All posts by Dave Mansell

Wiveliscombe on map for electric vehicle charging

An electric vehicle charging point is now available in Wiveliscombe, serving local residents and visitors.

The charging point is shown on Zap Map and the Pod Point network. It is located in the top part of Croft Way car park behind the Community Centre. To use, download the Pod Point app from the Apple App Store or Google Play. Two cars can be charged at the same time, with 11 kW supplied from each Type 2 connector. Charging costs 32p per kWh.

The project was first proposed by Wivey Action on Climate and Environment in 2017 and followed a local meeting in 2016. There have been changes and delays due to the merger of district councils and the pandemic, but the charging point is finally available for use.

Electric is the future for cars and the sooner we can transition the better for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It’s also important that we reduce the need for travelling and cycle, walk or use public transport whenever we can.

Wiveliscombe Community Centre are hosting the charging point and it is connected to their electricity supply, which means some charging will be solar powered from the Brendon Energy solar panels on the roof. The charging point is managed by local volunteers. For further information email: ev@wiveyaction.org.uk

Funding has been provided by grants from Brendon Energy, Somerset West and Taunton Council and Wiveliscombe Town Council.

Shown in the photo above (left to right) are: Francesca Croft*, Julie Mitchell (town councillor), local resident Sue Clowes, Des Hawkins* and Dave Mansell (district councillor for the ward). Dave and Julie organised and now manage the charging point.

*Wiveliscombe Community Centre

IMG_6410

Wildlife-friendly planting provides welcome to Wivey

As part of town recovery projects, an amazing group of volunteers have come together to look after the bank at the back of Croft Way car park. Somerset West and Taunton Council, who own the bank, agreed to this initiative and strimmed back undergrowth and grass encroaching on the footpath. Volunteers have removed brambles and started to plant woodland trees and flowers.

There will be further wildlife and insect friendly planting on the bank, including fruit bushes, bulbs, pollen-rich shrubs and plants for year-round interest. Over time, the bank should develop further into a lovely new feature welcoming people to Wivey.

The volunteer group has also done great work in the herb garden behind the Community Centre. Do take a look at the variety of herbs and flowers, the hazel arch and a willow hedge, all of which should flourish over the coming months. You may also wish to sit on the bench and enjoy the view.

In the photos above (click to view full size) are project leaders Lena Holland and Jon Burgess with officers from SWT’s Open Spaces team.

A steering group is allocating funding from Somerset West and Taunton Council for town centre recovery projects in Wiveliscombe. So far, these have included a contribution to building works at Wiveliscombe Community Centre, hanging baskets in the town centre, umbrellas for those queuing for shops, as well as some costs for planting on the car park bank. The steering group consists of the two Somerset West and Taunton councillors for the Wiveliscombe ward and representatives from the 10 Parishes Business Group, Town Council and Wiveliscombe Area Partnership.

Photos below (click to view full size) show the latest work in progress at the herb garden behind Wiveliscombe Community Centre.

This all builds on work first undertaken to create the community herb garden back in 2013.

Lots of Wivey tree planting

Wivey has been busy tree planting again.

On 9 November 2020, students and volunteers planted about 400 trees in the grounds at Kingsmead School, including rowan, crab apple, hazel and more from the Woodland Trust.

On 13 December 2020, a hedge was planted with 500 saplings from the Woodland Trust alongside the rugby pitch and next to the allotments at Plain Pond.

In March 2021, 1,000 trees were planted by volunteers at Langley Moor, including willow, alder, oak, birch and rowan. The planting was funded by FWAG and the Environment Agency and also raised funds for Wivey Skate Park.

Covid-safety measures were followed for all planting.

Consultation events for Council climate plans

Events are being held in January and February 2020 to consult on a Carbon Neutrality and Climate Resilience Plan and a new Local Plan for Somerset West and Taunton (SWT) and a Climate Emergency Strategy for Somerset.

These include a roadshow with displays at Wiveliscombe Community Centre from 10am to 3pm on Thursday, 20th February 2020. Council staff will be on hand to discuss the plans and to record your ideas.

Online consultation (6 Jan – 19 Feb) for the county-wide strategy can be completed at: www.somerset.gov.uk/waste-planning-and-land/climate-emergency

Online consultation (20 Jan – 2 March) for the SWT climate plan is at: yoursay.somersetwestandtaunton.gov.uk/climate-emergency/online-survey

Click here for consultation documents and details of all consultation events in Somerset West and Taunton.

UK target for net zero carbon emissions

As one of her last acts as Prime Minister, Theresa May has announced the UK will be the first major economy to set a legal target to stop contributing to climate change.

The target is to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, which is based on a report from the Committee on Climate Change on what is needed to achieve the Paris Agreement’s aim of limiting global warming to no more than 1.5°C. The target is also in line with recommendations from the International Panel for Climate Change, although some argue that the IPCC underestimate climate risks.

CCC-Net Zero by 2050
Click image to view full infographic, from the Committee on Climate Change, on climate impacts, UK action and getting to net zero by 2050.

Further details and different perspectives are given in the following articles:

The UK’s new target is welcomed, but there is uncertainty on how quickly carbon neutrality is needed to limit global warming to 1.5°C. There is a strong argument we just need to make rapid progress as quickly as possible. Along with many other local authorities, both Somerset West and Taunton Council and Somerset County Council have recently declared climate emergencies and set targets to contribute to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. The true test of all these declarations and targets will be the action that follows. A Citizens’ Assembly, sponsored by House of Commons select committees, is to be held in the Autumn, which may prove interesting and assist with policy choices.

Earth hour supper

Wivey Action held an Earth Hour Supper in partnership with St Andrew’s Church on Saturday, 30 March 2019. This was a family-friendly event with activities for children and attended by about 50 people.

Earth Hour is a point in the year, close to the spring solstice and the time when things are beginning to grow, when people across the world switch off their lights for an hour in a show of solidarity and concern for this planet which is our home.

There was a bring and share supper with vegetarian and vegan food, as we are encouraged to eat a little less meat for the sake of the planet, and for that meat to be of high quality, such as is raised by our own local farmers. The church was a wonderful venue, transformed with only candle-light for the supper.

Refill to avoid plastic waste

Wivey Action hosted an inspiring public meeting on 27 November 2018 to share ideas on reducing single-use plastics, which was attended by about 40 people.

Local businesses, including The Larder, Garden Shop, Conrad’s Kitchen and Ray’s Veg, talked about actions they had taken. There was a presentation on government plans and how the greatest benefits arise from first trying to reduce plastic waste, followed by reuse and recycling, and lastly from energy recovery. Difficulties with biodegradable plastics and the importance of better packaging design were also discussed.

Several people avoid plastic when shopping by taking their own bags and containers, such as Tupperware. All the business attending were happy to fill these, as well as others, such as Thornes Butchers and Taste of Spice. It is not always possible, but is one of the best solutions.

It is hoped more people will ask about refilling in shops and adopt a habit of taking their own containers. Ideas to promote this, such as a Wivey Plastic Free Week, are now to be considered.

World has stark warning

The latest report from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns the Paris target to limit global warming to 1.5ºC could be exceeded in just 12 years.

The panel’s report was another massive effort in reaching consensus on global science and policy. It is based on over 6,000 scientific studies and involved a team of 90 scientists and policy experts nominated from 40 countries. The process started in March 2017 and there were three report drafts and 42,000 reviewer comments. The final report was published on 8 October 2018 after a week-long meeting in South Korea. See the following links for more on the conclusions and implications.

BBC – Final call to save the world from ‘climate catastrophe’  and What does it mean for the UK?

WWF – How much difference will half-a-degree really make?

Guardian – IPCC report spares politicians the worst details

Inside Climate News – Radical Energy Transformation Needed

Professor Kevin Anderson says high-carbon lifestyles of top 20% need to shift rapidly

Carbon Brief – In-depth: IPCC’s special report on climate change

International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – headlines, summary and full report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C.

And how you can help: Five top tips to combat climate change

In Our Hands film show

Wivey Action on Climate & Environment showed In Our Hands, a new feature length documentary commissioned by the Land Workers’ Alliance, on 25th September 2018 at Wiveliscombe Primary School hall to about 45 people.

We were joined for an informative discussion after the film by Ashley Wheeler of Trill Farm Garden in East Devon.

The film explored the daily reality of nine real life farmers who refuse to be ground down by the machinery of big agribusiness and are proving, every day, that an alternative is possible. See brief details on their stories and links to their websites. The film promoted food sovereignty and Community Supported Agriculture as one way forward.

Click on links to view a trailer and facts from the film or buy a copy.