Biodomes, Community and coffee beans


Big Lunch Extras is Cornwall’s  Eden Project opening it’s doors, all expenses paid, to hundreds of community movers and shakers up and down the country, with several events taking place over 2014/5.

This weekend I have joined the event for four days -meeting people from Northern Ireland, Scotland and across England to hear inspiring speakers, explore the amazing Eden Project landscape and share conversations with a range of extraordinary people involved in local community action.

Memorable was the community artist, Sue Hill, who has spent a lifetime transforming the way people express their love for the places they live in. She had worked with the residents of Port Talbot helping them to put on a Passion Play engaging memories and histories to express the power of the dispossessed community.

In war savaged Kosovo, her positive energy and thirst for learning from the people she worked with had led to a remarkable project with young refugees returning to their country to build a peace garden in their home town. To find out more about her work go to

Later, on a tour around the sweltering Eden Project tropical rainforest biodomes we learnt that each coffee bean fruit produced just two beans, and that your morning cup of coffee required over sixty of these beans! As the coffee beans on the plant ripen at different times it requires intensive labour to pick the beans at the optimal stage. If any of us needed persuading this was a strong argument to ensure we buy only Fairtrade coffee where pickers are paid decent money for their labour. How much effort would you put into picking fruit for your morning cuppa coffee?

Despite anticipating chilly December weather with everyone geared up with woolly hats and scarves we seem to have arrived on a sunny June day with the skies blue and the air still. It was warm enough to have a long lunch outside on the balcony overlooking the glistening white caps of the eerie biodomes.

Back for a good night’s sleep in the brand new cosy Snooze-boxes – courtesy of YHA – and waiting to see what surprises Sunday brings!

see more at Big Lunch Extras website click here and Big Lunch Extras  twitter #BLENovimage

Ideas on how to make the Local Plan a Sustainable Plan – have you responded?

Over 30 TSA members came together  to share and gather ideas on how to make the local plan a sustainable plan. You can find the results of this ‘collective conversation‘ by clicking items below. You can also find this information on

(each doc is saved as both a  word doc (1)  and a pdf (1a) so you can open which one you prefer to use)

We hope you can use these ideas for stimulation to help you respond.We looked at the three areas of:

(1) Transport  (1a) Transport pdf

(2) Renewable and Low Carbon Energy  (2a) Renewable and Low Carbon Energy pdf

(3) Healthy and Sustainable Environment TSA  (3a) Healthy and Sustainable Environment pdf

Online Consultation – If you want to reply to the consultation you can either click here for online responses  – go directly to ‘Read and Comment on document’ or  individuals can send their response by email or post -
By email to: (head your email up “SLP consultation response”); or
By post to: St Albans Council Offices, St Peters Street, St Albans, AL1 3JE

One thing to bear in mind is that any identical answers will be counted as one response so please use your own words where possible.

Also, a reminder that in most cases the default response on the agree / disagree box is “strongly agree” so you need to make sure you change this to what you want.

Don’t forget it will need to get there by the deadline to be counted! Deadline 5pm Sunday 23rd November

Tonight! Wed 19 Nov 7.30 Make the Local Plan a Sustainable Plan!

All welcome! Wed 19 Nov 7.30pm at Fleetville Community Centre

Help to make the local plan a sustainable plan- click here for more information: 

Refreshments available. If you havent been to a Transition St Albans event before you will find  a relaxed, informal atmosphere, with time for a cup of coffee/tea and a chat to others who are involved.

Make the Local Plan a Sustainable Plan

Transition St Albans Open Meeting on Wed 19th Nov 7.30pm at Fleetville Community Centre – all welcome

Make the Local Plan a Sustainable Plan – a collective conversation

 For more information see

We aim to put our heads together and make it easier for you to respond to the consultation.

Make the Local Plan a Sustainable Plan

It’s great that there is a council consultation on the Strategic Plan for the District. However it can be a challenge for individuals to contribute well. We need to make our voices heard so the council understands our concerns about having a sustainable future for the district.

TSA have arranged this meeting to help residents manage the process – with a specific focus on:
(i) transport
(ii) healthy and sustainable environment

Facilitated by Melvyn Teare – you will come away from the meeting with concrete ideas on what considerations are important for the council when planning for a sustainable future for the city.

You will also leave the meeting with clear guidelines for completing the consultation – which ends on Sunday 23rd November 5pm.

Melvyn is an ex-councillor with St Albans District Councillor with experience on planning committees and previous portfolio holder for the environment. He is also secretary to the St Albans Green Belt Society and on the committee for the Civic Society.

Refreshments will be available


Is Transition a great idea?

 Radio 4 invites you to tell them. Has Transition St Albans helped you change the way you live – in small ways – steps towards a more sustainable community?

be inspiredalangardenGetting to know new people? Growing your own food? Recycling more? Insulating your house? Putting solar panels up or changing the lightbulbs? Walking more leaving the car at home? Helped create a community growing project @FoodSmilesStA ? Have you found out more about environmentally sustainable issues?

Radio 4 is inviting listeners to tell them what they would like to hear on the Radio for Listeners Week: Get Involved.

In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg and guests discusses the history of ideas; but is there a topic that it’s missed? Let the programme team know about your big idea. Would you like to hear more about communities responding to climate change issues – through the Transition network and sustainable food initiatives?

Woman’s Hour offers a female perspective on the world, but what’s your perspective? Are you one of the many women in TSA who volunteer their time and effort in the community to help inspire others to make a difference towards living in a sustainable city.

Saturday Live is all about sharing listener’s extraordinary stories. So if something unusual or amazing has happened to you get in touch. Has your garden transformed into an edible paradise? Did your involvement in Transition Streets help build lasting friendships with neighbours?

Listener Week on Radio 4

Do you have a fantastic idea for Radio 4 which you’ve always wanted to hear on air? What’s the burning issue that is being overlooked? Listener Week is your chance to get involved. This November three programmes are giving you the chance to curate their content.

Council fails to meet carbon emission target

St Albans and District council has failed to meet its ‘current reduction target’ for carbon emissions of 5% per annum  and is reducing this to an annual reduction of 1.8% per annum.

See council Environmental Issues Report click here

co2St Albans and District Council had a reduction target of 5%  per annum but latest figures for 2012 show that they have been unable to achieve this and they describe the original aim as ‘unrealistic’. In response they have announced that they will be reducing the annual target to 1.8%.

The full report Page 18 says:

‘3.4 Targets
Having monitored and reported our greenhouse gas emissions for a period of
6 years we can now deduce that the current reduction target of 5% per annum
is not feasible within our current resources. We have decided to set a longer
term target to reduce our emissions by 20% of 2008/09 levels by 2020. This is
equivalent to an annual reduction of 1.8% per annum since the baseline year.
In order to achieve this over the next 7 years we will need to achieve an
annual reduction of 2.3% per year.’

Transition St Albans is disappointed with the failure to achieve the 5% target and with the Council’s decision to relax its targets rather than to redouble its efforts to make a difference for our community. Our growing membership shows that the people of St Albans care a great deal about climate change and want to  halt the global warming caused by our unceasing use of fossil fuels and increasing carbon emissions.

Other authorities can do it!

Oxford City Council ‘ Carbon Reduction at the heart of everything we do’ managed to achieve its annual 3% reduction targets from 2011 and has now increased its year on year target to 5% .

Bedford Borough Council has set an aspirational target to reduce its carbon
emissions by 40% from its baseline 2009/10 year by March 2015. This target is outlined within the Council’s Carbon Management Plan click here.

Camden Council in 2010/11 reduced emissions by 9%, exceeding the average 7% reduction reported by local authorities across the country. In 2012/13 they continued to make carbon savings, and are now on target to achieve their 2017 ambitious target of 27% reduction.

How could the council help to reduce carbon emissions?

Our council – whatever their political leanings – holds the responsibility, leadership and budget to reduce carbon emissions on behalf of the community in St Albans.  If they have found it challenging to reduce carbon emissions, rather than reduce carbon emission targets they should be re-invigorating their environmental policies.

They could provide further help for Transition St Albans and other committed groups in the district to do more work in this sphere. This isn’t a game. We do what we do because there is a climate threat and it requires us all to respond now with practical actions.

The council is currently starting work on an overarching strategy to ‘coordinate and focus…approach to climate change mitigation’

Transition St Albans calls on the Council to make this an ambitious document which moves St Albans & district towards a sustainable, lower carbon future, playing our part in tackling climate change. We think the Council could and should take a lead on this issue for the whole district, bringing the business and voluntary sectors together to unite around a common goal of creating a sustainable district.

Meet the Food Growers – Food and Drink Festival

Grow it! Cook it! Eat it!

wed 1st October 8pm onwards

In the garden yurt at The Blacksmiths Arms, St Peters St

To find out more about the event please click here

David knows his parsnips!

You are invited to enjoy fine ales, meet these inspirational food growers, see and taste produce, and pick up a plant or two!

The evening is organised by  food growers from both FoodSmiles St Albans community growing project, and from Transition St Albans’ HomeGrown Food group.

Each of these local growers have one thing in common: they have all spent time contributing to projects to inspire and encourage more people in St Albans and District to pick up a pot and get growing!

Part of St Albans Food and Drink Festival  – Admission Free. 8pm onwards.