“Fast Fashion”


Considering Tomorrow Today

“Fast Fashion”

Some time ago only the very rich could afford fashionable clothing made by a famous designer such as Gabrielle Chanel or Yves Saint Laurent and that to be a skilful seamstress and able to “copy” the designs was a very useful attribute, though of course matching the same fabrics was a different challenge. As the economy gradually grew after WW2 a bigger range of fashionable, (not designer) garments came within the reach of far more people. Now fast forward to the present when so called “Fast fashion” uses the abundant cheap labour in less economically prosperous countries and allows the fashion conscious to change their wardrobe 2 or 3 times a year.

It sounds like a very straightforward example of developing economies. We are mostly gradually getting richer and the consumption of resources seems almost to have become the reason for life. We know that climate is changing and that we must change our behaviour if our grandchildren are going to be able to live out their lives comfortably on Earth. But is the fashion industry an important target and what would we do anyway, we have to wear clothes!?

Well, a very short investigation on the world wide web will find you plenty of statistics that may surprise you. By some calculations, starting with the growing of crops and including the dying of materials and making up the final products, the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of global carbon dioxide emissions. It is the third most polluting industry, worse than aviation; clothes production is growing and the length of time garments are in use is getting shorter.

Rather than fill the page with negative statistics let’s concentrate on some positive ideas others have had.

Researchers from the University of Technology Sydney’s, Institute for Sustainable Futures in Australia suggest that we must aim to reduce our purchase of new clothing by a whopping 75%, buying clothes designed to last and recycling them at the end of their lifetime.

An Oxfam blog tells us that we buy more new clothes per head in the UK than the rest of Europe. To help convince you that you really can manage

with many fewer clothes there are campaigns in which you choose 10 items from your wardrobe and restrict yourself to wearing only these for a month. Apparently having done so you soon learn about coordinating colours and valuing garments that can be worn in different ways.

Recycling clothes through charity shops or fashion swops makes good sense. Some readers may remember the scrum at the beginning of a really good jumble sale to come up with a bargain.

A little skill with a needle and thread can open up all sorts of possibilities.

If there is really no other option a surprising range of natural and synthetic fabrics can be recycled into new fabric often using less energy than is used with new fibres.

We may yet return to older practices. I remember my arms aching as I held them up to be used to hold a skein of wool taut, as my mother unravelled a jumper so that the wool could be reknitted into something else.


Many thanks to those who gave garden tools and pots to the Reuse table that Gareth and Glenys Stone organised at the Tucker’s plant sale. Not only were lots of items sent off to new homes, rather than the recycle unit, but donations made a healthy contribution to the overall proceeds for the Wild life group. We kept some of the less blemished pots with some plans for Christmas in mind.

Gwenfo.Forum@gmail.com or via Facebook: GwenFo@ https://www.facebook.com/gwen.fo.1/ and Wenvoe Forum @ https://www.facebook.com/ groups/635369267864402

We do hope that you find these ideas and tips useful.  Good luck with your gardening. Please keep a look  out for our other activities, and join us or send  messages on:

Facebook: Gwen Fo @ https://www.facebook.com/  gwen.fo.1/ and Wenvoe Forum @ https://  www.facebook.com/groups/635369267864402  twitter @ForumGwenfo or e-mail –  gwenfo.forum@gmail.com


Focusing On The Reuse Of Various Resources


Considering Tomorrow Today

Focusing On The Reuse Of Various Resources

This year, the Wenvoe Forum members are focusing on ideas around the REUSE (including REPURPOSING) of various resources. As this year’s Tucker’s Spring Plant Sale takes place at the Wenvoe Church Hall soon (Saturday 11 May – 10 am), we thought it would be good to support them (and the Wenvoe Wildlife Group) by having a table offering surplus gardening tools, plant pots and equipment etc. – all looking for a new home. Amongst the other garden bargains there, you’ll be able to choose your plants, sit and have a cuppa and a chat and maybe buy a slice or two of Tucker’s home-made cake and brownies. It’s for a great cause, with all proceeds to the Wenvoe Wildlife Group!

We’ll also be raising awareness of a couple of existing Facebook pages that already support the idea of reusing existing resources – the Wenvoe Recycling & Reuse Group @ https://www.facebook.com/ groups/1870475136410648 and the Wenvoe Buy and Sell pages, @ https://www.facebook.com/ groups/3019469164839088.

Finally, in our linked article this week, a money saving idea in line with the gardening theme courtesy of the Royal Horticultural Society web pages.

How to REUSE spent compost…

It’s not uncommon to have spent compost at the end of each growing season, especially if you grow bulbs or bedding plants in containers. Rather than getting rid of this, which can be difficult and wasteful, there are a handful of ways to reuse it within your garden.

Quick facts…

  • Compost breaks down and compacts over time, so it needs enriching and mixing thoroughly before it can be reused for planting.
  • You may need to add fertiliser if reusing compost for hungry plants like roses

Using spent compost for mulching around established trees and shrubs is good

Getting started…

Soil and spent compost can’t usually be added to green waste bins but our local council recycling centres will accept it. However, finding ways to reuse it in your garden saves you time, money and effort.

The manufacture, transport and packaging of bagged compost has a large carbon footprint, so being able to use it again for growing plants helps save the planet and saves you the cost of buying new compost each time you replant.

What you’ll need to reuse spent compost:

  • Gloves
  • A board or sheet to tip the compost out on
  • Organic matter, like garden compost, leaf mould or well-rotted manure (if replanting)
  • Possibly some other fertiliser
  • A garden fork (if digging-in)
  • A shovel and a rake (if mulching)
  • Focusing On The Reuse Of Various Resources

Top Tip…

Tipping out old compost first lets you assess its condition and decide how best to reuse it. If you find vine weevil larvae when you empty your pots of spent compost, spread the mixture thinly on a tarpaulin or  hard standing and wait for the birds to eat the larvae  as a tasty treat. Once they’ve found them all, sweep up the compost and use as above.

Five ways to reuse spent compost  

1 – Add organic matter and use it again for  planting  

Tip out the spent compost, remove any large sections  of root and work it back to a smooth, fluffy texture  with your hands. Then add handfuls of organic matter,  like garden compost or well-rotted manure, to create a  mixture of around 70% spent compost to 30% new  organic matter. This mixture can now be used for  planting up containers.

2 – Improve your garden soil by digging-in spent  compost  

Though it won’t add much in the way of nutrients, it  will improve soil structure, helping with aeration and  drainage, and in turn will boost soil biodiversity.

3 – Mulch your beds and borders to lock-in  moisture and suppress weeds  

Use a shovel to pile the compost onto your beds and a  metal rake to spread it over the soil to a depth of  around 7.5cm (3in). Over time the mulch will be  worked in by soil organisms, thereby improving the  structure and health of your soil.

4 – Improve the appearance and health of lawns

  Add spent compost as a top dressing in autumn,  mixing it with sand and brushing or raking it into the  holes created by spiking (aerating). Spent compost  can also be used to even out dips and hollows when  repairing lawns.

5 – Boost an existing compost bin or start a new  one  

Even spent compost will contain a variety of soil  organisms that can be put to work breaking down  garden and kitchen waste. If you’ve got lots of spent  compost to add to your compost bin, do this in layers  between other waste. Adding spent compost to the  base of new bins can help kick start the composting  process.


How to reuse spent compost / RHS Gardening

We do hope that you find these ideas and tips useful.  Good luck with your gardening. Please keep a look  out for our other activities, and join us or send  messages on:

Facebook: Gwen Fo @ https://www.facebook.com/  gwen.fo.1/ and Wenvoe Forum @ https://  www.facebook.com/groups/635369267864402  twitter @ForumGwenfo or e-mail –  gwenfo.forum@gmail.com


New Forum members are always welcome to join e-mail us e-mail gwenfo.
Contact to us on :-Facebook: Gwen Fo @ https://www.facebook.com/gwen.fo.1/
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twitter @ForumGwenfo
See our Blog site https://wenvoeforum.wordpress.com/

An Opportunity For You To Contribute Ideas


Considering Tomorrow Today


Have you ever wondered why your Community Council or the County Council didn’t do something that you thought was obviously a good idea? Or perhaps you thought a plan was a bad idea or you simply identified something as “not good enough”? Please do not just sit back and let the thought fade, there is an opportunity for you to contribute ideas, don’t let that energy pass by.

The Wenvoe Rural Affairs Committee (WRAC) (of which Wenvoe Forum is one of the members) met on March 7th to share news, updates and plans for the future. The most important and exciting news was that the Vale of Glamorgan are revising their Development Plans for the County in a process comprising public consultation and engagement, starting with preparation of new Community Development Plans. The new 5-year Development Plan for Wenvoe is unlikely to advocate no significant change, so the team will need to document the activities and features that you want protected, further supported or newly created. What, in your view, needs improvement or termination and why? Work and meetings have already been undertaken on the higher level 15 year development plan for the Vale. The next stage is a showcase of a variety of projects to provoke imagination, probably in May. Community Engagement is key to success so prepare yourselves unless you simply do not care.

Note that some community councils have already revised their plans and obtained funding for development projects from VoG but more is available. Also note, that political and budgetary pressures are likely to drive changes from reactive management by community councils to a more proactive approach e.g. Owners of woodland including community councils might generate income for themselves / their communities by selling official carbon units to offset carbon usage in the world of low carbon or carbon neutral business. Doesn’t that make you wonder why our council has not taken over the local quarry and surrounding woodland. The recent felling of trees that were not all diseased was certainly a lost opportunity.

A quick poll of members of the Wenvoe Forum identified ideas regarding flood water, electricity generation, better use of water particularly grey water and usage of community land. You are bound to have additional ideas – please share them with WRAC or the Forum or on the community Facebook pages.

On a different note, the WRAC meeting had a presentation from the “Restore the Thaw Landscape”. That certainly inspired me to find their web page – on Facebook.

You might think that Aberthaw is distant from Wenvoe but the project has already financed work for improvement of countryside and streams that are tributaries to the Thaw.

Restore the Thaw Landscape is an exciting new project which will deliver biodiversity improvements in the catchment area of the River Thaw in the Vale of Glamorgan. The project is being funded by the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Project Zero, the Waterloo Foundation and Nature Networks, a fund delivered by the National Lottery Heritage Fund on behalf of Welsh Government and in partnership with Natural Resources Wales.

Restore the Thaw Landscape aims to benefit local wildlife, landowners and the community, and will provide various opportunities for organisations, community groups, and volunteers to help with the conservation work. More detail on line:

https:// www.facebook.com/people/Restore-The-Thaw- Landscape-Project

Wouldn’t it be great if Wenvoe had a project like this that brought the community together and had benefits for everyone. Get your thinking caps on!


To join our Facebook group, please ‘friend up’ with the Gwen Fo account @ https://www.facebook.com/gwen.fo.1 and then jon the Wenvoe Forum @ https://www.facebook.com/groups/635369267864402



New Forum members are always welcome to join e-mail us e-mail gwenfo.
Contact to us on :-Facebook: Gwen Fo @ https://www.facebook.com/gwen.fo.1/
and Wenvoe Forum @ https://www.facebook.com/groups/635369267864402 or
twitter @ForumGwenfo
See our Blog site https://wenvoeforum.wordpress.com/

February Forum


Considering Tomorrow Today


Just when we had all got accustomed to looking on the Wenvoe Community Facebook page for Glenys Tucker’s reminder about what recycling to put out and whether its black bag day, there is more, much more to think about. It seems there are 4 Rs before we even get to recycling and this year the Forum has decided to focus on the theme REUSE and we include REPURPOSING within that. We’ll be trying to find opportunities to lighten the load for the recycling teams on their visits to Wenvoe. To kick us off I asked forum members to give me some good examples.

The first things that came to mind were children’s toys, and of course with that the need to be safety conscious. Toys need to be in good condition and well cleaned. Both givers and receivers have responsibility here in ensuring safety.

“Toys these days are expensive especially when you buy well-known brands; children often grow out of them as toys have to be age appropriate. While we live in this era of technology, more and more children turn to iPad and computer games, but in our house, we encourage time with toys.

In the current economic climate to pick up a bargain in a charity shop or a table top sale is so rewarding. Not only does a new child benefit from the toy and its learning, but the charity shop gains too.

“We are fortunate that people in the village often sell or give toys away, I have been lucky to pick up lots of items like wooden puzzles, books, trucks, garden toys to name a few. I then pass them on to others.” You can either sell or give items away by advertising in What’s On or put it onto the Wenvoe Community Support Group Facebook page. Both are free adverts placed easily on the internet. Baby Basics in Barry have a Facebook page appeal for things such as buggies and Moses Baskets. They donate to young mothers referred via midwives or social services.

“In parts of Australia they have a wonderful method of passing used and unwanted items on to their neighbours. They place unwanted goods on their driveway on a designated morning, neighbours walk around and take what they need. Any uncollected goods are brought in before the following day.”

Plastic plant pots should definitely be reused precisely for the purpose intended. Pass them on to the school, new gardeners, busy gardeners to be washed to avoid contamination before being reused.

“My metal indoor rubbish bin is looking a bit worn. When I replace it I shall save the inner black plastic bin as it’s nice and deep and I will attempt to grow


The humble toothbrush seems more like a magic wand. Did you ever imagine that there would be so may ways to repurpose one.

As with the toys hygiene is vital. We stick them in the cutlery basket in the dishwasher to start with, then they go into the pot by the sink with all the other brushes and cloths until all their bristles are completely squished.

Follow the directions for Milton (other brands are available!) and they can be re-used for a short while on dentures, removable braces, sporting mouth guards etc

We use them for brushing the cats’ faces – they love it and it cleans around their eyes and ears also between the pads on paws. As with all pet brushes, do not use the same brush for both eyes in one grooming session, and clean/disinfect, then dry them thoroughly in between each use.

Then there’re all those little places that they can get into to clean in the house – around taps, inside bottles and fiddly equipment like coffee machines, the choices are myriad, once you start they become an essential!

Kids crafts and brushes for experimental painting effects!

Cleaning running, golfing, football and rugby boot, spikes or cleats, walking boot treads.

Then there are the uses in the garden! You can pull out the bristles with pliers if you like, using a twisting motion, and they become dibbers for seeds and small plants.

Our toothbrushes are also bamboo and so can be used to write on for plant labels.

A household essential, that can be reused time and time again! “


New Forum members are always welcome to join e-mail us e-mail gwenfo.
Contact to us on :-Facebook: Gwen Fo @ https://www.facebook.com/gwen.fo.1/
and Wenvoe Forum @ https://www.facebook.com/groups/635369267864402 or
twitter @ForumGwenfo
See our Blog site https://wenvoeforum.wordpress.com/


Considering tomorrow today

Searching for GOLD

Do you know the colour of hydrogen?

Wenvoe What’s On readers may remember from school science lessons that hydrogen, in its normal state, is a colourless, tasteless, odourless and non-toxic gas. It is the third most abundant element on the surface of Earth, found in water and all organic matter. It is the simplest element and the lightest being 9 times lighter than air, which drove its use in the first part of the 20th century as the “lift” for airships until the Hindenburg disaster which reminds us that it in extremely flammable, in fact it is literally rocket fuel having been used particularly in combination with oxygen since NASA’s Apollo programme.

So hydrogen is light, abundant, non-toxic and flammable. These are all important properties that suggest Hydrogen might be part of the answer to replacing our dependence on fossil fuels in order to keep global temperatures down and avoid destructive and threatening climate driven events such as flooding and wild fires. However it seems that in this regard all Hydrogen is definitely not created equal.

Hydrogen is highly reactive, so it generally doesn’t hang around on its own but joins up with something else. It is created in the process of many chemical reactions but being so light it can quickly disperse into its surroundings. So to use it as a viable fuel it is generally created and captured and this is where the colourless gas of our science lessons becomes associated with a colour.

Black or Brown

This comes from the most environmentally damaging form of hydrogen creation. Black or brown coal is used to make liquid hydrogen but all the damaging products of coal combustion are released where the hydrogen is produced, and the low carbon emission hydrogen can be moved easily to other places that want low carbon fuel. It reminds me of times gone by when in order to supply London with smokeless coal to avoid “the smogs” much of the pollution it seemed was left behind in Mountain Ash and other places where the smokeless brickettes were made.


Grey hydrogen is made from natural gas or methane and though there are fewer pollutants than from coal, the process results in much the same sort of greenhouse gases being released as would have been the case just using the natural gas. Currently most of the supply of hydrogen is grey.


Blue hydrogen again is made from natural gas but using a process that captures the carbon and allows it to be stored. Turquoise In the blue part of the spectrum an experimental production method called Methane Pyrolysis produces Hydrogen and solid carbon. This may prove useful in the future as a low carbon fuel, if permanent storage or environmentally friendly use is made of the solid carbon Pink (or purple or red) We go back to the science lab at school again now. For many, H2O is the one chemical formula that they know, WATER. By passing a current of electricity through water it splits the water into two gases hydrogen and oxygen, which can be collected separately with no carbon resulting.

Pink, purple or red

hydrogen refers to hydrogen made by electrolysis using nuclear power. Green Using electrolysis of water with “green” renewable electricity sources, wind, solar, water turbine etc gives us the best hope for making hydrogen without adding to the greenhouse effect. NB Yellow Hydrogen is sometimes used for that produced using solar power.


Geologists have long known that reactions between rocks containing iron and water produces hydrogen effectively the same process as rusting. However the assumption had been that the light hydrogen with its small molecule would seep out of the rocks and disperse, and no-one looked for any captured in the same way as natural gas was captured. Necessity, mother of invention has inspired new searches and big reservoirs are being found. Environmentalists fear that this search would uncover new oil and gas resources and that it will be hard to resist the pressure to exploit them and environmentalists will need to be proactive in combating that risk. To find large quantities of hydrogen that could be used in the same way as natural gas has could be a partial answer to many prayers.

Keep an eye out for news of a new gold mine.


New Forum members are always welcome to join e-mail us e-mail gwenfo.
Contact to us on :-Facebook: Gwen Fo @ https://www.facebook.com/gwen.fo.1/
and Wenvoe Forum @ https://www.facebook.com/groups/635369267864402 or
twitter @ForumGwenfo
See our Blog site https://wenvoeforum.wordpress.com/

Taking Responsibility For Your Own Health FOOD


Considering tomorrow today

Taking responsibility for your own health FOOD!

 “We are what we eat!” so they say. Alongside exercise, your choice of what you eat, drink, breathe or absorb in some other way into your body must surely be the easiest contribution you can make to improving your own health. So let’s take a look at day to day eating and drinking – DIET.

To many, the word diet equates with trying to lose weight and certainly being over weight or obese is not good for your health at this very moment. It is also a predictor of a huge range of potential future health problems, from complications with pregnancies to difficult menopause; sports injuries to later life fractures; asthma to Alzheimer’s. It is no surprise, that with an eye to the future, that public health policy has a large focus on reducing obesity, hoping to educate children, through the menu of school dinners, to choose, and enjoy, healthy food options naturally as they grow into adulthood. For those of us grown ups whose reaction to being told it would be a good idea to lose weight is likely to be “But, I can’t live without… chocolate, cheese, chips, my mid-morning croissant, a fried breakfast at the weekend, or a glass of wine.” and so on, it is likely to be harder. One could concentrate on the unpleasant symptoms of diseases and conditions that are more common amongst the overweight, however if you are the optimistic type it might be preferable to find some positive motivations.

In 2004 Glanni Pes and Michel Poulain published the paper from which the concept of Blue Zones developed. Their study in Nuora Province of Sardinia, was exploring an area where there was no gender gap in longevity. Unlike other countries and indeed other parts of Italy, as many men lived to the oldest of ages as women. The area had roughly twice as many centenarians as the Italian average. Not only were people living longer but they were living in active good health far longer than elsewhere. National Geographic journalist Dan Buettner coined the term Blue Zones and added 4 more areas to the list and studied different aspects of life in those zones. At a time when in most of the world the average age of the population is getting older, there is great interest in successful aging and the prize of both a long and a healthy life.

General recommendations for a healthy diet usually mention the Mediterranean diet with lots of vegetables and fruit, protein from fish and plants rather than meat, reduction of free sugar, low salt and with an emphasis on whole foods and reducing processed food. It is often said that your plate should be colourful and that by choosing foods with a variety of natural colours you will be ensuring a balanced diet.

There is a lot of information on the internet, advice on diet and, in particular, on specific foods to help manage particular health conditions, all of which can be very confusing. It can also be contradictory and misleading, so take care where you take your information from. Use well known sources NHS, UK, USA and European Charities, World Health Organisation, Universities, academic journals and databases. Look for confirmation from elsewhere, check references and if an academic paper is cited at least check that it is published and you will normally be able to read a summary, called an abstract, at the beginning to check it out. If it is very scientific and you can’t follow it be careful.

While looking for information on a healthy diet I came across a couple of interesting bits of related information:-

• People who grow their own, eat more fruit and veg than those who just buy them

• An average household in the UK wastes a shocking 68kg of fruit and veg in a year. People who grow their own waste only 3.1 kg.

So read The Village Gardener and get growing for your own health and that of the environment.

Further information:-

• There is Netflix docuseries on all aspects of the Blue Zones https://www.netflix.com/gb/title/ 81214929

• Information on the Blue Zone Diet in more detail https://www.bluezones.com/recipes/foodguidelines/

• World Health Organisation information on a healthy diet. https://www.who.int/news-room/ fact-sheets/detail/healthy-diet

New Forum members are always welcome to join e-mail us e-mail gwenfo.
Contact to us on :-Facebook: Gwen Fo @ https://www.facebook.com/gwen.fo.1/
and Wenvoe Forum @ https://www.facebook.com/groups/635369267864402 or
twitter @ForumGwenfo
See our Blog site https://wenvoeforum.wordpress.com/

Wales’ 20-Mph Default Speed Limit


Considering tomorrow today

Wales’ 20-Mph Default Speed Limit

Forum Member Gareth Stone gives his view of the 20mph discussion.

Wales’ 20-mph default speed limit…

On 17/9/23, Welsh Government legislation reduced the default national speed limit from 30-mph to 20-mph. A week later, I drove to Northampton for our grandson’s 10th birthday. As we neared, we noticed 20-mph zones in the surrounding villages and the residential area where they live. England seemed ahead of Wales here.

When the 20-mph default limit in Wales was initially debated, it had wide political and institutional support. Within weeks, there’s been a record-breaking petition calling for its reversal. I couldn’t understand the reaction, so I decided to take a ‘fresh look’ at the various arguments and viewpoints.

Some truths…?

In 1990, the Department of Transport set out guidelines for the introduction of 20-mph limits. Road safety publicity messages at the time included ‘Kill Your Speed, Not A Child’, identifying speed as crucial to reducing risk of injury in accidents.

From 1991-1999, 450 such 20-mph speed limits were introduced in the UK. By 2003, there had been a 56% decrease in accidents and a 90% decrease in fatal / serious injuries. The biggest reductions were in child / pedestrian injuries.

Road safety – reducing crashes, injuries and accidents – saving lives…

50% of road casualties in 2018, occurred on 30-mph roads. The World Health Organisation identified the most effective way to improve pedestrian safety was reducing vehicle speed. Figures and evidence here alone justify the move to 20-mph. Speed (and longer stopping distances) significantly increases the risk of injury in collisions.

ROSPA identifies a fatality risk of 1.5% when struck by a car at 20-mph rising to 8% at 30-mph. If your child runs into the road and a driver hits the brakes, a car travelling at 30-mph would be doing 24-mph when the car travelling at 20-mph had stopped. The safety argument is hard to contest, saving up to 100 lives in Wales over 10 years and preventing up to 20,000 injuries.

Improved health / well-being…

Vehicle speed is the main reason why people do not walk, cycle or allow their children to walk, cycle or scooter to school. Lower speeds encourage active modes of travel such as walking & cycling. It’s not only safer for children to walk to school, older people also feel able to travel more independently and safely. This reduces the number of cars on our roads; and in turn reduces congestion for those with no other choice.

Improved air quality and environment…

Driving at 20-mph does not mean extra pollution. Speed in residential areas is not continuous or steady. You are always braking, accelerating, pulling out at junctions, stopping at traffic lights, overtaking parked buses, delivery vans etc.

Factors contributing to pollution levels are driving style; acceleration; braking; vehicle condition; distance travelled and engine temperature. 20-mph should improve the smooth flow of traffic. Driving smoothly reduces particulate emissions. Particulate emissions especially smaller PM2.5 ones are linked with respiratory problems, diabetes, mental health conditions, depression and autism.

Costs and savings…

Welsh Government analysis puts the direct costs of the policy (changing road signs, markings and the marketing campaign) at c. £32.5m (spread over 2022-27) and the cost to the economy, c. £6.4bn (over 30 years).

Hayward identified that the £32.5m will be quickly recovered as the cost-savings from reduced deaths and serious injuries will be substantial. This also benefits the Welsh NHS more widely across other areas.

£6.4bn over 30 years equates to c. £200m pa – still a huge number. Much of these costs are attributed to short journeys. If you remove these disproportionally expensive short journeys from the equation, the costs fall to c. £57m pa, which again could easily be offset by the savings from fewer accidents.

Other factors…

ROSPA received concerns that traffic calming in 20-mph zones had negative consequences, such as vehicle damage, injury to passengers, slowing down emergency vehicles and increasing vehicle emissions.

Research showed no evidence of vehicle damage from properly negotiating humps and no permanent changes to vehicle suspensions. Levels of passenger discomfort were generally acceptable if speed limits met, and spinal impact was an order of magnitude lower than that which caused injury.

Further research showed that delays to emergency vehicles were generally in the region of small numbers of seconds.

Further evidence:

  • Many countries already do it, and it works.
  • Councils can keep major roads at 30-mph and arterial roads in/out of cities will not change.
  • Over 0.5m children will find their walk or cycle to school safer and healthier.
  • Fewer accidents and bumps which clog up towns/cities will lead to less congestion.
  • Noise pollution reduced in built-up areas.


My final thoughts…

Evidence shows that 20-mph default speed limits on residential roads, outside schools and busy pedestrian areas saves lives and reduces injuries. They improve the environment create safer communities and make quieter, more pleasant places, where people feel able to walk / cycle. They reduce air pollution and benefit people’s health and the local economy.

Getting to 30-mph requires twice the energy as getting to 20-mph. People living in communities with existing 20-mph limits are positive about the changes.

Of course, 20-mph seems slow. That’s the point. It may be annoying at first as we all, as drivers, want to be at our destination. But think of the cyclists and pedestrians that benefit so hugely, and the reduced air and noise pollution.

Finally, consider that when seat belts were first introduced 40 years ago, in 1983, some will recall the widespread resistance to the change. Who would consider driving without them now?

A fuller version with references to research and evidence of pilots is posted on the Forum blog,https://wenvoeforum.wordpress.com/ where you can put forward your own views.




Considering tomorrow today

A dose of your own medicine

The queue waiting within the NHS, in any part of the UK, for any kind of treatment or consultation is at the best long, and at worst it vanishes over the horizon. In a recent response to an e-consult to my GP I was e-mailed

“Unfortunately we are not able to expedite referrals without an urgent indication as this is only for suspected cancer cases etc.”

It was followed by some very general non-medical advice. So there is the message -Take responsibility for your own health. For a while I felt abandoned and neglected but deep down I know there is a great deal of wisdom in that statement. While there are doctors, nurses, consultants and specialists with a great deal of expertise in all sorts of illnesses, conditions and emergencies, the only real expert on your health, is the only person who is available on call 24/7 and that’s you! It could be that out of the “crisis of capacity” in our dearly loved NHS will be born a new possibly better way of delivering a healthy population a change from public health management to personal health management.

Let’s start at the beginning by asking the question “What do we mean by health?”. How people describe their health varies from person to person and even for the same person from day to day or hour to hour. A person with say type 2 diabetes who takes their prescribed medication, and follows the lifestyle advice given, may feel very well and declare them-selves completely healthy, whereas an adult who has no long term condition but a nasty head cold is likely to tell you they are really ill. There are many different techniques and measures used to monitor people’s health but research has shown that individuals are actually quite reliable is assessing their own health. A long term (27 years) study of over 1000 people in Finland were asked on several occasions over a number of years to rate their health (SRH) by answering the question

“…in general, how would you rate your health”

with reply alternatives: 1. good, 2. rather good, 3. poor, and 4. very poor.

The study concluded that SRH performs well in comparison with objective health status (OH), it is considered a useful tool.

So if you have rated yourself as healthy, how do you ensure you stay that way? Monitoring change is a good starting point. The doctor has many different machines and monitors to check your functions, your heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar, ECG, lung function and on and on. Of course some of these monitors you can buy for your own use or use a wrist monitor or your smart phone to assess, but there are some simple ways to keep a check on your-self. The essence is to be alert for changes and per-haps to know which changes might be important.

The changing tightness of your waistband will help you monitor your weight. Sudden weight loss often

goes unnoticed and should be investigated. Checking regularly how long it takes to walk up the local hill and taking your heart rate at the top will give you a heads up of change in your fitness level and alert you to problems with high blood pressure or heart issues. Changes in your sleep patterns, in your digestive system, in your sense of smell or taste can all indicate health problems. As you get into the later years you might want to set yourself some daily challenges like testing your balance by putting your socks and shoes on standing up.

The NHS itself now delivers information on how to deal with some conditions on the internet through NHS 111 Wales. There is a great deal of information on health from all over the world. Whereas at one time people were warned off turning to the internet to answer their health queries now it is encouraged. Be cautious, use recognised sources, seek supporting information from another reliable source and if in any doubt check with your GP.

First steps

If you are working toward being healthier, improving your fitness levels seems to be the starting point for many and the simple act of setting yourself a target of a number steps taken in a day suits many. At one stage the accepted recommendation was to walk 10,000 steps a day which is about 5 miles and at an average speed takes about 1hr 40 minutes. Realistically, unless your walking is part of your travel to and from work or to do some errands, or if you have a dog that needs walking, you need to be quite motivated to keep that up day in day out walking in the same area.

Here are some suggestions to help you get started.

Count your steps for a few days before you start your new regime and set your new target at an in-crease of 20%. You can then increase by 20% each week.

Encourage a friend to walk with you, the time goes by much quicker in conversation and talking and walking is more physically demanding.

Choose a special walk, somewhere nice twice a week.

Get on or off the bus a stop away from your destination and walk the extra distance

If a journey is under half a mile don’t take the car.

Do other active exercise alongside a lower step target some days of the week.

If possible avoid fast roads where there will be small particulate pollution from tyres and brakes or use a mask,

It might be beneficial to do your steps on a tread-mill sometimes so that you can focus on walking correctly with good posture.

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WENVOE FORUM Considering Tomorrow, Today


Preserving Summer Holidays
In 1880 education was made compulsory for children up to the age of 10 and the rhythm of the seasons, already drifting away from an agricultural pattern, began to be dominated by the school year, the Christmas concert, Exams in May/June and the long summer holiday. The long summer break was set originally to accommodate agricultural need for extra labour, frequently crop picking, and were often quite different times in different parts of the country according to local agricultural practice. For example families from the East End of London went “Hopping down in Kent” right up to the 1950’s. A working holiday for the whole family in the fields away from the pollution of London was the only holiday many were likely to have. Over the years there has been greater consistency and several suggestions of changing the school year to avoid having a long summer holiday but still the echo of the agricultural rhythm persists. In the adult world many activities like clubs, reading groups, and classes that are not tied to the school holiday in any way close down for the end of July and August anyway, so there may be a little longer in your time schedule to consider some new activity.
Here then is something for you to consider doing “over the summer”, by yourself, with friends, as a family or with grand children, whatever suits. Linking to the seasonal schedule of crop picking, one of the activities for summer and into autumn is to preserve any excess crops that you may have in your garden. Or you may wish to take advantage of the cheaper prices when fruit, vegetables or herbs are in season. We will ignore freezing and focus on other preservation methods that may be considered more environmentally sound. Long before refrigeration and freezing were available to the average citizen, fruit and vegetables were preserved through drying, using sugar, salt, vinegar or oil, through fermentation, by making particular preservation products e.g. jam, chutney etc and preserving in alcohol. Below are some examples that you might try.

Drying Herbs
Herbs are best picked in fine weather and early in the morning before any of the oils have started to evaporate. Herbs have a better flavour earlier in the season, before flowering, but it is not too late in summer. Tie small bunches of herbs with cotton or thread, wash them gently in cold water and dry off with kitchen roll. Hang them to dry in the house out of sunlight, or in a shed or garage (not the greenhouse). They may take a couple of weeks. Check each bunch is sufficiently dry. Store in an airproof container.

Salting Roasted Garlic
Set oven for 200C, using 8 cloves of Garlic and 300 gms sea salt
Peel the garlic and whizz it in the food processor., add salt and whizz again until mixed.
Pour/spread the mixture on an oven tray and bake for 10 mins, whizz and store in an airproof container.
Preserving fruit in Alcohol
Use a good quality but not highly flavoured Gin or Vodka and choose either a single fruit or a mixture of fruits. Cut up any larger fruits so that all chunks are a similar size, berries work well. A large ceramic jar with a lid is ideal, a glass jar is fine but cover it to keep out the light.
Fill the jar with fruit and pour in the alcohol to cover the fruit. Replace the lid and keep in a cool dark place for a minimum of 4 weeks shaking gently every now and then. When the taste is to your satisfaction strain out the fruit, bottle the alcohol and eat the fruit or use it in a suitable recipe within a few days. The alcohol of course will keep for some time, in some households!
Look out for information on drying apples in September.
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Geothermal Energy From Mines


Considering tomorrow today

Geothermal Energy From Mines

During lockdown I signed up for Senedd updates on Covid statistics. As the crisis receded, I discovered a wealth of other information available at the click of a button, all freely accessible via this portal. One of the available links – to the BGS (British Geological Survey) – looked interesting; imagining dinosaurs and heliotropes, earnest students and crusty old academics imparting pearls of wisdom suitable for quiz questions, I clicked. The first thing I came across was this, almost throw away, notification of a symposium: –

“Following on from the successful events in 2021 and 2022, there is now an Open Call for Contributions for The Mine Water Energy 2023 Symposium, which will be held on 19-20 April 2023.” “WHO KNEW?” – certainly not me! Intrigued, I discovered an article from which I quote extensively below.

According to the coal authority, one quarter of the UK’s residential properties sit on the coalfields. Abandoned mines often fill with water that is warmed by natural geothermal processes, these are now being developed as a source of low carbon energy to heat homes and businesses.

“In December 2020 BGS and the Coal Authority released an interactive map showing where the mines are and the extent by which temperatures increase with depth. The mapping tool is freely available to use by developers, planners and researchers to identify opportunities to investigate the use of UK mine water as a sustainable heat source. It is the first time the data have been brought together in this way, and illustrates the long-term feasibility of heating homes and buildings using this zero-carbon energy source.” Project leader Gareth Farr, BGC geoscientist said

This has been a very exciting piece of work. It’s the first time we have been able to visualise the temperature of Britain’s coalfields. We have found records of heat temperatures going back over 100 years and compared them to temperatures in the mines now and found them to be quite similar. This is a clear indication that geothermal processes that create this heat will be here for a long time to come. Combined with other layers of data, the maps provide an important groundwork for developers, local authorities, and scientists to explore new mine water heating schemes, and we are hopeful they will be of value to inform policy decision making”

The article continues “It is recognised that geothermal energy from mines, combined with heat pump technology, could provide a sustainable energy source for these networks that is both local and low cost. Technical specialists at the coal authority say there is potential to kick-start a new renewable industry, creating employment, tackling climate change, and attracting investment to the coalfield communities previously disadvantaged by mine closures. When aligned with the government’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, the warm water in abandoned coal mines is now being seen as a viable new form of sustainable energy with the potential to play a vital role in making homes and public buildings greener, warmer and more energy efficient.”

Jeremy Crooks, the Coal Authority’s Head of Innovation added,

When miners were working in hot, dusty conditions, they would not have known that their efforts and the heat they worked in, would one day create a sustainable source of energy for hundreds of years to come. We are currently reviewing over thirty potential heat network opportunities using geothermal mine energy. Seaham garden village and Gateshead are the first two such schemes to secure funding from the government’s £320 million heat network investment programme, with others to follow. Heating accounts for 44 per cent of energy use in the UK and 32 per cent of its air pollution. It’s ironic that mining coal, a fossil fuel, would provide access to a low carbon, clean air, energy source that will last far longer than the 200 years of intensive mining that created this opportunity.”

Surely this is an exciting opportunity that we can exploit in Wales. Maybe the excessively wealthy oil companies could sink (no pun intended) just some of their vast profits into what could be a very successful, viable scheme?” – Glenys Stone

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