Greener Eynsford Blog
Green news and views relevant to our community
12th October 2021
Eynsford Green Team – Electric Cars and Electric Public Charging Points
Electric Cars would appear to be the future…..
The Government has made a commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Road transport is responsible for about one fifth of emissions and the Government are therefore encouraging the transition to electric vehicles. From 2030 it will not be possible to buy a brand new petrol car.
The village survey we carried out about the environmental challenges last year highlighted 45% of respondents said they do or plan to have an electric car within the next 5 years. Of those 45%, 20% said they are unable to charge their car at their home.
The ownership of electric cars will increase over the coming years and charging points will be needed in the village for those residents with no off-street parking.
What have Eynsford Green Team been doing in response to the need for a village charging point?
In light of the above we investigated the possibility of a community electric charging point.
Kent County Council is offering financial support to parish councils to install charging points in their villages on community land for those residents that cannot access off-road parking and charging. We looked into various locations, including the village car park which is owned by Sevenoaks District Council. SDC refused our request for a community charging point stating that “use would be minimal and could result in the space remaining empty for substantial periods of time”.
It would be interesting to know what residents think, are you local to the car park, have or want an electric car and would use the charging point? Or do you agree that the spaces should be saved for residents and visitors with petrol cars only? It may be that we can campaign on this if enough residents come forward stating they would use the charging point. Let us know your thoughts.
We also looked into the Parish Office car park currently leased to the Scout Association however due to the Scouts concerns over safeguarding issues this is not an option.
The new village hall site does have plans for electric charging points but this will be a few years away.
Other possible locations
There might be other village locations that may be suitable for a charging point. Whilst these are not local authority land and would not qualify for the current grant, there may be alternative options and schemes for such charging points. We have been in contact with Darenth Valley Community Rail Partnership who work closely with Southeastern and Network Rail, and they are looking into installing one or more charging points at Eynsford station.
We are also looking to local businesses and whether they would be willing to have a charging point. Do you have a business in the village with room for a charging point? If this is something you may consider please do get in touch with us.
Other Government Schemes
The Government is also providing funding to local authorities for installing on-street charging points in residential areas. We haven’t yet explored this with Sevenoaks DC as we were hoping to apply for the grant detailed above but this is something we will start looking into.
Community Electric Charging
One idea is for residents to share charging points on their driveway. There are services that enable people with home charging points to share their charger with the public, for example, www.co-charger.com.
Technology is rapidly changing for charging points. Charging points can be now found in lamp posts around London, customers purchase a smart cable that connects to the lamp posts. Perhaps the village lamp posts could be utilised in this way.
There are also kerbside charging points being developed by a company called Connected Kerb and Urban Electric are working on charging points sunken into the ground when not in use. With space at a premium in many towns and villages and the need to keep pavements free of clutter, these could be brilliant solutions.
Map of electric charging points
The zap map is very useful to find your local charging point. It would appear from the map that Brands Hatch Hotel and Otford Village hall car park are our nearest public charging points.
The link below is for a map showing the density of public electric charging devices by each local authority. Sevenoaks DC is within the second to lowest category within the country.
The Eynsford Green Team have been working hard trying to find a location for community charging points however space is at a premium and there is no easy solution. We will continue to look for solutions with the aim to help those residents who don’t have an off-street charging option.
Do let us know your views on the above, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
5th October 2021
Pictured: Brown Owl, Brownie and Eynsford Parish Council's Chair of Community and Green Team member.
Eynsford's Green Team worked with our local brownie group to obtain a new recycling bin.
We were pleased to gain the support of 2nd Farningham & Eynsford Brownies in our pleas to Sevenoaks District Council for a recycling public waste bin. The Brownies spent some time during lockdown working on the Take Action theme of the new girlguiding programme to raise awareness about an issue important to them. One of the Brownies, who was concerned about waste and recycling, wrote a letter and created a petition asking for recycling bins in the village which she sent to Eynsford Parish Council. The parish council's Green Team was able to use this letter to back up their request for a new bin for Eynsford.
We are all delighted that the new bin has now been installed on Riverside. It is a 'smart' bin and can communicate with the depot to indicate when it is full! This means that fewer wasted journeys are made when the bin is not full, saving fuel and cutting carbon emissions. We hope that in the future we may be able to obtain more of these bins for the village.
The Brownie rightly obtained her Make Change and Speak Out badges and is well on her way to achieving her Brownie GOLD award!
Let us know what you think of our new bin. Would you like to see more opportunities to recycle your rubbish in Eynsford?
20th July 2021
Are you confused by recycling? Do you think - can I recycle this? do I have to wash it first? what is the point?
A new project has been launched in Kent to help us to understand all about recycling- particularly plastic products. This article is mostly information provided by Pledge2recycle:
KENT RECYCLES - DO YOU?
Are you confused about what plastics you can recycle?
Pledge2Recycle Plastics are working with all Kent Councils to help reduce that confusion.
The charity, which works to educate and advise citizens has set up a dedicated website for Kent [www.pledge2recycle.co.uk/kent] which includes competitions for communities and general recycling guidance.
Did you know you can recycle ALL bottles whether from the bathroom and kitchen as well as plastic packaging in the form of a pot, tub or tray?
All bottles should be empty when placed for recycling with the tops back on. Pots, tubs and trays should have the absorbent layer and film lid removed as these need to go into general waste.
Please DO NOT PUT toothpaste tubes, pill packs, nappies, textiles, coffee pods, batteries and food into recycling. Textiles should go to specific banks either at community/retail/or Household Waste Centres. You can take carrier bags, bread bags and empty frozen veg packets, to your local supermarket front of store collection please check at www.recyclenow.com/local-recycling. Sainsbury's superstores now take ALL flexible packaging in front of store collections - guidance and a list of participating stores can be found at www.about.sainsburys.co.uk/sustainability/plan-for-better/our-stories/2021/flexible-plastics.
It is important that ALL PLASTIC PLACED FOR RECYCLING is CLEAN, DRY AND LOOSE and NOT in any carrier or black bags.
PLEDGE2RECYCLE PLASTICS - CUTTING THE CONFUSION - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
•Why do I need to put the tops back on the bottles before recycling?
- The tops go with the bottles to the
reprocessor where they are cut up into flakes and the bottle and tops (which
are different plastics) are separated before they are turned into pellets. The pellets made from the bottle themselves
are then sent to either make new bottles.
The pellets made from the tops are sent to go into garden furniture or
items for construction such as piping or traffic cones
•How clean does my recycling need to be?
- At the Materials Recovery Facility
(MRF) all the mixed dry recycling is sorted by type (paper, cardboard, steel
cans, aluminium cans, and plastics).
This process involves a lot of complex machinery which gets covered in
the residue and dirt that householders place in their recycling bins. This residue can cause machinery to
breakdown. Many UK MRF's also have a
section where material is hand sorted, so not a pleasant job if the material is
covered in food remains. Remember also
that the cleaner the recycling is the greater the quality and higher value the
material will be to the recycler. It
also keeps your bin clean if you empty, rinse and dry before recycling.
•Can I recycle my bleach bottles?
- Yes, make sure they are empty and
put the top back on.
•What do I do with the film lid on food, fruit, and vegetable punnets?
- Remove the film lid and the
absorbent layer and put these into general waste as these are not recyclable at
the moment. Make sure the tray or
punnet is empty, clean, and dry and recycle.
•Where can I recycle my carrier bags, and bread bags?
- Many UK Supermarkets are now taking carrier
bags and bread bags etc. in their front of store collections. Please look for the OPRL label on your soft
plastics and wrappings and check out our links on www.pledge2recycle.co.uk/kent for further information.
Should I stop using plastic packaging?
- Plastic packaging provides many benefits to products and compared to alternative materials it uses less energy to produce, reduces transport costs and CO2 emissions because it is lightweight, and significantly reduces the amount of fresh food waste by protecting it in a hygienic environment and extending its shelf life.
Did you know?
- bananas in a flexible bag extend their shelflife by3days
- Plastic bags reduce waste of potatoes by two thirds
- Cucumbers extend their life when wrapped in film by 14 days
- Advanced plastic packaging extends the life of steak upto10 days
Why do some brands still use plastic for food products - surely, we can use other materials such as glass?
Because it is lightweight, plastic packaging can save energy in the transport of packed goods. Less fuel is used, there are lower emissions and there are cost savings for distributors, retailers and consumers. For example, a yoghurt pot made from glass weighs about 85 grams, while one made from plastic weighs 5.5grams. In a lorry filled with a product packed in glass jars, 36% of the load would be accounted for the packaging. If packed in plastic pots, the packaging would amount to just 3%. To transport the same amount of yoghurt, three trucks are needed for glass jars but only two for plastic pots.
•What can plastic packaging be recycled into?
Plastic packaging can be recycled into a wide variety of products including clothing, t-shirts; toys, chairs and tables; headphones; kitchen utensils; paint pots; car parts; cuddly toys; filling for duvets and sleeping bags; pens and pencils; building materials such as fencing, flooring, piping, etc; garden furniture; buckets and - of course - more plastic packaging! Drinks bottles can be made back into drinks bottles, milk bottles can also be made back into more milk bottles.
•Why don't all Councils collect the same types of plastic?
Local authorities use different facilities and waste management providers to collect recycling materials from households and recycling points. Some of these can only accept specific plastic types and therefore residents are given different messages about what they can and cannot recycle in different areas. Local authorities also have contracts with waste management providers and changing or terminating these can be a long and costly process. However, the plastic industry would like to see all councils collecting the same types of plastic and will continue to promote this as best practice and the UK government is discussing the possibilities of consistent collections across the UK.
If you live in Kent and one of the 13 Kent Councils you are, able to recycle the same plastics packaging wherever you live in Kent.
•Why does the Council keep asking us to recycle when I think I recycle everything I can?
Although most of us do recycle what we can when we can unfortunately the data tells us that nationally we only recycle 59% of all the bottles we could recycle and 34% of the pots, tubs and trays. This may be because we are not sure if they are recyclable, or because they are dirty and we don't want to rinse/empty them, or because we take them out of the home for eating and drinking on the go and dispose of then in general waste wherever we happen to be, office, school, travelling etc. If we, can it is always best to take our empties home to recycle and make sure that we are not forgetting to recycle stuff from the kitchen or the bathroom, or forgetting about the ketchup and mayonnaise bottles. It all adds up.
The team at Pledge2Recycle Plastics are happy to take your queries you will find them @pledge2recycle or e-mail Amanda.email@example.com.
- The tops go with the bottles to the reprocessor where they are cut up into flakes and the bottle and tops (which are different plastics) are separated before they are turned into pellets. The pellets made from the bottle themselves are then sent to either make new bottles. The pellets made from the tops are sent to go into garden furniture or items for construction such as piping or traffic cones
1st April 2021
Eynsford Tree of the Year - A Celebration of our Village Trees
Nominate Your Favourite Tree!
You may be aware of the Woodland Trust's annual Tree of the Year contest (https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/tree-of-the-year/) which aims to showcase the UK's favourite trees to help promote their value and need for protection.
We thought it would be fun to do a similar contest for our village trees, after all we are the place where Arbor Day first started in the UK in 1897!
So, do you have favourite tree in the village? Perhaps a tree which you think is a perfect example of that species. Alternatively, is there a tree in the village that makes you smile or brings back happy memories? Or maybe a tree which you think embodies Eynsford village?
If so, then why not nominate it for Eynsford Tree of the Year. To nominate your tree please email firstname.lastname@example.org or drop in a note to the parish office, and tell us;
-which tree you wish to nominate (the tree must be within Eynsford parish)
-a few lines about why you are nominating this tree. -the location of the tree, and the species (if you know it)
-and ideally please include a photo
Nominations need to reach us by June 2021. The winner will be chosen by our Tree Wardens and a representative from our Green Team. The winning tree will be unveiled, rather more Arbor than Oscar-style, the following month. There are no prizes if your chosen tree is picked - it's just for fun. But, the winning tree and it's story, will be featured on our website, social media and in our next newsletter.
The Arbor Day Movement was established in America in 1872 where one day each year is set aside as a festival to plant trees. A similar event was established in England in 1897 in the Kent village of Eynsford.
by Jane Laird for Eynsford's Green Team
9th March 2021
We are pleased to announce a joint initiative between Eynsford Green Team, Eynsford Gardeners' Club and Eynsford in Bloom.
Brighten up your garden, make it more attractive to wildlife, and help to make Eynsford more beautiful for the Eynsford in Bloom competition!
Are you currently choosing bedding plants for your garden hanging baskets and containers? Why not have a go at creating a wildlife-friendly hanging basket.
We have put together some ideas to help you make your hanging baskets more attractive to bees and other pollinators. This includes;
- ideas on lining your planter so that it is more wildlife-friendly and incorporates recycled materials,
- some suggestions for more wildlife-friendly, colourful and scented bedding plants, and,
- ideas to help with manual watering.
Creating this hanging basket makes good use of readily available plant material from gardens, it provides suitable habitats and food for wildlife, the basket looks attractive with the green foliage and it is great fun (it really is!).
Many of these ideas would also be relevant for your pots and other planters.
The Village would look even more beautiful if we could make a display in our front gardens of wildlife-friendly planters. (Although the insects would also like a wildlife-friendly hanging basket in your back garden!). Not only would this be great for wildlife, and create an attractive feature in your garden, but it would also help with our 2021 entry to Eynsford in Bloom.
If you need help sourcing any of the equipment, materials or plants please let us know as we might be able to help!
Please see the attached document for more information. Hanging Basket Tutorial
We would love to see your planted containers and baskets. Post your photos on the Eynsford Parish Council facebook page or email email@example.com
28th January 2021
by Jane Laird on behalf of Eynsford Green Team
Many thanks to all those residents who completed our survey, "How Can Eynsford Be Greener". We carried out the survey to canvass local opinion, to find out what residents would like us to do and help us decide which environmental schemes we should implement.
We received 98 responses (online and paper), which equates to about 12% of households in the parish. This is an encouraging response and 72% of those respondents stated that they felt it was "very important" that Eynsford Parish Council/EGT tries to tackle environmental issues within the parish.
From analysing what we currently recycle as a village we are doing well on glass and clothes. We are looking at ways we can facilitate more recycling within the village. We will contact and lobby Sevenoaks District Council on improving recycling options throughout the whole district.
Ideas and suggestions
We had lots of positive responses to our suggestions. 85% of respondents wanted to see more bee and wildlife planting on parish council land. We are already implementing wildlife planting and are aiming to launch a wildflower pot/hanging basket initiative for everyone to get involved with this spring, details to follow next month.
70% of respondents would like more recycling points in the village for different items and as mentioned above we will work on this.
We were thrilled to hear residents' comments/ideas, and these included the following:
- Recycle bins next to existing rubbish bins for visiting public to recycle litter
- Communal compost bins
- Co-operative for bulk purchase of electricity
- Hydro power from the river
We will review all the suggestions put forward.
Electric cars and charging points
We had an interesting response to the electric car question with 45% of respondents stating that they already own an electric car or within the next 5 years they plan to buy one. Of those that do or plan to have an electric car, 20% would not be able to charge on their own property, therefore many villagers will need access to a public charge point. As there is a developing need for public charge points EGT are reviewing possible locations and investigating the available grants. After 2030 all new cars will have to be electric and EGT will help the village prepare for this.
Whilst not everyone was keen on the idea of a community solar panel field or a wind turbine the Government has committed to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. As part of this commitment, the Government have set up the Rural Community Energy Fund, which is a £10 million programme to support rural communities in England to develop renewable energy projects. There are many inspiring projects taking place throughout the country using this fund. These projects not only provide clean energy but also give social and economic benefits to the local community. This is an area we will continue to investigate.
he responses to the survey have given EGT the information and impetus to prepare a 10-year plan of what we aim to achieve. We will publish this plan later in the year. Thank you to all those respondents who offered to help EGT or help with various projects, we will be in touch soon. We will work with village groups where relevant as we appreciate many groups already have eco policies or wish to do more for the environment. Do not forget we regularly post articles on www.eynsfordparishcouncil.org.uk, on the Greener Eynsford page and you can contact us via email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
12th January 2021
by Kaz Langridge
Have you ever wondered what steps you can take to reduce your carbon footprint on the planet and help with the climate crisis? There is a useful app called Giki Zero which helps with this https://zero.giki.earth/about.
Giki Zero provides you with ideas on how you can take realistic steps to reduce your carbon footprint and it helps to track what you have done and are planning to do. It's good fun and designed for all ages.
10th December 2020
by Anne Marie Fereday
Everyone knows that it can be tricky to choose what to buy friends and family for Christmas. For some, it can seem even more difficult to shop sustainably. And it will have to be done mostly online this year. But there are a wealth of sites, mostly small independent businesses, to answer almost all your gifting needs this year. Of course, there are many considerations when it comes to choosing gifts: from how the product is made, avoiding sweatshops and the use of materials that harm the environment, to how long your gift will last and what to do with the packaging. Let's take a look at the typical Christmas shopping list and see what is available...
Kids - children's toys can be an eco-nightmare, often plastic and with little indication of the supply chain. But there are alternatives, for instance here is an organic babies rattle (1) from Arket, (http://Arket.com ) a store perhaps familiar to those who know Bluewater. Their site also has a very good range of clothes for adults and children, often using recycled fibres, eg these boys swim shorts (2), as well as homewares and accessories.
Homewares - Arket (Arket.com) have also produced some useful household items that would make good presents, for instance, a recycled polyester laptop case for £25. Or If you prefer locally-produced crafts, how about these hand-made wooden bowls (3) from madeinotford.org. Usually, these are selling at the Saint Bart's Christmas fair in Otford but they are now available online.
Fashion and clothing - there are a number of ethical fashion sites who put sustainability at the top of their agenda eg howies.co.uk, Ninetypercent.com etc. But it's worth noting that also some of the high street's more established outlets are now getting in on the act, particularly with recycled fibres eg H&M, whose Conscious ranges (4) are a favourite of mine (see www2.hm.com). It is also worth mentioning vintage clothing, another growing trend in fashion. Bluewater retailers Urban Outfitters have a long-standing range of repurposed clothing called Urban Renewal, which can also be found online, www.urbanoutfitters.com.
Food and drink - local producers sell on madeinotford.org, including delights such as brandy truffles and Christmas puds (5). Our nearest refill shop, Eco Pantry (theecopantry.co.uk) at Seal Chart Farm, enable you to fill up on a wide range of foods and of course, there is a butcher/grocer there too. Or try Stanhill Fram (stanhillfarm.co.uk) just outside Swanley, from whom (during the current restrictions) you can collect pre-ordered food and drink. Otherwise, you may have heard of Planet Organic, who have recently merged with cosmetics brand As Nature Intended, and do a range of fresh groceries. They even sell takeaway meals! https://www.planetorganic.com/
Gardening - organicgardening.com offer a range of gifts including this illuminated bug viewer (6) as well as a range of seeds, plants, tools etc. They also sell experiences such as a vineyard tour and tasting with unlimited tea for two, for £45.
Stocking fillers - for Dad, why not this white stuff (https://www.whitestuff.com/) eco leather wallet? (7) PHB (phbethicalbeauty.co.uk) do a range of cosmetics, some in recycled plastic tubes, pointing out that their production is less carbon-intensive than glass, which needs to be produced at very high temperatures! And how about this gadget (8) which will fix a broken zip and maybe save another garment from the landfill? That's a bright idea from H&M (zlideon zip tab, www2.hm.com). If you want jewellery, check out the range of recycled silver and gold on wearth.com (9). Iansnow.com specialise in items made in India, which are fairly traded but also make use of recycled items such as silk saris. Auraque (https://www.auraque.com/ ) sell hats, gloves and scarves knitted from banana fibre (10)! Knowtheorigin.com sell gift sets and a wide range of good that are sustainably produced, often by independent businesses and with ethical standards (such as plastic-free) in mind.
Cosmetics and personal care - among the best environmental innovations recently has been the idea of refilling. This is to cut down on packaging, particularly plastic. BeautyKitchen.co.uk (11) offer a service whereby customers can send back the metal containers of shower gel etc and order new ones online. Our own St Martin's church is also offering a recycling service for those who save their plastic pumps etc, the items are sent to Terracycle, with payments made to charity.
Decorations - Peace With The Wild (peacewiththewild.co.uk ) have Christmas crackers that contain plastic free gifts, and eco-fashion retailers Thought (https://www.wearethought.com) have a blog which tells you how to make your own Christmas wreath and print your own wrapping paper (12)!
Choosing appropriate gifts versus waste is perhaps the most important consideration to remember when looking for Christmas gifts. Some might say that the ultimate green gift might be one that it's the about giving more than just stuff, instead some experience that could be enjoyed. Or why not simply give someone you love a bunch of flowers? Arenaflowers.com who were recently voted the UK's most ethical florist, will also a plant tree for each bouquet ordered. As do browser Ecosia.org, so if you're going to surf for any of these gifts, maybe start by downloading their app?
Happy (green shopping) Christmas!
1st December 2020
ARE CARS ELECTRIC?
by Chris Lewington
If you drive a car, you are no doubt well aware of the recent government announcement to end the sales of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030. So what will that actually mean for a village like ours? In ten years time will we all be whizzing around in super silent, tree hugging, electro gliding machines? Will a trip down to Rafferty's or Norman's run the gauntlet of trying not to trip over a multitude of electric cables strung across the pavement to charge cars? Will charging your lovely new motor be as simple as plugging in the kettle for a cup of tea? The future is undoubtedly green but a lot of the choices around cars, charging and infrastructure pose some tricky questions.
Firstly, as all you petrol heads who've read this far without flinching at the mention of the words electric and car in the same sentence will know, it's only "new" cars that will stop being petrol. The average age of a car on the road is around 7- 8 years old. That means a lot of us will still be driving around sitting on top of a fuel tank rather than an outsize battery come 2030. Purchase of a battery electric vehicle (BEV) can set you back something in the region of an extra £10k on a new and even £7-8 k on a 2-3 year old second-hand model compared to a petrol vehicle. So the economy of buying electric needs to be thought through carefully. And that's before we even start to talk about "Range anxiety", the fear that holds many of us back from dipping our toes in the electric waters.
hen you're on that family camping holiday trip down to Cornwall at some point you will pull into a petrol station to fill up the tank. If there's no queue, it's all done nozzle to tank and swipe the plastic in a matter of minutes. So what happens when your electric car nears the bottom of that overnight charge that was going to take you all the way to Lands End? A half-hour stop at a Rapid Charging point at the service station while you grab a coffee and bun will add 80 - 90 miles. According to Zap-Map, which provides a guide to the UK's charging infrastructure, there are currently around 4,800 locations providing 7,500 individual chargers. Soon charging points will outnumber petrol stations across the country!
However not all charging points are the same and this brings us back to Eynsford. Rapid Charge 50Kw points use DC current and are mostly found along major route roads and not all BEV's are adapted to use them. Fast charging points 7kW will take around eight hours to fully replenish an electric car's batteries from zero charge. The majority of public charging stations offer this rate. So most charging of your electric car will be done at home with a charging box installed to fully charge the car overnight. Great if you've got a garage or drive. As we well know, a cursory glance down the high street says otherwise. So if we are all to be driving shiny new electric cars off the garage forecourt come 2030, where are the people with only on-street parking going to charge them?
Kent County Council has been promoting a scheme to help fund charging points but these must be 2m away from the highway so wouldn't be of use for many residents. Possible areas that could be good for charging points are outside the Parish office car park, the village car park, station car park and eventually the new village hall car park. Should we be totally concentrating on charging points for residents' vehicles or should the mix also include rapid charging points for those passing through on longer journeys? What comes first, the installation of lots of charging points or a sizeable growth in the uptake of electric cars? Every parking space that is converted to an electric car charging station is one less place to park.
The government has laid down the gauntlet. The car industry is turning its focus on electric car production. So installing charging points in the village is something that is going to happen. Where, for who, and who's paying is the debate that has hardly started yet. Here in Eynsford and for the whole of the U.K.