Fwd: Wood From The Wood - Issue 2

The Land Is Ours office at tlio.demon.co.uk
Thu Dec 7 10:26:55 GMT 2000

>From: "Steward Wood" <affinity at stewardwood.org>
>To: <info at stewardwood.org>
>Subject: Wood From The Wood - Issue 2
>Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2000 20:58:29 -0000
>X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 5.00.2314.1300
>  The Steward Community Woodland Newsletter       (electronic version)
>           " W O R D   F R O M   T H E   W O O D "
>    Issue 2 - Winter 2000
>       +  Planning decisions
>       +  Parking, transport and the cycle path
>       +  Climate change
>       +  Wood as a sustainable fuel
>       +  Hydro-electric at Steward Wood
>       +  Community Composting
>       +  Focus on trees - Willow
>       +  What is Agenda 21?
>We have spent quite some time improving both the kitchen and the longhouse
>to make them more comfortable for winter. It's been pretty cold, wet and
>recently. We lost over a dozen trees in the storms but our dwellings are
>up well and are snug and warm inside.
>Writing this newsletter while listening to the almost ceaseless rain, and
>about pete cycling to the Hague (and back), it seemed appropriate to make
>theme of this issue climate change and CO2.
>Most people now recognise that human activities (transport, construction,
>production, waste disposal, manufacturing, etc) are affecting the climate -
>the petroleum companies have finally admitted the link. While industry and
>governments seem unwilling or unable to do anything themselves, everyone
>armed with a little knowledge can do something to alleviate the problem.
>If you would like to find out more about any of the issues raised within,
>do contact us.
>ENERGY SAVING LIGHT BULBS (no purchase, gift or donation necessary)
>In the light of this issue's climate change theme, we are providing some of
>our lucky readers with the opportunity to cut their energy use, reduce their
>emissions, help combat global warming and save money! We are giving
>away long-life energy saving bulbs to anyone who visits us by foot or
>* Offer applies only while stocks last - which won't be long because we've
>only got three of them!.
>DNPA planning decision
>We were disappointed but not surprised or disheartened when our planning
>application for 'change of use' was turned down by the National Park
>on 3rd November.
>The lively debate by the committee members at the meeting in September
>had focussed on environmental problems, issues of sustainability, the
>of this project as a sustainable one, the DNPA's obligations to encourage
>sustainable practices under Agenda 21, and so forth.  But it was very
>disappointing that most of the members at the November meeting (following
>their site visit) largely ignored these issues.
>However, two members (Nicholas Waterhouse and Greta Madigan) remained
>staunchly in favour of granting us permission.  Mr Waterhouse proposed
>various conditions (such as temporary permission for 3 years; no more than
>25 residents; no structure to be created outside the settlement area) which
>he believed would provide sufficient guarantees for the Park Authority and
>residents of how the project proceeded.  He said that what we are doing is
>contrary to policy, but falls outside it.  He continued by saying that we do
>want to live in the woods but rather live with the woods, and therefore to
>us to commute to the site would be like asking a husband to commute to his
>In our view, the decision shows how out of touch the planning system is with
>sustainable solutions to the pressing environmental problems and challenges
>we face in the 21st century. We shall be submitting an Appeal to the
>Inspectorate and will be continuing the project in the meantime.  We are
>grateful for this further period in which to prove the viability of the
>project and
>hopefully allay the concerns of those objecting to the application.
>Thanks for all your letters of support. There will be details in the next
>on how you might be able to help in the appeal process.
>Kings Hill planning surprise
>On 16th November, after over six years, a low impact village near Shepton
>in Somerset was granted permanent planning permission for 'change of use'
>and 16 eco-dwellings. The residents of the 4-acre Kings Hill Community, who
>moved on in 1992, use solar power, treat their own waste, grow food and earn
>their livings from rural jobs in the local community.
>Details tel. 01749 860660.
>General info about low impact development tel.01460 249204.
>Low impact slide show
>During November we visited the Schumacher College in Totnes for a well
>attended talk and slide show about low impact dwellings and related planning
>issues. The slides were of structures built by individuals and communities
>around the UK and gave a good illustration of what can be done with
>imagination and resourcefulness.
>Afterwards, we chatted with lots of people about our project and planning
>situation. There was a lot of interest and we've had quite a few visitors
>The person who gave the talk said she'd be happy to put on the slide show
>in Moreton if there's sufficient interest.
>Don't live in Moreton but would like to see the slide show?
>contact Selena 01803 867239
>Parking at Steward Wood
>Unfortunately, confusion continues regarding our planning application
>and parking spaces.  The application form asked for the existing parking
>capacity which we estimated as 'up to 50*'.  We did not propose any change
>to parking capacity and certainly will not need anywhere near the existing
>capacity. We currently share one vehicle and are happy for planning
>to limit us to a maximum of three.  Some visitors will inevitably come by
>and we are allowing the residents of Steward Cottages to continue to park
>on the track.  The creation of the cycle and walkway will inevitably reduce
>parking capacity while enabling people to more easily arrive by sustainable
>* The planning application and a clarifying letter on parking can be viewed
>at the DNPA offices.
>Cycle path and walkway
>Not much to report on the proposed track between Moreton and Bovey. A lease
>for our part of the track is being prepared by Devon County Council.
>Contact Graham Cornish, tel. 01271 388499
>or the Moreton Pathways Trust, tel. 440314
>Transport and the project
>Transport and the use of non-renewable resources are some of the aspects
>of modern life that we want to examine at Steward Community Woodland in our
>attempts to become more sustainable.
>We are trying to reduce our dependence on fossil fuel by creating an
>settlement which will ultimately provide for our economic and social needs
>minimum impact on the environment. Living on site eliminates our need to
>to work. Additionally, we can reduce our food-miles (and further reduce
>fuel use) by buying local produce and growing much of our own food.
>Walking and cycling meets most of our local transport needs. However, for
>the foreseeable future, we will continue to make longer trips or carry large
>loads, using motorised transport, such as our communal minibus or public
>At current usage, our minibus mileage will be less than 3,000 miles per
>We hope to be able to reduce our use further and are researching practical
>alternatives to petroleum.
>The recent fuel 'crisis' during protests over fuel tax, reminded many
>people just how dependent our society is on petroleum
>(a non-renewable resource).
>Many people live a long way from their place of work,
>many shopping developments can only be reached by car,
>and much of this country's food is flown in from all over the world.
>Even food produced in this country is transported hundreds of miles
>by road from farms to processors, packers, warehouses, distribution
>centres etc before finally arriving in the shops.
>All this transportation uses energy, most of which is derived from
>fossil fuels, releasing CO2 and other pollutants.
>Alternatives to petroleum already exist. However, simply switching to
>low or even zero emission renewable fuels does not solve all the
>problems associated with car culture: accidents, road building,
>loss of local services and destruction of community etc.
>If society is to address these issues, people's needs must be met in
>such a way that there is no necessity to drive.
>More info: Transport 2000 tel. 020 7613 0743
>Climate change
>While we have been experiencing record breaking wet and windy
>weather in this country, there has been record breaking drought in other
>parts of the world. This may or may not be a result of global warming but
>there is clearly a trend emerging.
>Due to the 'greenhouse effect', gases like carbon dioxide (CO2),
>produced by burning fossil fuels, are warming the planet with potentially
>disastrous effects on weather, sea levels, agriculture and the spread of
>diseases like malaria.
>An increase in the number of devastating storms
>(such as those in Europe, Asia and Africa in recent months) is predicted.
>Furthermore, long term changes to habitat may cause mass species extinction
>and even the collapse of entire ecosystems.
>There has been plenty of talk about reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
>Industrialised nations agreed at Kyoto in 1997 to cut their emissions.
>This might have been considered a break-through but three years have
>passed and emissions continue to increase.
>In November (while fuel protesters argued for cuts in fuel tax and petroleum
>companies were announcing record profits), world leaders met at the Hague.
>They were meant to agree on a set of rules to govern how emission reductions
>would be made.
>Even before the conference started, it was clear that the USA planned to
>block any agreement that might threaten economic prosperity.
>Not surprisingly, vested interests prevented the 182 countries represented
>from making any significant progress and the talks were suspended without
>an agreement.
>The conference chairman said,
>"It is extremely disappointing that political leaders were unable to work it
>here and finalise guidelines for reducing greenhouse gas emissions,
>especially when the public had such high expectations"
>Business leaders and oil companies argue that the cost of cutting
>CO2 emissions could have a negative impact on economic growth and jobs.
>But the longer we avoid acting, the higher the costs of climate change,
>the heavier the rainfall, droughts, and sea-level rise - costs measured in
>hunger, misery and lost lives, not in dollars.
>"We fear for our very existence,'' said vice president of the
>Federated States of Micronesia. "We are watching significant portions of our
>coastal areas erode, watching salt water intrusion destroy our staple
>crops and wrestling with lengthy drought and outbreaks of new waterborne
>According to the UN scientific advisory group on climate change,
>delaying action to curb global warming would leave an even tougher battle
>for future generations and risk devastating and chaotic long term climate
>Immediate emission reductions are called for - perhaps made by cutting
>energy use, greater efficiency and a switch to renewables.
>We can't wait for science and new technologies to save us,
>there is no time. Existing sustainable technologies already provide part of
>solution if we are willing to make some changes to the way we live.
>Calling for action on curbing greenhouse gas emission,
>over five thousand people from around the world, built a sandbag wall
>at the venue of the Hague conference to warn of the consequences of delay.
>For further information contact the UK
>Climate Action Network Tel. 020 7251 9199
>Things we can do every day to cut C02 emissions NOW!
>1. Use local shops and services
>2. Reduce food miles, buy local produce.
>3. Walk, cycle or use public transport.
>4. Turn off lights and other electrical devices.
>5. Turn down central heating.
>6. Improve house insulation and cut draughts.
>7. Avoid packaging, buy less, re-use more.
>8. Reduce waste, compost and recycle.
>Wood as a sustainable fuel
>At Steward Wood one of our main sources of energy is wood.
>When we first arrived we used an open fire to cook.
>We now use a wood burning stove with an oven, that we built from an old
>oil drum. Stoves provide controlled combustion and are more efficient than
>open fires. Our dwellings are heated by stoves and our bath is heated by a
>built directly under it.
>If trees are replaced at the rate they are used then wood is a renewable
>Burning wood releases the CO2 absorbed by the tree as it grew but there is
>no net increase in atmospheric CO2
>(unless the trees were cut down with chainsaws and transported using
>fossil fuels) and therefore burning wood can be environmentally
>Burning fossil fuel like oil, gas or coal releases in a short space of time
>CO2 removed from the atmosphere over a very long period of time millions
>of years ago. The rate at which humans are now releasing that fossil
>CO2 is changing our atmosphere and is one of the major causes of
>global warming.
>By using renewable resources (such as wood) in a sustainable fashion,
>instead of continuing with the unsustainable use of non-renewables such as
>fossil fuels, we may provide our children and grandchildren with a better
>chance of enjoying a clean and healthy environment in the future.
>For further info about wood and other biofuels,
>contact British BioGen tel. 020 7831 7222
>Focus on trees        WILLOW   (Salix)                           by Kat
>At Steward Wood many small sallow willows grow  near watercourses
>on the lower slopes. Willow is a deciduous tree common to watersides all
>Europe. Species include: grey, white, crack, weeping, osier, sallow, and
>With its strong, pale, fine textured wood, it has been used for rafters,
>and cricket bats while it's flexibility makes it perfect for woven baskets.
>Its leaves provide a cinnamon coloured dye and the roots a rich purple.
>It is considered the best wood for artist charcoal.
>Short rotation willow coppice has become popular as a fast growing biomass
>An old remedy for rheumatism and arthritis, the bark contains salicin,
>closely related to aspirin and can reduce fever and pain.
>In many beliefs it symbolises female life rhythms and the moon.
>It also has associations with death: branches were placed in coffins,
>saplings planted on graves and garlands worn by mourners.
>Orpheus carried willow branches on his journeys through the underworld.
>The name Salix comes from salire, meaning to leap and to 'sally'
>(a sudden outburst of action, expression or emotion).
>Hydro-electric at the woods
>At Steward Wood, we have been experimenting with a tiny hydroelectric system
>built entirely from reclaimed parts. It produces a constant 8 watts,
>which may not sound much, but it charges our batteries and easily provides
>enough to run a laptop for several hours every day.
>We hope soon to add some electric lighting to reduce our current dependence
>on paraffin lamps and candles (which use fossil fuels).
>Hydropower causes no CO2 emissions and can be one of the most
>environmentally benign energy sources.
>However, the World Commission on Dams (WCD) recently published a
>damning report on the impact of large hydro schemes built in the name of
>development (eg. the Narmada Valley Development in India or the Ilisu Dam in
>Despite being funded by the World Bank (that has funded many big dam
>the report revealed that "in many cases dams have led to the irreversible
>loss of
>species populations and eco-systems" and that the impact on people "both
>and below dams - have been... devastating".
>The WCD report makes it clear that these large schemes do nothing for the
>just for the construction companies that build them and the industries that
>from plentiful water and cheap electricity.
>Dams and reservoirs off-set seasonal fluctuations in water flow in order to
>guarantee year round power supply and increase capacity. However, they  are
>essential to hydro power. Run of the river systems (like ours) use little,
>if any,
>stored water but seasonal changes may cause disruption.
>If our stream dries up in the summer (which it almost certainly will), we
>will get
>nothing from our hydro system. However, winter is when we expect to use the
>most power and during the summer our solar panels will hopefully make up the
>For more information about renewable energy contact the
>Centre for Alternative Technology
>tel.  01654 702400, or visit our website.
>Community Composting
>Waste and its disposal is a major problem for modern industrial society.
>Some is incinerated (releasing CO2) or dumped at sea, most is simply buried.
>Only a fraction is recycled.
>Not only is this a waste of resources, anaerobic decomposition of organic
>within the oxygen deprived land fill sites, produces methane
>(a major greenhouse gas). Properly composted in aerobic conditions, such
>wastes provide a sustainable alternative to chemical fertilisers.
>Although everyone could compost some of their organic waste at home,
>composting large volumes of garden wastes
>(hedge trimmings, grass clippings etc.) may not be practical and not
>needs compost.
>This is where community composting schemes come in, providing local sites
>the efficient composting of organic wastes and a local source of compost for
>those that need it. Local schemes also reduce transportation of waste
>(and CO2 emissions).
>The community composting scheme planned for the Steward Wood site is
>modeled on a similar project nearby at Chagford. We will compost green
>'wastes' on our site in specially constructed bins while woody material will
>dealt with in covered heaps to avoid using fossil fueled shredders.
>Initially the 'wastes' will be collected on regular dates from prearranged
>points in Moreton. We may introduce a home pickup service.
>We will not accept any delivery of waste direct to the site in order to
>disturbance to our neighbours and to ensure the quality of 'wastes' we
>accept for
>In consultation with the Devon Community Composting Network we have carried
>out a risk assessment  and have talked with the Environment Agency about
>obtaining the appropriate licenses. We hope to be able to launch the scheme
>next year.
>For more information about composting contact The Devon Community
>Composting Network
>Tel: 01647 433148  email: nicompost at aol.com
>What is Agenda 21 ?
>Agenda21 was signed by 179 countries at the Rio "Earth Summit" in 1992.
>It aims to provide a clean environment and healthy economy for the whole
>It aims to translate the  understanding of problems into action and
>The alternative is worsening poverty, hunger, ill health, and the continuing
>deterioration of ecosystems on which we depend for our well-being.
>If we do not tackle these issues, we all face higher and higher levels of
>human suffering and damage to the world we live in.
>No single person or nation can secure a sustainable future alone; but
>together in
>a partnership we can.
>Agenda 21 requires national strategies, plans and policies together with
>broad public participation, and the active involvement of the
>organisations and other groups.
>Agenda 21 provides a guide for individuals, businesses and authorities for
>better protecting ecosystems and improving living standards for all.
>It commits  governments to fulfiling basic human needs and requires that
>authorities work with local communities involved in sustainable development
>For further information about Agenda 21, contact your local Agenda 21 group.
>Devon Local Agenda21 Network 01392 382648
>This newsletter was brought to you by
>Kat, Clare, Ben, Dan, Lee, Merlin, Pete, Beccy, Devin, Jim
>and the letters C, O and the number 2
>We are Affinity Woodland Workers Co-operative, set up to encourage and
>environmental awareness and solutions by providing examples of sustainable
>land use. We manage and live at Steward Community Woodland.
>How to find out more and get involved
>You can send us your details and be added to our mailing list - you'll
>information about upcoming courses, workshops and work parties, as well as
>our future newsletters (donations to cover costs would be appreciated).
>Any donations are welcome, but your participation would be worth far more.
>As well as reading our newsletters, you can also keep up to date with the
>news and events by visiting our web-site. www.stewardwood.org
>Better still, you could come and have a look round the woods, or lend a hand
>maybe learn some new skills. We welcome visitors for short or long stays,
>but please phone first to arrange this.
>How to contact us
>By phone 01647 440233, mobile 07050 674464 or fax 07050 674467.
>Via Email to affinity at stewardwood.org or Royal Mail ...
>Steward Community Woodland, Moretonhampstead,
>Newton Abbot, Devon TQ13 8SD
>Or better yet, come visit us face2face @ the wood . in . real life
>on the A382, about 1mile south of Moretonhampstead (please phone first).
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