well and a 37 km pipeline in the national park.

Third energy has told the MP that there will be up to 950 wells in the area within 5 years. the MP informed Parliament in a speech recorded in Hansard.

The application is the first to include testing and PRODUCTION.

You think this will not happen in Hexham, The Hexham area is to be included in a bidding round in 2 to 4 years time. If this application is approved then a rash of applications will appear and the Licensing rounds may be advanced.

Please object using the link below only a few days left.

TT and the Green Party.


This extract of a post from the Transition Network explains the situation with regard to Transition’s movements involvement in politics.

“At a local and national level the question of Transition/politics matters because one piece of legislation has the power to counter the good intentions of a million people doing good and kindly acts. Turning off the tap is preferable to constantly mopping up. And the Transition Movement is in danger of becoming handmaid to elite power, duly mopping up the mess left by cuts to welfare and public services. The Green Party is the only political and parliamentary organisation that gives radical voice to social justice and ecological sanity. Being political isn’t about ‘party politics’ – that common putdown by the confused and disingenuous – it’s about policies. And thanks to the hard work and foresight of the Green Party those policies are worked out and waiting to be voted for. The Transition Movement is still in its infancy. As it matures it must connect veggie boxes with ballot sheets.”

Extract from

Please keep the carbon in the ground!

Lots of action for TTer’s to be aware of on the small p front.

Hexham Town Councils Sustainability Policy was discussed at the Hexham Town Councils Planning and Infrastructure committee. The decision was made to send the Document back to the Town Plan Built Environment and Transport Group to be revised. The Sustainability policy hopefully will be discussed at the next Planning and Infrastructure committee and be presented to the full Council in Early March or April.

At the next Hexham Town Council meeting on Monday 2nd February at 6.45pm Sustrans/Northumberland County Council will make a presentation about a cycle and footpath routes audit.                                                                                                                                                Please come along to listen.

All below has not reached mainstream TV news and National Radio. But has been on the world service overnight. Why??

Lancashire County Council has deferred decision on 2 Fracking sites at the request of Cuadrilla. See here

The Prime Minister is determined to get fracking, He has a £5m fund to “advise the public on the benefits of fracking”. He is also trying to get Ministers to intervene in Local Government affairs.

Click Here

And the icing on the cake.

In 2010 David Cameron pledged that he would lead the ‘greenest government ever‘.

Now the Infastructure Bill amendment on a moratorium against Fracking has been defeated by 52, to 308, and of course Guy Opperman voted against the moratorium. Most Labour MPs did not vote. The issue of trespass under you home was not discussed as the debate ran out of time.

If reserves are proved this will involve drilling hundreds of wells. Well depletion means that 45% more wells have to be drilled every year to maintain production. This is compound expansion of drilling sites.

For example

Year 1, 20 sites

Year 2 29 sites

Year 3 42 sites

Year 3 60 sites

Each site is the size of a football pitch, add the attending pipelines. Each site requires vast amounts of water, toxic chemicals.

Here is a fun! Site.

At Bassetlaw in Nottinghamshire one Coal bed Methane test site has been refused 4 others have permission. But the pressure is on as Bassetlaw and South Yorkshire sit on one of the largest areas of Coal bed Methane gas in the UK (Bowland Shale).

Coal bed Methane is methane (natural gas) trapped in coal seams underground. To extract the gas, after drilling into the seam, it is necessary to pump large amounts of water out of the coal seam to lower the pressure. It is often also necessary to frack the seam to extract the gas. There are a similar catalogue of negative environmental and social effects as with Shale Gas. This includes methane migration, toxic water contamination, air pollution, increased carbon emissions and a general industrialisation of the countryside. Impacts that are specific to CBM include depletion of the water table and potentially subsidence.

In common with other unconventional gas extraction, such as Shale Gas, CBM wells do not produce large amounts of gas per well and production declines very quickly. It is therefore necessary to drill large numbers of wells, covering huge swathes of the landscape. CBM exploitation began in the US and over 55,000 CBM wells have been drilled in the last decade or so, mostly in the western states (Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming in particular). In Australia, where it is known as Coal Seam Gas (CSG), over 5,000 CBM wells have been drilled in Queensland in the last few years and the industry is aggressively expanding into New South Wales. In the UK CBM is more advanced than Shale Gas and full scale production may begin soon.

The experence of CBM in the USA read here

Northumberland is on the list with licences already granted off our North East coast for Underground Coal Gasification.

Please keep the carbon in the ground!

Planning News

The  Orchard Gap Housing development has been deferred by the West Area Committee. Due to the design of the house for plot 3. If the house on Plot 3 is of a different type will the solar panels be lost??.


Erection of 3 no detached dwellings and private access track via new
access off public highway.

Orchard Gap is at the town end of Allendale Road. This interesting note was in the planning statement.

“Whilst the submitted Design and Access Statement notes that both houses at
Plot 1 and 2 would have photovoltaic panels attached to the roofs, later email
confirmation has been received from the applicant’s agent that these will not
be attached to these houses. A detailed design layout and product details
have been submitted for PV panels to be provided on the flat roof on the
house at Plot 3.”

The next 2 permissions are current. Both have no comments against or for them at present.

Land North West Of Todridge Farm Great Whittington Northumberland
Installation of 30kWp ground mounted solar photovoltaic panels
Todridge Farm located approximately 6.7km to the north of Corbridge sits within 339 acres of grassland used for grazing livestock. The farm itself and existing farm buildings have been updated to include renewable heating from a ground source Heatpump system. This proposal seeks the installation of 30kWp of solar photovoltaic panels to provide renewable electricity to run the Heatpump system and to move towards self-sustainability.

Land At South West Of Black Hill Farm Yarridge Road Hexham Northumberland
Proposed installation of an 80 panel ground mounted solar pv array
Using Carbon Trust ( figures of 54.5gm/KWh generated, therefore 20,000 KWp x 545gm = 10.90 tonnes which is a representation of carbon emissions saved.

This permission is on the Green Belt. But will have little impact on the Landscape and its also a “Farm Scale” developement not a Solar Farm.

The Government recently stated:
“Can the Green Belt contribute to meeting the new challenge of climate change? – Yes
‘undeveloped land, both in the Green Belt and the wider countryside should play a vital role in helping tackle the impacts of climate change. This role should be explicitly acknowledged
in planning policy’”

Of course this statement does not allow inappropriate developement.

Warden Solar farm and planning

Here is my submission as a member of Transition Tynedale in support of the Planning Permission at Warden. This scheme will save 49 tons of carbon per year according to the Carbon Trust.

Details here

As a Member of Transition Tynedale I support the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) “Presumption in favour of sustainable development”. In particular” When considering development proposals the Council will take a positive approach that reflects the presumption in
favour of sustainable development contained in the NPPF. It will always work retroactively with applicants jointly to find solutions which mean that proposals can be approved wherever possible, and to secure development that improves the economic, social and environmental conditions in the area”.
The NPPF also supports the transition to a low carbon future in a changing climate and encourages the use of renewable resources (for example, by the development of renewable energy).
The 2008 Climate change Act established the worlds first legally binding climate change target.
The Boatside project is the type of Renewable Energy Scheme that supports the UK binding agreement and by implication Northumberlands share of the agreement to reduce the UKs greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% (from the 1990 baseline) by 2050.
I personally know the site which is well screened by trees. The properties which benefit by offsetting their present Carbon Footprint with the energy produced by the scheme are the only properties overlooking the site.
I wholeheartedly supports the Green Belt Planning Statement as put forward by the applicant.

If you want to comment just try as I find the cut off dates a bit arbitrary

click on the comment tab, on the page at the top of this post  also dont be put off by the wording

“Comments may not be submitted at this time.”

This means that you cannot comment without regestering or by signing in.



Proposed Sustainability Policy for Hexham town council.

Find below the Proposed policy proposed by the Town Plan Built Environment and Transport Group

Cllr Cleg has put up the proposal at Mondays Town Council meeting at Prospect House at 6.45pm.

    1. The Council should adopt a Sustainability Policy. To this end the draft policy [enclosed] should firstly be considered by the Planning and Infrastructure Committee and if recommended by that Committee should be put to Council for adoption.”

I beleve Bob Hull is going to Talk to the policy during the public speaking at the start of the meeting.

Myself and Barbara will be present and I hope that other members of TT will attend as this proposal will effect us all.


1. Background
Hexham, in common with all other communities, faces the global challenges of demographic change, resource constraints, increases in waste, rising energy costs, climate change, requirements of a low carbon economy and loss of biodiversity.
We are in a period of transition. We must move towards new ways of dealing with these important challenges, with new values and ideals, supported by new technology. We must build resilience in the local community to face up to these challenges.
New public expectations about the environment are obliging other local councils to adopt principles of sustainability in their areas of operation and areas where they can exert influence, in order to secure the maintenance of quality of life.
The accepted definition of Sustainable Development is: “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. This Council, in partnership with the community it serves, recognizes its responsibilities towards the environment as a whole.
Hexham Town Council is committed to caring for the environment. Already in its approach to housing and other building projects, the Council has taken a sustainability approach. It has encouraged eco-efficient buildings. It has given support to Transition Tynedale, Hexham Community Partnership (on a hydro project) and other renewable energy and energy saving projects.
This policy provides a framework for the Council to take this approach forward and provide a basis for sustainable decision making. The policy will be linked to the Hexham Town Plan process and the Hexham Neighbourhood Plan with specific actions and specified timelines. The actions resulting from these plans must include considerations of and actions for sustainability.
2. Aim:
This policy sets out how Hexham Town Council will deal with some of the challenges it faces. It outlines how it will manage its own affairs and wider relationships with others. It shows how it will seek to support delivery of Sustainable Development in all its areas of activity or influence.
In addition to putting our own affairs on a more sustainable footing, in support of County and Central Government policies and objectives, the Council will continue to support the continued prosperity, health and wellbeing of the community it serves. It will ensure sound and defensible decisions are made to support local needs. It will aim to influence wider strategic planning so that sustainability concepts and sustainable development themes are at the heart of decision making on e.g. Planning, construction and physical development.
It will aim to provide a structure in Hexham where people can experience a sound and fair society, not just from a local community perspective. This will allow the town to play its part in support of wider national / global challenges and goals for the ultimate benefit of society overall.
3. Quality of life objectives:
The quality of the environment affects our day-to-day lives and is an essential ingredient of wellbeing. We need to maintain and enhance a quality environment for future generations. One of the key objectives is to ensure our greatest asset, heritage in the natural and built environment, is maintained. This comprises not just our buildings and open spaces, but also our cultural heritage in the form of festivals and other community events which support social cohesion.
Whilst looking after our past is important the main objective is to maintain and develop a quality environment and to create a dynamic place to live in a way which encourages enterprise and growth. This requires n e w initiatives so that Hexham Town Council is seen as forward thinking in its approach to sustainability.
We will encourage vibrant events and activities aligned to sustainability to aid the community and help to build in `resilience’ and cope with a period of `transition’.
4. Quality of life powers:
Public expectation with regard to the environment and sustainability has increased to the point where it is essential that local councils adopt the principles of sustainability in all areas of operation or where the council has influence to ensure `quality of life’ is maintained.
Hexham Town Council is already committed to caring for the environment and must therefore now adopt the wider principles of sustainability. The Council, in partnership with the community it serves, recognises its responsibilities with regard to the environment as a whole in balance with societal needs and economic constraints, which together comprise the three pillars of Sustainable Development.
In addition to public expectation and meeting the requirements of European or national legislation on substantive requirements, recent initiatives encouraging change towards sustainable communities are:
• The Localism Act – places more power with communities to decide local issues
• Changes to the Planning Act – attempt to simplify the process
• Neighbourhood plans – define local needs and aspirations
All councils now have a `Power of Well Being’ to enact their requirements. LGA 2000 S2 enables a council to use the Power of Well Being which is a power of first resort.
Once enacted and a resolution has been passed, this enables a council to do anything without any spending limit which it considers likely to achieve the promotion or improvement of: the economic, social or environmental (i.e. Sustainability) wellbeing of the area.
5. Implementation:
Sustainability principles will be applied across all Council activities to the maximum extent possible and we will encourage others to do the same. To achieve this we will:
• Actively promote new initiatives that provide real benefit to the community.
• Conduct community engagement and encourage participation.
• Facilitate workshops that support Transition and Resilience building.
• Consider smarter and more cost effective ways of using our assets and facilities.
• As other councils have done we will look at creating a “Sustainability Champion” within the council who can act as a source of advice and support using external resources as required.
• Create a Sustainable Development Working Group in support of the above
• Periodically monitor and review implementation progress.
Suggested members of the Sustainable Development Working Group include:
• Nominated councillor as Working Group chair.
Representatives of community organisations and businesses
• Co-opted local residents who have expertise relevant to specific projects
Other interested councillors
6. Key Principles:
In all activities the aim will be to:
• Pursue the social, health and economic needs of the local community while minimising environmental impacts.
• Ensure local needs are met through local resources whenever possible.
• Minimise the consumption of energy, water and other natural resources and ensure that those we use are used efficiently.
• Minimise the production of waste and reduce the impact of its disposal.
• Reduce or prevent pollution and minimise emissions of greenhouse gases wherever possible.
• Protect and enhance the biodiversity of the town.
7. In the Council’s direct operations we will:
• Ensure Sustainable Development is at the heart of our strategies, projects and decision making and is built into the operation of the Council, its committees and working groups.
• Limit risk to the environment, identify and enhance sustainability issues where possible.
• Ensure sustainability is factored into local development plans and planning policies ensuring enhanced standards with any new developments and projects.
• Ensure sustainable procurement is adopted to the extent possible with suppliers.
• Ensure all employees have awareness training to encourage sound working practices.
• Follow sustainability best practice and strive for continuous improvement.
8. In our wider community relations we will:
• Foster a shared sense of purpose and responsibility in the wider community.
• Work collaboratively with local groups and others we can influence.
• Promote Sustainable Development within the community and raise awareness, e.g. at local events.
• Encourage others to behave in a sustainable manner through example and best practice.
• Use influence with our stakeholders, public bodies, businesses and individuals to encourage adoption of Sustainable Development principles and best practice.

9. Performance reporting:
Sustainable Development matters will be considered r e g u l a r l y in council meetings and as this develops, become a standard agenda/ reporting item at full Council meetings.
The Sustainable Development Working Group can in time become a mechanism for the Council to review its performance in this area to help identify and develop new initiatives.
10. Formal issue and review:
This sustainability policy for Hexham Town Council was drafted initially by the Town Plan Built Environment and Transport Group. The Council undertakes to implement and adopt these requirements wherever possible (within funding constraints) and provide assistance where necessary in support of this common objective.

Hexham Middle School Community Garden 15.11.2014

Royal Horticultural Society – It’s Your Neighbourhood

Thank you to everyone who has, over the last several years, given time and effort to designing and establishing the Hexham Middle School Community Garden. We have received an “Outstanding” award from the judges of Northumbria in Bloom! This is the highest award category, so well done to everyone.
There were a number of entries from Hexham, all for flower and shrub gardens, with HMS the only one growing food. To quote the report ‘this is a really good example of a community garden’.  The judges were impressed with how the pupils and wider community are very involved with the maintenance and development of the garden; the really good range of plants grown here – fruit, vegetables and flowers; and the partnership with Edible Hexham through Transition Tynedale.
Megan Payne

Eric and Chris weaving the willow den’s shoots back in to shape.DSCN3820

Elizabeth, David and Pat getting stuck in  with some heavy weeding and clearing ready for a new bed.




Go Local return visit by Barbara and David Grundey

Chris and Iain from Go Local came to our TT Open Meeting to explore how we might be able to join together in promoting locally grown produce freshly harvested from the garden to local people in ‘Transition’. Iain also offered Hexham Middle School Gardeners the possibility to loan their gardening machinery and the provision of seedling plants. Edible Hexham beds and troughs could also benefit from plants supplied by Go Local.

Here we are after we had weighed or counted out our £4 members’share parsnip, onions, pachoi, salad leaves, celery, garlic, and chillies. Also available was freshly baked bread made to order and homemade preserves, duck and hens eggs. GoLocalsmiles
What a joyful visit that was! On arriving home we threw the vegetables in the soup pan, and made a wrap with the freshly cut salad leaves. Produce this fresh has an aroma and crispness quite unlike the supermarket products. David and I have joined and will be driving there on Saturday mornings the Members’ regular collection day.

Go Local have had a really good and productive season which is extended by their having ample growing space in large polytunnels which are a great asset particularly for our cool Northumberland climate. Go Local have plenty of capacity and would like to link up with Hexham people to increase their customer base. IMAG0414Find the Go Local Membership form for vegetable supply to be collected from Ovington hereGO LOCAL POSTER

Human Dimensions in “Transition” from Barbara Grundey

Human Dimensions in “Transition” from Barbara Grundey
After the Transition Tynedale AGM 2014 I would like to share this quote with friends and Members of Transition Tynedale which I have found helpful towards ordering my thoughts and feelings about my future role in Transition Tynedale.

“Some situations which cause pain or suffering are avoidable, so part of our learning must be to analyse the situation and see if this is such a case. If it is, we must try to prevent it happening again. But perhaps the most painful situations are those that are apparently beyond our control. Another part of our learning is to recognise that there is unfairness, uncertainty, fear, loneliness and hurt in this world; learning to accept that this is the nature of the world can, of itself, be painful.

Initially we may be able to do little, bound up in an acute, self-centred pain and grief that come through some unhappy experience, we can learn a lot about the less-well-articulated, darker sides of our personality. These darker aspects should not be ignored. Although we tend to equate evil with darkness we should remember that in the plant world roots grow in the dark. Darkness and shadow are as much a part of the natural order as light.” (S Jocelyn Burnell, 1989 from Quaker Faith & Practice)
Before the Transition Tynedale AGM 2014 all the incumbent Directors had resigned except the Treasurer and the Secretary had also signaled his intention to resign after the AGM. This was a pattern repeated from the Transition Tynedale AGM 2013 when all the incumbent except the Treasurer chose not put themselves forward for re-election. In both cases we managed to rally around amongst ourselves resolve our differences and elect new Directors and re-elect the Treasurer to serve Transition Tynedale Ltd 2015. It is never going to be easy for any of us to make a difference!

My hope is that Transition Tynedale is growing up into an effective community organisation where success is celebrated and disappointments and difficulties are shared and resolved constructively and in friendship.
Heart felt congratulations and best wishes to the newly elected Directors of Transition Tynedake Ltd. Pat Turner, Megan Payne, and Wendy Breach. You can depend upon my continued support and friendship.
Barbara Grundey