Saturday, 5 February 2011

Windsor news

Congratulations if you've found your way here from the article in this week's Windsor Express - it's on page 17 of the digital edition - and thanks for looking me up!

Francis Batt, the journalist who wrote this flattering story, has helped to promote our local efforts on 10:10 and mixed plastics recycling (which has earned me some local notoriety, and much ribbing from my friends).  He has rather bravely featured the idea of biomethane - energy from sewage - which the National Grid say could eventually provide most of the gas for domestic customers in Britain.  Last year, British Gas became the first energy company to inject biomethane into the National Grid.  As a member of their Customer Panel, I proposed that this could be marketed as a green tariff: the world's first Dual Fuel deal offering 100% renewable energy to households wishing to minimise their environmental impact.  To their credit, British Gas are taking the idea very seriously and have proposed to launch something along these lines during 2011.

Elsewhere in the paper, a letter from Mike (a resident of Bolton Road) lampooned Councillor Maxwell, the chairman of the Royal Borough's Sustainability Panel, for his suggestion that the council investigate the provision of charging points for electric vehicles in Windsor and require taxi drivers to replace their cars with electric ones.  He describes the recommendations of the Committee on Climate Change as "insanity" and asks, "has anyone done the calculations - the cost of providing electric capacity to charge up 11 million vehicles?".  The answer to this question, of course, is yes - for starters, Mike could try Professor David Mackay, FRS, the author of "Sustainable Energy - Without the Hot Air".

Mike's unreconstructed world view appears to be that batty green councillors are interfering with the perfectly well running fossil fuel economy and that they should just stick to the day job of running council services.  I don't mean to put words into Mike's mouth but, unlike him, I did attend the Sustainability Panel when electric vehicles and charging points were discussed and I do know what was said.  I shall be setting the record straight in my own letter to the paper and I hope this is published in the coming weeks.

Bright and early this morning, Hannah, Laura and I got together with Sue, the organiser of the Thames Valley Farmers' Markets, to discuss how Sustainable Windsor can support the local farmers who are selling their produce direct to Windsor residents.  We sampled some local cheeses and then bought bread, fish and beer to take home.  I loved the sign on the stall selling watercress from the Basingstoke area - "Total Food Miles = 27.4".  There is much scope for us to highlight the environmental benefits of these local and sustainable products and perhaps, as we develop Sustainable Windsor during the coming year, we can help them to grow their businesses in our town.