Community Party!

Free food and live music – Friday 25th November – 7pm start with free food until 8.30pm –  St Collen’s Community Hall, Llangollen.

Hosted by Llangollen Friends of the Earth to celebrate the start of the UN Climate Talks in South Africa.

Open invite to all!

Full resolution poster available here; English / Cymraeg.

A supermarket for Llangollen?

What will a supermarket mean for Llangollen?

  • Less choice – As local shops close, there will be no choice but to use the supermarket.

Between 1997 and 2002 more than 13,000 specialist stores aroundthe UK – including newsagents, Post Offices, grocers, bakers, butchers – closed. The loss of local, independent shops can have serious impacts in terms of access to food, particularly for people on lower incomes or those who don’t have use of a car

  • Job losses – Supermarkets destroy as many jobs as they create. Llangollen will lose its friendly appeal and knowledgeable specialist staff.

Supermarket claims that new stores bring in jobs fail to consider the wider picture of independent retailer bankruptcies. A 1998 study by the National Retailer Planning Forum (NRPF) examining the employment impacts of 93 superstore openings between 1991 and 1994 found that they resulted in a net loss of more than 25,000 jobs or 276 per store opened

  • Leaching of money from the local economy – Supermarkets use distant suppliers who contribute nothing to the local economy. Supermarket profits go to their shareholders, contributing little to the local economy.

A Friends of the Earth study of local food schemes found that on average just over half of business turnover was returned to the local economy – compared to as little as five per cent for supermarkets.

  • Additional traffic – Traffic problems on the A5 will be compounded by the addition of a supermarket.

The distribution systems used by supermarkets and the location of out of town stores generate large amounts of traffic. Recent work for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) suggests that car use for shopping results in costs to society of more than £3.5 billion per year, fromtraffic emissions, noise, accidents, congestion and accident

  • Loss of character – Llangollen is a unique, thriving, market town. The addition of a supermarket could be the start of a decline towards being just another clone town.
  • Increased carbon emissions – A new supermarket would actually produce more CO2 than if every family in Llangollen drove to and from Wrexham every week.
  • Exploitation – Supermarkets use their market dominance to exploit suppliers and farmers in the UK and overseas.
  • Food and packaging waste is generated. Packaging now makes up nearly a quarter of household waste. A shocking 35-40 per cent of all household waste which ends up in landfill begins life as a purchase from one of the big fivesupermarkets.

Counterpower book launch – 13th November

Counterpower front cover

Full details for the Counterpower book launch can be seen below;

*** Counterpower Book launch – Sunday 13th November 2011 – 7.30pm – St Collen’s Community Hall, Llangollen – Upper room – Refreshments available ***

Tim Gee is the author of, ‘Counterpower’ (www.newint.org/counterpower) and also works for FoE UK as a campaign trainer.

Tim will be hosting a book launch along with a participatory workshop, or alternatively a talk followed by a question-and-answer session.

Light refreshments will be available on a donation basis. Hope to see you there!

 

Plas Derwen – Post script

Plas Derwen Development

An article from Simon Collinge, first published in the October edition of the Llangollen news;

In Augusts’ Llangollen News, under the Llangollen Town Council report readers might have noticed the application 03/2011/0696 Plas Derwen, Abbey Road – application for modification or discharge of planning obligation relating to the payment of commuted sum for the provision of affordable housing and public open space.

The Town Council quite rightly, raised objections. The original plans submitted for the development were for a much smaller and less intrusive build and included affordable housing for local residents. The developers, however, thought they could make more money from a larger, more prestigious development so submitted new plans for the incongruous development now dominating the approach to Llangollen on Abbey Road. Apparently, Planning Regulations require new build schemes should have a percentage of affordable housing and developers have to pay a “commuted sum” – in this case believed to be in excess of £200,000 – to the authority if they chose not to provide urgent needed accommodation for local people.

I wrote to the Town Council to ask if our two County Councillors would be supporting them and objecting to this attempt by the developer to avoid paying the commuted sum and their obligations to the community.

Ian Parry, the Town Council Clerk replied

Although the Town Council may object to an application we cannot insist that our County Councillors support our decisions. They may hold different views. Also I understand that they are ‘not allowed’ to indicate their position on a particular issue before an application goes to committee as this would prevent them from speaking at the meeting.

I will be writing to both our County Councillors asking them to consider supporting the Town Council in this matter.

Apparently the matter will be considered at the Denbighshire County Council Planning Committee in October and I would encourage residents to write and express their opinions regarding the developer not paying the “commuted sum”.

E-mail: your.voice@denbighshire.gov.uk

Website: http://www.denbighshire.gov.uk

Energy: Plug us in!

Llangollen FoE will be having a stall on Saturday 18th June outside the Town Hall in Llangollen. We will be asking members of the public to take part in a survey and giving out helpful energy efficiency information.

The survey will take no more than 3 minutes to complete, and the results will help Friends of the Earth to formulate a strategy for a new campaign being launched in September.  It will also be really useful for us as a group to know what local people would like to see us doing.

If members are able to help out anytime during the day, say between 10.30 and 4, even if just
for a short time please let Kay know by email / phone (details found in email circulated last week).

Members of the public including potential and past FoE members are invited to join us at any time during the day – come down and say hello!

School closures and wind turbines

Schools hold small communities together, they give a village a focus point and allow parents to meet up and make friends. They allow children to get to know, and value their surroundings and the people who live within them. Strong communities promote positive, environmentally aware values.

Denbighshire council are currently in the process of what they call, ‘modernisation’ of the county’s primary schools. Closures are amongst some of the council’s proposals. There are many reasons cited for closing small community schools; surplus places, difficultly recruiting headteachers and rising overheads. In the end it all comes down to a lack of funds. By closing Ysgol Llandrillo, Denbighshire council will make a revenue saving of approximately £31,000 per annum. They will also avoid the maintenance backlog of around £140,000.

Between two of villages affected by the school closure, Cynwyd and Llandrillo, Scottish Power Renewables are proposing to build a wind farm. The Mynydd Mynyllod wind farm. The company promises to provide the local community with £2000 for every MW installed per annum. IF all 25 of the proposed turbines are installed, then this equates to an annual income of £150,000.

There are concerns in the area about the visual and economic impact the wind farm could have. The money on offer by Scottish Power, the ‘community benefit’, is seen by those campaigning against the wind farm as being little more than a bribe. The money would be made available to a wide area surrounding the wind farm, and so directing the money towards education in Llandrillo would require cooperation from a number of local communities. The council would also need to find a way of making an alternative funding source fit the ‘Modernisation’ agenda imposed upon them by the Welsh Government.

Wind farm money could present an opportunity for this area. However there are lots of differing interests within the area. If anything positive is to come out of the changes currently being proposed, both to eductation and landscape, then it is community cooperation that will be the key.

Film show success

Last night saw Llangollen’s first showing of the Leonardo DiCaprio Film, “The 11th Hour”. Llangollen FoE organised a showing of the climate change film as a trial run for a series of environmental film showings.

Everyone who attended enjoyed the evening, commented on the excellent venue and thought that a series of publicly advertised showings would be worthwhile. The plan for these showings will be discussed at our next meeting (02/06/2011).

Thanks again to everyone who came along and thanks also to those who helped organise the event.

Llangollen FoE Poster

If you have been into town recently, maybe you spotted one of our new posters. If you did you were lucky as so far there are only four posters in the whole town!

Help us recruit new members by improving our poster coverage. Either request a poster from Warren or print your own copy, then simply put it up on a noticeboard of your choosing. A quick, simple and hopefully effective action. Thank you!

Click here to download a printable version of the poster.

Students Celebrate Recycling Success with Llangollen Friends of the Earth

Llangollen Friends of the Earth teamed up with Ysgol Dinas Bran today to urge the Government to boost recycling in order to halve the rubbish which people have to put into their black bin bags.

 

Pupils at Ysgol Dinas Bran in Llangollen took part by each taking home a bag to fill with unwanted textiles, children’s books and leather goods.  Amanda Edwards, teacher and vice-chair of Dinas Bran Eco-Council said “Many of items which the children have collected, such as shoes, are not in good enough condition to take into the charity shops.  As Denbighshire Council does not currently offer textile recycling in its door-to-door collections, most of what we’ve collected would have just been thrown away”.

The school is also paid per tonne of recycled goods they collect, meaning that as well as stopping items being unnecessarily thrown away, this project also has the added bonus of generating an income for the school.  Amanda Edwards went on to say “The collection is still ongoing, and we would welcome any members of the public who would like to drop off unwanted textiles, leather goods or children’s books into our main reception”.

Kay Polley from Llangollen Friends of the Earth said “This is a great example of how people want to do more recycling, but often don’t have the opportunity to do so.  This is why we are urging Government to do more so that we can halve ‘black bag’ waste my 2020”.

Local politicians have also been showing their support for the campaign.  Susan Elan Jones, MP for Clwyd South said “Recycling is so important, and this project is fantastic as there is an added incentive for the school.  We can all definitely do more, but currently there are disparities between different councils, meaning some people are able to recycle more than others”.  

Eleanor Burnham, AM for North Wales also noted this fact when she said “I appreciate that it can be difficult for some people where door-to-door collections do not take as much recycling as in other areas”.  The AM also went on to say that as she is lucky enough to live close to recycling facilities, she has recently been making use of these amenities in order to reduce her own household rubbish. She added “It’s up to all of us to do our best”.

Supermarkets are so 20th century

“Supermarket are so 20th century” is an excellent article written by local freelance writer, Phil Thane. His article was published in the March edition of the Llangollen News. You can read the complete article here.

Phil makes the point that a supermarket in Llangollen is not an inevitabilty,

“One reason some people believe this development is inevitable is a belief that it’s ‘council policy’. Others tell you there’s a report that says ‘Llangollen needs a supermarket’, so the council have to permit one. Neither is true.”

Phil points out that supermarkets do not increase the net job count. This is something that has been reported in the press recently.

“If 150 are ever employed in a supermarket in Llangollen it will be because 150 fewer people are employed in other shops.”

On ambience,

Tourism is the major industry of North Wales, and a major source of employment in Llangollen. There is more to being a tourism than scenery and catering. Ambience counts for a lot, and Llangollen’s is good. No-one wants to wander along a high street that looks exactly like the one they left behind. Ours is different. Where else in the UK do you see tourists lining up to take pictures outside a greengrocer’s shop? Telling their children, “We used to have shops like this when I was your age.”? They spend their money in the cafés and giftshops but a vibrant town centre is part of the experience.

The complete article is available on Phil’s website, click here.