About us.....

Abingdon Carbon Cutters is a Community Action Group formed to help reduce the carbon footprint of Abingdon in response to climate change, and to promote a sustainable and resilient lifestyle for our town as fossil fuel stocks decline. We meet on the third Wednesday of each month at St Ethelwold's House, which is here.

At some meetings, we have guest speakers to present various topics, and at others we discuss our own personal actions to address climate change. The group has a focus on encouragement, both of one another, and of the town community.

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

CAG Newsletter

Dear Carbon Cutter,
Do take the time to look at this BRILLIANT CAG bulletin! So packed with ideas and photos, not to mention "How To" guides, and even a spiritual competition at the bottom! What more could you ask for?
May I also take this opportunity to ask you PLEASE to register with the Community Central website? http://www.communitycentral.co.uk
Community Central is an online service that helps local sustainable action groups engage more effectively with their broader communities, businesses and local authorities.
It's completely FREE, so why not join to day and see how you can help make your community greener, faster? There is such a lot of info on there, but it needs everyone interested to join to make it work! When you have registered, add as much as possible to your profile, with words it can search on such as "Abingdon", "Solar panels", "Local Food" or whatever lights your fire, and the site will then find you people interested in the same things. It works by searching on your profile for key-words.
Oh, and our next meeting is on Weds September 15th at the usual time of 7.30pm in St Ethelwold's House, when we will be learning How to Cook Delicious Local Food. See you there!
Happy carbon cutting,


CAG e-Bulletin - August 2010

Hello Sally Reynolds ,

Welcome to the latest 2010 CAG ebulletin, we hope you have been enjoying the summer. The ebulletin is for the exchange of information between CAGs and those who have an interest in CAG activities. Please feel free to forward this bulletin to those you feel would be interested. If you have any information that you would like to share with other groups please let me know. frances.buckel@resourcefutures.co.uk or phone 07903 037290

Sustainable Kirtlington

A big welcome to Sustainable Kirtlington who has just signed up to be a CAG.

Sustainable Kirtlington has been running since 2007 and have various plans. The most ambitious of which will be helping the owners of the mill raise funds for the installation of a micro hydro plant. It is believed that such a plant could provide power for 50-60 homes in the village.

Low Carbon Oxford North

LCON is taking practical action to combat climate change by helping people in the North of Oxford to cut carbon emissions. They have recently signed up as a CAG and had their first public meeting in the North Oxford Association Centre in July. A packed house listed to key note speakers, James Painter, (Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism), and Barbara Hammond (LCWO). Many people expressed interest in their plans for Carbon Conversations and the Commonwealth Climate Challenge (see below)


Commonwealth Climate Challenge

The Commonwealth Climate Challenge is an international competition challenging 12 households in 12 cities across 12 Commonwealth countries to reduce their environmental impact over 12 months.

Run by the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS), in partnership with the Prince of Wales' Charities, this is a fun project with a serious aim. The countries selected to take part in the Climate Challenge represent the geographic and economic diversity of the Commonwealth and include Oxford in the UK.

Baseline data on environmental impact and consumption will be collected at the beginning. Over 12 months the households will compete against other families and countries to reduce their overall environmental impact and to win a series of specific challenges. They will interact with other participants, as well as the global school network, via the Challenge website. CAGs are actively involved in finding and supporting the households in Oxford.

More details from LCON or (a dedicated climate challenge website will be launched in September)

looking at the games that can be played at Carbon Conversations


Carbon Conversations

Carbon Conversations is an inspiring, practical 6-session course on low-carbon living:

  • Based on the psychology of change
  • Emotionally engaging
  • Technically rigorous
  • Up to date, attractive handbook, games and materials

Cited in The Guardian as one of the top 20 solutions to climate change, a number of CAGs are now trained to run these courses, with sessions starting in September and October. For more information contact simon.kenton@resourcefutures.co.uk

Runaway Climate Challenge

Oxfordshire’s Community Climate Conference is Saturday 13th November 2010, 10am to 4.30pm Keep this date in your diary. Following a very successful Big Climate Event last year, this conference will provide stimulation, inspiration and support for taking community action on Climate Change. it will be held at Oxford University Centre for the Environment.

More information and registration details will be out shortly.

Runaway Climate Challenge

Largest installation of solar panel on a school in the UK

West Oxford Community Renewables Ltd (WOCR) unveiled their 100 kW solar panel array on the roof of Matthew Arnold School and their 50kw solar panel array on the roof of Aldi’s West Oxford store on 24th June 2010.

The electricity generated by the solar panels will be sold to the school and the store respectively. Together the roofs on Matthew Arnold and Aldi will generate approximately £50,000 for re-investment in Low Carbon West Oxford’s local community environmental activities as a result of the Government’s feed-in tariff scheme.

Aldi and Matthew Arnold School will both benefit from cheaper and cleaner green electricity. The solar panels will also play a significant part in their carbon reduction commitment and provide customers and pupils with a highly visible reminder of their green credentials.


Low Carbon West Oxford Solar Panel

Members of Low Carbon West Oxford with local author Philip Pullman

Last year LCWO helped 36 households recude their CO2 emissions by a total 36%. This year 60 households are going through the Low Carbon Living Programme. LCWO also funds a range of other projects including waste reduction, tree plnting, food and transport.

Garden wins an OSCA

On Friday 16th July, Barracks Lane Community Garden was announced as runner-up in the “Enhancing and/or preserving biodiversity” category of the Oxfordshire Sustainability and Conservation Awards (OSCA). The garden was presented with a cheque for £100 and a framed certificate.

Run by Oxfordshire County Council, the OSCA is a competition that aims to showcase all the great environmental work that's been taking place in Oxfordshire by schools and community groups. The winner of the Biodiversity category was SS Mary and John on Cowley Road. Barracks Lane Community Garden is very proud to have been recognised for its work in enhancing the local environment.

Other CAGs that entered included the Dorchester Carbon Project who received a highly commended for their ‘Zero Waste Places’ initiative.

Barracks Lane Community Gardens now

Barracks Lane Community Gardens

CAGs visit Ardley IVC

Places for the recent visit to Agrivert’s In-vessel Composting facility at Ardley were snapped up by Community Action Groups (CAGs) keen to learn how their food and green waste are being treated. By the end of this year all of Oxfordshire Distinct Councils will be collecting food waste separately.

The Ardley facility is one of three being delivered by Agrivert to provide a comprehensive organics treatment solution to divert organic waste from landfill whilst providing a valued organic fertiliser. The facility has the capacity to treat up to 40,000 tonnes of organic waste each year.

The overall philosophy behind the futuristic design and site location was to provide a facility which operates with low energy consumption. The facility has a positive carbon footprint even after the energy associated with collection and treatment of the waste is taken into account. It also uses harvested rain water and heats the offices with the natural warmth generated from the composting process.

Pamela Hawes at Agrivert said that allotment holders or community groups could make arrangements to collect trailer loads of compost for a small fee, or free of charge, if they were a charity. Unfortunately they are unable to sell small bags to individuals. Contact them directly on 01608 677700.

CAGs  visit Ardley IVC

Members of CAGs go under the compost area to see how heat is harnessed from the composting process

Home Composting

Food waste collections are being rolled out across the county and by the end of 2010 most households will be able to put out their food waste for collection rather than putting it in the bin. The biggest challenge is to get food waste out of landfill.

While CAGs want the food waste collection schemes to be successful, it is important to remember that composting suitable food waste at home is even better for the environment. Not all food waste can go into a home compost bin (meat, fish, dairy and cooked foods), but items like vegetable peelings, apple cores and eggshells make great compost when mixed with things like twigs, cardboard and grass cuttings.

Composting at home for just one year can save global warming gases equivalent to all the CO2 your kettle produces annually, or your washing machine in three months. In addition to making your own free fertiliser, you will also be helping to cut down the demand for peat-based compost from the world’s declining peat reserves.

Subsidised compost bins are available to Oxfordshire residents from only £19 (including delivery) by going to www.oxfordshirewaste.gov.uk or phoning 0844 571 4444.

Greening Glastonbury 2010

The UK music industry annually produces over half a million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, and of that festivals account for probably at least 15%. It is estimated that this is equivalent to over 80,000 tonnes of CO2 – which corresponds to a town of 8,000 people’s personal emissions for a year. Reducing CO2 can be done, Glastonbury has addressed transport issues for water and sewage. Installed solar panels for power. Litter is separated on-site. People are encouraged to take responsibility for their own waste.

More about the festival and what they have achieved here:


Cuts we should really be talking about

A new report published by the Centre for Alternative Technology on Wednesday 16 June 2010, including input from thirteen universities, twelve research bodies and eight key industry players, highlights a path for a zero carbon transition by 2030. For the first time a comprehensive energy strategy has been produced that could reduce emissions to zero for all greenhouse gases and across all sectors, creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs and regaining energy security.
Zero Carbon Britain 2030 is published by the Centre for Alternative Technology and is available as a free download or 384 page full colour book priced £39.95 (ISBN 978 1 902175 61 4). It can be purchased from CAT Mail Order (01654 705959) or from any high street or on line book retailer.

For further information, copies of the report or to arrange to speak to any of the authors contact
kim.bryan@cat.org.uk 07770881503

Caroline Spelman calls for 'zero-waste' society to end landfill

In a waste strategy review, the new environment secretary says each local council should develop its own recycling scheme

Announcing a new government review of England’s waste strategy, Caroline Spelman said putting recyclable and biodegradable rubbish in the ground threatened the environment and wasted valuable natural resources.

She said there was a need to go further and faster in boosting recycling rates in England, and that driving forward a "zero-waste society" would save money and create green jobs and industry.


New set of Energy Saving Trust 'How to' guides


Green Communities how to guides are designed to give you step by step instruction on various aspects of running a successful community energy project - check them out online:

How to engage your community and communicate about
climate change

How to get funding for your community project

How to plan and deliver a community climate change project

How to monitor and evaluate your community project

How to influence and work with your local authority

How to set up a social enterprise

How to get the most out of community carbon footprint

How to include community climate action within your parish plan

Community waste and recycling

Keep Britain Tidy

Across Oxfordshire, district councils spend over £3.5 million each year picking up after the people who can’t be bothered to bin their litter.

Keep Britain Tidy’s cheeky campaign is calling on everyone to ‘Get behind’ them to clean up England’s streets. More details www.thebigtidyup.org

'Inspired by Creation’

A little patch of earth. A quiet spot to reflect. A view that stops you in your tracks. Where do you encounter God through creation?

During September the Diocese of Oxford will be running ‘Inspired by Creation’. This is a chance to share with others how creation inspires you. You can also win prizes by entering a photograph and/or poem/prayer that captures the place where you encounter God through creation.

Whether it’s an image or words, they need to be original and taken/written by you,

Register at:

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