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A community in transition

Copyright Stephen Davis Wiltshire Meadow
Photo of Wiltshire flower meadow courtesy Stephen Davis 

We are a friendly group of individuals working out ways to reduce our carbon footprint.  

We hope this website will encourage you to get involved. 

Membership is free and open to all those living or working in the Devizes area, subject to abiding by our constitution which you can find here.

If you would like to join please write to admin@sustainabledevizes.org.uk with your name (first name and surname), address, postcode and email address. 

About us

To find out more and view our past activities please link here

  • Meeting MP 9 Jul 2016 web

    Meeting with MP Post Brexit

    Since its inception as a Transition Town group, members of Sustainable Devizes have been meeting our local leaders and others of influence. Recently a small delegation met Devizes MP Claire Perry to introduce ourselves and quiz her views post-Brexit.  Did she agree with Our Five Ambitions? What was she prepared to do to help us become less reliant on fossil fuel?  It was encouraging that from the outset Claire Perry was anxious to tell us that she was “very much in agreement” with our Sustainable Devizes manifesto “Our Five Ambitions” (link here to view) and responded to each of our post-Brexit topics and questions.   She went on to say that Greg Clarke, MP for Tunbridge Wells, is the new Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is very knowledgeable and respected for his views on holding down the earth’s rising temperatures.  "We are committed to continuing to work closely with our European neighbours".  We expressed our expectations that Greg Clarke will do far more to promote a low carbon economy and strengthen our resilience against the negative effects of climate change than hitherto. [Note 1 below] Claire Perry believes that the decades of European legislation developed to protect our environment will be adopted wholesale for the time being, but scrutinised in due course. She said: “We won’t be throwing away that environmental protection”.  Sustainable Devizes expressed concern about the importance of third party oversight which the European Courts currently bring.  Air quality was a case in point where the UK Government are being challenged for being in breach of their legal duties.  Cities like London are well over acceptable limits but there are identified hot spots in Devizes which must not be ignored. The town is increasingly congested and much more needs to be done to get people to switch to public transport, cycling and walking.   We impressed on our MP that more serious action should be taken to reduce Devizes traffic pollution and improve the air we breathe. We learnt that Claire Perry regularly uses the bus home from Pewsey station and is frustrated to see so many people get off the train from London and jump in their cars. She offered to help us leaflet rail commuters, an offer we gladly accept! Water quality in some local rivers has improved over the last few decades, the battle has not yet been won. Nitrates and other pollutants from intensive farming pose a serious risk. For instance, an application to construct a large slurry lagoon in Etchilhampton near the headwaters of the Hampshire Avon is planned. The local parish council and Sustainable Devizes are concerned about the possible disastrous effects on wildlife should there be any risk of leakage. Serious incidents in Frome and Cornwall were cited.  Claire Perry asked to be kept informed of developments. It was heartening that Claire Perry wants to encourage everyone to see themselves as part of a ‘transition town’ and said, “We have a strong local economy, which is a good base to build on.” John Saunders, Chairman said: "A town and surrounding area that relies more on local p ...

    Saturday, 17 September 2016
  • Richard Day

    ACTION TO PROTECT OUR ENVIRONMENT POST BREXIT

    Richard Day, who takes the lead on energy for Sustainable Devizes, is a professional energy advisor and suggests the following advice and action that Sustainable Devizes supporters might like to take straightaway post-Brexit. Make the UK a TTIP free zone It is quite likely that the UK will now have to negotiate a separate trade agreement with America, but what assurance do we have that this will be any different from a second TTIP? Global Justice Now writes: "Local Authorities have objected to TTIP. Our local businesses, environment and democracy are under threat from a trade deals currently being negotiated in secret.  "Trade deals like TTIP (between the EU and the USA) and CETA (between the EU and Canada) would have a big impact on councils. They could outlaw local authorities’ support of local businesses, allow multinational corporations to sue us if councils deny fracking permits and open up services to privatisation. "Over 1500 councils across Europe have already said they don’t want TTIP and in the UK more than 35 councils have declared themselves TTIP free zones." To find out more or to write to your councillor please link here.  War on Want fight TTIP Many people in the referendum on EU were conflicted whether to remain or vote out.  TTIP was often cited as the reason for voting out.  Now that Brexit is the direction of UK policy War on Want siezes the opportunity and writes: "Many will now rejoice that for the UK TTIP is dead in the water. Indeed, Brexit may be the killer blow to the deal across Europe. But while the UK has escaped TTIP’s corporate clutches as an EU member state, if the deal does survive the big picture will be a little more complex. "Key to understanding why TTIP may still have an impact on the UK is appreciating the extent to which the deal is intended to enable the EU and USA’s neoliberal agenda to be the template for world trade."  Read their article in full here.  What do our leading naturalists think? A blog dated 4th July by The Heritage Journal  has publicised a warning by leading naturalists of the effect of Brexit on the countryside  A range of leading naturalists plus the former heads of Natural England, English Nature, the RSPB and the National Trust have issued grave warnings about the potential effect of Brexit on Britain’s countryside. The Heritage Journal, an archaeological protection blog, highlights their letter because the bulk of archaeological protection is closely linked to environmental protection measures (and mainly financed by European money) and therefore of equal concern. Telling excerpts from their letter include the following: “Far from being ‘red tape’, the rules and regulations coming out of Brussels have been “critical” to improving the quality of Britain’s water, air and natural environment” “It’s vital to recognise that virtually the entire legal protection for our environment here in Britain derives from European safeguards” “UK politics has a tendency to be short term and see the natural environment as an impediment to economic growth, and EU agreements help mitigate this by encouraging us to be m ...

    Tuesday, 05 July 2016
  • Time to Cycle

    Devizes welcomes Climate Change cyclists

    A group called, “Time to Cycle” organised a ride from London to Paris in time to be there for the Climate Change Summit last December. Now they plan to cycle from London to Merthyr Tydfil to make the point that it’s time to actually start making some serious reductions to our country’s dependency on fossil fuels. Their target is our largest opencast coal mine is at Ffos-y-Fram near Merthyr.  Time to Cycle say we really do need to switch to renewable energy sources, sooner rather than later. For more information about the group and their route, please go to  http://www.timetocycle.org/cycle-merthyr-tydfil.html Join in a climate of welcome and grand send off The local group, Sustainable Devizes, agrees with the cyclists and are happy to make overnight arrangements for them when they come through the town. The cyclists are expected on Wednesday 27 April between 4pm and 7pm and there are likely to be more than one hundred of them. They will get an evening meal in Devizes School Hall, courtesy of Vaughan Kitchens and will sleep on the floor at St. Andrew’s Church that night. St. John’s Church have agreed to park the bikes overnight and provide a place for breakfast the following morning. Sheep Street Baptist Church will actually make the breakfast arrangements. A grand send off is planned from outside St. John’s Church at 8am on Thursday. Can you help? If you can volunteer at one of the three locations, please let Sustainable Devizes know. Two volunteers are needed at St. John’s Church between 4pm – 7pm on Wednesday 27th as well as four between 6am – 8.30am on Thursday 28th. Two volunteers are needed at St. Andrew’s between 4pm – 7pm on Wednesday 27th and then two between 6am – 8.30am Thursday 28 April.   Lastly, four volunteers are needed at Devizes School from 6pm – 10pm on Wednesday 27th.   John SaundersChairman, Sustainable Devizes ...

    Wednesday, 06 April 2016
  • your bus matters2

    QUESTIONING WILTSHIRE'S BUS SURVEY PART 2 "Concerns, conclusions and challenges"

    Guest blog by Devizes Passengers Part 1 about Wiltshire's Bus Survey commented on what we would like central Government to do about the threat to our bus services, not just here in Wiltshire but across the country. Our letter to transport minister Andrew Jones we have been told is receiving attention. Here we summarise our main concerns and conclusions about Wiltshire's approach to their bus review submited jointly with Devizes Community Area Partnership (DCAP):  The high response rate (at least 10,000) has shown that buses really matter to people across all of Wiltshire.  This has been a highly valuable awareness raising exercise about bus services for which we congratulate the Council.   We would like the Council to go further and, like us, lobby central Government about addressing the impact that current funding is likely to have on its bus services. Cutting bus services will particularly affect the young, the elderly, those without private transport and those with mobility problems.  The bus network boosts the local economy and helps keep cars off the road.  Buses give people independence to get about and help people lead socially active lives. We have listed in paragraph 7 of our submission some examples of the negative effects of the loss of bus services. Wiltshire’s survey questions suggest that evening and Sunday services might be a luxury or not relevant to bus users. This is to misunderstand their current function and the future of our travel patterns.  Bus Users UK gave a good example of the need for longer term thinking in their response to Wiltshire Council: “Should the plans to amend Sunday trading laws go forward, this will result in extended opening hours but staff will not be able to access their places of employment if further cuts are made to bus services.” We appreciate the Council’s financial difficulties but we are not convinced by their calculations for savings. Reducing frequencies will have knock-on effects on ridership, and so is unlikely to achieve best value for slender public resources, which will lead to a culture of bus decline and poor value for money.  The approach we advocate is one of growth based on sound analysis of ridership and development.  Simplifying bus routes, highly visible marketing, improving the quality of information at bus stops, and if necessary extending the bus services into the evening or increasing their frequency should lead to better value.  The example we gave was of the Trans Wilts rail service project which has recently demonstrated the positive effects of investing in increasing frequencies (see our paragraph 9 of our submission).   We believe there are opportunities to improve the efficiency of the bus network such as the somewhat chaotic 77/85/87 services west of Devizes (see paragraph  21).  It makes no sense for subsidies to be spent on services which perform no useful purpose, and therefore drive around empty. On the other hand the network gaps between Devizes and Marlborough and Stonehenge Visitor Centre strike us as vital tourist opportunities ready to be pursued.   Desp ...

    Wednesday, 06 April 2016
  • Sorry-Not-In-Service crop

    QUESTIONING WILTSHIRE'S BUS SURVEY: Part 1 "How would you like your bus cut?"

    Guest blog by Devizes Passengers For rural areas such as ours, public transport is vital for people’s independence, health and well being as well as local prosperity.  These points are well recognised in Wiltshire’s Local Transport Plan 2011-2026.  The LTP is a binding land use planning document essential for all decisions to deliver wider national and local policies in order to support “economic growth, reduce carbon emissions,  promote equality of opportunity, contribute to better safety, security and health, improve quality of life and a healthy natural environment”.     Bus services are also discouraging traffic and air pollution from increasing.  For all these  reasons they are frequently a basis for granting permission to build new homes on condition that developers contribute towards existing bus services. However Government has reduced Wiltshire Council’s grant by £16.15m.  To balance the books against a background of reduced income and increasing costs, the Council wants to drastically cut the public transport budget.  This is in addition to the 16% saving that has already been made since 2010, which included the withdrawal of three bus routes.   This year’s budget is £3.3 million.  If Wiltshire were to cut £2.5 million from passenger transport, this would leave a balance of £733,000 to subsidise services across Wiltshire leaving commercial services and volunteers to pick up the threadbare remnants of the network in some way. With this in mind Wiltshire Council is carrying out a bus review of a network that carries two and a half million passengers a year.   Wiltshire Council is now asking you how you would like your subsidised bus services cut. Would you like: all evening services after 7pm cut?  Saving:  £639,000 a year all services on Sundays and Bank Holidays?   Saving: £165,000 a year frequency of hourly services reduced by 50%?  Saving: £430,000 a year frequency of rural buses reduced by 75%?  Saving: £1.19m a year frequency of town buses reduced by 75%?  Saving: £460,000 a year Or the nuclear option? reduce services by 100% At the same time we are being asked what we think of voluntary transport which costs £381,000 a year. Who is the target for the bus review?  All of us! Respondents who hardly ever use a bus could be forgiven for thinking the bus survey is not for them since the initial questions are about personal bus use.  This would be a total misperception.  Devizes Passengers maintains that the level of bus cuts will impact on everyone, not just the vulnerable who depend on them.  It will include the following groups: rail passengers who wish to access local railway stations where parking is often congested employers who rely on staff travelling by bus to get to work and training   the magistrates courts that are also undergoing severe cuts and closures hospitals, GP surgeries and other NHS related facilities on the edge of towns schools and colleges that offer out of school hour courses shops, traders and pubs who rely on customers arriving by bus tourists sight ...

    Sunday, 14 February 2016
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Join us!

We have informal gatherings on the third Monday of every month at 7:30pm in the Snug at the Southgate Inn, Potterne Road, SN10 5BY. These monthly gatherings are a seedbed of useful ideas as well as a chance to meet kindred spirits living in Devizes and villages.  Just turn up. Or to get in touch please email admin@sustainabledevizes.org.uk.

Planning meetings and other events are advertised in the Upcoming Events column on the right.  Follow us on our Facebook page where we publish news, events and interesting reads.