Hungerford Environmental Action Team (HEAT) – Latest News

Hungerford Environmental Action Team HEAT logo

HEAT aims to reduce the carbon footprint of Hungerford and support any local residents with environmental initiatives. If you would like to contribute or get involved in any way please look at the HEAT information board under the railway bridge in the town centre or contact us here:

Website: hungerfordenvironmentalactionteam.com
Facebook: Hungerford Environmental Action Team – HEAT
Instagram: heat_hungerford
Twitter: HEAT43152028
Email: heat_hungerford@yahoo.com

The monthly HEAT meeting is usually on the last Wednesday of the month at 7pm in Hungerford Hub & Library  All welcome, please email heat_hungerford@yahoo.com for agenda or just turn up.

May 2024 News

Please see our May newsletter here.

April 2024 News

Lockdown Wood Maintenance

If you would appreciate some worthwhile outdoor exercise after the festive season, why not come and help with maintenance of the Lockdown Wood. There are regular sessions: sign up here for the next working party.

Swift Town

Twenty years ago there were 40 – 50 ‘screaming parties’ of swifts recorded in Hungerford. Now we have only 15 – 20. See here what you can do to help. We are keen to hear from anyone who usually has swifts nesting on their home in the summer months. If you would like to find out if your house is a good location for a new swift box please contact HEAT.

Home Energy

Is a heat pump for you? If you missed the brilliant talk by a Director of the Heat Pump Federation in January you can watch the video here.

Have you installed a heat pump over the last couple of years? If so, we would love to hear from you. It would seem that the process requires some thought and consideration and we would like to offer some advice for anyone starting out on this journey. If you have some experience you are happy to share, please contact HEAT. And if you would like to know a bit more about heat pumps have a look at this West Berks Council article written by a HEAT member.

Solar Panels Fund Raising

The Library/Hub in Hungerford is lovely and warm thanks to the HEAT pump installed recently. The plan is to increase the building’s energy efficiency by adding solar panels. They are currently raising funds (match funding is available) from Greenham Trust). See more here.

Thermal Imaging Camera

When thinking about how to improve the energy efficiency of your home, a good place to start is to see where the heat is currently being lost. HEAT has a thermal imaging camera that is easy to use and available for loan. Please contact HEAT and we will organise for you to borrow it. 

 

Upcoming Dates 

Repair Café: Saturday 25 May Croft Hall 10am –12:30pm

 The Hungerford Repair Café is a really popular event. Please bring your items for repair for the volunteers to fix. It is really sociable and there is a café serving hot drinks and cakes. Donations are welcome.

 

November 2023 News

Thermal Imaging Camera

Now that it’s getting colder, would you like to know where you are losing heat from your home? This will let you know where you need to make changes or add insulation. A great way to save on your fuel bills is to stop wasting heat. We have a camera that is easy to use and will give you clear information. Simply contact HEAT and we will organise for you to borrow it.

Hungerford Sewerage works visit

Several members of HEAT recently took a tour around the site following new enhancements undertaken over the last 2 years at a cost of £5m.  The project manager for the upgrade works led the tour and explained that a new overflow tank has been added to almost double the overflow capacity (to hold the excess until it can be processed). In the event of the storm overflow tanks all being full, the excess goes out through a physical filter netting to remove any remaining solids before entering the river.

We can all help to reduce the demand on the system by keeping wet wipes, sanitary towels and cooking fat out of the waste water drains.

Hungerford Repair Café, Sat 18 Nov 10am – 12:30pm, Croft Hall

Why throw away an item that the repair café volunteers may be able to fix? This is always a friendly event with a café serving teas, coffees and cake. Donations welcome.
If you like fixing things and think you might enjoy being part of the team – please come along on the 18 November and find out more or contact HEAT.

Swift Town Hungerford

We can prepare for the spring return of swifts by installing more swift boxes to compensate for the loss of their nesting sites due to building renovations. And they make a perfect Christmas present!  See Ailsa’s recommendations here.

Lockdown Woods Maintenance

This precious area of young trees in Hungerford needs regular maintenance. Please let us know if you would like to join the group that meets regularly to weed and tidy the area to help the tree thrive. Contact HEAT.

Other Events

Occasionally, we will feature events from other local environmentally concerned groups.

At our last meeting we heard from Lisa Hill from Extinction Rebellion (XR) Newbury. XR is continuing to organise events locally using a non-disruptive approach. On Friday 24 November, XR will hold a vigil, to include all faith communities that wish to participate, followed by a march to Newbury Town Hall. There will be XR Newbury activity on the last Saturday of every month. Everyone is welcome. Contact HEAT if you would like to know more.

NEXT HEAT Meeting Weds 29 Nov 7-9pm Hungerford Library/HUB.
The next meeting will include a discussion on the State of Nature report 2023 which has just been published.
Future meetings (dates still to be confirmed) will include:
– a talk on “How apples are responding to climate change”.
– a presentation by the HEAT Pump Federation.

October 2023 News

Don’t Miss the Green Open Homes Event 14-15 Oct

This will be a really informative weekend with at least 12 home owners (in the Great Bedwyn, Hungerford and Shalbourne area) ready to showcase how they have made their homes more energy efficient.

The event, organised by Green Great Bedwyn, will demonstrate various technologies in action e.g., external wall insulation, triple glazing, low carbon construction, solar panels, home batteries, air source heat pumps, mechanical ventilation heat recovery, rain water harvesting, green roofs etc.

For more information, please visit wwb.greenopenhomes.net or email  greatgreenbedwyn@gmail.com

Green Weekend in the Lambourn Valley Friday 13 -Sunday 15 October

Enjoy a host of events in East Garston and Eastbury that will include information on how to reduce your carbon footprint, home energy talks and displays, walks and talks and an autumnal supper. Full details can be found here.

Food and Artisan Market 8 October from 10am Croft field

This is a lovely market with a relaxed atmosphere. HEAT will have a stand when you can bring foil and old technology (the data will be wiped) for recycling – come and find out more about HEAT’s activities and how to reduce your carbon footprint.

Repair Café. Croft Hall 18 November 10-12:30

Why throw away an item that the repair café volunteers may be able to fix? It is always a friendly event with a café serving teas, coffees and cake. Donations welcome.

If you like fixing things and think you might enjoy being part of the team – please come along on the 18 November and find out more or contact  HEAT .

Other News

Chris Packham’s video on Channel 4 in which he goes on a personal journey to deicide for himself if it is acceptable to break the law to protest against government policies on climate change is available here:

Watch Chris Packham: Is It Time to Break the Law? | Stream free on Channel 4

Draughtproofing and Insulation

This useful book has just been published and covers all aspects including techniques that can be applied to all homes.

Draughtproofing and Insulation – The Crowood Press

Harvesting

There are many sites around the town where apples will go to waste if they are not picked. Please let HEAT know if you would be able to help with picking.  Contact HEAT

September 2023 News

Hungerford Welcomes Swifts

Swifts visit this country for 3 months to breed during our spring / early summer. Due to changes in our built environment, and the reduction in the insect food supply, their habitat and numbers are under threat. But during the autumn and winter we can all help encourage and support them by providing suitable nesting sites with special boxes on our homes and preventing their nesting holes being filled in during construction.

The aim is to make Hungerford a Swift (friendly) Town and welcome these spectacular creatures here.  You can find out more about the swift town project here.

If you would like to have a swift box on your house, it is important to have the right box and to have it fitted properly in the right place. HEAT would like to hear from anyone interested as it may be possible to buy boxes in bulk and find local contractors to install them.   Boxes are best installed just under the eaves and so a good time to install a box is when fascias and soffits are being repaired or replaced. Contact HEAT for more information.

Milk Deliveries

At the last HEAT meeting we discussed milk deliveries vs shop bought milk. Members of HEAT have tried out local suppliers and we are currently gathering further information. Please let us know if you have experience with local suppliers or if you would like further information. Contact HEAT.

Insulation

If you think your home would benefit from more insulation there is useful information here:

Great British Insulation Scheme  and MoneySavingExpert.com .

 

August 2023 News

The Green Open Homes Weekend 14-15 Oct (Please note the new dates).

More Homes Needed

This will be a really useful event for everyone considering making their homes more energy efficient.  The idea is to find out more from local residents who have already made innovations.

Last month we asked for volunteers to showcase their eco-friendly homes, more homes are still needed. Please be assured that all visits to your home will be by appointment to suit you and all visitors will have registered and booked through a central system before they will be given your address.

Great Green Bedwyn is hosting the event to showcase different technologies in action e.g., external wall insulation, triple glazing, low carbon construction, PV, home batteries, high temperature ASHP, mechanical ventilation heat recovery, rain water harvesting, green roofs etc.

If you have installed any of these technologies, please get in touch to find out more, email Jeremy greatgreenbedwyn@gmail.com.

Home Energy

Last year HEAT ran several Home Energy events. You can still watch the videos from these events on the HEAT website where you will find lots of information on:

  • Insulation
  • Draught reduction
  • Energy Use Reduction
  • Solar Panels
  • Heat Pumps.

Swift Town Hungerford

Swift guru Alisa Claybourn updates us on swift news in August and why the skies are quiet at the moment.

HEAT events this month

Hungerford Food and Artisan Market, Sunday 13 August 10 am -1pm: Croft Field, 

Lots of great foodie and artisan stalls to enjoy! Free entry. Well behaved dogs very welcome on leads.  Visit the HEAT stand to play with a solar powered Scalextric, drop off any aluminium (foil, cans, saucepans etc) or IT tech

Saturday 19 August 10 am Lockdown Wood Maintenance

Please meet at Marsh Lane Gate for a worthwhile morning’s work clearing weeds and helping to protect these young trees planted during lockdown. Contact HEAT for more information.

Kennet Valley Wetland Walk 23 August at 6:30 pm

Join a walk around the area designated for the Kennet Valley Wetland. This ambitious wetland regeneration project will be for the immediate benefit of the local area and visitors. The meeting place is still to be confirmed. Contact HEAT to join the walk.

Next Repair Café 16 September 10- 12:30 Croft Hall

Don’t throw away an item that the repair café volunteers may be able to fix. Bring it along and find out if it can be restored to working order.  It is always a friendly event, with a café serving teas, coffees and cake. Donations welcome.

If you like fixing things and think you might enjoy being part of the team – please come and find out more or contact  HEAT .

The Future for HEAT

At the last meeting, the assembled group had a lively and constructive discussion about the future priorities for HEAT. This is a debate that is likely to continue over the next few months. Please email us with your thoughts and ideas -or even better, come along to the next meeting and join the discussion.

Weds 30 August 7pm Hungerford Library/Hub.  Next HEAT meeting -all welcome.

Recents News

Swift Town Hungerford

On Sunday 2 July, a packed Hungerford Hub heard local nature writer Nicola Chester and Swift devotee Alisa Claybourn describe the amazing lives of Swifts which visit this country for 3 months to breed during our spring / early summer. Due to changes in our built environment their habitat and numbers are under threat but we can all help encourage and support them by ensuring we have a healthy insect environment (e.g., no mow May) and by providing suitable nesting sites with special boxes on our homes.

The aim is to make Hungerford a Swift (friendly) Town and welcome these spectacular creatures here.

If you missed the talk, you can watch a recording and find out much more about Swifts and the Swift town project  as it evolves here.

The Big One

A group from HEAT attended The Big One a four-day action from 21-24 April. It was an opportunity to hold the politicians to account for their actions in the face of the climate emergency. More than 70 organisations supported the event including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth.

It was an inspiring, informative and very safe day.

New Report

A new report has just been published by the government “Powering up Britain”.  There are some interesting statements (p 26).  “We know that, in the long run, green products are more efficient and cheaper. However, current distortions in electricity and gas prices do not always make this the case. We want to make it easier for consumers to make the switch to green products by rebalancing prices between electricity and gas..”

Lockdown Wood

Several representatives from HEAT  regularly turn out  to clear bramble and remove weeds around the new trees in Lockdown Wood.  Please let us know if you are interested. It’s a nice outdoor activity.  Contact HEAT

Our Rivers

This map shows where sewage was released into rivers in 2022. There are several sites near Hungerford.  Map

News: Greenpeace challenge to the government’s plans to license new Oil and Gas projects.

Greenpeace lawyers have made a big step forward in their case against the UK government. The government’s plans to unleash a new drilling frenzy in the North Sea have faced a real setback. A judge has given Greenpeace permission to challenge the government’s approval of the new oil and gas licensing round in court

Please watch and share this new Greenpeace video

A review of HEAT’s activities in 2022

Last year was such a busy year for HEAT with events throughout the year and November was no exception:

– we hosted another Home Energy event focusing on Heat Pumps.

– there have been two working parties at Lockdown Wood. On the 3rd a team carried out much needed maintenance and later in the month, around 20 intrepid souls braved the November chill to plant a further 400 trees

– the excellent Repair Café was held on the 19th in the Croft Hall. This is a joint venture between HEAT and the Hungerford Rotary Club. It is always a fabulous community event and around 35 people brought items for repair. If you think you would enjoy repairing items as a way to keep more items from landfill, then please let us know.

– at the end of the month, HEAT held its first face-to-face meeting since lockdown. It was a great opportunity to reflect on the year’s many and diverse events and achievements. We welcomed several new faces and enjoyed presentations on “Living Sustainably “and “Climate Change and Protest”.

At the last meeting we heard from many people who enjoy being part of HEAT as they value being amongst others who share their concern about the climate change emergency.

Climate/Environmental Action

If you feel it’s time to protest about the emergency we are facing and the lack of apparent action being taken by the government, there are lots of organisations that are currently taking action, so it’s possible to find one that aligns with the methods that are right for you.

Here are some options:

Zero Hour Campaign for supporting the Climate & Ecology Bill.

Greenpeace’s website is full of practical things you can do to help protect the environment.

Just Stop Oil is demanding that the government commits to ending all new licenses and consents for oil and gas plants.

Please note that the views of these organisations are not necessarily those of the members of HEAT.

HEAT Home Energy Show 2022

The Home Energy Show was held in the Hungerford Town Hall on September 24, with around 500 visitors attending.

If you missed it or would just like to see the talks again, the videos can now be viewed on HEAT’s YouTube channel and there will be information about the resources on the new HEAT website soon. In the meantime if you have any questions please contact heat_hungerford@yahoo.com.

You can also sign up to the HEAT newsletter by contacting heat_hungerford@yahoo.com

Please email us about any of the above and/or if you are interested in starting on your own Home Energy Roadmap.

HEAT talks in summer 2022 – videos now available

If you missed any of the HEAT talks this summer then you can catch up by watching the recordings. There is a host of information here,

The HEAT Summer Festival Talks are available to watch here.

  • Standing Up for Nature: How we can all make a difference. Talk and Q &A by local nature writer Nicola Chester
  • Climate Change: Lost Cause or Window of Opportunity? Dr Mike Morecroft, Natural England’s Principal Specialist on Climate Change

For further information on any of the above please contact heat_hungerford@yahoo.comfacebook.com/9HEAT

hungerfordenvironmentalactionteam.com

Recycling in Hungerford

If you have wondered what you can recycle and where in Hungerford, take a look at a new poster  on the HEAT noticeboard  or see it here.

This provides really thorough and up to date information.

Please be vigilant about only putting the listed materials in each facility. Adding one wrong item can contaminate the rest of the items collected and destroy all the work done by others to recycle carefully as contaminated recycling will often be burnt.

We have just launched an ink jet cartridge recycling scheme with collection points at St Lawrence’s Church and the Hungerford Printing Company Unit 6 The Courtyard High St (down the alley between Eliane’s and Hungerford Bookshop).

Individual Action

Finding out about our own carbon footprint is a good way to start thinking about what we can do personally to reduce our impact. There are plenty of apps about to help us measure our own carbon footprint – so we can track own progress, such as: footprint.wwf.org.uk and calculator.bulb.co.uk/footprint.

These may help to identify which changes will have the most impact.

Here are some ideas:

1.  Car Usage

Try to minimise car journeys by walking, cycling and taking public transport. Anyone thinking about getting an electric vehicle might give this ev8 App a try – it observes your car use for 2 weeks and recommends EV choices.

Tesco in Hungerford now has a notice to say that EV points are coming soon. This is great news for anyone unable to charge an EV car at home.

2.  Domestic Energy

If you are considering switching to a heat pump, installing solar panels or improving your insulation. The National Self Build Centre in Swindon is a great place to find out more about making your home more energy efficient.

There are events on the 12 and 13 November where you can learn more.

3.  Diet and Food Waste

There is plenty of evidence that moving towards a more plant-based diet will help fight climate change. This recent BBC article explains more and points out that emissions from all the food wasted from field to kitchen bin accounts for a huge 8-10% of all global emissions! See bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-49238749

Check out the HEAT website for more ideas.

We would like to hear from you about the issues you feel are important in Hungerford to tackle climate change. Email or join our monthly Zoom meeting on the last Wednesday of the month.

Contact HEAT by email: heat_hungerford@yahoo.com

4. Recycling in Hungerford – what goes where ?

At the Station Car Park  (on the Tesco side) there are six collection containers for:

  1. Cardboard
  2. Paper
  3. Plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays
  4. Beverage cartons and plastic cups, juice cartons, paper cups, milk cartons, paper coffee cups, soup tomatoes and other food cartons
  5. Small electrical appliances
  6. Clothing and shoes

Outside Tesco (to the left of the entrance) they are collecting soft plastics ie any plastic bags, crisp packets, food and pet pouches, plastic wrappers and any plastic film.

5. EV charging points in Hungerford

Hungerford has eight EV charging points in Hungerford: two in Charnham, two in Park Street and four in the High Street.

Hungerford Harvest at Pickets Mead Orchard

A small miracle of survival is the Orchard on the A4 as you approach Hungerford from Kintbury. Owned by the Town and Manor, this is like a ‘secret garden’ with rare species of apples, pears, and plums dating back many years. Volunteers have been busy picking the produce which has gone to the Food Bank or been made into Apple Juice. The cows grazing on the common get left-over pulp to supplement their diet.

Town and Manor are seeking people to care for the Orchard longer term. Might this be you?

What will happen to the produce?
The majority of the produce will be donated to West Berkshire Food Bank for distributing to those in need. The fallen apples and pears will be used for juicing. All volunteers are welcome to take a selection of produce home too.

What’s in the orchard?
Over 100 trees – several rare and unique varieties. These include:
• Around 25 mature apple and pear trees
• Plum and greengage trees
• Walnut trees

Contact
If you would like to help with picking or if you are interested in getting involved with the orchard longer term, please email HEAT_Hungerford@yahoo.com

Wider Eco Issues

The National Self Build and Renovation Centre (NSBRC) at Swindon runs regular Eco workshops . The aim is to explain the options and advise on everything from achieving air tightness, insulation requirements and design considerations, to ventilation issues and how to choose between the array of windows and doors that are on the market.

Find out more  here: www.nsbrc.co.uk/eco-workshop

 Green Mortgages

Green mortgages are mortgage deals available to people who buy environmentally-friendly homes or make energy efficient home improvements. To find out more see: www.which.co.uk/news/2021/05/could-you-save-money-by-taking-out-a-green-mortgage

Idling Cars and Pollution

Did you know that leaving your car running when stationary is not only bad for the environment but also illegal?

It is quite common to see cars idling in Tesco car park and around the schools – exactly the places where the resulting air pollution can be the most harmful.

Poor air quality is the biggest environmental risk to public health in the UK. Every minute, an idling car produces enough exhaust emissions to fill 150 balloons with harmful chemicals, including cyanide, NOx and PM2.5.

Turning off the vehicle engine when stationary for more than 10 seconds uses less fuel than leaving it running as well as improving air quality. Reducing air pollutants can help cut heart disease, lower the risk of lung cancer and prevent asthma attacks. Pollution affects everyone and children are the closest to exhaust fumes.

Find out more here: publicprotectionpartnership.org.uk/environmental-health/air-quality/vehicle-idling/ ?nSept3

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