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How come, you look at a litre of vegetable oil and see it contains 4 day's worth of energy for an adult. If you were to convert it to biodiesel, it might do a mere 10 miles (based on 45 mpg vehicle). Link on picture goes to biofuelwatch

Join Us! Let's Green Vale Royal!

Is Vale Royal environment-friendly? What needs doing? What should be done? And what can you do?
And what do you like about Vale Royal?
VREN links the environmental bodies and individuals in Northwich, Winsford, the rest of mid-Cheshire, and many others in Cheshire and beyond. United, we stand!
Browse through, add your comments...

Petition UN on Climate Change

Copied from Avaaz:

While the world's attention is elsewhere, the global negotiations to tackle the climate crisis are reaching a crunch point. Talks are underway in Poland and Brussels to hammer out a deal that should lead to a new and powerful global treaty. But now, Italy, Germany, and Poland itself are aggressively undermining the talks. If these countries' leaders -- Merkel, Berlusconi and Tusk -- don't change course now, Europe will fail to reach a unified position, which could unravel the entire global process. Here at the Poland UN conference and at the EU talks in Brussels, Avaaz has secured face-to-face meetings with key climate negotiators. We'll hand the diplomats fresh public opinion polls on climate plus this petition:
A bold EU climate package is critical to the global climate negotiations. Europe must honour their promise to increase binding, carbon-cutting commitments to at least 30% by 2020 if a global deal is reached; and provide leadership in the United Nations talks to deliver a powerful new global agreement.
By simply clicking "yes," you will automatically add your name. Do you support this petition?
For the last year, the US, Canada, and Japan have been the worst obstructionists in climate talks -- as more than 300,000 of us helped expose in Bali. But now, Bush, Fukuda and Harper are gone or heading out the door. A breakthrough could be near as we approach the final stretch... if only Europe weren't on the verge of abandoning its ambitious climate program. Coal and heavy industry lobbies are using the financial crisis as a smokescreen to block progress. Due to Germany, Italy, and Poland, the European Union is deadlocked in Brussels -- and ineffective at the United Nations talks. We must succeed this week to have any chance of building the road map to the final UN meeting in Copenhagen next year. In all three countries, it's not too late. We can show these governments that their own citizens and the rest of the world will not settle for anything less than strong climate action. Avaaz is commissioning independent opinion polls on climate in all three countries, building a massive global petition for delivery in meetings and stunts at the UN and EU talks, and launching a major media campaign to shame, cajole, and encourage EU leaders to do the right thing.
Click here to add your name to the petition:
Or click here if you don't wish to sign:
Before Obama takes the helm, the next step in the world's response to climate change depends on European leadership. Here's what we need Europe to bring to the global table: 30% emissions cut by 2020 if a global deal is reached, 100% auctioning of permits, and a strict compliance regime to ensure targets are met. The EU's climate policy will electrify or dampen the international negotiations in Poland, while setting the stage for the final meeting in Copenhagen. For all of us who have ever been concerned about climate change, now's the time to send a message calling for leadership and vision. By the time we reach the new year, Europe's policy will be sealed, and with it much of the global response to the climate crisis.
With determination, Ben, Iain, Brett, Graziela, Ricken, Paula, Milena, Paul, Alice, Pascal -- and the rest of the Avaaz team

Low Carbon Communities Network Conference

Transition Towns
There are many communities making moves to reduce their carbon footprints. As well as Ashton Hayes, there’s Chew Magna (with a strong carbon-offsetting element), Redhill (, Dorking (QuakerGreenAction), and the wasteless society in Bishops Castle. A total of around 150 groups.

The Low Carbon Communities Network is holding a conference in Llangollen on Saturday 4th October. Speakers and supporters for this year include Mark Lynas, Penney Poyzer, George Marshall, Paul Kingsnorth, Church Stretton Climate Care, Going Carbon Neutral Stirling and “many other exciting and inspiring presenters”. Funded by Artists Project Earth, it’s free to community groups. For details of the venue, transport and accommodation see They’re taking online registrations at
Or - phone Tracey on 01829 752 147
For Tracey’s blog, see

Join the Energy Institute

The Energy Institute provides a lot of new information on energy, the lifeblood of our economy, the downfall of the environment, whatever your viewpoint. Apart from renewable energy and energy conservation, there is up-to-date discourse on fossil fuel and nuclear power. Members receive a magazine, access to a library, and membership of their local group.
And why should I plug the Energy Institute here? Every new member I nominate, joining by the end of March 2008, stands me a chance of winning a brand new laptop on which I can formulate the VREN Newsletter!
So see what the EI has to offer -
Let me know if you're interested - email vren [at]


VREN gets modern! We're holding a vitual AGM. You can participate by:

  • email, via vren[at]

  • online, at (see log-in procedure below)

  • online/email at a library - ask and we'll help you understand the procedure if that's a bit 'dark'

  • by regular postal updates

All conversation will be recorded on the blog.

To see and comment on the blog, you'll need an email invite: this will be coming to all members on the VREN E-News list. The email will contain a link: click to get:

If you've not blogged with Google before, you'll need an account: click 'Create your account now'; otherwise sign in.
Below is the screen you get to create a new account:

You can now log-in:

Which will lead you to your 'dashboard' - the point from where you can choose to add a new item/blog, or view the whole thing:

If you select 'View Blog', you'll see:

To add a new topic, click 'New Post'. To add a comment to a topic, click the word 'comments' at the bottom.

When established, you'll see a 'customise' button, top right. That's useful for getting into posts: you can add a new posting, or doctor an old one.

Sign out when you've done!

Sir John Deane's Green Plans

Sir John Deane's Sixth-form College is bidding for a grant to make some big changes, so that it can cope better with the large numbers of students coming through.

It will keep the original part of the historic building, but plans to demolish the two wings and the Science Block. New buildings will be built on the presently developed area, although a temporary building will be erected on the field to the south to house displaced classes. None of the trees will be lost, apart from some young ones planted on the south side of the main drive where the contractor's area would be: these would be replaced, 2 for 1.

The plan would first see the Art Block and covered sports arena go, and new buildings erected south of the Swimming Pool.

In the second phase, the Science Block and the wings of the old building would go, to be replaced by new buildings. A covered avenue would run through the middles of these two phases. The wings of the old building do not have the same heritage value as the main hall and surrounding rooms, which would be sympathetically upgraded as they are thermally pathetic; and lifts would be included for the benefit of those who need them.

A biomass boiler (possibly combined heat and power) is planned, across the turning area north of the old hall. Ground Source Heat Pumps are also being considered, with pipes running under the games area south of the college. "Intelligent Lighting" is also proposed, that adjusts to the ambient lighting and occupation. Photovoltaic panels are considered too costly, and water heating solar panels discounted on the basis that not enough hot water would be used. Rainwater harvesting is discounted because of the cost of the extra pipework and storage; also, the acid in rainwater is said to turn porcelain grey. (Use grey porcelain!)

A recycling bay is planned, and cycle sheds to the north of the existing car parking areas east of the campus (handy for the entrance from The Crescent and the new Riversdale Bridge!)

There are concerns about parking: there are no extra bays planned, and although there are many buses picking students up, and a small fee for a space, parking is still oversubscibed and nearby residents get upset when students park on the road. Although students can share a parking space, and hence a journey, there are no other incentives for greener travel.

They hope to do the first phase in 2009/10, the second in 2010/11 (or is it 2008 start?).

With apologies for the quality of the photographs. The above is my understanding of the talks held at the open evening, 30/11/07.

Gas Storage – More Planned

The go-ahead has already been given for the Byley and Stublach gas storage, but residents are hopeful they can stem this one. Ten underground chambers and an on-surface gas processing plant are planned for High House Farm, across King Street from Morrisons’ distribution depot, by King Street Energy Ltd (part of NPL?). There’s a public meeting in Lach Dennis Village Hall, Friday 23rd November, at 7.30pm. The plans will be on view from 1pm.

Norwich campaigners fight incinerator plans – and win.

Bidding for the plan was WRG – Norfolk County Council’s preferred bidder, who wanted to build an incinerator on an industrial estate in Costessey. NAIL2 (name inspired by NAIL of Nottingham), a small group of dedicated protesters, won a climb-down. Norwich City Council also came out against the plans, forcing WRG to relocate its plans to near Trowse, but Norfolk County Council appointed Sustainable Resource Management (SRM) as its preferred bidder, with WRG in reserve. SRM wants to build a mechanical biological treatment plant at Costessey, which would sort the waste for recycleables, then pass the rest through a composting process. Norwich Evening News, 16/10/07,

Big Lottery Fund News

For information on new programmes so far visit :
Community Assets – an new programme launched in England on 4 September 2007– see
Open Programmes in England
Awards for All
Playful Ideas
Family Learning
Parks for People
Reaching Communities
Young People's Fund (YPF) - Grants to Individuals
For details of all open programmes visit
They expect award partners for the Changing Spaces programme to start launching their grant schemes from summer 2007. Individual projects will then be able to apply for funding, for further details please visit (Just for England).
Round two of the International Strategic Grants Programme will re-open inthe autumn (UK Wide)
For further information on all their programmes visitn or contact the Big Advice Line on 0845 4 10 2030.

If you want to read the BEST environment bulletin, biased only towards the logically best options for our future and, unashamedly, Mid-Cheshire, read the Vale Royal Environment Network newsletter. You can find the last four as pdfs on our BRAND NEW WEBSITE:, click Documents, Newsletters. You can also receive the newsletter direct to your inbox - please email us, vren, at our address. Alternatively email the author, antthehat, direct on my address.
What is VREN?
VREN is the Northwich-based charity dedicated to linking a networking between Vale Royal's (and the surrounding area's) environmental groups. We're also committed to environmental education within the community.