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Five Green Resolutions

Category: General

Date: 27.02.2017

Time: 14:46

This week’s tasty celebrations on Shrove Tuesday – when pancakes are traditionally made and eaten – are immediately followed by Lent. Starting this year on 1st March, Lent lasts for the six weeks leading up to Easter to reflect the period of ‘forty days and forty nights’ when Jesus was said to have fasted in the wilderness. To mirror this, Lent has traditionally been marked with fasting and ‘giving up’ pleasures or vices like sweets or smoking. For non-Christians as well, Lent is still commonly a time of year for making positive changes.

The most popular things given up for Lent in 2016  predictably included chocolates, sweets and alcohol. In 2017, why not give up something which could make an environmental impact?

Five green ideas to mark Lent:

1. Give up single use plastic bags

Single use plastic bags are contributing to the huge volume of plastic waste produced annually- this has an enormous environmental impact including the deaths of up to 1 million marine animals each year. Taking a cloth bag or bag for life shopping will not only reduce the amount of disposable plastic you consume, but will also save you 5p per bag.

2. Give up disposable drinks bottles

Like plastic bags, disposable drinks bottles are contributing to the mass of non-biodegradable plastic rubbish in the Pacific three times the size of Britain. Choose a refillable bottle instead.

3. Give up using the tumble dryer

If all British households with a tumble dryer switched to drying one load of washing outside each week, more than a million tonnes of CO2 would be saved each year.

4. ‘Give up’ 1 degree on your thermostat

Switching your heating down by 1 degree can reduce carbon emissions by 300kg per year, as well as saving you around £40.

5. Take part in a Carbon Fast

First started by a Bishop in Liverpool in 2007, Carbon Fast is a church-based movement promoting carbon reduction during Lent. Some Carbon Fast groups have produced Lent calendars with suggested daily carbon reduction measures for inspiration.

Emma Taylor is the Financial Claims Manager at Business Energy Efficiency.



How do you manage your resources and make cost savings?

Category: Business

Date: 24.02.2017

Time: 13:26

There are more than a few ‘Top Tips’ out there to help you save money. I am not going to provide you with another list – I will instead suggest and encourage you to consider only one. An Environmental Management System (EMS).

The term EMS can create mixed opinions, especially around uncertainty whether an EMS is relevant for your organisation, and many people attach it to an accreditation scheme. Certification is the best practice for any business but, I would like to separate the certification element from the nature and purpose of an EMS for this article.

The purpose of an EMS is to provide a framework for businesses to manage their environmental impacts. This framework is relevant to all businesses and can be as complex or as simple as you want it to be, but the most important point is that you are ‘managing’ them, regardless of how you do it. We all know that business cannot work if there is not adequate management.

The same is true for saving money through resource management. If you do not manage your resources, you can never expect to make any improvements which can save you money. Once you have the basis of a management system in place, you will be able to identify actions that will help to reduce the amount of resources you use, saving money as a consequence. Developing and improving your system over time can lead to certification AND, of course, more money.

David Knight ( from Resource Efficiency Team, Business Lincolnshire Growth Hub 

To read the full blog, please visit: http://www.businesslincolnshire.com/news-blogs/blogs/uncategorised/how-do-you-manage-your-resources-and-make-cost-savings#.WLAxnXJvhDq



To weed or not to weed, that is the question!

Category: General

Date: 16.02.2017

Time: 09:00

Is there really any such thing as a weed? Aren’t they just plants we don’t want? We recently covered the thorny topic of weeds as part of the gardening course I am doing, and our first task was to define exactly what a weed is. 

As would be expected, the general interpretation of weeds was quite negative, with people saying things such as, “they are uncontrollable” and “they grow in places you don’t want them”. But has our view of these plants been tainted by our cultural concepts? Would we value weeds more if they were harder to grow, for example?

Weeds indicate fertile land. Nettles, for example, are dynamic accumulators, which mean they draw up nutrients from the soil and store them in their leaves. These plants are perfect for cutting and using as fertiliser for other plants. Why on earth would we want to get rid of something that has such a positive effect on our plants and soil? 

If you do decide you need a more orderly garden, then there is a ‘Hierarchy of Intervention’ to follow when you discover plants you didn’t sow in your garden:

1. Observe and do nothing;
2. Biological interventions – using other plants and animals to help get rid of your weeds;
3. Mechanical interventions – pulling them out;
4. Chemical interventions – which of course we wouldn’t recommend using!

At the start of the session, I had been keen to learn how to get rid of the dandelions on my lawn, but by the end was asking for recipes for nettle tea and dandelion salad.  For the time being, my dandelions and my “unplanned plants” can stay were they are!

“Weeds are plants whose virtues have not yet been discovered.”

Kari-ann Whitbread is the Fundraising Manager at PECT.



Warm Homes South Holland

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 10.02.2017

Time: 16:05

PECT has recently started delivering another Fuel Poverty project, expanding on our work in Peterborough and delivering it to residents across South Holland in Lincolnshire through a door-to-door advice service.

As part of my role I have been helping to deliver this work. Supported by our main energy assessor, Sam Bosson, I have been experiencing first-hand the issues faced by people on a day-to-day basis when it comes to keeping their homes warm.

With high levels of fuel poverty in our target areas and many older ‘hard to heat’ properties, I am getting a chance to see the real need for support with energy efficiency and staying warm at home. Having experienced rain and freezing temperatures during our first few sessions going door-to-door I can really understand why it is so important that people are keeping their homes warm!

These first few trips out have shown me that many people already have a good idea of how to keep their bills down through behaviours and through getting better energy deals. However, with virtually every household I have visited there have been areas where they could be making improvements, whether this is making behavioural changes or by altering their tariff to a lower priced one.

Although there are huge variances in the support people need – from those who just want a few pointers and general information, through to those who need help understanding their bills and making changes to their tariffs – we are able to help everyone with our personalised service in a way that we would not be able to with a more generic approach.

The initial project funding came from The Fenland Green Power Co-operative, a community group who owns two wind turbines at Deeping St Nicholas. This is the first time we have received funding generated from community-owned renewable energy, and it is great to think that as more community-owned energy projects mature they will be helping to provide funding for local services. This is a really sustainable model that can help communities across the country to support themselves more sustainably whilst also helping the environment.

This funding, and the match funding we received, came from direct approaches to PECT from people who had read about our previous energy visits work around Peterborough. Without our previous work, we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to help households in South Holland, and we wouldn’t have been able to develop new relationships with funders. Whilst I am spending a lot of time out in the cold walking from door-to-door, it’s a very small price to pay for all the good impacts we are achieving!

Andrew Ellis is the Fundraising and Project Officer for PECT.



Going green at home

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 09.02.2017

Time: 09:13

One of my previous blogs was about everything that PECT does to make its office as sustainable as possible. I am now in the middle of buying my very first house and I’m starting to think about what environmental initiatives I can introduce at home as well.

The first thing that comes to mind is the prospect of having my very own garden! A garden to plant and grow food in; I’m so excited! Not only am I looking to grow produce, I also want to attract wildlife to the garden, especially bees.

Bee numbers have fallen drastically over the past few years. It’s important to look after our bees for a number of reasons, including the fact that bees are vital to our food chain. Without bees, one-third of the food we eat would not be available!

One way to attract more bees to your garden is to introduce nectar and pollen rich plants, such as honeysuckle, lavender and foxgloves. You can also put bee hotels in your garden, which provide nesting places for bees and offer protection from the weather.

In terms of food, I’m only going to grow it on a seasonal basis. As Spring-time draws near, I’ll be looking to grow carrots, spring onions and peas. Then, later in the year I’ll be growing blackberries, cabbage and squash.

Finally, I’ll be getting a water butt in my garden to water all the new flowers and fruit and veg, using rainwater rather than the water from my kitchen sink.

I can’t wait for my new garden and really look forward to getting stuck in - wish me luck!

Selina Wilson is the Office Manager at PECT.



For the love of tea

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 02.02.2017

Time: 09:45

There’s something about nature that we all love. Whether that’s watching the waves crash against the seashore, seeing a swan gliding through water, experiencing the breath-taking views from the top of Mount Everest or simply going on a woodland walk. Nature has a place in the hearts of us all.

But sadly, at the current rate of global warming, our beloved nature is at risk. The question stands: does the impact of global warming concern you? Or rather, does it concern you that global warming impacts people, places and life on earth?

The extent of climate change’s impact isn’t even just the ice caps melting, or causing increased acidity to the oceans, it has the potential to infiltrate into every single element of life that you and I enjoy, such as doing the gardening, eating chocolate and drinking tea!

Just take tea as an example. First thing in the morning we all enjoy waking up to that pot of freshly brewed tea. But what if tea begins to deplete in supply? Just consider the impact of rising temperatures on the production of your favourite tea. Global warming threatens the microclimate in the hills of Asia that produces so much of the tea that we love, and with it, this threatens the livelihoods of the millions of farmers whose lives depend on the production of our daily cup of tea. To read the full article, visit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-26754121
I hope that others will see the importance of this issue and #ShowtheLove for nature, for the oceans, for farmers and for our cups of tea!

As a member of the Climate Coalition, PECT is looking to show its support for the ‘Show the Love’ campaign this February. The aim is to join forces to take action against climate change and show the love for the things that could be lost to the impact of climate change such as nature and wildlife.

We are looking for members of the community to join our Forest for Peterborough Tree Planting Day to show your love for the local environment. Join us on Saturday 11th February, drop-in between 10.30am-4.30pm, last arrivals at 2.30pm, at Werrington Open Space (parking and access via 51-58 Baron Court, PE4 7ZE.)
Make sure you register your attendance via simon.belham@pect.org.uk or via 07715372432.

Michaela Anthony is the Digital Marketing Apprentice at PECT.