Thursday, December 17

New Borough Cycling Maps

Havant Borough Council have published new cycling maps indicating the areas cycling routes and paths. The maps are available from the borough libraries, cycling shops, civic offices and web site.

Dukes Meadow Show Homes

Had a look around the Dukes Meadow new home builds recently. The whole site has changed back to Taylor Wimpey again, the Bryant name being removed from the whole site.

From the outside you can see that most of the houses have solar heating panels on the roof, although I'm not sure the flats do. The solar panels look like the older flat plate type rather than the vacuum tube type commonly available now. Unfortunately the sales staff aren't particularly technically competent, so I didn't get very far with the details!

I had a look around the bigger show home, where there were various controllers installed to control the lighting, alarm, heating etc. But no smart meters!?
All that tech to use energy and none to help save it?
Not having smart meters, seems like a big mistake to me.

All the homes seemed to be fitted with modern condensing gas boilers to work in tandem with the solar panels. All newly fitted gas boilers these days have to be the condensing type and they are roughly 90% efficient.

There is a mixture of flats, two storey houses and three storey 'town houses', all of which have a SAP energy efficiency rating of 'B'. This is one down from the top rating of 'A'. So by today's standards they are probably quite good, but I doubt if they match Passiv Haus standards in energy efficiency. Certainly in a few years time, energy efficiency standards will be raised further. In fact they should be higher now, but developers are dragging their feet.

I hope the Grainger properties will be better, they aren't however going to show their revised designs and ideas until early next year.

Tuesday, December 8

Climate Denial Crock of the Week - Those emails

I love the crock of the week videos. Greenman3610 (Peter Sinclair) always does a good job at getting to the facts about AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) denial. This one takes a look at the misrepresentation of the stolen CRU emails in the media:

If you want to learn more about the basic science of climate change, Chicago University professor David Archer has videoed a series of his lectures and put them online. He starts with some quantum mechanics to explain why carbon dioxide is a 'greenhouse' gas and progresses to produce some very simple models. The maths is a bit advanced, but if you can keep up, then it is worth watching them all. He also has a book out that covers the same subject, but i'm not sure if it is available in the UK.

Saturday, December 5

Portsmouth Picture Story - high tides and sea levels

Decided to check out the high tide today down in Old Portsmouth, armed with a camera, I thought I would take some photos. Today wasn't the highest tide of the year, that was on August 22nd, when it was about 0.5m higher than today. High tides are caused by the positioning of the Moon and Sun, combined with the rotation of the earth and local phenomenon specific to a location.

Round Tower
Started at the Round Tower in Old Portsmouth at the newish concrete wall. This shot is looking in towards the harbour. The stones are relatively new, I think in the past there was just the wall that can be seen on the right, protecting the property behind it. The latest prediction for the end of this century is for a 1.4m sea level rise (probably greater by the time the century is out), so roughly 5ft. Add another 0.5m for the highest tide and you get about 2m or 6.5ft (added to the sea level in the photo). So the water will be lapping up against that wall and on a rough day, coming over the top

Round Tower

Walking along wall towards Clarence Pier
OK, for those not familiar with Portsmouth, In this photo (below) I am walking on top of the old defensive wall (partly military protection, partly protection from the sea/weather). The ground is a number of metres below, you need to walk up some stairs to go on the wall. In the photo, 'ground level' is a metre or two above the high tide sea level. Here you can sea a concrete platform with a fence around it, completely inundated by the sea. Only really of use to fishermen at lower tides. Note that the lower walkway on the left of the photo (behind the concrete pillars and below the upper walkway. The upper walkway in the photo is also well above ground level), would not be a nice place to be at the highest tide, with a low atmospheric pressure and a storm surge!

Sally Port Portsmouth

Inundated platform
Closer shot of the concrete platform. Note at the end of the century, it will be next to useless, even at mid tide. At the highest tide, the fence will be completely under water (assuming the fence remained).

Sally Port Portsmouth

The moat, Nelsons last walk and Spur Redoubt
Here is a shot of the low wall at the moat near where Nelson made his last walk to his fleet, before the Battle of Trafalgar. Note the water level on the sea side of the wall and the water level on the land side of the wall. I estimate that at maximum high tide, the sea would reach the bottom of the inclined plain of the wall. Another metre or so and it will pour in over the top and into the moat. Portsmouth City Council are probably going to have to raise the wall in about 4 to 6 decades from now.

Sea Wall Portsmouth

Culvert allows water into moat
This shot shows the water flowing through a culvert (at high tide) into the moat on the other side of the wall (photo above). Not sure if the culvert door is water tight when closed, probably not.
Note the sea level on the other side would roughly be where the missing stone/brick is above the culvert.

Moat culvert Portsmouth

Nelsons tunnel
This is the tunnel Nelson walked through on his way to HMS Victory before setting sail and the Battle of Trafalgar. Note that as well as the culvert for letting water in, there are drainage culverts dotted around the moat. These obviously work fine with current sea levels. On a low tide, the water can drain out if the moat gets to high. Note how close the tunnel entrance is to the water level in the moat. A 1 to 2 metre increase in sea levels, the tunnel and the land at the other end of the tunnel could be flooded. Another problem for Portsmouth City Council to ponder in the coming decades. For those unfamiliar with Portsmouth, the tunnel runs through a built up mound of earth (a rampart), 'ground level' is I believe at the same level as the tunnel (need to check that!).

Nelson moat tunnel

This photo is an older shot of the tunnel, moat and bridge. It was taken about 10 years ago, or maybe earlier. The fact that the water appears to be at a lower level isn't really relevant. However it can be seen the older bridge was wood. The photo was taken from the ruins of the Spur Redoubt.

Tunnel moat nelson

Close up at Tunnel entrance
Here's a close up of the water at the tunnels entrance. The Moat may have to be dry in the future, with the sea prevented from entering (the culverts sealed). This maybe the only way of protecting the tunnel and Southsea from being flooded.

Tunnel Nelson

Clarence Pier
Clarence pier is a metre or two above high tide. Another 0.5m needs to be added in this photo for the max tide. Basically the future of Clarence Pier this century is doubtful. I don't know how well the businesses do on it, but I suspect there won't be the money to do the required sea defence work. Unless of course it comes out of public funds.

Clarence Pier Portsmouth

Beach near the hovercraft terminal
Note, that a 1.4m sea level rise would roughly erode 14m or more of beach inland. Basically on a high tide the building in the shot here (I think it is the RNLI building, but can't remember) would be in the water.

Beach Portsmouth

Hope you enjoyed that! I think most of my comments are accurate, if you know the workings of the moat and it doesn't match mine, then do leave a comment. What should be remembered is that this area is relatively well protected. A few modifications and there aren't many problems. The biggest problem though is that sea levels won't stop rising at the end of the century. You can probably add another 2 to 4 metres next century and so on, century after century!

Monday, November 23

CRU hacked emails

The recent news about stolen emails from the UKs climate research facility is a worrying development, not from the point of view of the science, but because of the political motivations behind the attack.
Many skeptics and deniers are using the small amounts of information gleaned from a tiny number of emails to back their political cause. I have had a look at some of the information, thankfully the contrarians do the filtering for us and quite happily pick out their favourite emails to discuss in forums and blogs.

One of my favourite snippets (which may or may not be original) is this one:

Added: email text removed for legal/copyright reasons. But the email basically suggested that some temperature data might have been removed from the end of a series for a graph to be used in a presentation, in order to hide alleged cooling. The text of the email is quite easy to find via an internet search.

This allegedly presents (to uneducated eyes) manipulation of data and scientific results. One could easily interpret the statement as a cover up or a conspiracy. Indeed, Nigel Lawson on Radio 4 this morning was doing the usual political spin (despite being in the wilderness these days) by denying he was a 'denier' and proposed that such comments in the emails should be investigated.

OK lets analyse this one troublesome email snippet (a few bytes of data, out of many millions that were stolen!). Firstly the person in question was talking about a presentation to other people. This means the graph mentioned in the email would be under scrutiny in public, so any points that would be missing would be noticed by any scientist or intelligent person in the audience. Not only that, but it is quite possible that the scientist explained why he removed the points during the presentation.

Now lets look at why a scientist would remove points when creating a graph. The issue is quite simple. Basically many curve plotting techniques can actually produce poor results if the data points at the end or the start of the series are radically different to the main batch of points in the middle. Indeed, the fact that the data suddenly stops in time, because we don't have temperature data for the future, there is obviously an artificial drop off in temperature even without specific data at either end of the sequence.

Filter techniques are sometimes used to produce a graph, this can result in the curve at the start and end of a plot to incorrectly drop off or even increase. With such plotting techniques it can even make sense to chop the graph off so that only the middle section is used. This has nothing to do with manipulation, what does happen however is that skilled scientists that know the characteristics of the maths used to plot a graph, can use that knowledge to choose the right methods that actually produce 'true' or accurate results.

So does a discussion about removing data really create a big concern?
In this context, it means very little and climate change deniers are being 'alarmist', basically using politics to manipulate the scientists and global policy. Unfortunately the scientists are being attacked vigorously by many people with some very dubious political motives. This is really a desperate act, partly for attention and partly because those opposed to the changes we need to make in our lives are getting to a point where anything could be justified, including poor science and criminal acts.

For more information about curve fitting try: Open Mind: Dangerous Curves

Sunday, November 22

Hampshire Police test electric car

Hampshire Constabulary are testing a Mitsubishi iMiEV with the idea of cutting down the forces carbon emissions. The iMiEV has a top speed of 81mph and a range of 100 miles. It costs just 96p to charge up. A few years ago the Constabulary trialled an electric Vectrix motorbike in Portsmouth, however I don't believe they bought any of those. It is expected that after the trial, the force will decide whether to take some iMiEVs when the vehicle is launched next year.

Hampshire Chronicle
BBC News
Mitsubishi iMiEV web site

Thursday, November 19

How the Grainger development looks today

I thought I would take some photos from the footpath through the proposed Grainger (West of Waterlooville MDA) site. Note the descriptions are based on my own interpretation of the Grainger plans and the location that the photo was taken:

This photo shows the view at the corner of the allotments. According to the latest proposal the allotments will remain, most of the land in the photo will be built on though. There will be buildings that run along the the hedge which defines the allotment border.

This image shows 'plant farm' which will remain, most of the space in the photo should remain 'green' space with no building. The hedgerows and trees should remain. There will be a lot of building behind the farm.

In this shot the foreground should remain green space, but looking back to the London road, all that space will be built on. The hedge in the left of the photo defines the allotment boundary. There will be buildings in front of the allotment.

This shot is looking towards Hambledon road and the industrial estate. There will be a lot of buildings in the distance, but the foreground should remain green space. To the right, there will also be some building (the allotment boundary).

Havant Borough Council signs up for 10:10

Havant Borough Council might be slow to sign up for anything environmental, but it was quick to sign up to Franny Armstrongs 10:10 carbon emission cutting exercise. 10:10 is open to individuals and organisations to cut their emissions by 10% in 2010. Lets hope they achieve thge 10% cut, even better, lets see everyone in the borough achieve the same!

Sunday, November 15

Local colleges abandon adult education

As unemployment continues and many people are desperate to update their skills, both Havant and South Downs College have abandoned or cut back the running of adult education courses. South Downs College recently removed all the courses due to start in January 2010, whilst Havant college called a halt to courses starting in September 2009.

South Downs College were offering a range of courses that included Engineering, Catering, Animal care, Health and Safety, Accounting and many other subjects. However the college has quietly abandoned adult education.

Havant College publicly stated earlier in the year that it could no longer keep courses going. It seems that local public institutions are no longer required to serve the local population, despite receiving substantial funds provided by local tax payers, many of whom are now having problems obtaining work.

Wednesday, November 11

Age of Stupid on DVD and on TV

The DVD of The Age Of Stupid was released this week. HMV stores in Portsmouth have it in stock, although it isn't easy to find!
Probably a good idea to look in the Documentary or General Interest sections. The DVD is has paper and card packaging, so it is good to see that Franny Armstrong and her team continue to do what they can to make it eco-friendly as possible. The first run of the DVD is a two disc set with a load of 'Stupid' stickers and a Stupid certificate that you can fill in and give to an eco-damaging organisation.

The other news is that the BBC have bought the film and plan to show it before or during the Copenhagen discussions next month. So if you don't want to buy the DVD, then you have a chance to see it on TV.


The Age of Stupid Global Premiere Trailer from Age of Stupid on Vimeo.

The Age of Stupid
Not Stupid

Friday, November 6

Sainsburys pre-application forum update

It is unfortunate that the level of opposition to a new Sainsburys in Waterlooville is almost non-existent. It is also disappointing that the leaders of the Waterlooville Business Association decided to support the new development with a tone of desperation and pleading. Sad really.
Most concern is with road traffic, but one wonders how insistent HBC will be in making sure the concerns are met.

Thank goodness government legislation at least now makes sure some level of consideration is given to long term issues such as the environment, even if there is a level of greenwash in there somewhere. It is also nice to know that walking and cycling now have a much higher status on the transport planning agenda (partly as a result of encouraging healthy living, as well as climate change issues) and even some HBC councillors support cyclists and pedestrians in the area.

However because the focus is often still on car use and traffic, pedestrians and cyclists still need to be vocal as possible, making sure their opinions are voiced in the planning process. Otherwise all the car driving councillors will be focused on car traffic, basically because that's all they really know or understand.

On the positive side of things, it is good to know that new cycle paths are planned along the Milton road and between Denmead and Waterlooville. Sustrans are involved with this scheme and are looking at raising matched funding. Even if the Sainsburys juggernaut can not be stopped, it would be good if the transport developments near Sainsburys can link in with the planned Denmead/Waterlooville cycle route.

One issue that will affect the schedule of work will be the recycling centre, there is apparently a specific schedule for that to be moved and it is unlikely Sainsburys will be able to open any proposed store before the recycling centre is moved to a new location. The deadline date for the recycling centre move is July 2011, however if Taylor Wimpey manage to build 200 homes before then, the centre will be moved when the 200 home figure is reached.

Newlands development - consultation

Lots of stuff to write about! But the first post is about the ongoing saga of the West of Waterlooville MDA. As reported in a previous post, Grainger are extending their part of the MDA to include 1,000 more homes.

They are launching a web site on the same day that they are presenting the new plans at the Waterlooville Community Centre on the 13th November. At the moment the web site just has a splash screen, but on the 13th the site will become active and an online consultation form will be published.

It is important that Waterlooville folk participate in the consultation to get the best results. However it should be noted that this appears to be a commercial consultation carried out by Grainger for their own purposes and not a statutory one conducted by the council
Grainger - Newlands Hampshire Consultation web site

Thursday, November 5

Compact Fluorescent (energy saving) Lamps vs Incandescents

compact fluorescent lamp For quite a while now I have come across discussions about the merits (or not) of Compact Fluorescent Lamps CFLs . There is a lot of disinformation published about them in the media. Typically those that 'fight' against CFLs say that they don't save energy because their manufacture uses so much more energy. For ages I had wondered if there was any analysis done to prove or disprove this theory and recently I found some research that shows CFLs are better.

The problem we have today is that we are only beginning to learn how to understand complete processes. In the case of a CFL, the process starts with acquiring the materials, progresses through manufacture of the lamp, purchase of the product, using it at home and finally disposing of it and recycling. When we buy the product, we participate in one part of the process.

The research I found is by Annette Gydesen and Dorte Maimann of the Technical University of Denmark (details and link at the end of this post). They split the process into 3 stages, production, operating and scrapping. Although more energy is required to produce CFLs, the total energy consumed in the lifecycle process of a CFL is about 5 times less than incandescent lamps. The resulting CO2 emissions are also about 5 times less than an incandescent lamp.

One interesting point made by the research is that as long as we continue using coal in power stations, incandescents would be responsible for more mercury pollution than CFLs!

Life Cycle Analysis of Integral Compact Fluorescent Lamps versus Incandescent Lamps - Annette Gydesen and Dorte Maimann, Technical University of Denmark.

Tuesday, November 3

Grainger to be challenged in court

The company behind the biggest part of the West of Waterlooville MDA will be challenged in court over the sacking of its head of sustainability. Tim Nicholson has won a court battle that now allows him to challenge his dismissal. He claims that he was sacked for his views about anthropogenic climate change and the science behind it.

Hopefully the court case could reveal something about attitudes in the building industry. One wonders what exactly is confirmed in the mind of the Grainger corporate affairs spokesperson mentioned in the BBC article??

Sunday, November 1

Renewable energy isn't reliable?

So often I come across the idea that environmentalists want to drive us back into the caves. To be honest, I guess there has always been an element of this in environmentalist thinking, although having worked in engineering, the idea of living in caves has never been on my agenda!

Anyway having a genuine interest in new technology and ideas, I am always looking for new stuff. One issue that is always highlighted by people opposed to renewable energy is that it is variable and unpredictable. For individual electricity generators this is obviously a problem, in fact it is a problem for large power stations as well. As an engineer I had the privilege of working on a major computer/software/electronics project many years ago and the client had their own power station to power the systems they operated. Unfortunately not long after our system had been installed in the clients premises, the clients power station suffered a brief over voltage situation (the voltage went above the tolerances set by the client) this knocked out all the memory boards on the systems we installed.

The point I'm making here is that dependency on a small number of large and allegedly stable power stations doesn't actually make for a reliable system. In fact a greater number of small power sources networked together can provide a more robust system, because the impact of one or two generators failing has a smaller impact on the system as a whole. This is also the conclusion arrived at by the International Energy Agency in a recent report about renewable energy variability. The reality is, renewable energy is at the cutting edge of science and technology, not at all primitive.

Some of the most advanced work is actually being done on energy storage, including batteries and other storage systems. Recently the US Department of Energy contributed some funding to some highly technical and advanced projects that are aimed at providing solutions to grid stabilisation and electric vehicle development. These include Liquid Metal Grid Scale batteries, Advanced high density Lithium-Ion batteries using nano-technology, Metal-Air Ionic Liquid Batteries and Nanotube Advanced Ultra-capacitors

Here in the UK, we missed the boat a bit with wind turbine manufacturing and all the key players in that field are in Europe, some are in the US, with China and India fast catching up with their own comapnies. The UK has no home grown large scale wind turbine manufacturers other than a few factories here owned by those foreign companies.

All is not lost though, because an American company called Clipper is developing the largest wind turbine in the world in the North of England. The Britannia project will produce a 10MW turbine for offshore wind farms and will hopefully create many jobs (most modern turbines are between 2MW and 3.5MW).

The UK is actually the lead nation when it comes to Marine energy development and research. With companies like Marine Current Turbines, Lunar Energy, Swan Turbines and Tidal Energy Ltd amongst many others, we have an opportunity to actually build a stable design, development and manufacturing base in the UK that can provide a long term future for us all. But it requires some short term investment that is probably lacking right now and the danger is that British companies will go elsewhere to find the facilities and funding to keep going.

The questions is, what is it to be?
Stacking shelves at Sainsburys, or a new era of science, engineering and technology?

Sainsburys and traffic

There seems to be growing concern about the impact that the proposed Waterlooville Sainsburys will have on traffic on the old Hambledon road. The recycling centre (dump) opposite the proposed site is busy nearly every day with a queue of traffic waiting to get in.
The new Sainsburys is proposed to have a ground level car park for over 400 cars, with the store built on top of it. Ramps and lifts would allow access to the store, this would create more traffic, creating additional stress for pedestrians and cyclists.

As well as a Sainsburys store, the company is proposing a petrol station on the vacated Sprint Print site. This will create more traffic and given that we are on the 'road' to a move away from petrol and on to electric vehicles, this proposal seems outdated and archaic. It really negates the environmental features (greenwash) Sainsburys are proposing for the store and highlights the fact that Sainsburys is 'anti-local' by promoting car use.

There is a possibility that the closed off Hambledon road between Milton road and Aston road could be re-opened so that traffic can flow past the houses. I'm sure residents along that road will be pleased (not). Currently the road provides a quiet and peaceful pedestrian and cycling route for many residents that live along Milton road and towards Denmead.

It is unlikely that visitors to the store will be bothered about visiting Waterlooville town centre, despite any claims Sainsburys might make, such a store would move the focus away from the traditional centre of the town, which continues to have difficulty to fill the existing small retail units.

Wednesday, October 28

Hyden Farm stay organic

Christmas joy!

Ok, maybe not for the turkeys. But after the fears expressed earlier this year that Hyden Farm may have to abandon being organic because of feed prices going through the roof, as Christmas approaches, they are still organic and their prices are the same as last year!

The order form is now on the web site.

Tuesday, October 27

Soap Dispenser produced by bacteria

soap dispenserHaving written about this Ecogen plastic in a previous post, I decided to actually buy something made out of it. My choice was a plastic soap dispenser. How boring! Well yes except the plastic was produced by feeding bacteria some corn starch sugars. It looks and feels like any other plastic product, but will biodegrade if buried in the ground for about 9 months.

I have had some thoughts about this, there is of course an issue highlighted by the use of biofuels, eg. using land to produce fuel, that could produce food, is a waste of resources. I agree with that. But this is a bit different I think. Although the plastic in this case requires corn to be farmed, the product is robust and will hopefully last many years, unlike ethanol or other biofuels that would be burnt with in a year after the crop had been harvested

Secondly the plastic is storing carbon for as long as it lasts, where as fuel would return the carbon to the atmosphere within a year. Hence the plastic is a carbon store, like wood. The turnover from crop, to product and back to the earth again is longer than biofuels.

Wednesday, October 21

Waterlooville Sainsburys - public forum

Havant Borough Council are staging a 'Development Consultation Forum' about the proposed Waterlooville Sainsburys at the Council Chamber, Havant Civic Offices on 5th November 2009.
The public will only be allowed to listen to the discussion, which starts at 6pm. A display of the proposal will be revealed at 5.30pm in the Council Chamber. Only councillors, officers and chairs of the local community boards will be able to speak.
Hence if you want to air your views, you need to attend one of the local Community Board or residents association meetings, so that they are passed on.

Waterlooville North Community Board
Waterlooville South Community Board

Sunday, October 18

Mixed news - paints and plastics

After a year or so trying out eco paints, two paints seem to be holding up well, whilst one isn't doing as well as the other two. Earthborn Emulsion used in the laundry room area and Auro gloss paint used on the kitchen woodwork (doors and door frames) are both doing well.

However the use of Nature Paint (the powder in a paper bag) in a steamy area is looking like it might have been a mistake. This was a bit of gamble since the paint wasn't designed for 'damp' areas, hence any fault is probably mine. In areas where steam has been present around the cooker and kettle, the paint has cracked and flaked a bit. It could be that next year I might have to consider replacing it with either standard emulsion suitable for kitchens or possibly a more robust eco-friendly paint.

I have recently come across some products made from a new robust biodegradable plastic. Called Ecogen, the plastic is a bio-engineered material produced using bacteria fed on cornstarch sugars in a fermentation process. The plastic is only biodegradable in soil or compost and takes 6 to 9 months to decompose (compared to hundreds of years (at least) for most petrochemical based plastics). However in normal household conditions the plastic remains robust.
Currently the company produces bathroom products (soap dishes, toothbrush holders etc.) which are available from Natural Collection.

Saturday, October 17

Winchester dumps another 1000 homes on Waterlooville

Grainger Plc is submitting its ideas to the public for 1000 homes in addition to the existing homes planned in the West of Waterlooville MDA. The plans will be on display at the Waterlooville Community Centre on 13th and 14th November. This isn't a planning application consultation, rather a preview of what Grainger are proposing. However opinions expressed by the public may influence Graingers eventual application, so it is important that people make their voices heard.

4 years of energy consumption

Decided to trace back through my old electricity bills this month, trying to work out how many units i'm using today compared to 4 years ago. Trouble is, I have some blank months in 2006 where I appear to have a bill missing. It is also made difficult by the fact that the billing periods vary from year to year and that I changed my supplier in the middle of 2006.

But I roughly estimate that my electricity usage is about one third of what it was in 2006! A 66% reduction in 4 years is good going, but I think it will be difficult to make similar big savings over the coming years, although I'll work on it.

I actually wonder what on earth I was using all that energy for in 2006?? In 2009 my computer stays on most of the day and I watch just as much TV. It's the gas guzzling appliances that make the difference, water heater, tumble dryer, convection heater, kettle etc. If you can change the way you use those things, or even cut them out completely (such as a tumble dryer), then it is possible to make big cuts.

Thursday, October 15

It's BAD!

It's Blog Action Day 2009. This year it is about climate change and creating awareness. Haven't really thought about what to write though!

Ah, yes. The Catlin Arctic Survey news today about the Arctic sea ice being only one years worth thick and disappearing in 10 to 20 years. That should worry anyone. When it goes completely and the albedo effect is removed, then the darker seas will reflect less sunlight and the rate at which the earth warms will increase (a feedback effect). That's a scary prospect.

Melting sea ice won't raise sea levels in itself, but indirect affects will speed up glacier melt and the melting of other land based ice, this will increase sea levels. Read through some of my eco friendly tips on this blog if you want to help stop the ice melting trend.

Catlin Arctic Survey

Maldives underwater cabinet meeting:

Sunday, October 11

South coast sea levels rising

Researchers at Southampton University have used data from numerous sources and show that sea levels along the South coast of England have been rising over the last century. A serious flooding event that would have occurred once in 100 years in 1900 would now occur once in 10 to 25 years.
As sea levels continue to rise, the events are going to increase (once every year or so) and obviously eventually it won't be possible to defend Portsmouth against the rising waters.

I wrote a post a while ago suggesting that Portsmouth would have to be abandoned as the seas continue to rise.
One assumes that such news would eventually affect property, land prices and insurance cover, one wonders when this would happen?
Portsmouth City Council won't discuss it or even mention it. Southampton is planning a large barrier to fend off the sea, but as an island, Portsmouth is doomed to become a modern Atlantis with the Spinnaker tower poking above the waters.

Saturday, October 10

Sainsbury plans for Waterlooville

Recently Sainsburys has revealed plans for a new supermarket store in Waterlooville, on the site of the now closed Salvador Caetano coach builders factory. The site had previously been occupied by Wadham Stringers.

There are a number of alarming issues about this proposal...

1. A lack of legislation and poor planning of the built environment has resulted in our bus network across the UK failing to get people out of their cars. As a result, companies like Caetano have not had enough business to keep the Waterlooville factory open. The Sainsburys proposal in fact just highlights this issue, the Sainsburys proposal for a big store and a car park for over 400 cars, effectively reverses the use of the site from an environmentally positive one to a negative one.

2. Waterlooville already has an Iceland, Asda, Waitrose, an Asda Hypermarket, a Co-op shop in Milton road and a Lidl in Cowplain. On top of this we have 3 butchers in the area, a greengrocer and numerous other shops. All are within cycling and driving distance. Most are actually within reasonable walking distance for anyone living near Waterlooville, with the exception of the Asda hypermarket which probably requires a bus or car to get to. There is basically plenty of choice and competition, the area doesn't need another supermarket. Any council approval for more supermarkets would be to help Sainsburys as a business (read into that what you will) rather than doing what is right for the community and environment.

3. The retail park near the proposed site already causes headaches for pedestrians and cyclists, adding more supermarket capacity will attract more traffic, creating more problems.

4. Supermarkets are dependent on car use. In an alternative history scenario where cars were never invented and people were dependent on their two 'pegs', the likes of Sainsbury, Tesco and even Waitrose would have had to limit themselves to small shops in rural and suburban areas. They could only really survive without cars in densely populated urban areas like Portsmouth. This basically means that their business models run contrary to modern accepted environmentally sustainable ideas, they encourage car use and car emissions.

That's just a few for starters.
We need to stop this endless expansion of the supermarket sector. Calling a halt to this expansion is one step towards returning Waterlooville to the local community and not allowing big corporations continue to take over the area.


Friday, October 9

Wormhole found in Havant

Whilst looking around for 'anomalies' in the region, I found this phenom... fenonimem... phenomenon along Wilverley Avenue in Havant (note when Google update the satelite images in the future, this 'live' view of the wormhole might disappear):

Tuesday, October 6

Alternative transport event at Havant

Havant Borough Council are displaying an electric car, electric bicycle, electric motorbike and an electric delivery truck at the Civic offices today. The idea is to encourage staff and the public to use alternatives to petrol and diesel cars. Other stuff will include Nordic walking, an eco-driving simulator, bike maintenance etc.

Event details

Monday, October 5

x42 bus route

Actually used the new bus service today. It is quite impressive, took about 10 minutes to get to the QA hospital. The route is different to what I had suggested in my previous post.

At Waterlooville you have a choice of taking the bus to South Downs College or to Portsmouth and Gun Wharf Quays. The buses to Portsmouth are 5 minutes past the hour and 35 minutes past the hour. The South Downs College buses are at 15 and 45 minutes past the hour. These times are for most of the day, however the early morning and evening timetable is a bit different. All the x42 buses stop at the same bus stop, whether they are going to the college or Gun Wharf, so make sure you check the time or the destination on the front of the bus before getting on!

The journey is great, because the bus doesn't stop at many places and the route is direct. Basically if you're going to Portsmouth, you will only stop at Purbrook, QA Hospital, the Ferry Terminal, the City Centre and Gun Wharf Quays!

The motorway bit is from the Marriott hotel into the city. It means the bus avoids the city traffic and all those city stops. The journey time from Waterlooville to City Centre (Commercial Road) was about 25 minutes.

The bus also adds a service to South Downs College, supplementing the 37 and 39 that go to Havant. All in all, an excellent addition.

Saturday, October 3

Robert Llewellyn interviews Ecotricity boss

This is a really interesting video where the Red Dwarf and Scrap Heap Challenge star talks to Dale Vince about his wind farm electricity business and The Nemesis electric car:

On the journey of eco-friendly-ism

The term 'It's Not Easy Being Green' is highly appropriate in my journey through the maze of eco-friendlyness.

You come across some really strange ideas about climate change, energy, food etc. and encounter people with the odd screw loose. I have found that in the effort to being green, both the 'left' and the 'right' don't really like you that much. Or rather, by making some statements that are from a purely pragmatic green POV, anyone on the left of the political spectrum thinks you are a right wing person that doesn't care about the environment, whilst anyone on the right automatically thinks you are a part of a left wing conspiracy. It depends whose den you happen to be wandering through at the time. I have taken flak (and survived) from both sides of the political spectrum.

But that's the game really, we don't yet have political and economic 'theories' that can cope with the serious environmental problems we face today. It is gradually being worked through, but it's a long drawn out process which is at the moment being outstripped, speed wise, by the environmental changes we are witnessing.

I often come across people that believe in some sort of climate change conspiracy, fuelled by poor media reporting, or a poor understanding of science, or no real knowledge of the organisations that are really involved.

One typical mis-understanding centres around the IPCC and the data used in the analysis of climate. A person I recently came across was convinced that the 'scientists' kept their research and data secret.
This isn't at all true, in fact the data is some of the most publicly accessible, ice cores, tree rings, CO2, temperature records etc. are all freely available here and here.
Which means anyone with a little knowledge of computers can plot graphs and do what ever they like to them. Which also means that they can do some really bad science or some really good science, as can be seen in many discussions on blogs about the subject.

The other misconception is that the IPCC is the only source of science on the subject. It may get a lot of press coverage, but it isn't where the core of the science is born. The core science is researched in numerous university institutions around the world, then published in peer reviewed journals. Much of this science is actually far more worrying than the conservative IPCC reports suggest. Because the IPCC is a big body of people that tries to sum up the the climate science research as it stands, and is funded by many governments that have different motives, it tends to be cautious in its pronouncements. So this means that ever since the last IPCC report, the science has moved on.

Anyway, here's a histogram I created earlier this year from Hadcrut temperature anomaly data:

The graph shows the temperature anomalies for the globe since 1850, it has had no smoothing or processing applied to it, so you can make of it what you will. It's not exactly science and it took hours to produce, but it was very satisfying getting the raw data to actually display as a graph!

Friday, October 2

New Waterlooville to Portsmouth bus service (x42)

It's not often that a new bus service starts up. We are used to services being cut and other bad things. But a new service between Waterlooville and Portsmouth has started, using the motorway to speed things up.

The x42 takes a route between Waterlooville and Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth, the nice thing about the service is that it stops at South Downs College, a real plus point for any students that live in Waterlooville or Portsmouth.

As more details become available, the route info will become clear.
x42 timetable

Thursday, September 24

Using buses

This post is partly in response to a posting by Steve on the Garden Hens blog, but also something worth posting about in any case.

There is an art to using buses, although, having been brought up as a child using buses regularly, it hasn't been so difficult to go back to using them. Also if one makes do with buses for a long time before learning to drive, then returning to them later isn't such a big deal.

I do think that some people learn to drive because they think it means they are more competitive or that they are more likely to get a job. But really i think that is more to do with the sad state of affairs in society today, rather than any absolute reasoning.

I use the buses all the time, to get to work, shopping etc. Last year I took the bus out to the Roman Villa at Fishbourne (the 700 Coastliner service from Havant). Quite a day out! On the way there, the other passengers were very helpful and pointed out the stop I needed to get off at for the museum. On the journey back I had to wait for the bus and decided to have a beer in the nearby pub whilst waiting. Then on the bus back, I went on the top deck and watched the fantastic scenery go by. It was a great day out and because I used a weekly ticket I was using at the time, it didn't cost any extra.

You certainly have to change your concept of time and life when using buses. A newspaper, magazine or book are handy whilst waiting for a bus. I don't tend to plan much using a timetable unless of course I have a meeting at a specific time, so I can find myself waiting at the bus stop for up to half an hour. I suppose the worst case scenario is that I would have 'wasted' an hour in a day.

But is it really wasted time?
I have met numerous people at bus stops and got into some interesting conversations, although you never usually learn other bus users names, you do tend to 'know' them and their quirks after a few years, annoying as they may well be. In the past, discussions on buses and at bus stops have included TV soaps, climate change, rubbish on the streets, supermarkets, the loudness of the chimes of St Georges church etc.
Given that most people waste a lot of time using computers, watching TV etc. Actually talking to locals at bus stops must be a positive thing.

An alternative to waiting at the bus stop reading a magazine, is to pop into a nearby cafe for a coffee or tea. After a while you can end up being a 'regular' at a bus stop or cafe. Life is certainly different when using the buses, but it doesn't have to be unproductive or frustrating.

If you haven't used the buses much, it can be quite daunting to change and start using something that seems alien, especially if you have heard so many bad things about them. It can take weeks or months to get your head around what is or isn't possible using buses. After a few years, you just take them for granted and curse all the car drivers that pull alongside the bus in busy traffic!

Monday, September 14

Havant FOE meeting - Towards a More Sustainable Havant

Friends of the Earth have invited Pennie Smith, Havant Borough Councils Climate Change and Sustainability Adviser to do a presentation on Weds 16th Sept, 7.30pm at Niveneh, The Pallant, Havant.

An opportunity to ask questions about HBC policy.

Havant Friends of the Earth

Thursday, August 27

Hambledon Parade 2007/2009

Another before and after pair of photos, this time Hambledon Parade:

Hedgerow and fields in 2007

Fence and building site in 2009

Thursday, August 6

East Meon anti-wind turbine mis-information campaign

I seem to have missed completely the attempt by Volkswind to propose the installation of two wind turbines over at East Meon, north of the Sustainability Centre near Clanfield.

A local campaign group of Nimby's, Ramblers and other so called conservation groups opposed the two turbines and as a result Volkswind withdrew the application. The local Nimbys calling themselves 'Say No to East Meon Wind Farm' claim they actually support wind energy, which is hard to believe given that they describe the project as 'industrial'.

Exactly what turbines do they recommend then? Wooden turbines hand crafted by local carpenters maybe?

Their web site contains the usual misinformation about wind turbines. Allegedly they claim new 'pylons' carrying 'hundreds' of transmission lines would be installed to carry the electricity away from the turbines. Now I actually have a degree in engineering and in any transmission system I know of, never have I seen one that requires hundreds of cables!

It sounds to me like a load of emotional scaremongering.

And the web site shows the height of the turbine to the blade tip rather than the nacelle assembly, so then they can quote a bigger figure for the turbine height, to scare people.

Quote from the SEMWF site:

What we will be left with is an uncomfortable juxtaposition of ancient rural landscape little changed since medieval times, with a vista of brash 21st century towers, turbines and revolving blades.

So what we have here is a bunch of luddites that apparently would have campaigned against windmills hundreds of years ago, designed to provide flour, because they would have been a 'brash of towers with revolving blades'.

I would like to know how these Nimby's get about? I'm guessing that out in East Meon, one is dependent on cars. So I guess they don't mind the building of motorways in someone else's back yard so that they can drive their cars to the nearest Tesco's.

Mercury Wind Farm web site

UPDATE: Volkswind have replied to an email i sent them and they stated that the main reason for not going ahead with the project was due to the National Park status of the area and associated government policy weakening their chances of approval.

Thursday, July 23

Portsmouth Green Fair

Portsmouth Green Fair Portsmouth Climate Action Network and Portsmouth City Council are organising a Green Fair on 5th September 2009 in the Guildhall Square. Looks like there will be eco businesses and lots of fun stuff to do. There should be more details later.

Wednesday, July 22

Vesta Isle of Wight sit in

Give your support to Vesta workers on the Isle of Wight. Join a demonstration at St Thomas Square, Newport this Friday at 5.30pm.

For more info visit SaveVestas

Saturday, July 18

Plastic carrier bags down

It is great to see that supermarkets have cut the number of free plastic carrier bags given out at the checkouts. 48% is an impressive cut and the environmental groups are correct in saying that it shows what businesses and people are capable of doing when they put their minds to it.

I have been using the stronger plastic multiple use bags for some 7 years now. In fact one lasted about 6 years before needing to be recycled and replaced. The trick of remembering to take one when shopping, is to keep one or two folded up in your jackets/coats. In any case, after a while it becomes habitual to look for a bag before you go to the shops.

I actually started this blog because of plastic bags spotted in hedgerows and trees. Hopefully the original subject that got me blogging will be one I won't have to return to in the future?
However there is still a lot of plastic packaging to deal with, we'll have to see how quickly things change.

Wednesday, July 1

Added RSS feed

Anyone wanting to subscribe to this blog via RSS, can now do so. The Atom option should allow you to add it to your browser bookmarks, the other options should work in other RSS readers.

Thursday, June 25

Model Boats!

Ok, so it isn't about Waterlooville. But i took the No. 40 bus down to Canoe Lake in Portsmouth at the weekend and watched some of the 'Henry 500' model boat display. Here are some photos:

manned model battleship

Yes that that is someone getting inside a model battleship. The Portsmouth Model Boat Display Team have large 'manned' models.

model ship of the line

This model 'ship of the line' is used in model battle simulations. Some of the guns actually 'fire' blanks. Other ships sink and others have there masts blown off. All via radio control.

WWII model battleship

A battleship from the WWII period.

Thursday, June 18

The Havant Borough population myth

Most people are aware that the number of people in the UK is increasing every year right? And of course the population of Havant Borough is increasing.

Well no, it isn't. According to Havant Borough Council, the boroughs population has dropped by about 3,000 people since 1996. The prediction is that by 2011 the population will have fallen to 116,289, a total drop of 3,480.

Is this the full story?? Absolutely not. That figure of 3,480 is not actually the true reduction, what it doesn't take into account is the fact that the population should be growing! The reason for a growth in population is partly due to the number of births per year being greater than the number of deaths, but also due to immigration.

So how much bigger should the population really be? Well government statistics for the population in the South East are 7,817,000 (2011) and 7,800,000 (1996). This gives a growth rate of 1.13/1000 per annum (maths time! ... (7817 - 7800)/15= 1.13) which is a similar figure to the national/regional growth rates over the same 15 year period.

So lets use this growth rate to predict where the Havant Borough population should be. We have to start at 1996 and calculate the growth over 15 years given the 1.13 growth figure. The easiest way to do that is to used a compound interest calculator, commonly used to calculate interest on savings in a bank (the 'interest' rate will be 0.113%). It won't give a precise figure, but it will be close enough. Using such a method you get a population figure of 121,760 for 2011. Now compare that with Havant Borough Councils predictions for 2011 which is 116,289. This gives a 'real' population difference (reduction) of 5,471.

But that isn't the end of it. The reduction of 3,480 in population that is in the councils figures, includes the growth caused by births/deaths. So in reality the number of people that have left the borough is much greater than just 3,480!

What does all this mean? Well a lot of homes are being left empty, or are being used for temporary accommodation, investment, second homes etc. Secondly, it puts into question why we need 3,000 extra homes in Waterlooville. HBC reckon we need more because people will be living on their own or as single parents. Does every single person really need their own place? What about the population reduction freeing up homes? What about homes being built on smaller plots?

What about the council and central government wanting to encourage population growth to keep their 'machine' going despite the environmental cost to us all? Hence the creation of homes, support for business etc. to fund tax revenues and keep the machine going.

I am of course in favour of a continued population reduction and do not advocate population growth to maintain pensions, businesses, tax revenue etc.


Population reduction HBC predict between 1996 and 2011: 3,480 Population growth that should happen between 1996 and 2011 given some encouragement: 5,471

HBC (location and setting)
National Statistics (population trends)

Update 15/06/13: Unfortunately the links to the data at HBC and ONS are now dead. HBC currently no longer show population statistics on their (our) web site, the reasons could be due to politics, management issues or technology. However Hampshire County Council still have similar data available for Havant Borough.
Click on the 'Data' tab on the page to download the Excel files.

Update 16/06/13
Found an archive of the original Havant Borough web page with the population info on Wayback Machine:

Saturday, June 13

First day of Waterlooville Music Festival 2009

Brass Reflections playing in Waterlooville precinct.

Saxofony playing outside Waitrose.

Another brass band playing in the grounds of St Georges church (not sure of their name!?).

Friday, June 12

HBC Core Strategy consultation

Havant Borough Council are starting a consultation for six weeks on their Core Strategy and Draft Residential Parking and Cycle Provision. It starts today and details are at Waterlooville library and HBC offices in Havant.

You can also complete the online questionnaire at the HBC web site.

There will also be a public event at Waterlooville, London Road Precinct on 20 June and 10 July (10am - 2pm).

Friday, June 5

Home - the movie

Just finished watching Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s 'Home' which was released today on YouTube and shown on Sky Movies.

The narrator (Isabelle Delannoy?) along with the music make the film compelling to watch, and the imagery is stunning. The movie is about planet Earth and its development from a lifeless planet until today.

The one issue that is disappointing is the list of sponsors and funders, many of which are probably contributing to the problems that the film portrays. Despite this flaw, it is still a film that must be watched and you can do it here.

Wednesday, June 3

Waterlooville Music Festival 2009

This is one of the better things that is happening around Waterlooville these days. Organised by the good folk at St Georges church, the Waterlooville Music Festival is becoming a significant event of the yearly calender. This year it is in its 4th season and some bands, musicians etc. are now seeing it as an event that they must perform at.

The great thing about the festival is some of the events are free, including music on the streets. I remember last year on one of the festival days, there were brass bands where ever you went in Waterlooville.

I can recommend The Band of the Hampshire Constabulary this year, they produce some good 'sounds'. It's not all brass bands though! Last year I sat in on a free lunch time performance by an East European pianist.

Dates: 13th to 21st june.
For more information, visit the official festival web site

Watch a sample of previous festivals on video (quality isn't brilliant):

Thursday, May 28

New Woodworking shop

Cycled over to Cowplain this week and noticed one of the small shop units being set up as a little ole 'hardware' shop, with a specific bias towards woodwork. When i walked passed i noticed some quality tools hanging from the walls and the fitters getting the shop ready for opening. Can't remember the name of the shop, but it looks like an independent and it opens on Monday, 1st June.

Hope they do well, at least the owners won't get deranged abusive comments of the sort that Planet Trash got when it opened in Waterlooville.

(Added 1/06/09) - I can confirm that the new 'hardware' shop in Cowplain is called 'Big On Wood'.  They have a catalog in the shop a bit like 'Argos' and they can order items for collection the following day.

The shop sells more domestic type of products than the web site would suggest. Including door furniture (handles, latches, hinges etc.), saw blades, drills, gardening equipment etc.

(Added 18/06/10) - Looks like this shop has closed down and been replaced by something else. The last time I passed through Cowplain I couldn't see it.

Friday, May 22

Find out about trees in our area

You can learn more about trees and the local tree warden scheme on the 2nd June at a FREE event organised by Friends of the Earth and Havant Borough Tree Wardens. The Havant Borough Tree Officer and the Tree Warden coordinator will be at the meeting to discuss the scheme and tree matters with the hope of recruiting more volunteer tree wardens in the following areas:

Leigh Park

Time: 7.30pm
Date: Tues 2 June
Place: United Reform Church Hall , North Street, Havant.

Tuesday, May 19

1000 more homes??

The local councils want to add more homes to the 2,000 already planned for the Waterlooville MDA.

There will be a consultation on Sat 20 June at the Pedestrian centre in Waterlooville, 10am to 2pm.

You can also make your opinions felt at Winchester City Council web site.

Tuesday, May 12

Comparison of 'Natural' Paints

Having used a number of 'alternative' paints now, i thought it might be worth summarising my experiences. Note i can't comment yet on robustness or their performance against mould:

Earthborn Emulsion

Positives: low carbon, eco friendly, potentially easier to dispose of, brushes cleaned in water.
Negatives: comes in a plastic tub like many paints these days.

Earthborn emulsion gives a nice uniform finish to a wall and is a reasonable price. My Little Eco based in Copnor Road, Portsmouth sell it (online only) for about £17 for a 2.5litre tub. The colour i used had an interesting quality when applied in that it dried a more opaque colour than when wet. So basically the paint actually covers better than appears when it is still wet.

Nature Paint

Positives: Powder is compostable, packaging is a paper bag, low carbon, eco friendly, brushes cleaned in water.
Negatives: The colour appears slightly uneven on the walls, although this might be due to my poor mixing skills!

Despite the colour issue, this was my favourite. I think it's the fact it comes in a paper bag and mixing it is like cooking! You feel like you are doing something that was done hundreds of years ago. The bag can be recycled. Basically no hazardous waste.

Auro White Gloss

Positives: low carbon, eco friendly, brushes cleaned in water although dried paint will need some white spirit or similar, finish is excellent.
Negatives: Potentially long drying time.

Still using this paint. The first coat on a 'test' door frame took 2 days to dry. But the second coat only took a few hours, so the drying time might change depending on humidity?? But the finish is excellent, looks like proper gloss!

I am a bit concerned by the fact that Auro gloss is made from vegetable oils, probably need to investigate this further, since we only have so much land for agriculture.

(Added 29/05/09) Regarding Auro Gloss paint: I can confirm that the first coat of Auro gloss paint takes between 1 and 2 days to dry, the second coat take a few hours. So there is a difference between 1st and 2nd coats. Also instead of using white spirit to clean stubborn paint off the brush, I just stuck the brush in Home Strip eco friendly paint stripper to soften it up before washing off. At least this eliminated the use of white spirit.

Sunday, May 10


corner shop Looks like Waterlooville will have yet another 'cafe', this time in the shape of Subway. The corner shop property under the clock tower building has morphed from shoe shop to motorbike shop, to gift shop and now Subway. Meanwhile the Stationary Store near the library has closed down.

The big retailers dotted around the borders of Waterlooville town centre have drawn people away from the centres shops. This results in limited options for occupancy in the centres small retail units. Large retail units such as Brantanos, have resulted in the closure of the smaller shoe shops. One wonders what logic the 'officers' and councillors of Havant Borough Council apply when they approve the big retail developments.

So there is a culture at Havant Borough Council that is resistant to new thinking in the built environment.The result is a gradual transformation of the centre into a charity shop and cafe haven.

Recently the towns small retailers were calling for council help in the down turn. To make up for the council approving big retail park developments, HBC and other councils are now being asked for compensation/subsidies from small retail businesses! Whose fault is that?

Friday, May 8

Paints and belligerent car drivers

Firstly, the test painting of a door frame has been successful. Auro gloss paint covers well and gives a nice hard gloss finish when dry, you wouldn't believe it was made from vegetable oils and other stuff. Drying time is a bit long compared to the old plastic paint most people still use. It took 2 days to dry enough for another coat, but it does dry to a 'tacky' level in a few hours, enough to not worry about it getting on clothes. I just need to do the rest now!

Secondly i witnessed an arrogant 4x4 car driver in the Waterlooville Retail Park recently who drove down the cycle/pedestrian path. He did it because he found it difficult to manoeuvre the vehicle and decided he couldn't be bothered to stick to the car routes around the car park. Basically he was taking a short cut, which he obviously thought he was entitled to.

But what was really shocking was the fact that two girls, aged about 14 were already walking along the section of path that he entered. They were forced to get out of his way. When someone shouted out to him and pointed out his error, he just stuck two fingers up at them.

There are many issues about this incident that indicate the sorry state of UK culture and Waterloovile community. The reason why incidents like this happen in the car park, is because Havant Borough Council sold public land to a commercial developer and later gave permission for the car park and retail park to be built.

In this process they also failed to provide equal and adequate routes into Waterlooville for pedestrians and cyclists. Prefering instead to appease the car owning public and large corporate businesses to dominate the built environment agenda, pushing pedestrians and cyclists to the margins. But also the incident shows that many drivers just live in a different world when they get into their vehicles and the bigger the vehicle the less concern they often have for those around them.

Saturday, May 2

Yes, low carbon paints look similar to high carbon paints!

Finished painting the walls of the kitchen using Nature Paint. It looks pretty much like any other wall paint, but the colour varies a little across the walls. Once all the walls were painted it isn't so noticeable. Also the slight colour variation gives an authentic 'old building' look.

Next job is to paint the woodwork using Auro white gloss paint. This stuff is made in Germany and the main ingredients seem to be processed vegetable oils, minerals, water etc. Should be interesting to see how it goes.

Save Vesta Isle of Wight factory

Despite the fact that we need as much renewable energy as we can get, the Vesta factory on the Isle of Wight is due to close. Yet the government is happy to subsidise car production with a £2000 hand out for new car purchases. Sign the No 10 Petition to help stop the Vesta factory closure.


Friday, April 24

Kitchen adventures with natural paint

I'm in the middle of decorating the kitchen now, using eco-friendly paint. Having abandoned the idea of using Nature Paint on the previous project and instead opting for Earth Born Emulsion. I have decided to return to Nature Paint and bought a second 1kg pack.

As previously stated, Nature Paint comes in powder form and is mixed with warm water to create the paint. You just mix up as much as you need. The paper packet that it comes in can be recycled and any left over powder can apparently be composted, although i haven't tried this yet.

The first coat has been applied to the walls.

As well as painting the walls, I have decided to use eco-friendly paint on the woodwork. For this I have decided to try out Auro paints.

Nature Paint

Tuesday, April 21

Dukes Meadow

The Taylor/Wimpey West of Waterlooville MDA development is now called 'Dukes Meadow' and is going ahead. Bryant seems to be the developer now?? I'm not sure what the deal is between Taylor/Wimpey and Bryant. Taylor/Wimpey were in trouble at the end of last year.

Traffic lights and jams at the marketing suite.

Friday, April 17

Age of Stupid at No.3 Cinema

The climate change movie starring Pete Postlethwaite is on at the No.3 Cinema, Central Library, Portsmouth next week on Tues, Weds and Thurs.

For more details visit the No.6 Cinema web site.

Wednesday, April 15

Havant Tesco's gets the green light

We can look forward to more jobs losses as the Havant Tescos gets the green light to increase in size. Tory councillors and Tescos itself claim the larger store will create 300 jobs. Which is a misleading statement when the business will clearly be competing with other businesses that already sale similar products.

The store will sale electronics products, many of which will be imported, increasing carbon footprints. Also the increased size will mean the store will have a larger catchment area, attracting car drivers, increasing their carbon footprints.

Today, UK apple producers were pointing out that price competition between supermarkets is pushing apple prices down, resulting in more imports. This follows the trend in milk, vegetables and other food produce, where more and more is being imported. This is not good news for the future of the nation.

Tuesday, April 14

Talking Trees in Havant

A bit late posting this, but if you are interested in protecting trees in the borough then why not go along to this event:

"Talking Trees in Havant"
What we can do to nurture our trees.
A view from Ann Jolly, Havant Borough Tree Wardens
15th April, 7.30pm
11 The Pallant, Havant

Also, currently Waterlooville could do with a few more Tree Wardens.

Friday, April 10

Recession (or Depression?) hit Waterlooville

Estate AgentThis was an estate agent. There are still estate agents in town, but this one didn't survive. Notice the building above the shop front. These buildings were once little cottages just outside the main high street.
They were probably sucked into the commercial high street in the 1930s or 1960s. Waterlooville was ruined in the 1960s by un-fettered commercial development and so called modernisation.

Woolworths. Yes last year Waterlooville had a small one, it was actually quite popular, but it also had a lot of competition when Wilko, Argos, supermarkets, the internet etc. moved in or offered competition.

This started out as a motorbike/scooter gear shop which although i didn't like much, was actually quite cool. Before that it was a shoe shop for a decade or two, until Brantano moved into the retail park.
The motorbike shop was converted into a tacky gift shop, which frankly had no chance of surviving a recession.

And it didn't!

This was a shop selling electric mobility scooters and other stuff for those that had problems getting around. Did they go bust or did they move??? I don't know, you would think with an ageing population that they would be still in business.
But maybe people are making do with walking sticks?

Again, look at the top of the building, it could have been a butchers or something like that in Victorian times.

Believe it or not, in the 1970s the Baytree Bookshop once stood on this corner. I know because one of the shop assistants back then was a friend. It was a little tradition corner shop.

The building that was there has been knocked down by some small time developers that obviously ran out of cash when the banking crisis hit and the banks had no money to hand out. It was meant to be a shop with flats above. I only ever saw about 3 people working on it. All work is now stopped.

Just about all the news agents have card sections, including WH Smith. So why does Waterlooville need card shops?

well it has one less now.

Jacksons, this is a success story. It isn't closed, it's a small local shop and electricians business that is likely to survive in any boom and recession.

Everyone needs this sort of business, like everyone needs their hair cut. They will always be successful.

Waterlooville highstreet. Actually it is holding up quite well, this photo was taken on quite a busy day, although it doesn't look like it.

Which makes you wonder about all those old Victorian photos with streets that look empty. In reality they were probably quite busy.

Oh and BTW, all the cars are parked in massive car parks just outside Waterlooville, this pleasant photo hides that.

Thursday, April 9

More massive cuts in my energy consumption!

I seem to have surpassed myself! Having been through the cold winter that should in theory have increased my energy use compared to last year, my winter electricity bill is a whopping 37.5% less than the same time last year!

My Autumn bill was 20% less than last year, so a cut of almost 40% is a fantastic winter result. If everyone could do this (including businesses), we wouldn't need any coal fired power stations and we could get rid of a few gas fired power stations as well!

This was achieved using the same basic techniques highlighted in my previous posts on saving (electricity) energy.

As stated before i'm still using the computer as much as ever and watching TV. But the key to the massive cuts is a change in how i keep warm, laundry, cooking etc. Frankly my standard of living hasn't changed a lot, just the bad habits of energy use.

Tuesday, March 24

A halt to the home building

Having reported that Grainger had decided to downgrade the number of homes it intended to build in the West of Waterlooville MDA plan from 1000s of homes to under 200. The company is now reported to have abandoned the idea of building any homes at all in the immediate future.

This is backed up by the complete removal of the portable cabins and digging hardware from near the roundabout. It appears they are not going to be returning soon, as the site is completely deserted. They did however finish building the roundabout, although that took a ridiculously long time as the company seemed to drag its feet. George Hollingbery capitalised today by appearing on BBC news and indirectly suggested he was the person to stop it.

Bizarrely the BBC said the development was supposed to be the biggest development of green housing in the South. They obviously hadn't checked the pathetic green specifications being used by the developers. As stated here in an earlier post, the fact there will be delays in developement, means that by the time the housing market picks up, far tougher green building specs will be in place. Given that the rampant financial gambling of the last decade will lead to tougher lending policies, then the housing market is unlikely to be anything like we have just seen. It will be much more restricted and conservative.

No specific updates about Taylor Wimpey who had people working on their site yesterday. What must be remembered is that both companies still own the land and can apply for new applications to build there in the future. The only thing that will save us from future house building is a major change in policy from central government, or the companies sell or lease the land for agriculture use. Now the land is in the hands of developers it will be a miracle if they do not eventually develop the land, only government intervention is likely to stop them