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TrEx Action News JULY 2020
In this issue:   Don't be a Tosser - Mermaid Walks - GettingaroundExmouth.org - Tidelines -  Plastic Free Exmouth - Flight Free Green Drinks - Build Back Better - AGM & Umbrella - Exmouth Eco Hub - OurPlaceOurPlanet.org - ETC Climate Emergency update - Joanna Toole launch - SAS Plastic update -   Exmouth Wildlife Group - Newsflashes - Wild Exmouth Geocaching 
COMMUNITY ACTION ON LITTER:
MERMAID WALKS,  DON'T BE A TOSSER and BEACH CLEANS

 
Ask any Exmouth resident what they love about the town , and it's not long before the beach is mentioned. No wonder we are all so aghast at the filthy mess left by picnicers and party people. 
Plastic Free Exmouth , Clean Beach Exmouth   Clean Street Exmouth the Streetscene crews  and many individuals all do a fantastic job of litterpicking.  You can join them by clicking their links above, they are always looking for new volunteers  -  but many of us wonder, is it really up to us to clean up after these Tossers? 
Is there any way we could be more proactive, and address the problem before it even starts? 
Enter the Mermaids.  Inspired by the Don't be a Tosser campaign (which started in New Zealand and is spreading fast) , we are going out on sunny days or evenings and chatting to people on the beach, in the Park or at the Maer.   Fancy dress is entirely optional , but it does put a smile on faces even before we start talking!   Mermaid walking is non-confrontational and friendly. "What a beautiful evening !"   "Are you OK for a bag,  I've got some here if you need one,   they are free!"   " We're wondering if  people would take their rubbish home and recycle it , what do you think?"    "I'm with Transition Exmouth , we are thinking of running a Don't be a Tosser Camapign..."  "You're NOT Tossers!  Great! Can I take a photo and post it on our  Facebook page?  "     We could post pictures of Tossers too ... but we haven't met any in person yet. 
To get involved with Mermaid Anti-Litter Walks - just take some bags with you when you go to the beach , or to the park,  and talk to people !  Carol Jay reports, "I've been doing plainclothes mermaid walks every time I go to the beach.  Most people are sorted, so it's easy to spot potential tossers.   I find whenever I say "Lovely evening isn't it ! Are you OK for a bag to clear up , I've got some spares here if you like ..."  the answer is generally "Oh we were just about to do that ! Erm... but if you've got a spare bag , that'd be great ...."     If you'd rather go with a (socially distanced) group , please contact us   We are thinking about  a Mermaid Walks Whatsapp group , or maybe a big walk one busy bank holiday.  "With any eco-action, you have to start where people are," says Carol. "Someone who's already putting their litter in the bin might consider recycling it , or switching to reusables. If Tossers can switch to picking up after themselves, that's a step forward too." 
Let us know what you think of this ! 
BUILD BACK BETTER 
Abundance Investment have published an interesting document on how communities and councils can Build back Better 
GettingAroundExmouth.org

The new Active Travel website is up and running (though not completed)  showing maps of paths in Exmouth that may be useful when planning cycling and walking  routes to work and the town centre. Constructive comments welcome! 

The Active Travel Group have also been busy commenting on the development at Goodmore's Farm.  They suggested the developer should build a cycle path from the entrance of the new development, along Dinan Way as far as Marley Road. It  would encourage residents to cycle or walk to town or to the station via Marley Road and the improved path at Bapton Valley Park.
"Discussions are ongoing with councillors about how to make real improvements at the seafront, and I feel a vision is emerging," says Jan Gannaway.

The Help Make Cycling Safer Survey organised by the Active Travel Group and XR has had 40 responses so far , most of them mentioning the seafront.  You can still have your say here

Exmouth 'Active Travel Day'  was cancelled because of Covid 19. Transition Exmouth very much hopes to run this event later in the year.  A new date will be arranged as soon as possible - meanwhile do have a look at the new gettingaroundexmouth website 


OurPlaceOurPlanet.org


Don't look for OurPlaceOurPlanet online - YET! - our climate action website will be launched  early this autumn .   

 The website  will give steps people can  take towards a zero carbon lifestyle, along with links to local businesses and groups who can help.  A sustainable future involves eco-friendly actions,  strong local economies and resilient communities;  OurPlaceOurPlanet works on all these levels. 

This idea was too good to keep to ourselves , and we are building the site so that other places can have their own "Local Links"  too.   How does that work ?  Under "Waste" ,   for example , a First Step is "Use Zero Waste Shops" .  The "Local Links"  here for Exmouth include Mother Earth  and Heart and Soul    . 
If you know of other Places which would like their own  local groups and businesses featured,  contact us .  These don't have to be perfect Eco-Angels (that would be a very short list) but people who are taking steps towards a more sustainable future. 

The idea for the website , and a lot of the initial content, came out of the  Our ExmouthOurPlanet meeting last November.
Exmouth Town Council  are funding the initial site and will be sharing it,  so this is a fantastic way of reaching the whole community .

We are currently planning a launch party including businesses who are featured on OurPlaceOurPlanet , an inspirational guest speaker and brainstorming sessions,  register here if  you'd like to be involved  

Funnily enough , our first non-zoom in-person meeting this year was about - the website!

ZOOMING TO FLIGHT FREE GREEN DRINKS 
THURSDAY 6th AUGUST : 7.30PM


Green Drinks will be held by Zoom 6th August, opening with a 29 MINUTE TALK 7.30 by Anna Hughes of Flight Free UK will be talking to us about their campaign.

“There is nowhere I can think of that I want to go that I can’t get to by bike, train or boat. If I was going to go further, I would just take a long time to do it.”

If you'd like a sociable evening, do invite friends round to take part in Green Drinks with you - you could even join in from a pub!    

Green Drinks
Please email us if you'd like to join the meeting by Zoom, and we will send you a link and details of how to join in. 
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Tidelines inspired artwork by  Jurg Lindenberger (left) and Jim Shapter (right)

 Tidelines  is a different sort of project. It brings together knowledge about science, arts, craft, history, place and nature and makes vibrant connections between these different ways of experiencing and understanding the world.

You can take part in activities around the Exe estuary and coastline via the Tidelines website . This is a community project concerned with protecting and learning more about the place that we live - Tidelines needs you! 
 
TIDELINES BOOK CLUB 

The Sea Around Us, written by pioneering scientist and environmental activist Rachel Carson, sparkles with love of nature and a deep understanding of earth systems - a clearly written and accessible book about our oceans.
After the summer Tidelines will gather (online or in person)  for discussion about the book and the questions it raises with scientists Ceri Lewis (Marine Biologist and co-director of the Global Systems Insititute, Exeter University and others).   Email Tidelines for more information . 
 
AGM 2020 : Taking Transition Exmouth forward
 

We would welcome new people to join the Umbrella Group , to help us take projects forward and bring fresh ideas .
The 12 Umbrella Group roles are Chair , Secretary, Treasurer, Media , Membership, L.A. Liaision, Events, Green Drinks, Community Links, with four other members, usually with a specialism  in Energy, Waste , Nature, Travel and/or Food.  Some roles can be shared - six of us have taken the lead on different events this year - and many of the Umbrella group are involved with other organisations too.
"The TrEx umbrella meetings are the "Hub" -  a way for us all to check in, quick report on what we are doing , a great opportunity to get feedback and cross-fertisilation of ideas," explains Nicky Nicholls, this year's Chair.   "The detail of each TrEx project is threshed out in "Spokes" groups, either in person,  via googledocs, zoom or whattsapp - we do not to have endless meetings , we are all busy !"
The Umbrella group as a whole meet once a month for an hour.  It's up to each Umbrella member how many projects they get involved with, and to what extent.  Often the most valuable thing the Umbrella does is to comment on work in progress, and suggest network links who can help.  
New technology has been a vertical learning curve for all of us this year, but there's been plenty of support and we are all now zooming , g-doccing and whatsapping like digital natives. Support will be available for  new umbrella members.  
None of us are perfect Eco-Angels, the main qualification is willingness to take and promote steps towards a more sustainable future.  
To find out more about joining the Umbrella Group,  contact us. This year's AGM is being planned for October .
Below: Umbrella Group - First Socially Distanced Meeting at Point in View, thanks to Martin Nicholls
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Makes me want to get involved 
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Makes me want to hide under a rock


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Exmouth Eco Hub

Transition Exmouth is exploring the idea of an EcoHub for our Town, and we’re keen to know if other community groups like the idea and what they would like to see in it. At the moment we are imagining community workshops, a community kitchen, an education and advice centre, a space for meetings and events and a library of things.  
  • a place where we can share equipment and skills, repair, reuse and repurpose
  • a place where we can discover new ways to travel and power our homes
  • a place where we can learn to cook and grow food that's good for us and for our planet
  • a place where we can learn from one another and take steps towards solving the Climate Crisis together.
TrEx are currently seeking premises and funding for the EcoHub and the more community involvement we have the better. Would you or any community group that you’re involved with support an EcoHub in Exmouth? Would you use it if the right things were in it?  What are these?  

David Buller of the Ecohub group reports , "A first draft of a proposal for funding of the EcoHub has been completed & we're waiting for opportunities to send it to appropriate national funding bodies.  We're starting to engage with EDDC and ETC about the project both in terms of finding a physical location for it & any potential funding.
An EcoHub has been a long-held dream for Exmouth - let's make it real!"  

Please  email us  if you'd like to suggest a group we should approach,  or if you’re interested in being part of the development team 
Bids for the much heralded government funding for cycling has not been successful in Exmouth. Tim Dumper, one of the Councillors on the Umbrella Group,  reports: First thing to note is that it is Highway authorities who have control of the government money, ie Devon CC in our case, consulted us "lower tier" Councils, of course. However, they have criteria to adhere to for the spending of the money, which are, principally: 1 That they are widely used commuter routes - note the comment in the letter from DfT about "opening up the economy"  2 That they have buses or public transport associated with the corridor where transfers can be made to bike or other active travel, to reduce passenger density on the public transport,  and particularly 3 That they are financially / feasibility tested as well as "shovel ready" in other senses.

In close officer discussion across Devon, it became clear that DCC as Highway Authority had 3 towns and city areas in mind which met the criteria, in their view, ie Exeter (taking up about 50% of these funds), Newton Abbot, and Barnstaple / Bideford. No immediate projects which could in any way be described as meeting the criteria they set, or ready for implementation could be found here in Exmouth. The Exe cycle trail parallels our main commuter route into Exeter. There is no doubt that we do need internal provision around Exmouth - there is some smaller scale commuting from outer areas Littleham, Withycombe and Brixington primarily into town, and we do need to reduce car traffic overall on these routes.

Exmouth Councillors have tried to push for improvements on the seafront with DCC Councillors, the Portfolio Holder and the local Highway Manager, but have not received any encouragement in relation to this fund. The failure to properly separate cyclists and pedestrians, and the apparently unrestricted access to motor vehicle traffic there is an accident waiting to happen, and widely recognised in Exmouth as such. It is fair to say that the seafront represents a major part of the town's economy, and I am very disappointed this was not taken any more seriously by those responsible. Developments over our network of cycle paths in Exmouth, eg Bapton Valley and Hillcrest off St John's Road in the Withycombe Brook area do not qualify for this money as they are not highways, and these are being pursued actively by the Town Council  and District Council in other ways. Other schemes are currently mainly theoretical, but Exmouth cycle group has over the years developed on paper plans.
The DfTransport have promised a second tranche of funding to be announced in "late summer". 

The Joanna Toole Foundation was officially launched on World Oceans Day
Through the distribution of grants, the Foundation will support a range of projects around the world that protect animal welfare, in particular the problem of discarded fishing gear.  It will seek to support those individuals and organisations who demonstrate the sort of approach that Jo took to all of her work; with a spirit of compassion, determination, selflessness and ‘quiet leadership’ for the protection of all animals and the world they live in.

Adrian Toole, Jo’s father says “ As Chair of the Foundation, I am confident that we will be able to pursue Jo’s mission, alas without her. As someone said, ‘It’s Jo’s Charity; she’s just not here!”

 Lord Goldsmith, UK Minister of State for the Environment, honoured Jo and expressed his good wishes for the Foundation’s launch.

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UNPACKING REFILL AND REUSE IN THE AGE OF CORONA : SAS Report for Plastic Free July 

Exmouth Wildlife Group 

 EWG have submitted comments to East Devon Planning about provision for inbuilt bird and bat boxes, hedgehog highways and for the protection of trees and woodland  at the Goodmore's Farm development.
We also recommended maximum thermal insulation, solar arrays on every dwelling and criticised the installation of 350 gas boilers only 5 years before they are supposedly to be banned from new build.
Our comments can be viewed at East Devon Planning. ref  20/0993/MRES  
Exmouth Wildlife Group campaigns to protect urban wildlife and green spaces in Exmouth and is affiliated to Transition Exmouth : We want to hear about wildlife you've seen around town !   EWG on Facebook.
 
Exmouth Town Council  declared a Climate Emergency in 2019
... what has happened since?


In December 2019, Council agreed 5 recommendations from the Climate Task and Finish Forum. Progress on implementing these has been considerable. Exmouth Town Council has:

Agreed the composition and terms of reference of the new permanent Working Party on the Climate and Ecological Emergency, at the recent videoconference Council meeting, the first since lockdown. We are now getting back towards a normal programme of meetings, and as soon as a date is set the new group will have a first meeting. Transition Exmouth representative (s) will sit on that group. 

Commissioned an Environmental Audit on the impact ETC activities have on carbon emissions and biodiversity. A draft report has been received, and the final report is awaited.

Endorsed the 10 point joint TE / ETC plan, with early action on 3 points, described in more detail in separate articles, the eco-hub, the website, and solar panels at Gorfin Hall. 
Several other projects have either had starts delayed, or been stopped in their tracks by lockdown. The water refill station project is well under way, but has been set back by the inability to carry out certain work, because of lockdown. The water refill station project is well under way, but has been set back by the inability to carry out certain work, because of lockdown. 

Allocated the agreed budget of £2,500, and funds are being spent on the environmental audit, and website design. The solar panels at Gorfin Hall have been funded from a separate budget

Carried out regular lobbying of EDDC and DCC eg on cycling developments, and tree planting is taking place. In our lobbying, we recognise the progress Devon CC are making with their Climate Emergency Response Group, their convening of a Citizen's assembly, and EDDC's recent progress on the issue by setting up two new portfolios with strong environmental input. Many local government activities are taking place against a very difficult lockdown background, with people working in unusual and restricted conditions.

A particular recent focus of lobbying has been of Devon County Councillors involved in decision making on the Roadspace reallocation funding from Government, which is managed in Devon by the County Highway department. The criteria for the fund were very difficult for Exmouth to meet, involving routes in town where commuting to work by bus and train takes place, and where a few "shovel ready" changes could be implemented to encourage cycling to work rather than driving for those displaced from the bus. Many came together to lobby for the money to be used for safer cycling on the seafront, an area very important to the town's economy but not travel to work by bus. We look forward to further Government money being available later in the year, and hope the criteria are more favourable then.
The Plastics Reduction Working Party has achieved some acceleration towards accreditation of Exmouth as a Surfers against Sewage plastic free community, and we now see Plastic Free Exmouth as a key partner.

It can be hoped that there is a recognition, especially at Government level, that we cannot return to life as it was, and efforts are put in place for a "green recovery".
Report from Cllr Tim Dumper, Climate TAFF Chairman. Comments to  Transition Exmouth
Gorfin Hall goes Solar Powered!

Gorfin Hall, in Claremont Lane, now has a roof-mounted solar electricity system.

Councillor Frank Cullis, chairman of the Gorfin Hall management committee, said: “The hall has a large south-facing roof and is ideally situated to take full advantage of solar power.

“The committee decided to invest in a sustainable energy system in order to reduce the hall’s carbon footprint, reduce future electricity bills and generate an income through the feed-in tariff, which is paid for exporting electricity to the grid.”

The hall now has 16 solar panels which will bring annual savings of £750 for the town council with an estimated payback period of seven years.

The project follows the declaration of a Climate Emergency by Exmouth Town Council in June 2019 and the subsequent formation of a Climate Change Task and Finish Forum.


 
TRANSITION EXMOUTH DONATIONS

Transition Exmouth's Newsletters and Events are all Free -
but producing them isn't !

Donations pay for the costs of running events such as hiring halls, films, speakers, annual public liability insurance ,web site fees , printing,  a stall at the Exmouth Festival and other events,  etc.

Membership is free for students and people on a low income
Subscription rates of £5, £10 and £50 a year are available
You choose what you can afford, and how to pay.

Donations can be paid via:
The Paypal or Card button on our website 
Bank transfer to Transition Exmouth, co-op bank 08-92-99, a/c 65332739  
Cash at Green Drinks 
Cheque to Transition Exmouth , c/oThe Manse, Summer Lane, Exmouth EX8 5BD

Member organisations can be featured on our website,which is currently being revamped.  They can also be featured on the new OurPlaceOurPlanet website (see article above) 

Transition Exmouth is a voluntary organisation, new members are always welcome. 
Voluntary help is as valuable as money –
none of our work would be possible without the time members put in.

TRANSITION EXMOUTH MEMBERS EACH PLANT AT LEAST ONE TREE A YEAR
 

Wild East Devon have worked with local Geocaching group the Sixexers to introduce a new Geocache to The Maer Nature Reserve! Geocaching is a real-world treasure hunt happening right now, There are millions of geocaches worldwide, and one of the best is right here in Exmouth . Happy Hunting ! 

We hope you've enjoyed this Newsletter .
Any comments or suggestions for future newsletters, please get in touch 
transitionexmouth@gmail.com
January 2020 Transition Exmouth, All rights reserved.

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