25 April: Big Green Conversation – “Palestinian Children on the Frontline”

Presentation by Betty Hunter (Hon. President of Palestine Solidarity Campaign)

7 for 7.30  @ de Koffie Pot, Left Bank, Hereford, HR4 9DG

Israel is denying the children of Palestine a future through military occupation and imprisonment. The international community must defend their rights.

Israel is the only country in the world that systematically prosecutes children in military courts – between 500 and 700 each year. The Israel Prison Service revealed that an average of 204 Palestinian children have been held in custody every month since 2012.

Ill-treatment in the Israeli military detention system remains “widespread, systematic, and institutionalised throughout the process”. These were the conclusions of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report ‘Children in Israeli Military Detention Observations and Recommendations‘.

Palestinian children as young as 12 are routinely:

  • Taken from their homes at gunpoint in night-time raids by soldiers.
  • Blindfolded, bound and shackled.
  • Interrogated without a lawyer or relative being present and with no audio-visual recording.
  • Put into solitary confinement.
  • Forced to sign confessions (often in Hebrew – a language they do not understand).

Ahed Tamimi – pictured above when much younger – is a 16 year-old Palestinian child potentially facing over a decade in an Israeli prison because of an aggressive political campaign against her family and her village.

Here is a 5 minute interview with Ahed, and a video report showing how her family has been treated.

28 March: Big Green Conversation “Being a Green Councillor in Herefordshire: The Inside Story”

At De Koffie Pot, Hereford. 7.30 to 9.30pm

Our four busy and effective Green Party county councillors will talk about life on the council. Come find out about how they are making Herefordshire Greener. Includes discussion about the local elections in May 2019 and getting more Green representation on the council.


Hereford Transport Package consultation – ending soon (20 March)

The consultation closes on Tuesday 20th March.

An exhibition of bypass routes and possible improvements to support for cycling, walking and public transport will be open at Hereford Library on Friday 16th, Saturday 17th and Monday 19th March

Background information about the Bypass, and an on-line consultation response form is on the Council website here.

If you are opposed to the bypass, which is the main part of this package, we ask that you consider carefully how to answer questions 2 and 3. There is a risk that if you answer “No Preference” to Q3, it will be taken to mean you are happy with any of the proposed routes.

If you do not think there should be a Western Bypass we suggest you may wish to complete the form as shown below.

Richard Priestley – Transport beyond fossil fuels

Many countries are now setting themselves the goal of moving from petrol and diesel powered transportation systems to very much cleaner technologies. The UK, like many countries has set itself the goal of banning sales of new fossil fuelled vehicles by 2040. Norway plans to do so by 2025. Many people still don’t seem to realize that we already have most of the technologies we’ll need to run a modern global economy purely on renewable forms of energy. Renewably generated electricity, supplied via the grid, via batteries or via hydrogen fuel cells will be the basis of most methods of transport.

For over a hundred years trains and trams have used electricity via either overhead cables or live rails. There is a strong case to keep electrifying railway lines. An emerging alternative, particularly suitable for quiet rural railway lines, where the high cost of electrification might not be justified, are hydrogen fuel cell trains. Alstom is already marketing the Coradia iLint, and Siemens are now partnering with Ballard to make something similar. There are lots of advantages to getting people and freight off the roads and on to rails. Steel wheels on steel rails generate much less friction than rubber tyres on tarmac, meaning greater energy efficiency and less pollution. The longer thinner shape of trains means less air resistance, again aiding efficiency.

We will of course still need buses, trucks and cars. There are many possible fuel options. Oslo has a fleet of 135 buses powered on biomethane made from food waste and sewage. I’ve blogged about methanol fuel cells, and a whole range of innovative and experimental ships, planes, and solar panel clad roads and cars, which are all promising but not yet in common usage. Battery electric vehicles are getting massive media coverage due to Elon Musk and Tesla, and are beginning to sell in large numbers. Last year in Norway over half of all new cars sold were either battery electric or petrol/electric hybrids, but sadly in most other countries the proportion is very much smaller. In terms of volume of sales, China is a long way ahead of any other market for battery electric or hybrid cars and buses.

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are the other main technology to be moving from the experimental stage to the mass production stage. (earlier blogs from me in 2015 and 2017) The Scottish government has recently helped Aberdeen double its fleet of hydrogen fuel cell buses from ten to twenty. Cologne in Germany has just ordered thirty, and dozens of cities are ordering a few. Ballard, the Canadian hydrogen fuel cell specialist has now teamed up with some Chinese companies to build a fleet of 500 hydrogen fuel cell light trucks and the refuelling infrastructure to support their roll out in Shanghai. Meanwhile the Nikola company has secured 8,000 pre-orders for its huge hydrogen fuel cell trucks, and will start production next year in Arizona. At the other end of the spectrum is Riversimple, who are due to build their first twenty tiny hydrogen fuel cell cars later this year, and which our local car club may be in a position to trial. Exciting times!

The days of petrol and diesel are numbered. It is too early to say which technology will dominate in the post fossil fuel economy. Both hydrogen and batteries are in essence ways of storing surplus wind and solar electricity and it is this aspect of how best to store energy cheaply and at vast scale which may be the main determinate of which fuel is used where. There will undoubtedly be a role for many technologies in various settings. I’ll explore more on this next week.

30 March: HWT Fundraiser, “An Evening of Words and Music”, Hereford

A fundraising event in aid of Herefordshire Wildlife Trust’s Nature Reserves Appeal

Friday 30th March, Tomkins Theatre, 148 Whitecross Road, Hereford, HR4 0DH

An Evening of Words and Music, in association with the Wild Hare Club will feature author and broadcaster Rob Penn, (The Man who Made Things out of Trees) prize-winning poet and author Miriam Darlington (Otter CountryOwl Sense) and Herefordshire’s popular world-folk band Slippery Slope

The first half of the evening will see Rob in conversation with Miriam chaired by Andy Fryers (Director of the Hay Winter Weekend Festival and Hay Festival’s sustainability Director). The second half will see Slippery Slope take the stage and people will be free to sit, drink, chat and listen or take to the dance floor.

Doors will open at 7.30pm with the first half of the evening starting at 8pm. There will be a paying bar throughout the evening.

Register here

21 March: HWT Fundraising Quiz Night, Upton Bishop

A fundraising event in aid of Herefordshire Wildlife Trust’s Nature Reserves Appeal

Wednesday 21st March, 7pm at the Millennium Hall, Upton Bishop, Ross-on-Wye, HR9 7UD.

Join us for Quiz Night – a fun evening’s quizzing with food and drinks, raising funds for our Nature Reserves Appeal. You can grab some friends and put together your own team of five in advance or just come along as you are and join a team on the night.

  • Tickets cost £9.50 each or £42.50 for a table for five people.
  • The ticket price includes food – a vegetarian ‘one-pot’ casserole. There will be a paying bar serving wine, soft drinks and tea and coffee.
  • Doors open 7pm, Quiz begins at 7.30pm.
  • There will be a break between rounds for food.
  • Book online or call us on 01432 356872