Monthly Archives: April 2018

Keep Varndean Green

From Green Vardean

Varndean College plans to sell off some of its land which is currently designated as a nature reserve to build just 10 houses.  An outline planning application has been submitted to Brighton and Hove Council

We are concerned that:

  • This application is for outline planning permission. The full application may be far more intrusive and destructive. 

  • The proposal sets a dangerous precedent for more development on the Varndean campus and elsewhere. Any green space in Brighton and Hove will be at risk. Plans are also confirmed for a full size, net covered all- weather sports pitch on the campus near Surrenden Crescent. 

  • A new road will be built behind and crossing the footpath, destroying the hedgerow, creating even more traffic and congestion with major safety risks for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists and ruining the view. 

  • A biodiversity reserve will be destroyed. Developed in 2010 with the support of the Council and Butterfly Conservation, the reserve is home to colonies of legally protected butterflies like the Small Blue. 

  • The proposed modern houses are not in keeping with the the local area. The view of the housing from the road will be of the garages and a semi-basement frontage. They will be very unattractive, block the view over Brighton and overlook the sports field, risking the privacy of our young students. 

    Click here for links to comment on the applications.

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Country’s first electric bus fleet to be ready by autumn

From The Argus

THE first fleet of electric buses in the country is almost ready to take to the roads after enough funds have been raised to complete the project.

The Big Lemon previously received Government funding and has now raised the £405,000 needed to add three new electric buses to its fleet, which serves the people of Brighton and Hove.

The company, which was founded in 2007, is expecting its fleet of six buses to be up and running by autumn after initial test runs are carried out along certain routes.

Tom Druitt, founder and CEO of The Big Lemon, said: “I am thrilled to bits that the money has been raised so quickly.

“We have had 128 investors in total. They have been investing anything from £100 to £20,000.

“We have asked people why they are investing and the most common response is because they see it as the way things should be going.

“It will be the first in the country. It is a small network but a great start.

“We are always looking at the next step.

“We run various other services as well and are keen to run all these on electric as well.

“We have got lots of plans and are looking at what kind of different services we can offer alongside the public bus routes.

“This includes potentially more effectively routed and on demand services.”

The zero-emissions buses, which are fitted with solar panels, will be able to serve the whole route planned by the company once the fleet is finished.

The company set up a bond offer to attract investment for the project last month and after raising the funds needed, it will now be looking to raise an additional £135,000 to fund an extra bus for the fleet.

The project has been aided by money gained through the Clean Bus Fund and the Low Emission Bus Scheme.

It has gained the support of Brighton and Hove City Council and the Department for Transport (DfT).

One of the buses in the current fleet was a retrofit funded by the Clean Bus Fund and the three new additions to the fleet will be 138kWh Optare Solo electric buses.

The company set about raising the money after being awarded £513,000 from the DfT’s Low Emission Bus scheme.

With high levels of air pollution in mind, the company wants every community across the country to have access to a similar scheme by 2030.

For more information about the project or to invest and help the company fund a seventh bus for the fleet, visit thebiglemon.com/electric.

City prepares battle plans for war on waste

From Brighton & Hove Food Partnership

An inspiring mix of would-be waste warriors from supermarkets, academic institutions, charities and campaigning organisations were among those attending Brighton & Hove Food Partnership’s recent roundtable on food waste – one of a series of roundtables being held this year as we lead the work on refreshing the city’s food strategy and aim to become the UK’s first gold Sustainable Food City.

We knew we were starting from a place of good intentions with food waste when we sent out the invites to our event. Our surveys this year aimed at the city’s businesses and residents had a big uptake, with hundreds of responses showing that there is an appetite to shift food provision to a model that minimises both food waste and single-use plastic.

However, seeing representatives from Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s alongside those from environmental group WRAP and ethical supermarket HISBE in the one room – all prepared to turn good intentions into action – brought the message home: food waste is not a side issue. It is increasingly recognised by all sections of our community.

Our surveys showed a clear majority of Brighton and Hove residents who responded want simple measures introduced to help them reduce the amount of food being binned, for example the availability of takeaway boxes in restaurants and small packs of food in supermarkets.

Food waste audit

A clear majority of business respondents want to tackle food and food packaging waste too, with three quarters saying they are interested in opening themselves up to a food waste audit which would track the quantity and composition of the food waste they produce and analyse why it was being thrown away.

Half the business respondents said they want more information on food waste collection options, and an impressive 40% are willing to take the plastic-free pledge.

This is all important because our city’s food waste problems are big and they are urgent. In Brighton and Hove, a whopping 30,000 tonnes of food a year is wasted by businesses, and 39,000 by households.

The round-table event (left) was held at zero-waste restaurant Silo and focused on developing practical actions aimed at reducing this huge food waste and packaging mountain. Other participants included representatives from the University of Brighton, University of Sussex contract caterers Compass Group, The council’s CityClean and events teams, as well as local wholesaler and bakery chain Real Patisserie.

 

The following were among the innovative actions considered in what was an amazingly fruitful morning for ideas:

  • Implementing a Brighton and Hove branded doggy-bag scheme to promote and make it easier for people to take away excess food ordered from cafes and restaurants.
  • Extending the use of paper ‘mushroom’ bags for bagging other vegetables in supermarkets.
  • Producing stickers or laminated posters to make it easier for restaurants/caterers to understand how they can donate to organisations in the surplus food network.

Next, we will consider all of these exciting ideas to determine which will prove both practical and most beneficial to go into a new five-year action plan, itself part of the overall review of the city’s 20-year food strategy, Spade to Spoon: Digging Deeper.

This strategy sets out how the city will work together to ensure good food is available for everyone, that issues such as obesity and food poverty are addressed and there is not excessive food waste. The sixth of the strategy’s nine aims states that: “Waste generated by the food system is reduced, redistributed, reused and recycled.”

Sustainable Development Goal

These local aspirations tie in with the much wider picture – in particular the Sustainable Development Goal food waste reduction target of 50% by 2030. In the UK, £2.5bn worth of food is currently thrown away annually by businesses. That amounts to £10,000 per outlet per year. What’s more, 75% of that food could have been eaten.

Vera Zakharov, Brighton & Hove Food Partnership’s Surplus Food Network Coordinator, who previously coordinated the city’s Love Food Hate Waste Campaign said: “It’s absolutely inspiring to see a broad range of stakeholders take this issue seriously. Food waste is a major contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions and is a symptom of a food system that devalues our natural resources and human effort.

“This roundtable event shows that we are ready to work together and change how food is used and valued in Brighton and Hove.”

Other roundtables being held as the food strategy is refreshed includes those on shared meals, food power, land, and healthy and sustainable diets. We’ll keep you updated as they take place.

Sign up for the Greater Brighton Cycle Challenge and raise funds for your favourite charity

Andy Winter's Blog

We have opened registration for our unique cycling fundraiser taking place on July 1st 2018.  This year participants can fundraise for any charity of their choice, and I would encourage you to get a team together for your organisation.

BHT has teamed up with The Living Coast to create the Greater Brighton Cycle Challenge comprising three exciting cycling experiences allowing for all levels of fitness.

BHT’s Around the World Cycle Challenge is a family friendly event taking place the Preston Park Velodrome. This challenge starts at 7am and runs throughout the day, with cyclists aiming to reach the combined target of 69,215 laps (equating to cycling 40,075km around the world) in just 12 hours! Laps can be completed in one session or over a number of sessions throughout the day and there are designated slots for families and club cyclists. Refreshments will be available throughout the day and there…

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