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.
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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.

New Forum members are welcome, we meet via Zoom, if you have an idea that you want the Forum to look at e-mail Gwen-fo.Forum@gmail.com

Comment or Contact us 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 us on gwen-fo.forum@gmail.com


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.
New Forum members are welcome, we meet via Zoom or if you have an idea that you want the Forum to look at e-mail Gwenfo.Forum@gmail.com
Comment or Contact us on :-Facebook: Gwen Fo @ https://www.facebook.com/gwen.fo.1/ and Wenvoe Forum @ https://www.facebook.com/groups/635369267864402
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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

For a longer version of this article with links to web information see our blog site https://wenvoeforum. wordpress.com/


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

Some further information and updates, blog site https://wenvoeforum.wordpress.com/. .


Bees, Beer, Boilers and Brilliant Brains


Considering tomorrow today

Bees, Beer, Boilers and Brilliant Brains


Did you know that there are 25 species of bumble bee, 260 species of solitary bee and 1 honey bee species in the UK. These only account for a few of the 500 species of insects that pollinate plants, which include hoverflies, wasps, flies, beetles, butterflies and moths.

For a while there has been concern about the reduction in the numbers of bees and pollinators in the UK. Across the country organisations are developing B lines to ensure that the bees can travel between plants and thrive and encourage other pollinators. Bees and pollinators need a wide variety of flowers in all the seasons of the year to survive and places to shelter. The forum would like to develop a Wenvoe B line and we need your help. Contact us if you would like to be more involved. Look out for more information next month.


The group of Wenvoe hop growers is increasing. Currently we send our hops to those of the Cardiff hop growing community whose beer Taff Temptress is brewed at Pipes Brewery. Last September we collected over 5 kgs between us. Whilst a couple of free pints and several bottles at reduced prices are enjoyable, wouldn’t it be nice to have a Wenvoe beer? We need a few more growers. Please contact Sian Jones if you want to join us and become part of our Hop Growers Group. sianjo@btinternet.com or ring 07837291362.

February is a good month to plant the hop rhizomes and we might be able to source some free ones for you. They are easy to grow and grow profusely up a string framework or along a fence. The brewer at Pipes recommends Prima Donna, a dwarf species, as being easier to manage in a garden. If you want a bit more information, look up Essentially Hops essentiallyhops.co.uk on the internet.


If your gas boiler is getting old and needs replacing there are some government schemes that will help you to afford greener alternatives.

https://www.gov.uk/apply-boiler-upgrade-scheme/ what-you-can-get


Brilliant Brains

We know that some What’s On readers are very clever and have lots of good ideas so we are setting you a problem. One of the challenges of generating electricity with solar panels is that often in the summer you have more electricity than you need. Often this gets sold to the national grid at a much lower price than users are charged. What we are looking for is good, simple ideas for using up that spare electricity in a better way. One seasonally inspired idea is for those who cook electric, is to cook your Christmas cakes and puddings in the summer on the free solar electricity and as it will cost you nothing you could invite your neighbours without panels to do the same. Send your ideas to us and we will share them so that everyone can benefit. Thank you.



New Forum members are always welcome to join e-mail us e-mail gwenfo.forum@gmail.com.

Contact to us on :-Facebook: Gwen Fo@https://www.facebook.com/


and Wenvoe Forum @ https://www.facebook.com/groups/635369267864402 or twitter

@ForumGwenfo. See our Blog site https://wenvoeforum.wordpress.com/


What 2023 Might Spring On Us


Considering tomorrow today

Wishing you the best of the Season’s Greetings

As the year turns and we wonder what 2023 might spring on us, we wish for you all a space and a place to celebrate the New Year with family and friends, ready to look forward. Here we are in 2023, but let’s consider 2035!

To meet the UK target of a carbon neutral electricity grid by 2035, the government expects there to be five times as much electricity generated through solar power, which might take up an additional 0.2% of agricultural land. Wenvoe will be playing its part with many residents already generating electricity from rooftop panels, so many others inquiring about installations that the supply chain is struggling and community buildings earmarked for development. We have some solar farms already in the area and more are in the planning process including within the geographic boundaries of Wenvoe. They change the landscape, the landscape is always changing however and many readers may remember the outcry about the “excess of bright yellow” when the growing of oil seed rape as a crop suddenly changed the colour of the countryside. Farmers and landowners have always had to diversify land use, the key to success lies in thinking of the future to maximise positive outcomes. Accepting that solar farms are here for a while at least, as part of our electricity supply, what else can they provide?

Awareness has grown of how intensive agriculture, industrial development and the ever increasing demand for housing from a growing population has resulted in the decline in wildlife both in terms of numbers of individuals and numbers of species. Small mammals such as the brown hare, birds like the iconic Barn Owl, reptiles and insect species are all in decline. Particular concern has arisen recently about the decline in numbers of pollinators that are so crucial, not least to growing our own food supply. Solar Farms have a lifetime of between 25 and 40 years, a long period of little disturbance giving the soil an opportunity to recover and offering established shelter for wildlife. Solar Farms are often clustered together around good access to the National Grid and with positive local action it might even be possible to link these habitats by constructing corridors between sites.

Solar Energy UK, a trade association for all parts of the solar energy industry has published new Natural Capital guidance for its members on best practice aiming to:- “… promote the design, construction and operation of high-quality solar farm projects which support ecology and deliver additional benefits..”

The guidance considers the life cycle of a solar farm from Site appraisal and design through to Decommissioning and gives practical examples of the ecological benefits that can be achieved. With sensitive consideration of the site and the surrounding area it is possible to:-

  • Improve the soil health of previously intensively farmed land which encourages insects and the birds and animals that feed on them and avoids/reduces the need for toxic chemicals such as pesticides
  • Create new areas of meadow wild flowers providing food and habitat for a wide range of fast disappearing species, small mammals, insects, bees, butterflies, birds
  • Strategically increase the numbers and species of pollinators
  • Maintain and develop appropriate hedgerows to provide habitat
  • Increase further botanical diversity with scope to introduce long lost species
  • Create footpaths that sensitively allow community access to the enhanced ecology providing educational opportunities and supporting good health well being

A change in the landscape is inevitable, let’s engage with the developers of Solar Farms and work with them to secure a better future for our local ecology.

NB Statistics quoted are drawn from www.theconversation.com and the Solar Energy UK Guidance is available at www.solarenergyuk.org/ resources


New Forum members are always welcome to join e-mail us e-mail gwenfo.forum@gmail.com.

Contact to us on :-Facebook: Gwen Fo@https://www.facebook.com/


and Wenvoe Forum @ https://www.facebook.com/groups/635369267864402 or twitter

@ForumGwenfo. See our Blog site https://wenvoeforum.wordpress.com/



Solar Photovoltaic Panels



Considering tomorrow today

Solar Photovoltaic Panels

We wish you a Happy Christmas and may the New Year bring you good fortune. Let us all hope that 2023 is the turning point for addressing climate change; let us all take action and create change. This month Forum member Ken looks at Solar Panel installation.


Solar Photovoltaic Panels

If you ever considered Solar Panels to be an unreliable investment with a long payback, think again! The current price of energy means that you will have to pay a lot and you can choose whether you want to keep paying for all your electricity or use at least some of that money as an investment with a typical simple payback of around six years and free power thereafter. This paper identifies potential pitfalls so that you can take care.

The rise in prices for energy have resulted in havoc for the solar energy market with large numbers of suppliers being inundated with enquiries and orders. Some have simply stopped considering new enquiries because they already have enough work until spring. Many entrepreneurs have recognised the opportunities of this market and started or bought small businesses to quote for supply and fitting of solar panels and related equipment but I wonder how many of these will fail, as do most new small businesses, within the first few years. Customers risk price increases before installations are completed and the lack of assurance that the supplier will exist to provide any follow up.

For most new customers, the potential purchase of solar panels is comparable in size to that of their car but there the similarity of transactions ends. For cars, the market is awash with product information and comparisons and innumerable registered dealers backed by the car manufacturers. For Solar Panels every request for information seems to result in a sales person making their assessment of what you need and giving a quote which may include product brochures but little opportunity to compare and assess anything more than total cost and a payback calculation that is totally dependent on the assumptions made by the sales person.

The general assumption that your current annual consumption is a good basis to identify the number of solar panels is not good enough unless you really use the same amount of electricity every day. Check your electricity bills and note the amount used (in KWH) each month. Identify reasons for peaks and troughs and whether they should be included in forecasts of the future.

Typical usage will be highest in the winter and unfortunately that coincides with the period in which the solar panels produce the lowest amount of power. It is not worth quintupling the number of panels in order to cover January, but simply doubling the number needed to cover June will cover March to September and make a good contribution in the other months.


Free solar power is not the only benefit of installing solar panels and a battery. The battery can be charged with relatively very low cost electricity overnight and that has clear benefits in the darker 4 months. So choose your electricity provider on the basis of both day time and night time tariffs and what you can get for exporting your excess power.

Before you contract and pay a deposit, investigate whether the company is one you want to rely upon and whether any deposit would truly be covered by any guarantee scheme. It took me a long time to recover my deposit from a company that was not a member of the scheme stated in their contract.

The author has no financial interest in any related business and readers are welcome to address any questions on this subject directly to Ken @gwenfo.forum@gmail.com putting Ken Solar Panels in the title box.


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Some further information and updates, blog site https://wenvoeforum.wordpress.com/. Any Wenvoe community member is welcome to join the Forum meetings, via Zoom, which are normally held 19.00 on the second Thursday of each month. E-mail gwenfo.forum@gmail.com if you wish to join.


Drop Some Of Your Carbon Footprint


Considering tomorrow today

Click and drop some of your carbon footprint

How many of us really think of the electronic data we store as part of our carbon footprint? Not many we suspect, until someone like us, points it out. We may be familiar with the idea that server farms, huge banks of computers, that are used for creating crypto currencies like Bitcoin; use lots of energy. But have you considered that all the data that Google, One Drive, Photobucket, Instagram, Facebook, etc etc etc “generously” save on our behalf, free of charge is using energy and therefore has a carbon footprint. If you generated the data it’s your carbon footprint!

Of course some of that carbon footprint replaces a much higher footprint represented by other non-electronic forms of data storage. For example, over its lifetime, the valuation report of 64 pages on a prospective house purchase surely generates, less greenhouse gas emissions as a digital version rather than printed out. However, here is where you might be able to do your bit to reduce global warming. If that report from 2015 is still stored in the cloud, it is still using energy and every day it sits there unused it is using energy. This is where you can help, delete it when you have finished with it.

According to Tom Jackson, Professor of Information and Knowledge Management, Loughborough University and Ian R. Hodgkinson Professor of Strategy, Loughborough University writing in The Conversation (theconversation.com) huge amounts of data is stored unnecessarily and energy is wasted contributing needlessly to greenhouse gas emissions. Jackson and Hodgkinson provided some staggering statistics.

More than half of the data collected and stored by firms is only used once

For a typical data based business, say insurance, of 100 employees they create 3 000 gigabytes of unwanted, but saved, data every working day.

Storing that data for one year has a carbon footprint equivalent to 6 flights from London to New York

Over a year, the never to be used again data that companies store has the carbon footprint of 3 million transatlantic flights.

Back in 2020 is was estimated that all digital data storage accounted for 4% of total greenhouse gas emissions and was growing rapidly

Unless action is taken, by 2025 and estimated 181 zettabytes (that’s 181 trillion gigabytes if it helps) of data will be stored; much of it unwanted and gobbling up energy unnecessarily.

Clearly as individuals we are small fry in the data stakes, however, as often, it’s a case of everyone needing to do a little bit which adds up to a lot. Let’s imagine you take 10 photographs of the family around the Christmas tree intending to send one to relatives in Australia with a Christmas message. Lunch is ready and rather than deciding which, you save them all to Photobucket to sort out and send later. It is likely that the majority of them become unwanted data as you never delete them. If you consider how many mobile phones there are you can see how if everyone takes a little care about what is happening to their data a chunk of global warming could be avoided.

We urge you to just stop and think about what you deliberately save to the cloud to your own Drop box space or Google drive or whatever you use. Go back and delete photos and files that you don’t want or better still select the version for long term storage as you save them and get rid of the others. Be mindful that some applications will keep a copy of your data even after you have deleted it, but that discussion is for another time.

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