What might a net zero Charlbury look like?

Rosemary Bennett
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Sat 20 Jul, 22:10 (last edited on Sat 20 Jul, 22:11)

Very interesting, Nick. What happens if you are driving to a VIP meeting though, are there exemptions? It seems very short notice! Hope all is going well.

Malcolm Blackmore
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Sat 20 Jul, 17:13

Belay last query - didn't spot this link in the text that wasn't bolded on my browser for some reason.

http://www.shorturl.at/lrBL6

Malcolm Blackmore
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Sat 20 Jul, 17:11

Jon, was there supposed to be a url link to the bold text you posted up a couple of days ago? -

I've compiled an ongoing guide to what's happening in the Climate Emergency field,

Sounds useful if you could repost it.

Nick Johnson
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Sat 20 Jul, 16:41

Greetings from Kigali Rwanda. I've just had a text on my phone informing me that tomorrow is a car free day to save carbon and reduce pollution.. No cars allowed on the roads in the capital city between 6-10 am. Full stop. Perhaps that's the way forward.

Mark Luntley
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Wed 17 Jul, 16:47 (last edited on Wed 17 Jul, 17:02)

I think Stephen makes a good point about the methodology in respect of future generations, I think all of these reports are only as good as the assumptions that underpin them.. 

Where I did think the graphs had value was in showing that some well publicised activities (don't get me wrong - which are good in themselves) don't actually make that much of a difference in climate terms, whilst others such as avoiding flying - have a much greater impact.

Jon Carpenter
(site admin)
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Wed 17 Jul, 11:14

A matter of degree, and exaggeration doesn't help, but I can see where he's coming from.

I've compiled an ongoing guide to what's happening in the Climate Emergency field, which may also be particularly useful for Facebook refuseniks. It's at www.shorturl.at/lrBL6

I'll be updating it regularly, so if you're interested, do bookmark it in whatever way your device allows!

Stephen Andrews
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Wed 17 Jul, 08:34

I had seen this data the other day, and was surprised to see the figure of 58 tonnes ascribed to having one fewer child, and wondered why it was so high. It appears that the methodology underpinning this single figure has been academically criticised as it ascribes all the future carbon emissions of all of the descendants of that extra child to that single decision and also assumes no change in carbon consumption going forward, nor in future birth rate. Clearly a decision to have fewer children will be a dominant personal action, but maybe not to the extent described here. 

Mark Luntley
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Tue 16 Jul, 23:19 (last edited on Tue 16 Jul, 23:26)

I found this rather interesting info-graphic about relative impacts of different actions, some well publicised actions have less effect than some less well known ones. 

http://www.kimnicholas.com/responding-to-climate-change.html

Richard Fairhurst
(site admin)
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Sat 13 Jul, 11:00 (last edited on Sat 13 Jul, 11:01)

Witney Town Council has of course just had a young, energetic new set of councillors elected.

I hope Charlbury’s town council elections next year will be contested as keenly and that people with strong views about a climate emergency – or indeed any other issue in the town – will put themselves forward for election. In 2016 there weren’t even enough candidates for there to be an election (10 candidates for 12 seats) which was a pretty poor show. 

Jon Carpenter
(site admin)
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Sat 13 Jul, 07:16 (last edited on Sat 13 Jul, 07:17)

This will be of interest to anyone who wants Charlbury Town Council to respond to the climate emergency...

Witney Town Council Climate Emergency meeting

“Cllr. Rosa Bolger, Leader of Witney Town Council, would like to invite you to a Public Meeting at which the subject of Climate Emergency and how this might be tackled in our town will be discussed. Key speakers from Greenpeace, Extinction Rebellion, Oxford City Council and others will be leading some of the discussions and Cllr Bolger will chair the meeting.

"We are meeting at the Corn Exchange on Sunday 28th July between 2 and 4 pm. Do come along if you are able."

There's more info at http://www.witney-tc.gov.uk/news/witney-town-council-issues-call-to-arms-with-climate-emergency-public-meeting/

Rosemary Bennett
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Thu 11 Jul, 11:11 (last edited on Thu 11 Jul, 11:14)

Ouch! Thanks John..... 

Over-population is one huge element,  and we learned in science that elements don't work in isolation. It's only human to worry about grandchildren, but again that's not the only thing to be concerned about. It's not a binary choice.

China did have a one-child policy, and I remember how that turned out. 

Hannen Beith
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Thu 11 Jul, 11:01

It may be later than we think according to "New Scientist".

"An oversight in historical weather records means we have underestimated how much the climate warmed last century. The finding means we are 0.1°C closer to passing the internationally-agreed limit of 2°C than we thought."

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2208726-climate-mistake-reveals-earth-warmed-more-than-we-thought-last-century/

Alan Cobb
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Thu 11 Jul, 08:48

Harriet, didn't the Chinese try, with one child per family? 

Harriet Baldwin
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Thu 11 Jul, 08:23

Save you from extinction? That's a very arrogant,  self-centred view jon, is that really what extinction rebellion think? The thing about populations is that they expand to fill their environment, they pollute their environment and then they die. This is a proven fact, you probably did it with petrie dishes and agar gel at school? So in order to make a lasting change for the planet people need to stop thinking about their grandchildren and maybe take responsibility and say I won't have children - the problem is overpopulation, too many humans in too small a space. Because no government is going to tell its citizens the currently socially unacceptable view that reproduction is restricted to save the planet, until it's too late. 

Jon Carpenter
(site admin)
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Thu 11 Jul, 00:16 (last edited on Thu 11 Jul, 00:23)

The full report is far less anodyne. You can read it at https://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/CCC-2019-Progress-in-reducing-UK-emissions.pdf

I agree about leadership. Whatever I do to 'make a difference', like not flying or eating meat, will hopefully show politicians that we want change and will back them in making it. It's the changes they can make that are really important and can save us from extinction. And that's the true message of Extinction Rebellion.

Rosemary Bennett
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Wed 10 Jul, 17:32 (last edited on Wed 10 Jul, 20:09)

Rebellion with a cause! I see what you mean about the CCC report. Plenty to sit and worry about but anodine in content with no real urgency about it. What is it with these committees? I don't think that (as the general public) we have seen 1% yet as to what we will have to do. Who is going to design these life-changing 'rules' for the future? Presumably not driven by Boris, here. All our habitual procedures, processes, beliefs, commitment to the new world,  psychological and practical guidance and support, the list is endless and we are stilll almost nowhere yet. I've had it in mind for some time now that we've become brain-washed (by ourselves) that as long as we all do a little bit towards 'it' then it won't be so bad, and more importantly, it won't be 'my' fault. While every single little bit of effort will make a difference, how can it not, it is not enough as we stand. (I'm not intending to criticise anyone here, and I do respect all efforts to 'cut down' on this and that.) Where are we going to find strong, believable, and comprehensive leadership in all of this? I haven't got a clue, given the current state of affairs (nearly everywhere in the world). It is becoming so big that the iris in the elephant's eye doesn't even fit in the room any more, never mind the elephant.

Jon Carpenter
(site admin)
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Wed 10 Jul, 12:28

Indeed. Extinction or rebellion? The government Committee on Climate Change is generally regarded as a rather cautious and conservative body. 

See what it's come out with today!!

https://www.theccc.org.uk/2019/07/10/uk-credibility-on-climate-change-rests-on-government-action-over-next-18-months/

By the end of next year, we may have decided the future of most of life on Earth. That's by making very big political decisions, sadly not just by individuals using less plastic, using a bike, going vegan or stopping flying. Though those 'choices' will probably be forced on us anyway, and are also important.

What sort of a life are we leaving our children and grandchildren? Mine are visiting this weekend. 

Rosemary Bennett
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Wed 10 Jul, 10:06 (last edited on Wed 10 Jul, 12:13)

Yes Malcolm, we do need to sharpen up globally, and listen to expert advice. Instead of all the bickering and jostling that's taking place over a certain matter, wouldn't it be wonderful if we could all concentrate on listening to those people who understand and can advise us on what we need and must do to actually secure the future of the planet.

Malcolm Blackmore
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Tue 9 Jul, 23:23

My father, a Canadian over here in WW2, mentioned how important the British Restaurant projects were to both itinerant military personnel and to ordinary working people in all sorts of areas. Don't forget that for a majority of people in the UK rationing and scientific nutritionists brought about the healthiest and best fed people before or since even if the diet was a bit "samey". It also brought together a shared communal experience. I read today that over half of meat in the USA is eaten by LESS than a fifth of people. Fair shares would alter this profoundly.

We need to treat the Global HEATING crisis on a war footing, and the outcome would be beneficial for most people even those at the end of their lives on earth, not just our kids and grandkids.

Jon Carpenter
(site admin)
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Sat 6 Jul, 07:55 (last edited on Sat 6 Jul, 07:55)

This is a useful read, too. A balanced report in National Geographic based on the same article in Science. The caveats are very clear. 

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/07/how-to-erase-100-years-carbon-emissions-plant-trees/

Jon Carpenter
(site admin)
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Sat 6 Jul, 07:38 (last edited on Sat 6 Jul, 07:58)

Yes Matthew. Good long-term carbon measure that people have proposed for years. Trouble is, as the article admits, it is decades, even centuries, before it really takes effect. So it's a good way of stabilising the accumulated effect of carbon emissions, but we need decisive action much sooner. Like in the next few years.

We also need to read down to the stuff about agriculture and diet. People were talking about the Coop earlier in this thread. It looks like getting the meat off the shelves could be a priority.

Matthew Greenfield
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Fri 5 Jul, 21:13

With more trees?

Tree planting 'has mind-blowing potential' to tackle climate crisis:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jul/04/planting-billions-trees-best-tackle-climate-crisis-scientists-canopy-emissions

Mark Luntley
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Thu 4 Jul, 18:07

I was visiting colleagues in a French business a year back. That enterprise placed an emphasis on bringing people together. The top floor of the offices was used for meetings - but also yoga classes and once a week they brought in catering so people could periodically eat together.

Each week it was a different country's food, so the multi-national staff got to talk about their national cuisine and so on. Moreover eating together brought people from different parts of the business together, whilst also stimulating a shared understanding of different cultures, foods and places.     

Stephen Andrews
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Thu 4 Jul, 16:43

Simon, re eating communally, I was reminded of the D-day News posting on this site in June: "The Corner House was requisitioned by the Army from 1939. In the Morris Room upstairs a British Restaurant was set up in 1942, and a dumb waiter was installed between the kitchen and the Morris Room "A School Meals service and a mobile canteen were provided, with a voluntary driver and helper, on a round of villages, depositing hot dinners in large thermos containers at small schools. .. From time to time tramping on the stairs warned the helpers of the arrival of soldiers, mostly drivers who had brought convoys of vehicles to Cornbury Park and who always seemed to have had nothing to eat for many hours. In the weeks before D-Day when troop movements mounted to a crescendo, soldiers of all descriptions were liable to appear mysteriously, including several parties of airborne men." In March 1944 the Restaurant sent out 1,581 dinners and 516 teas, plus 2,893 school dinners. Soldiers on convoy, lorry drivers and other travellers were very glad of the service. The red and green folding chairs used in the Restaurant can still be seen in the Museum, and others are stored round the top of the dumb waiter." 

Simon Himmens-Warrick
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Thu 4 Jul, 14:14

One thing that appeared in the talk very prominently, was that Transport is perhaps the biggest part of many people's footprint. Some years ago now my company chose to close down its central office which many people were commuting too. I just did a quick calculation, that this saved over 500 miles commuting every day, plus we didn't have to pay to heat / cool an office for everyone.

It's not that straightforward though, as you then require every individual to heat their own homes perhaps for just one occupant all day... In comes the Cosy Homes project :) 

Home working I'm sure will become even more common, and as it does we need spaces to work like the Curiosities Company has set-up at 39 Sheep Street. Not everyone likes being home alone, I know I don't and we should pool resources to make it more efficient to work together close to home.

Something else that I thought was interesting, was shared eating. I'd not thought about it for a while, but realised I'd seen it when I worked in Slovenia a few years ago now. At lunchtime folks from different offices / factories / shops would go to a number of local 'canteens' which were there specifically to serve a cheap meal to anyone who wanted it. These weren't restaurants, or amazing food but basically a good quality hearty meal at a fraction of what it would cost to do at home individually. They were, packed with people, all chatting and eating for an hour or so every day. Wonder if something like that could work in Charlbury?

James Styring
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Thu 4 Jul, 10:27

I agree with Andrew, Lesley, et al, and am too late to contribute to the meeting, but was surprised to see only one mention of cycling here. Cycling is the quickest and easiest way to bet around town for people (like me) who are too lazy to walk but who want to zip around as fast as a car but without driving. E-bikes are getting cheaper for folk who don't like cycling up hills. Unless you do your weekly shop at the Co-op, you can get all you need in a pannier bag or two. I am surprised that more people don't cycle around town given how quick, cheap and enjoyable it is. By now it is obvious that for me, a zero carbon Charlbury would be bicycle-filled.

Hannen Beith
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Wed 3 Jul, 19:24 (last edited on Wed 3 Jul, 19:24)

Great stuff.  Thank you Stephen and Jon.

I know of 5 relatives who have taken flights in the last 6 months.  4 short haul, and 1 from and to Australia.

I have no idea how to educate them, and indeed, am not sure it is my place or right.

Stephen Andrews
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Wed 3 Jul, 16:14

and this www.flightfree.co.uk

Jon Carpenter
(site admin)
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Wed 3 Jul, 15:46

Meanwhile, why not take a look at this?

https://youtu.be/SIqJ05Dv8BM

Andrew Chapman
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Wed 3 Jul, 14:16

Thanks Mark!

Mark Luntley
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Wed 3 Jul, 12:11

I made some rough notes of the meeting which I will put into something that makes sense for people who were not there. I'm hoping we will also post up the slides. Both will appear on the Sustainable Charlbury website - probably next week. I'll post an update on the form under this thread when I've done that.  

Andrew Chapman
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Wed 3 Jul, 11:05

Alas I wasn't able to make this discussion last night. Is anyone who was there willing to offer a quick summary? Thanks.

Mandy cooper
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Tue 2 Jul, 21:58

the co op also gives  back to the town by litter picking the whole of charlbury by useing there staff. community grants and rasing money for local charitys. so they do give back to charlbury there not just making money for store there making money for the whole town.

Hannen Beith
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Mon 1 Jul, 15:02

Completely agree Harriet.  Well said.

Harriet Baldwin
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Mon 1 Jul, 09:27

Maybe it's not a question of "I can walk down to the centre so cars should be banned", or "I can afford to make improvements to my house so we should have a minimum standard xyz", but what can we do to enable those with a minimum level of fitness to get to the centre (or anywhere else), what can we do to enable those on low wages to have their houses improved in a way that they can afford it/their landlords don't put the rent up so it becomes unaffordable. This should really be a base level of thinking throughout the country but it isn't. It'd be nice if Charlbury could start being sustainable and taking everyone into account otherwise the community becomes one where if you're not healthy enough or rich enough you can't live here. 

Alice Brander
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Mon 1 Jul, 08:37

Are we missing the point again?  The cost of doing nothing will be immeasurably greater than taking personal and community responsibility now.  That doesn't involve loading financial burdens on local cooperatively owned businesses.  

Andrew Chapman
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Mon 1 Jul, 07:47

You're right about all of that, of course, Philip. My point was simply that (a) the Co-op is a fairly substantial business and (b) Rosemary's suggestion that there could be some further contribution to local ideas for reducing carbon consumption isn't unreasonable. Its global competitiveness isn't really the issue. I absolutely agree we're lucky to have it, and of course it should be said that Midcounties Co-op already supports lots of local institutions - its accounts, available online, reveal how the Scouts, the Pre-School and the Community Centre have all been supported, for example.

Philip Ambrose
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Sun 30 Jun, 22:19

Andrew - businesses do pay! Apart from business rates, there's energy taxes, landfill taxes and various others including National Insurance and VAT. Turnover bears very little relation to profit especially in a relatively low margin business such as food retailing.

I don't disagree with you that more action is needed to protect the environment, but not at the expense of making Britain overtaxed and uncompetitive with the rest of the world.

Rosemary Bennett
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Sun 30 Jun, 15:12 (last edited on Sun 30 Jun, 15:16)

I for one am not upset, thanks Mark. I do sometimes get a bit disappointed when I see the same pattern emerge in discussions about climate change, ecology, world poverty, wars; all the huge life-changing, earth-shattering processes and events with which we are all living.

The pattern seems to be that first, as long as one makes a decent stab at trying to do things that we know are sensible, that then justifies carrying on in much the same vein. Then the second part of that is what I call 'the offset statement' to take one's self out of the firing line, for example, 'I don't eat red meat, only a bit of chicken or fish and vegetables." "I use the bus rather than the car". While in of themselves, these things are not bad, collectively we have already got to where we are now, and where we are now seems to be that the red lights are flashing in all quarters, and so much more must be done, soon, with top priorities, if the planet is to survive. 

Andrew Chapman
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Sun 30 Jun, 14:52

It doesn't take a mathematical genius, Philip, to estimate that the Charlbury Co-op's turnover is in the millions, and indeed I have been told in the past that it is by people who do have the figures; and it's not at all unreasonable of Rosemary to suggest that businesses which have an impact on the environment around them should pay towards its protection and maintenance. And individuals as well as businesses, for that matter. But perhaps we all have a different concept of what a 'fortune' is. Anyway, we're all going to have to face up to unpalatable decisions as time goes on and temperatures rise. I'm as scared by that as anyone else.

Mark Luntley
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Sun 30 Jun, 14:06 (last edited on Sun 30 Jun, 14:12)

I seem to have started an argument, and I hope people aren't upset. I can see how transport has an environmental impact. I'll ask Mary to think about the options for next Tuesday. building on the thoughts here. Transport seems to be at a point where different models are starting to emerge, from driverless cars, to Uber, some green - some less so. Thank you Rosemary for setting out interesting ideas (including paths that encourage people to walk rather than drive). I've been struck that when there is bad weather roads are gritted but paths less frequently so. Thank you also for everyone else in adding to that discussion. 

The suggestion of shared cooking is an interesting one and something I've not heard much suggested. By sharing we can often make quite large savings - and of course there are other advantages like better social interaction. I was at Findhorn last year and that community has regular communal meals. 

Food itself has an impact of course, what we eat, how it is produced and the distance it travels. The Charlbury Green Hub have been doing a lot of work to address that.

Finally I was surprised no-one spoke about how we heat our houses, I was in Iceland last year - where nearly every house was heated by communal (geothermal) heating. In Denmark many houses are also heated communally, but the experiences in the UK have been less common and less successful.    

Rosemary Bennett
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Sun 30 Jun, 13:44

Also, ideas for the future implies change. To me that means change on a much greater scale than whatever our individual efforts may add up to at present. 

Rosemary Bennett
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Sun 30 Jun, 13:38

I wa responding to the request for 'Thoughts and suggestions'. I put down some thoughts and some suggestions. I'm quite happy to withdraw from the link, however, since none of my ideas seem to please anyone. As for buses, last time I made a return trip to Oxford, I had to go to see a chiropractor afterwards. The state of the old double decker buses that are past their sell by date is incredible. I have also had my car ripped in two by a passing single decker, while I was giving way to him in order to get out of his way, incidentally, which didn't stop. Good luck with your wing mirrors, everyone!

Hannen Beith
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Sun 30 Jun, 10:59

Agree with Lesley and Philip.

Buses.  We need more not less.  A few years ago my Wife and I sold both our cars and for two years relied solely on public transport.  We were helped to some extent by a car sharing arrangement with a very good local citizen couple, but mainly found that we could get about either on foot, or by bus or train.  Now the X9 service has been cut that is no longer so easy so we have bought a small 1 litre eco-friendly car.  We still use public transport whenever possible.  A few months ago I was required to undertake Jury Service at Oxford Crown Court for 10 days.  I travelled to the Court on foot and by bus.

Co op profits.  For a £1 you can become a member.  All members share in the profits.  Also, the Co op gives generously to local communities, you just have to apply for a grant.  I did that as Secretary of the Street Fair.  Co op energy is moving rapidly to 100% environmentally sustainable sources, including sourcing energy from Southill Solar.  

Lesley Algar
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Sun 30 Jun, 10:05

The buses serving Chipping Norton and Witney are every two hours. The bus to Oxford is every hour which many residents use.  If more people used the bus and train there would be less pollution. No one has mentioned the increase in traffic either by residents or people passing through. The amount of people who drive around Charlbury instead of walking or cycling, is that not a problem? How about driving electric cars instead of  four by fours? What is worse, a bus full of passengers or one person in a range rover?

Philip Ambrose
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Sun 30 Jun, 09:21

Take it that way if you like Rosemary. I would respond that it is intellectually lazy and arrogant to make sweeping statements such as the Coop is making a fortune - do you have any data to support that? Charlbury, despite its town charter, is but a small village in West Oxfordshire (and long may it remain so). Some of the ideas put forward here might make better sense in somewhere like Oxford. 

Malcolm's point about the buses is an interesting one. I once queried this with Richard Worth and he told me that minibuses would work OK for the outer extremities of routes, but as you get closer to main towns loads are greater and therefore minibuses could not cope. Passengers prefer direct services. One of the main costs is drivers' wages and doubling up on those would be expensive. The Pulhams buses that serve Charlbury, although shorter, are not significantly narrower. than Stagecoach's S3. 

Rosemary Bennett
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Sat 29 Jun, 22:41

The question put by Mark was to do with future plans, and ideas, the emphasis on the future. Talks about talks if you like. It wasn't asking for defensive or scathing remarks about other people's ideas. That's so very easy, and intellectually lazy, and also rather arrogant. 

If online shopping is not community friendly, what exactly is wrong with a receiving hub?

Malcolm Blackmore
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Sat 29 Jun, 22:35

The issue with buses is not double deck, but width. A trip to the bus museum in Long Hanborough with kids a decade ago shows purchasing managers were alive to the problems - they commissioned specially built narrow and for some routes, low, buses which negate the problems to a large degree, I thought the S3 behemoths - how many individual units are there - were ridiculously wide for the route. Though the onboard wifi and internet service is appreciated! And the route may be suitable for battery power.

Philip Ambrose
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Sat 29 Jun, 21:43

Hang on a minute folks! Charlbury is not the centre of the universe. If I was running a haulage company, absolutely the LAST thing I would do would be to route commercial vehicles along poxy B roads and through a village where people seem to park wherever they want without let or hindrance. Most of the problem is not the through goods traffic, but the inconsiderate parking of residents' private cars.

Very few people are likely to get on a theoretical minibus to go and collect their shopping from some notional "hub". Charlbury is not a hub for anything. They are more likely to jump in a car and drive to Witney or Chipping Norton. As for the idea that Charlbury Coop is making a fortune, dream on! We are lucky to have it. Online shopping may be environmentally friendly in certain respects, but it is NOT community friendly.

Rosemary Bennett
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Sat 29 Jun, 20:45 (last edited on Wed 10 Jul, 17:35)

There will have to be decisive and unpopular decisions made regarding the amount of traffic, be it personal tanks, commercial or buses, because of the associated air pollution, and not least because eventually, given the strain from all of these put together, the log jammimg effects. We have some real problems arising in Charlbury, even just looking at the number of cars per household. The town's infrastructure was not built with cars in mind, at all. Regardless of that, it is now expected to carry all and sundry in every shape, size and weight, at all times, with no control whatsoever.

Angus B
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Sat 29 Jun, 18:50

Do double decker buses cause more pollution than single deckers?

Alice Brander
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Sat 29 Jun, 15:39

This sounds like really bad news for the many Charlbury residents who live on or around those roads that are destined to take this excluded road traffic.  How about a transition to electric transport, taking responsibility for making our homes zero carbon, all new build housing to Passivhaus standard and of course, no more flying!

Rosemary Bennett
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Sat 29 Jun, 10:19

Stop commercial traffic coming through the centre of town, except for local deliveries. Stop double decker buses from using the town centre. Develop a plan to have traffic-free zones. Minibus service around the whole town area funded in part by the co-op. They clearly make so much out of the town so could they be asked to give something back? Develop walkways for people to feel able to walk into and around the town without being run over and/or poisoned by traffic fumes. 

Longer term. Build a receiving hub outside of town centre where all online shopping is delivered to. People then hop on the minibus and collect their goods for a fee. Encourage people to 'share' orders.

Supper club. Encourage 'shared' cooking. People could cook for their neighbours as well as for themselves, and vice versa.

 These are a few thoughts off the top of my head. 

Mark Luntley
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Fri 28 Jun, 22:19

Sustainable Charlbury is putting the final touches on the planned discussion next Tuesday evening at the Bell. The aim is to think about what a zero carbon Charlbury might look like. Mary Livingstone is leading the meeting and would like to know if there are questions you would like to discuss. We will try to build them into the discussion. 

Thoughts and suggestions?

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